Ringing in the New Year with Healthy Food Remedies

Happy 2014! It’s been awhile since I’ve posted here, but I’ve been working on other endeavors. This year, you’ll see more posts about homesteading, eco-living, and healthy mind, body & spirit articles.

Here are some foods that have natural antibiotic properties that help ward off colds and more.

Garlic: Antibacterial properties make it useful for treating and preventing colds, athlete’s foot and other infectious problems. Scientists attribute garlic’s powers to a sulfur compound called allicin, which it releases when cut or crushed. Because cooking changes and deteriorates this compound, eating raw garlic is the best way to derive the healing qualities from this antibacterial food.
Tip: Try chopping garlic, let it set for a few minutes, and put it on crackers or toast to get the most prevention.

Honey: Use as an antibacterial salve like treating cuts and wounds. Researchers at the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam recently discovered that bees add a protein to honey from their immune systems that gives honey its antibacterial quality. Honey also produces an enzyme that in turn produces hydrogen peroxide, which prohibits the growth of bacteria.
Tip: Mix honey and cinnamon, take a teaspoon every morning. Add to oatmeal, pancakes, and tea as well.

Cranberries: Well-known for their ability to help prevent and treat bladder infections, in part because of their antibacterial properties. Cranberries prevent bacteria from latching onto the walls of the bladder and urinary tract by altering bacteria such as E. coli—responsible for illnesses such as kidney infections and the flu—to prevent them from forming the biofilm necessary for an infection to develop.
Tip: Buy fresh cranberries in the store, usually around November, and freeze them. Frozen cranberries are good for 1 year. Make your own cranberry sauce using sugar or honey and whole cranberries.

Tumeric: Essential oils contain a wealth of antibiotic molecules, making this antibacterial food useful for treating topical cuts and wounds. Turmeric is also often taken in Ayurvedic medicine to prevent and treat colds and other internal infections.

Oregano: Essential oils in oregano lend this herb antibacterial powers that have been shown to inhibit even salmonella and E. coli bacteria. Oregano oil is also useful at boosting immunity,  preventing and treating common colds. Because oregano’s antibacterial powers are found in its oil, an oregano oil supplement is better than the dried version.

Peppermint: commonly used in toothpaste, mouthwash and other oral hygiene products—and for good reason, too. Peppermint oil has antibacterial powers that help to kill bad breath-causing bacteria in the mouth.
Tip: Eat a peppermint after meals, it will settle your stomach and freshen your breath!

Basil: Thanks to its volatile oils, this flavorful antibacterial herb can inhibit bacteria growth. Studies have shown that basil can restrict the growth of E. coli, Listeria monocytogenes and Staphylococcus bacteria, as well as inhibit growth in strains of bacteria that have become resistant to antibiotics.
Tip: Use raw/fresh basil to get the most use from it. Basil is also easy to grow in pots or in gardens. Snip the leaves regularly, and it will multiply quickly throughout the season. Add to pizza, soups, salads and more.

Note: Above content is credited to: Susan Melgren from a Jan 18, 2012 article originally posted on Mother Earth Living.

Grandmother’s Cupboard Can Alleviate Common Cold Symptoms

Herbal Remedies May Not Be the Cure for the Common Cold,
But Often Work Better Than Pre-Packaged Cold Meds

There’s more than prunes, oatmeal and canned tomatoes in your grandmother’s cupboard. Grandmothers really do know best when it comes to alleviating coughs, sniffles, teary eyes and headaches caused by the notorious common cold.

I remember my grandmother (God, rest her soul) giving my father a shot of whiskey to cure a coughing spell he had once. Although his eyes got red and watery, the coughing did stop. I have tried the whiskey cure before for sore throats and dry coughs, and it has helped; I do recommend having something in your stomach before throwing a whiskey shot back though! My grandparents did not spend much on going to the doctor when they got a cold because most of their symptoms could be alleviated with herbs and veggies right from their garden or from a nearby market.

