The change of the season often taxes our immune systems as the weather fluctuates between winter and spring.
This week the bug has landed in our home, with 2 out of 4 of us down with body aches, sore throats, and fatigue.
And just like any time we find ourselves with a cold or flu, these are the foolproof steps we take to get well – fast.
Lots and lots of rest.
That means falling asleep early and staying in bed as late as you can. It means taking it easy during the day, as much as you can manage.
For me, a comfy chair, quilt, and basket of knitting beside the fire helps (a lot).
2. Chicken Broth or Stock
I have been sipping cups of bone broth for days on end. It’s my magic potion for getting well in a hurry.
My basic recipe is can be found here. Make a big batch to store in the fridge or freezer while you heal.
3. Herbal Tinctures
I think simple, homemade tinctures are the best medicines of all. Our family makes many different kinds each season, and we rely on them throughout out the year to support our health. Currently I am taking elderberry, echinacea (my recipe is from this booklet), and astragalus tinctures.
If you haven’t made tinctures before you won’t believe how simple it can be! My recipe and instructions for homemade elderberry tincture can be found here.
Also yes, I give alcohol-based tinctures to children. A single child-sized dose of tincture contains less alcohol than a ripe banana. So I simply don’t fret about it.
4. Stay Hydrated
Warm drinks are key. Herbal tea, the aforementioned broth, and hot toddies are my top picks to deliver good medicine while helping us stay hydrated.
We’re hitting them hard this week – even the two among us who aren’t battling the bug.
My hot toddy recipe – with variations from the most simple to more complex – can be found right over here.
Another favorite warm drink around here is homemade pine needle tea.
Made from a simple decoction of white pine needles and thin branches, it feels excellent on the throat, quiets coughs, and is absolutely loaded with vitamin C. To make, simply harvest fresh white pine needles, twigs, and bark. Cut into pieces and place in a large nonreactive pot. Fill pot with water and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and steep for 10 additional minutes. If desired, additional herbs can be added to the pot, depending on the cold or flu you’re working through. Consider mullein leaf, monarda, yarrow, elderberry, elecampane, or wild cherry bark.
If you’re aren’t up for making your own tea blends, choose a purchased herbal tea that matches your symptoms. We love the Traditional Medicinals brand, especially Throat Coat, Breathe Easy, and Gypsy Cold Care. (afflinks)
5. TREAT YOUR SYMPTOMS
Body aches? Epsom salt baths and arnica muscle rub/massage oil both work magic on soreness. Also try a hot water bottle tucked up against an aching back or sore neck.
Earache? You can’t beat garlic ear oil. I shared this recipe years ago (along with a few other holistic earache remedies), though the one I used this weekend I made with garlic and mullein flowers. (If you’d like I will share a recipe for it during the next mullein flower season. Do let me know if that interests you!)
How are your lungs? Here at LüSa we also make two lines of essential oils and chest rubs to support healthy respiration.
Our Breathe Easy EO blends and Children’s Chest Rub are eucalyptus-free designed specifically for kids under 10, while our Breathe Deep EO blends and Original Chest Rub are just the thing for ages 10 and up.
The undiluted oils can be added to a diffuser or humidifier, or mixed with your epsom salts in the bath. The roll-on oils and chest rubs can be applied directly to the skin as desired.
Sore Throat? Those hot toddies work wonders; so does gargling hot salt water. My preferred remedy for sore throat is homemade Monarda tonic. Made with just wild bee balm, raw honey, and brandy it soothes sore throats in a hurry.
Since many of you won’t have bee balm on hand, try a tea made from sage and thyme, found right in your spice cabinet. Add a bit of honey and find simple, effective relief.
Always steep herbal teas covered to keep the healing aromatics in the cup.
Fever? My favorite herbal remedy is a tea made of 2 parts peppermint leaf, 1 part yarrow, 1 part elder flower, and 1/2 part catnip.
Try Belladona 12 c homeopathic remedy. This along with our homemade fever tea and the other wellness steps above are our best defense.
Cough? I can’t sing the praises of this remedy enough. If you don’t have elecampane on hand I urge you to pick some up now and have this remedy ready for your next round of coughs. It works like magic. I also shared two herbal cough syrup recipes in the Herbal Apothecary booklet, one for day and one for night. Both are simple to make and work wonders on persistent coughs.
And with that, I have a cozy spot next to the fire that’s calling me.
Rest up, friends. Get well soon!