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, nasty cough for quite some time following the cold. I had whooping cough and bronchitis as a kid, which now causes the symptoms to come back very easily. I’ll still use my inhaler when it gets to this point. Any cold I get generally goes straight to my chest and I’ll immediately become congested.
I’ve always tried my hardest to stay as natural as I can when I develop symptoms of any sort and resort to taking herbs and other natural remedies.
Keeping your immune system healthy is so important all year round so that it’s ready to fight off any incoming sicknesses or harmful bacteria. While nearly 80% of your immune system lies within your gut, it’s crucial to supply it with everything it needs to stay strong. There are tons of good bacteria that live inside and on our bodies that help us function properly, one of these being live microorganisms called probiotics. Probiotics have a wide variety of health benefits, including aiding in digestion and boosting immune health.
I try to consume as many probiotic-rich foods as I can each day (think fermented foods) before resorting to probiotic supplements. This is because the whole food version is always preferred over supplements for providing the best source of vitamins, minerals and health benefits.
So, we know to constantly take care of our bodies, including feeding our gut healthy bacteria (i.e. probiotics), but what happens when our immune system does take a hit and we get sick? Check below to peep my list of favorite items to always have on hand!Steam Tent
As soon as I get a runny nose and the congestion starts forming in my chest, I immediately make a steam tent. 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.
- Franklin & Whitman Steam Tent and M
How to: Boil a large pot of water, add 2 tbsp Franklin & Whitman’s Botanical Steam mixture (and/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 deeply breathe in through your nose and inhale the steam for about 10-15 minutes.
(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 20% off in the U.S.)
2. Gaia Herbs
I can go on for hours about how much I 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 different herbal supplements, it’s hard not to have an entire basket full of them in your pantry. Bronchial Wellness Tea is my favorite to drink when I develop any congestion or cough.
Black Elderberry Syrup is another I constantly take while I’m sick. The flowers and berries of elderberry plants (blue and black) contain flavonoids, which have been found pre-clinically 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, anti-fungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties found to fight off infections
3. EZC Pak
I love this pack of echinacea, zinc and vitamin C. This herbal remedy has shown to treat and shorten the duration of colds. This is also great to take during travel, peak of stress, or lack of sleep when immune system function is at its weakest.
4. Ginger and Lemon Tea
Buy ginger root at the store, cut it up into small chunks and either refrigerate or freeze for future use (I always have some stashed in the freezer just in case). Anytime you make a cup of hot tea, throw a small piece of ginger in it with a lemon slice and it’ll help soothe your sore throat / congestion.
Lately, I’ve been putting turmeric in and on everything. Eggs, cauliflower, 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’s a powerful antioxidant and contains anti-inflammatory properties, even proving to relieve digestive discomfort. Curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, is also the ingredient that gives turmeric its bright, orangey color and largely responsible for all its amazing health benefits. Black pepper has been found to increase the body’s absorption of turmeric significantly, so pairing the two is recommended.
– 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