As we enjoy these hot summer days here in Indiana we are also watching leaves falling from some of the trees….the winds of fall are already sneaking in. We’ve already experienced a cold come through our house in late summer. Cold and flu season often comes earlier than we expect and it lasts all winter long. So we’ve been swiftly using our remedies to help her quickly and pretty smoothly sail through this sickness with very little discomfort.
As we are inside more often and our windows are closed in our homes, heat is on and we’re soaking in less sun and vitamin D, we simply have more exposure to stagnant air. So the question is…
Is your home apothecary stocked for cold and flu season?
If you’re not feeling prepared or just curious as to what I recommend, I’ve compiled a list for you of the items we use most often to prevent sickness in our home. This of course is not an exhaustive list – simply what we have been using in our home for years that has worked well in getting us through cold and flu season. In part 2 of this series, we cover treating cold so make sure to check that out here on the Gaia Chef blog as well.
And I feel it’s important to say – this is not medical advice. Again, I’m sharing what works for our family. I am not a doctor. You always want to tune in to your own bodies needs, check with your health practitioner if you have ongoing health issues or you are on medications before using new-to-you herbs or remedies.
Let’s Start with Prevention
Prevention is my favorite way to handle cold and flu season. Preventing sickness is so much more enjoyable and easy than waiting until sickness occurs. And of course, we will get sick sometimes regardless! But I’ve found when we’re using these measures along with other lifestyle choices in our home, we tend to have much shorter sickness times and much less intense. Our bodies are prepared to fight it well and quickly.
Now it goes without saying there is more to prevention than the remedies I’m about to list below. Nourishing your body properly, getting plenty of restful sleep, moving your body daily and the list goes on. So let’s dive in.
Garlic and honey – this is my number one remedy for cold and flu. We chop one clove of garlic and place on a spoon with raw local honey. Take daily or a few times a week to keep the immune system humming.
Astragalus – I add dried astragalus to our rice and beans before I cook them in the pressure cooker (I love the Instant Pot). The medicine infuses into the rice and beans and as we consume them in various meals throughout the week, we are taking in astragalus which strengthens the immune system. You can find this at your local health food store or companies like Jing Herbs or Mountain Rose Herbs.
Oregano – I use in our food throughout the week so that if we are exposed to viruses (which we are all the time) we are constantly being protected by this amazing herb. Oregano has very high anti-viral properties. We also make oregano tea with fresh or dried.
Daily lemon water – I’ve taught my children to love lemon water which makes having the whole family consume this much easier. Regular consumption keeps Vitamin C flowing into our system (which our bodies cannot make – we must consume it). Vitamin C helps us prevent sickness by keeping our system strong.
Daily Elderberry lemon aid – I really enjoy this drink and have it at least a few times a week as we head into cold a flu season. I’ll add a tablespoon of elderberry syrup to a large mason jar of water, adding in some fresh lemon and often I like to enjoy it with ice. Sometimes I’ll add a tiny sprinkle of sea salt to bring in the minerals and electrolyte balance in my body. This drink offers high vitamin C levels as well as anti-oxidants and immune support.
We dive deep into creating lifelong habits of well-being along with learning about wild plants, how to grow your own medicine and so much more in my program, Medicine Woman. This online course helps you weave plant knowledge into wisdom and to bring the medicine of our wild herbs into your every day life. This includes how to identify and harvest wild plants and how to make remedies and medicines with them as well as layer their medicine into your meals. I also teach practical tips on how to grow your own food and medicine using Earth-based and permaculture practices.
*This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Always do your own research before consuming a new plant.