Antibiotics do cure the common cold, and even your doctor will tell you this; however, a combination of garlic and Vitamin C taken at the first signs of a cold (you know that scratchy throat feeling or a migraine) can greatly reduce your symptoms as well as heal your body’s immune system naturally. Raw garlic acts like an antibiotic and does not have those funny feeling side effects like other decongestants and prescription antibiotics. Besides, our bodies are becoming more immune to lab-created antibiotics which won’t help our cold symptoms  or any other infection.

Herbal treatments and supplements are our best defense against the common cold. Have a few of the following in your cupboard for the next time you start feeling run down, have a scratchy throat or need a box of tissues for a runny nose. (Source: Natural Health, Nov. 2010)

Echinacea (ek a na sha) – Stimulates your body’s immune system. How to use: Buy as a liquid extract or capsule since the entire plant is both beneficial and medicinal to strengthen your immune system. Use five droppers of tincture (liquid) or 2 capsules at the onset of a cold, then 2 droppers or 2 capsules every 4 – 8 hours up to 24 hours. You make a hot tea with the liquid or add it to juice or water. If it’s too bitter add a little honey to sweeten.

Elderberry – This herb warms your body and has many anti-viral properties that reduce both flu and cold symptoms. How to use: Buy from a recognized natural health or whole foods store to find the best quality product. Follow the directions on the package at the onset of flu or cold symptoms. Can also be used in conjunction with other herbal supplements.

Garlic – Allicin (sounds like penicillin), the anti-bacterial compound forms in fresh raw garlic when it’s crushed, chopped or chewed and works similar to prescribed antibiotics, but without harming your immune system. How to use: Buy fresh garlic cloves, crush, slice, mince or chop and allow to sit for 10 minutes to maximize the allicin. Then eat or put on toast (do not toast with the garlic otherwise it will lose its strength). You can also swallow since you don’t have to chew it to receive its potent power. You can do this several times a day to get the most effectiveness and reduces your cold symptoms much more quickly.

Ginger – Similar to Elderberry, Ginger also raises your body temperature to fight off viruses, and it has anti-flammatory and immune fighting properties. How to use: Chop ginger root and let simmer in water to make ginger tea for 10 minutes, strain, and add lemon and honey to taste. You can also buy ginger tea bags and 1 tea bag is good for at least 3 cups of tea.

Licorice – Also packed full of anti-viral properties which help lessen your cold symptoms and boost your antibodies. Good for sore throats. How to use: Licorice tea is the best way to treat colds, and you’ll often find it mixed with herbs because of its potency. Not recommended for those who have high-blood pressure. Drink up to 3 cups of licorice tea daily throughout the duration of a cold.

Vitamin C – Works as an antioxidant and has additional antihistamine effects. Shortens the duration of cold symptoms if at least 1,000 mg is taken daily. How to use: Start with 1,000 mg/day at onset of symptoms. Some holistic health books even say you can take 1,000 mg/hr for 12 hours everyday until symptoms subside. Capsules or caplets work well, look for Vitamin C (without a supplement) or ascorbic acid.

Natural Cures for the 4 Stages of a Cold: Stage 1 – Soothing a Sore Throat

Avoid going to the doctor and alleviate your common cold with these natural home remedies including hot teas, natural vapor rubs and vitamins.

Relieve Cold and Sinus Infection Symptoms with Homemade Remedies

How to cure the common cold virus with natural home remedies.

I’ve been battling a sinus infection for the past 5 days or so, and I think having a cold in the summertime when the temperatures exceed 90 degrees Fahrenheit is even more of a nuisance. However, the heat does help the congestion. Now that I’ve recognized the 4 stages of my seasonal sinus infection, I thought I’d share how I am able to combat the recognizable symptoms during each stage the natural way. This is the first part in a series of 4 blog posts about curing a cold naturally.

Stage 1: Soothing a Sore Throat

One day I’m feeling fine, and then I wake it up to the first scratchy swallow in my throat…ohhh..ugh. I’m not a smoker and I’m not around people who smoke, so I know this is the case of inhaling carcinogens. It’s the first sign that the common cold or a sinus infection is coming, just like the calm before a storm.

