Have you been hit with the sick bug this year yet??? If so, I hope you were able to combat it quickly. If not, I put together a list of my absolute favorite products to have on hand for if and when that time comes this season. I was struck pretty bad with a severe cold for two weeks at the end of September and suffered from an ongoing cough weeks after.
The worst part about being sick for me is that I’m usually left with a congested, ongoing cough for quite some time following the cold. This happens because I had whooping cough and bronchitis as a child and now I typically have to resort to using an inhaler a few times per day during the sickness… what a bother, right?! The cold generally goes straight to my chest and I’m left with an insurmountable amount of congestion/mucus.
From day one I’ve always tried my hardest to stay as natural as I can when I develop symptoms of any sort. For this reason, I resort to herbs and natural remedies.
The first thing to be aware of is keeping your immune system resilient all year round so that it’s ready to fight off any incoming bacteria or infection. While nearly 80% of your immune system lies within your gut, it’s so important to supply your gut with everything it needs to stay strong. I’m mainly talking about bacteria. There are tons of good bacteria that live inside and on our bodies to help it function properly. One of these is called probiotics. Probiotics are live microorganisms that are proposed to have a wide variety of health benefits, such as aiding in digesting and boosting immune health.
Come to find out, about 80% of your immune system lies within your digestive system. This is yet another reason to keep your gut healthy in order to keep your immune system balanced.
While the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve any specific probiotics for preventing or treating disease, or even safety of the supplement, there are countless studies supporting the use of probiotics with overall health.
Results from a randomized double-blind and placebo-controlled study revealed that after giving 272 healthy volunteers strains of probiotics for 12 weeks, there was a significantly (p < 0.05) lower incidence of one of more common cold episodes, in addition to significantly (p < 0.05) less days sick with common cold systems after intake of the given probiotic product during the 12 week study (Berggren, Lazou Ahrén, Larsson, & Önning, 2011).
I try to consume as many probiotic-rich foods before resorting to probiotic supplements. This is only because probiotic supplements are not regulated and therefore may not be entirely honest when listing ingredients/amounts on the label. I choose foods like kombucha, sauerkraut, sourdough bread, yogurt, kimchi, miso, etc. to help feed the beneficial bacteria in the gut.
So if you’re already making sure build your immune system and gut strong with probiotics (go YOU!), but STILL somehow manage to catch a sick bug, try some of these natural remedies I like to follow when I’m in the same situation.
- Steam Tent
As soon as I get a runny nose and congestion starts forming in my chest, I immediately go straight to steam tents. It’s a great way to relieve pressure in the nasal canal and also allows you to sweat out toxins in your own makeshift sauna. It leaves you feeling detoxified, exfoliated and relaxed.
How to: Boil a large pot of water, add 2 tbsp Franklin & Whitman’s Botanical Steam mixture (or essential oils) to a glass bowl and pour the boiling water over herbs/oils. Hold a towel open over your head, close your eyes and lean over the bowl of steaming water. Continue to breathe in deeply thru your nose, and inhale the steam for about 10-15 minutes.
- Mineral Soak
Honestly, it’s been several years since I’ve relaxed in a warm bath. When I came across Franklin & Whitman’s Mineral Soak, it was game on! The peppermint and orange accents complimented each other so well and made the bath very peaceful. Peppermint also helps treat symptoms of coughs and colds, which is why it’s incorporated in many herbal remedies. I definitely recommend this Mineral Soak!
Franklin & Whitman products are all-natural, plant-based, cruelty-free and 5% of EVERY purchase is donated to Dog Rescue organizations! I truly love supporting companies like this one!
Use my code, ‘GOODEATS’ for 15% off plus free shipping in the U.S.!
- Gaia Herbs
I can go on for hours about how much I truly love the Gaia herbs products I use while I’m sick, not to mention the ones use on a daily basis. They offer so many awesome herbal supplements; it’s hard not to have an entire basket full of them in my pantry. Bronchial Wellness Tea is my favorite tea to consume when I develop any congestion or cough. I’m obsessed with the few flavors Gaia Herbs teas I’ve tried so far. Their selection typically has the same underlying flavor, but you can easily tell the different vapors and herbs that are included depending on what bodily system you’re trying to support.
Black Elderberry Syrup is another I constantly take while I’m sick. The flowers and berries of elderberry plants (blue and black) are most often used medicinally. They contain flavonoids, which have been found preclinically to possess a variety of biochemical and pharmacological actions, including antioxidant and immunologic properties that have shown benefit in treating influenza, bacterial sinusitis, and bronchitis (Ulbricht et al., 2014). I make sure to take Black Elderberry several times per day to reduce my symptoms.
Other go-to’s for healthy immune support:
Gaia Herbs Quick Defense: made with organic Echinacea, Black Elderberry, and Ginger extracts
Holy Basil Leaf: has been shown to reduce anxiety and emotional stress
Oil of Oregano: contains antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties found to fight off infections
Lately, I’ve been putting turmeric in and on everything. Eggs, cauliflower, tofu, broccoli, chicken, in smoothies, elixirs, mixed with coconut oil for a natural teeth whitener more. Turmeric is a root member of the ginger family. It has an insane amount of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, even proving to relieve digestive discomfort. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is also the ingredient that gives turmeric its bright, organgey color and largely responsible for all these amazing health benefits. Black pepper has been found to increase the body’s absorption of turmeric significantly, so pairing the two is recommended.
Turmeric is available in many forms and a great natural spice to incorporate into your daily living.
-Berggren, A., Lazou Ahrén, I., Larsson, N., & Önning, G. (2011). Randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled study using new probiotic lactobacilli for strengthening the body immune defence against viral infections. European Journal of Nutrition, 50(3), 203–210. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00394-010-0127-6
– Ulbricht, C., Basch, E., Cheung, L., Goldberg, H., Hammerness, P., Isaac, R., … Wortley, J. (2014). An Evidence-Based Systematic Review of Elderberry and Elderflower ( Sambucus nigra) by the Natural Standard Research Collaboration. Journal of Dietary Supplements, 11(1), 80–120. https://doi.org/10.3109/19390211.2013.859852
Join my newsletter!
Subscribe to get the blog's latest content and nutrition information by email.