Spring has FINALLY arrived. The flowers are a bloomin’, allergies are at an all-time high and if you’re a Cadbury egg addict like me, you most likely finished off the last of your kid’s Easter candy which is starting to taste like calories and shame. And summer is just around the corner. Can I get a hells yeah? This increases our cortisol levels and we find ourselves participating in more jovial, spontaneous and reckless behavior like hugging, excessive hand holding and taking swigs out of our kids’ juice boxes.
All of this creates the perfect breeding ground for the dreaded Spring Cold.
After playing nurse last week to three little Typhoid Mary’s and dispensing more than my fair share of homeopathic remedies, bee pollen smoothies, and warm compresses for the dreaded “Poop Eye,” it was Big Momma’s turn to go to the dark side. I woke up on Saturday morning sick AF with my head in a vice and chills, alternating between what felt like hellish trips to the Arctic circle to then burning to death inside Satan’s backside. However, as it turns out, having a cold right after cochlear implant surgery does have its advantages—I was no longer concerned about the black and green bruise running down the side of my neck.
But the best thing to come out of this miserable experience?
It inspired me to share my simple and effective cold busting tips with you!
Here are my top five natural ways to say “Laters Babe” to that pesky Spring cold. After all, we got to get you back in the gym so that twenty-something, smoking hot trainer without kids or body fat can convince you that death by Stairmaster is the fastest way to a killer “summer bod.”
- Elderberry Syrup
What is it?
Black Elderberries (Sambuca Negra), contain Vitamins A, B and C which are all known for their incredible immune boosting properties. And the syrup (which is made from cooking the elderberries) is a simple, effective and economical treatment for colds, flus and respiratory issues. In fact, several studies have confirmed that elderberry extract actually kills the flu virus, namely H1N1 and the Avian flu. In one study, researchers found that the flavonoids in elderberries were capable of binding to the flu virus and that those who used the extract while experiencing flu-like symptoms saw a greater improvement over those that took the placebo.
And in addition to kicking your immune system into high gear, elderberry syrup can relieve everything from nerve pain to cancer. It can even help you poop! How cool is that?
In addition to its magical flu-fighting and poop inducing properties, it’s pretty much a staple in my household. Along with air, water, tantrums and baby puke. It’s easy to find, convenient and it tastes heavenly. My kids adore it and actually fiend for their daily elderberry fix. I call this “chasing the elderberry dragon.”
How do you use it?
There are many ways to reap the benefits of the good ole’ elderberry. It comes in the form of syrups, capsules and extract. I personally prefer the syrup, which can be easily made by heating elderberries on the stove and adding a couple simple ingredients. I have an amazing recipe that I got from Wellness Mama, please just message me and I’ll send it over! You can also find the syrup on Amazon and it is carried by most health food stores. I love the Gaia brand—it’s a bit pricey but I’m partial to the taste and a whole bottle will last you for months.
You can follow the directions on the back of the bottle, but here is what I do:
i. To prevent colds and flu during high season, my kids and I take one teaspoon every morning.
ii. For acute symptoms, up your dosage to one teaspoon, two times a day.
What is it?
Pulsatilla is a homeopathic remedy made from the windflower which is a member of the buttercup family. If you are new to the world of homeopathy, it is a great catch-all remedy and has many uses, although I used it this past weekend on myself and my kids to reduce nasal discharge.
How do you use it?
I wrung my hands over whether to share this, because typically homeopathic remedies (while completely safe) are most effective when they are administered by someone who is incredibly experienced and trained in the field. When used appropriately, these powerful remedies will treat certain symptoms related to a particular illness while balancing out your entire system. For instance let’s say you have a spring cold with nasal congestion and a fever. A well-trained homeopathic doctor will prescribe a remedy that will relieve your nasal congestion and fever, but that works in accordance with your particular personality, temperament and emotional state.
Think I’m officially coo-coo for cocoa puffs? Well I am. But these things really do work!
What I like best about homeopathy, is that in addition to being effective, they come in convenient on-the-go packaging, they taste like little candies and are great for kids! The only downside is that you can’t drink coffee while taking them or use any products containing camphor (like Vicks Vapor rub). The oils in these products significantly reduce the effectiveness of homeopathic remedies. Caffeine is okay, but no coffee. I know I probably just took the wind right out of your sails. “But it’s just for a few days.” So says the complete coffee addict that went through heavy withdrawals this weekend…
I use a brand called Boiron. It can be found in the vitamin/supplement section of any healthfood store or of course on Amazon:
I trust the quality of this particular brand and I like how it comes in an easy to dispense bottle. All you do is twist the cap until you get the desired number of pellets, then flip the cap over and pour right into your mouth! Make sure that your hands do not touch the pellets because in addition to coffee and camphor, the oils on your hands can interfere with their effectiveness.
I take three little pellets, three times a day until symptoms subside.