Hot Liquids – Green tea or specialty teas like Throat Coat with slippery elm bark and Echinecea really help soothe a sore throat. Steep the tea bag for 3-5 minutes and sip slowly allowing the slippery elm to coat your throat. Avoid coffee as coffee tends to dry out your throat as well as hot chocolate.

Cold liquids – Ice water and lots of it! Alternate between hot and cold liquids to soothe a sore throat naturally without the aid of prescriptions. My physicians have always told me to drink more cold liquids to flush out the toxins. Suck on ice cubes too or homemade Popsicles, Slushies and smoothies also soothe a sore throat.

Cough Drops – Honey, cherry, lemon, orange, strawberry or menthol – whatever flavor you like works well on soothing a sore throat. I loved Luden’s cherry cough drops as a child, but I have a habit of eating them instead of sucking on them. Hall’s with Vitamin C seems to last the longest, they are a little more expensive, so if you can find them on sale or buy a bigger bag, it’s worth it.  I tuck a few in my purse, my pocket and my car so I always have them. Cough drops also alleviate a dry throat.

Warm Gargle Washes – Salt water gargle washes really help alleviate a sore or scratchy throat. I use about a teaspoon of table salt or sea salt to a cup of warm tap water. Stir until the salt is dissolved, then take a sip and gargle for a few seconds, spit it out and repeat. The salt water coats your throat and soothes it instantly. Do a saltwater gargle a couple times a day until it’s no longer sore.

Chest Rub Ointment – Well, you’re using it for your sore throat, so I guess it’s called a throat rub. Anything that has menthol in it is good like Vick’s, but several years ago my mom had me try something that had natural oils in it and it works for a variety of ailments including chest congestion, sore throats, colds, bruises, poison ivy, headaches and more; you may find it in specialty drug stores or you can buy it in multiple quantities from the company.  Skinner’s Vaporizing Salve – rub it on your neck, throat, chest and behind your ears before bed. Be sure to wear an old shirt because the salve is greasy and it could stain your sheets (oily stain only). My great aunt even advises to put Skinner’s on the soles of your feet and then wear a heavy cotton socks, my son’s athletic socks work great. There is scientific truth behind the salve on your soles too. Vick’s Vapor Rub works too, I just have had better luck with Skinner’s.

Vitamins – When you’re sick and your antibody count is down, a natural health book I have and through the work of Dr. Linus Pauling, advises to take as much as 12,000 mg of Vitamin C a day. Yes, that much! That’s 1,000 mg an hour for 12 hours. Vitamin C is a natural antibiotic and the body doesn’t create resistance to it like synthetic antibiotics. I firmly believe this is why I can knock out a cold or sinus infection in just a few days. If I’m consistent with it, taking 2-500mg tablets every hour for 12 hours, I’ll feel much better every day. I usually buy a 100 or 200 count bottle of 500mg Vitamin C and have it with me at work and at home. I start it at 7am before I leave for work and continue it religiously throughout the day, and will even set a timer to remind me if needed. (Oh, I see it’s time to take 2 more now!) 2 other helpful vitamins are Vitamin A and E, just remember one way to knock out a cold or sinus infection is to ACE it! (aka Vitamin A, C, and E.) Whatever the recommended dosage is on the bottle for Vitamin A and E, I double it when my body is fighting a virus.

Rest – This is what the doctor orders, and if you follow it your body will thank you for it by getting better in less time. I take frequent naps when I’m not feeling well. This is the best natural way to cure a cold, your body’s defenses are down and you need rest. Even if you’re lying on the couch with your hot tea and a good movie on the tube, you’re better off. And if you must work during a sinus infection, then take 15 minutes of your lunch and find a comfy chair or couch and take a short snooze. Some office buildings have couches in their restrooms, what a nice place to lay your head and prop up your feet!

Look forward to the next post: Stage 2 – Sinus congestion and how to clear your head naturally.