There is no doubt this is the coziest (cashmere sweaters! pumpkin spice lattes! inviting fireplaces!) of seasons, and also the one with the greatest potential to sucker punch you and land you in bed feeling ill. Because none of us want to feel sick this Thanksgiving week or during the December holidays and parties, I offer you four get well fast tricks.
I can vouch for them because I had to put them to the test last week. I woke up one morning with a throat that felt like sandpaper, aching ears and a dull headache. “Oh, no!” I thought! Because who has time to get sick? I immediately made and began consuming these four recipes. I am happy to report that while I continued to fight the symptoms all week long, their intensity improved considerably and it never turned into a full-blown whatever it was!
I understand why the check out aisles at Whole Foods are packed with elderberry syrup--it works! And it’s not just me saying this. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that those taking elderberry syrup “were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo.”
You can buy it ready made, but making it is so easy that it’s worth making it at home and adjusting the sweetness level. Take 1 tablespoon four times a day from the moment symptoms begin until about two days after they have subsided (for good measure).
1/2 cup dried elderberries (I buy organic, from Amazon)
2 cups water
½ cup to 1 cup of honey or maple syrup
1. Add water, elderberries to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is reduced by half. This should take around 45 minutes.
3. Strain to remove berries. Allow liquid to cool to room temperature, then stir in honey or maple syrup.
4. Transfer elderberry syrup to a jar and store in the fridge. It keeps for at least 2 weeks.
A neti pot is a container used to rinse your nasal cavity. I like using it the second I begin to feel stuffy so that the mucus does not have a chance to accumulate.
Here is more information on its benefits (and possible risks) and how to use it.
I always use fresh, filtered water that I boil myself. I never use hot tap water. I also strongly recommend getting a ceramic neti pot since it is easier to keep clean--and wash it well with soap and hot water after each use. Also, you need to find the water combination that is right for you. This includes temperature of water, amount of sea salt in the water, and the number of drops of essential oil. For me personally, I like adding one teaspoon of sea salt and one drop of each lemon, peppermint and rosemary essential oils. Anything else is uncomfortable.
It is not an altogether pleasant experience, but it’s completely worth it when you feel your sinuses opening up after treatment and the pressure in your head subsides. In my experience it definitely reduces the length and intensity of any upper respiratory illness. I should note that it often doesn’t matter how much water you are able to get through. Sometimes you will be able to rinse each side with the full neti pot. Sometimes you use one pot for both sides. Sometimes you can only do half a pot for both sides. It’s all still good!
Ginger Lemon Tea
Chinese medicine considers ginger to be actual medicine (source) and Western studies seem to agree it has potent benefits (source).
For me, ginger and lemon (which has Vitamin C) tea is a warming pick-me-up that always makes me feel better.
A 3-inch piece of ginger, peeled and chopped into thin slices
4 cups of water
Honey, agave or maple syrup to taste
Place the ginger and the water in a pot. Bring to a boil.
Lower to medium heat and let simmer for 30-45 minutes.
When ready to drink, strain into a mug.
Squeeze half a lemon into the mug
Sweeten to taste with maple syrup, agave or honey
I store the leftover ginger tea (without the lemon or sweetener) in the refrigerator and reheat in a saucepan when I want more tea.
When I am under the weather I actually crave pasta. But I know that what my body needs is fresh fruit that is packed with antioxidants and vitamin C. Here’s my go to smoothie:
1.5 cups of fresh squeezed orange juice
1 cup of mixed berries
A handful of spinach
Sometimes I add in a splash of almond milk.
Blend until completely smooth.
It’s tasty and nourishing!
I hope these home remedies help keep you healthy and ready for a wonderful Thanksgiving week!