- Eucalyptus oil
Have you ever been so congested that it feels as if someone has shoved 75 cotton balls up your nose? And you are forced to breathe out of your mouth while you sleep and are convinced that 5 spiders, 10 cricket and 35 flies probably flew right in over that eight-hour period?
What is it?
Eucalyptus is a type of evergreen tree native to Australia. It is a jack of all trades, offering benefits that range from relieving cold and flu symptoms to easing joint and muscle pain. It’s even used to fight tooth decay, periodontitis and makes an amazing insect repellent!
How do you use it?
There are a number of different ways to use eucalyptus—the essential oil is often added to creams, lotion and even inhaled. I’m crazy about the smell. It’s like the perfect combination of spicy pine, koalas and the bike path at UCSB. Go Gauchos! I found myself actually huffing it right out of the bottle like a scene from “My Strange Addiction” on TLC. You can also add drop to a diffuser and it will fill your house with yummy pine, disinfect those countertops and clear your nasal passages. Or, place a drop on your hands, rub them together and inhale for extra respiratory support.
While eucalyptus is often added to many over-the-counter medicines and creams, I recommend using a high quality essential oil or selecting a product that uses one. I plan on sharing my tips and tricks for picking a high quality essential oil in the near future (because it requires a lengthy discussion), but in short, try to find one that is labeled “therapeutic grade”, steam distilled and always do a smell check! Lower quality essential oils will have a more alcohol-ish smell to them and sometimes will say “not food grade.” Yep avoid those.
And please note…Eucalyptus is not safe to ingest or for kids under two. Some kids can have allergies to eucalyptus so it is important to do a little spot check on their feet before applying it anywhere else. And as always, check with your physician, naturopath, etc if you have any questions.
- The orangingeric shot
Click here to watch me drink it! Orangingeric
That time you found out that taking shots was good for you…..
What is it?
Made from orange, ginger and turmeric, this shot packs a powerful punch chalk full of vitamins, immune boosters and inflammation reducers! The orange has Vitamin C which has been shown to reduce the length and severity of colds. Ginger is great for your tummy and both this and turmeric are hot spices and help to reduce inflammation and trigger your body’s immune response.
And it tastes ah-mazing. Just the right amount of sweetness and spice to have you coming back for more!
How do you use it?
Here’s what you need:
i. 1 teaspoon tumeric (you can find whole turmeric in the fruit and veggies section of your grocery store). Just use a peeler and then cut off a piece
ii. 1 teaspoon ginger (same as above)*
*For the ginger and turmeric you can use ground turmeric and ginger found in the spice section but fresh is best
ii. Small orange
Throw all three ingredients into a blender. Lick the salt, squeeze the lime, take the shot! No chaser required.
Here I give you step by step instructions!
- The Heroin Diaries, By Nikki Sixx (of Motley Crue)
Now what does this have to do with health, wellness or curing the dreaded Spring cold? ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. Since I was in bed for a couple days I actually had some time to read. Like an actual book. So, it may not relieve your nasal congestion or bring your fever down, but after reading about Niki Six’s terrifying descent into a near fatal heroin addiction, you will forget you even have a cold while you’re running to the nearest church and downing vitamins and green smoothies like a boss. And Niki’s honest, raw and real depictions of his despicable antics while high on drugs will make you feel like you are the healthiest mofo this side of California. You guys he actually dies TWICE and comes back to tell his story. At one point, I threw the book down, got on my knees and thanked god that I never pursued my childhood dream of hitting the road and following Axl Rose for the rest of my youth. As many of you know, I’m a diehard 80’s hairband fan. Like if man-shadow, leather pants, cheesy ballads and senseless drug-fueled hotel parties were to make a comeback, I would feel right at home. Anyway, read this book. Afterward we can have a little virtual book club. I can just imagine the discussions.
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AND YOU GUYS….I’m sick of talking about myself. I want to hear from you!
Have you tried any of these natural remedies? What do you use to kick a cold?
Kong, Fan-kun, “Pilot Clinical Study on a Proprietary Elderberry Extract: Efficacy in Addressing Influenza Symptoms.” Online Journal of Pharmacology and PharmacoKinetics, http://omicron-pharma.com/pdfs/ElderberryClinicalOJPK_Published.pdf (Volume 5: 32‐43, 2009)
 Stoner, Gary David; Wang, Li-Shu; Castro, Bruce Cordell “Laboratory and Clinical Studies of Cancer Chemoprevention By Antioxidants In Berries.” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3246882/, (2008)
 Souter, Keith. “Pulsatilla.” http://www.britishhomeopathic.org/charity/how-we-can-help/articles/homeopathic-medicines/p/a-closer-look-at-pulsatilla/ (2010)
 Nordqvist, Joseph “Eucalyptus: What Are The Health Benefits?” Medical News Today. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266580.php (2017)