Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The "Doctor" is In

This weekend brought in the flu.  While it was kind enough to allow me my long Saturday run before completely bringing me to a halt, in hindsight, the symptoms - being tired and a bit achy - were all too apparent even earlier in the week.
Sunday found me in bed for most of the day - Scott took HRH to a family birthday party, so the house was quiet for a few hours.  When they got home, Scott was kind enough to run out to get me some matzo ball soup.
That was when I knew that I was truly sick: 1) I wanted chicken soup; 2) I could barely muster the appetite to eat my share.  I almost never want chicken soup, not being a huge poultry fan to begin with, and I generally have to hold myself back from seconds, so having to man up to take down one matzo ball was quite uncharacteristic.
After that feat of energy, I was ready for bed.
I lay pretty low Monday as well.  I took a sick day (something that most teachers loathe doing, as it ends up creating more work) and hung out with HRH all day, watching Disney movies and plenty of Dora (note to Santa - more Disney movies would be really swell).  We even took a nice little nap on the couch after she claimed she wasn't tired but acquiesced to another viewing of Beauty and the Beast.
But other than rest, the question is always posed: What can I do to get over this bug sooner?
I know plenty of people who hit the NyQuil and TheraFlu right away, but I haven't known of anyone ever saying, "That stuff really works!"
The older I get, the less likely I am to reach for the Tylenol Cold.  I try to avoid taking medication whenever possible; even when I have a headache, I try rehydrating and taking in a bit of extra caffeine before I raid the medicine cabinet.  Instead, I try to use ice or heat for aches and honey under my Band-Aids for those cuts and scrapes.
But when I'm SICK, I would kill to have something go all nuclear annihilation on those germs and wipe them out almost instantaneously.  If you ever find that, let me know.  Don't tell me what's in it - just tell me I'll be better faster than you can say "Wingardium Leviosa" (#nerd).
Until that cootie virus bleach is invented, I'd like to offer those natural remedies that have worked to keep sickness at bay or at least help me feel better sooner than if I were to just "wait it out."

Organic ACV (with "the mother"), honey
(from Costo - The Husband got that), garlic,
my favorite black tea, hot sauce

Apple Cider Vinegar
I was introduced to this remedy about ten years ago, and I have to say that it's great.  I know that there are studies out there that explain what benefits of ACV, but I just prefer to say that it's magic and let it be.
To boost immunity, simply stir 2 tsp each ACV and honey into 8 oz warm water and drink.  The taste is like a diluted apple cider.  Sometimes I use black or green tea instead of the water, but it just depends on what I'm feeling at the moment.  When I'm sick, I tend to prefer a little black tea, since I can't have my usual 2 (very large) cups of coffee, and a bit of caffeine helps me avoid those withd
For a sore throat - and as someone who has battled sore throats and multiple bouts with strep all her life, this is the best remedy I have EVER used - take that same 8 oz warm water and add 2 Tbsp each ACV and honey as well as 1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper.  Use that as a gargle, much like you would with salt water.  This burns to high holy Heaven, but it really does make a difference.  I like to think of that cayenne pepper as little bombs taking out the enemy.  While this is a gargle, I generally sip a little bit when I am done gargling to get the full effect, but I'm clearly a masochist.

I love garlic - I generally follow the assumption that every recipe I see underestimates how much garlic should be in it.  Its health benefits cannot be disputed, either.  AND it's also helpful when avoiding vampires.
Last night, I took a bath in warm water and some smashed garlic.  I took about three cloves and smashed them before letting them "stew" in the bath with me.  Afterward, I rubbed some olive oil into the soles of my feet, rubbed some of those smashed cloves in, and then put on warm socks.  Thanks to Crunchy Betty for this idea (I'm pretty sure my husband doesn't also extend his gratitude).
And then today, I roughly chopped two cloves and toasted a challah roll with just a touch of butter and those cloves.  It was delicious, and I could taste the garlic all day.  It was like the gift that kept on giving.

Spicy Foods
If you've ever put a bit too much wasabi on your spicy tuna roll, you know the sinus-clearing pleasure that a something rather picante can bring.  Spicy foods can make your face turn red, your nose run - heck, they might even cause you to break out in a sweat!
Adding some kick to your meals when sick can really help.  Not that I am suggesting that you head out to sushi (I mean, you can, but that's more of an experience I like to have when I'm feeling tip top) and piling on the wasabi, but add some sriracha as well as garlic to that chicken soup, or sprinkle a little bit of extra cayenne into your garlicky hummus.

Hot Toddy
When I was in college, one of my best friends and I were sick at the same time.  Her great uncle told us to have a hot toddy, go to sleep, and we'd wake up feeling better.  The toddy would make us sweat out the germs.
So we followed his instructions, mixed together a disgusting concoction of hot tea, whiskey, lemon, and honey, and drank it down.
I'm pretty sure both of us then just passed out on the kitchen floor.  One of us was heavy handed with the whiskey.
I woke up the next morning drenched in sweat.  But I felt so much better.
This is a remedy I don't use that often as I can barely stomach the wee dram of whiskey that's in the hot toddy (#lightweight), but it's certainly something to keep in the arsenal.

I am honestly shocked that a lot of large medical sites don't include this on things that you should do to fight infection from cold and flu viruses.
We live in a 24-7 world, and I am sure that you have fallen victim - at least once - to the temptation that is bragging about how little sleep you had the night before.  We are constantly go-go-go, and sleep is always on the back burner.
When we're sick, our bodies are telling us to stop that constant going and rein all that business in.
I hated taking a sick day today, but I knew that if I didn't, this flu bug would be hanging on for much longer.  And while HRH was less inclined to nap that I had hoped on Monday, I still was able to stop that constant going that generally comes with my work.

So, my friends - what do you like to turn to when you are feeling under the weather?  Do you drink hot tea with honey and lemon?  Has anyone tried oil of oregano (my cousin just mentioned that to me the other day - I have to check it out) or turmeric to combat the cooties?  I'm always on the lookout for those natural remedies that will help make me feel better ASAP.


  1. I just recovered from something similar. I found that my homemade rosehip syrup, elderberry syrup, and herbmonger's cough syrup helped a lot and seemed to shorten the time I was sick. Rosehips have vitamin C, elderberries not only have vitamin C but also anti-viral properties. The cough syrup contains many of the things you take like cayenne and garlic as well as some other tasty additions. Something I take for those "coughing fits" one gets is straight fresh lime or lemon juice and honey blended in a "shot" type glass taken like a shot. It seems to stop a severe coughing attack in its tracks.

  2. Great post, bookmarking if for safe measure. I always get sick this time of year. In fact maybe I'll do the ACV remedy soon.

  3. That cough remedy is interesting - I've never been much of a cougher, so when I do, I think it's worse than it is. Is there a particular ratio of lime/lemon to honey that you use?

  4. Ugh, I get sick so often. Nothing really does anything, except time. That being said, I always throw things at my body like:
    -neti pot
    -chicken noodle soup
    -orange juice (usually mixed with some sprite)
    -tons of water
    -plain pasta with butter, salt, and pepper (This is mainly a comfort, rather than a "make you feel better" thing. Although, it really helps if I have an upset tummy.)

    Thanks for the other tips! I've never heard of ACV for sickness before. I'm going to try it!
    Glad you're feeling better :)