A few days ago we tried to sort out the pros and cons of getting the flu vaccine, and I promised to give you some ideas for some natural remedies that really work. Since most people already reach for the vitamin C to avert sickness, I’m not going to include the traditional Vitamin C recommendation, so as not to insult your nutritional intelligence. I will suggest you buy the good OJ that has the “immunity” tags on it, because I still think that getting your vitamins from your food is always the best place to start.
The following supplements are all staples around our house, and we can vouch for their effectiveness. However, I’m not allowed by the FDA to say anything cures anything, so you can read between the lines, if you will. This is just what we do when we don’t feel just right – and we rarely get sick. That doesn’t mean that sometimes we don’t feel like something is trying to attack – but our defense line always seems to win! Hope it helps your family stay healthy this winter.
1. Get enough sleep. Read my recent post that referred to an article in the New York Times that cited studies that (getting the right amount of) sleep is better than Vitamin C. However, it’s been suggested that Vitamin C will help you sleep.
2. Drink plenty of water. Don’t stop at the recommended 8 glasses per day. . . keep drinking!
3. Kyolic Garlic. I want to be clear that all garlic supplements are NOT created equal! This isn’t an article on garlic, so I won’t give you all the stinky details, but the medicinal component of garlic is allicin, and is easily destroyed. Kyolic has earned our full trust after years of research into this powerful antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-parasitic and more. We even rubbed the liquid onto the soles of our babies* (it absorbs through their skin) at the suggestion of a midwife for a cold. Do not be without this one this winter. Kyolic’s aging process preserves the medicinal properties and curbs the side effects of the garlic odor. Another remedy for the smell: eat a few fennel seeds (they really taste good!). Fresh garlic is always optimum, and if you can manage to eat 2-6 medium cloves a day, go for it!
4. Zinc. You can take too much zinc, so more is not better, but most people do NOT get enough in their regular diets. A zinc deficiency will make it more difficult for your body to fight infection, and many people swear by the zinc lozenges that are advertised to help fight viruses. Many of the expensive “immune defense” products in the pharmacy are simply different forms of zinc, and you can buy the supplement for as low as $3 for a 100 ct. bottle of 50 mg tablets. Children should never take more than 25 mg in a day, adults 150-200 is toxic. Different situations may increase your need for zinc, and this article at Drugs.com lists them and will give you more important facts to know. You may already be taking some zinc in your multi, so be sure to check. We take one 50 mg. tablet if we feel something coming on.
5. Oregano. Once you take the garlic, then take the oregano, and your friends will swear that you work at a pizzaria. You will think you do too! This is a little known remedy that we have had phenomenal results with. We have found oregano so effective, you’ll find 1 oz bottles of oregano oil, oregano oil capsules, oregano extract caps, and a product called Oregamax and Oregabiotic all in our ‘medicine cabinet’ at any given time. There’s even an oregano sinus spray that I love. What you must know about oregano oil is that all oregano oils are not created equal. Oregano and Thyme are similar, and often confused, even purposely interchanged. The problem with this is that thyme oil can be toxic to the liver, so stick with a reputable brand that states the active ingredient in oregano, carvacrol. North American Spice is considered one of the premium brands, started by Dr. Cass Ingram, author of The Cure Is In The Cupboard.
6. Echinacea Complete Care Tea -Echinacea, Vitamin C, zinc, eucalytus, peppermint and stevia and more in a palatable tea. You can use a little honey to enhance the flavor, or dip a bag of Good Earth Tea Red Tea Sweet & Spicy, 25-Count Boxes (Pack of 6) (my favorite tea) in for a minute or two to make it delicious with no added sugar OR calories.
7. Olive Leaf – a passing conversation with a naturopath that rated Olive Leaf at the top of her list of disease fighters, and a little research later, it’s now on my ‘must have’ list. Standardized extract is your most reliable source. Again, we like Nature’s Way.
8. Herbiotic – a product offered by Swanson Vitamins that packs the biggest immune punch I’ve found.
9. Probiotics – This is not something you should take only when you think your immune system needs a boost, but on a regular basis for continued health. Make sure you buy a reputable brand (the generic at Walmart is garbage) and keep it in the refrigerator. I’m sure there are better ones out there, but we’ve been buying Nature’s Way for more than 10 years. I’ve also come to love the yogurt, ‘Activa’. (especially the cherry flavor!)
10. Don’t complain. “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”. I’m not exactly in the ‘Name it and claim it” camp, but in the last few years have studied what God says about what comes out of our mouth being more important than what goes in. Keep it real, but try an experiment next time you aren’t feeling very well. Don’t complain about it, but take your immune boosters, drink some extra water and get a good night’s sleep – then thank God foyour good health. You might be surprised how much better you feel when you refrain from complaining.
Eating plenty of fruits and veges, (carrot-apple juice is great!) limiting sweets (sugar lowers the immune system), 400 Vit D, Alkaline tea are a few other commonly found suggestions, too.
Don’t take my word for it, here are a few other good articles to check out:
Immune Soup Recipe:
It’s been proven that chicken soup really does help colds and flu pass faster, so this ‘immune soup’ could pack a punch. . . it’s worth a try! http://www.care2.com/greenliving/immune-power-soup.html
*Please, check with your health practitioner before giving anything to your baby or child, AND none of the above is to be taken as medical advice or as an alternative to the wisdom of a medical doctor. You know the drill.
Update, 10-29-09: Two more additions to the above list that I’ve been told are indispensable: Elderberry and Vitamin D. One mom said that since she started to give her children Vitamin D they haven’t been sick once. Considering I know many families that don’t drink milk for health reasons, that could be something to think about! Thought you’d want to know.