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Monday, November 27, 2006

For What Ails You

Being sick is bad enough, but when you have little ones relying on you, you need to get healthy quick! If you're pregnant or nursing, you're unable to take most over-the-counter medications as it is. And if you're like me, you'd normally rather not deal with those over-the-counter side effects either. I got a crash course in treating illness the natural way through my recent bout with the flu. In an attempt to get better as quickly as possible, I put many of my old tricks into practice and learned some new ones as well.

First things first: If you feel the slightest onset of a cold or flu, kickstart your health. Lemons are a great source of Vitamin C, and when your body is fighting off illness, Vitamin C is used up more quickly. Try half a lemon in a full 16-oz. glass of water about four times a day. (You should be drinking lots of water anyway.) If taken at the very beginning of a cold, or even if you think you've just been exposed, you can often nip that virus in the bud before it even gets a chance to set in.

If you can't knock a fever, try this little trick I learned recently: Garlic. Garlic is often referred to as Russian pennicillin. Raw is always best, and I know you can get it in tablets, but garlic in its whole form is always the most loaded with the healing properties you need. If you can get a hold of organic garlic, all the better. I know, I know. It's stinky stuff. But you're sick and probably won't be going anywhere anyway. If you don't want to offend your family, have them eat a little too. Not only will they no longer be offended by your smell, they'll be building up their own immunities as well. I've heard some concerns about the flavor of the garlic getting into breast milk. I have no evidence whether this is true or not. It certainly can't harm your baby, or there'd be a lot of unhappy Italian bambinos out there. My family eats a lot of garlic, and so far not a single complaint from my little guy!

Got a sore throat? The lemon and the garlic will help, but if you still need more of a kick, don't forget the time-old remedy of simple tea with honey. Or just a teaspoon of honey can soothe the throat too. If you have green tea around, try that. It's loaded with so many health benefits they're too many to number here.

If you're feeling stuffy, try a good snort of salt water. Some sea salt mixed with water, as strong as you can handle, will really help clear out the sinuses. If you're prone to sinus infections, this can really aid in keeping a cold from turning into an infection later. Gargling warm saltwater is also a great way to help a sore throat.

Don't forget to eat the hot stuff! It may initially make your nose run even more, but nothing can clear the sinuses like some jalapenos or hot mustard. Capsaicin, the stuff that makes hot peppers hot, also has the power to release endorphines - something we could all use more of when we're under the weather!

For sinus infections, nothing is better than yogurt. The live cultures in yogurt are a natural antibiotic and will fight off that nasty infection. For a tasty way to take it, mix 1 cup of the yogurt with a cup of blueberries and 1/2 cup milk. Mix it in the blender for a healthy smoothie. (The blueberries are loaded with countless beneficial properties as well. They're great for diarrhea, constipation, and urinary tract infections, not to mention their power to sharpen your thinking and memory!)

There is so much good information out there to fight off the cold and flu season without the use of conventional medications. It does take some digging through, but the possibilities are endless. So if you're pregnant, nursing, or just plain unable to keep up with kids while doped up on cold capsules, try a little something natural for what ails you. You'll be pleasantly relieved!

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