So why is it that we think winter weather means getting sick? That whole idea that cold causes illness is just an old wives tale but yet we do seem to get more illnesses in the cold weather months. Why is that? Well, I guess it could be due to the fact we are less active in winter. We don’t get as much fresh air and sunlight, our diets are usually lacking in fresh fruits and veggies and packed with more cooked foods and baked items. More baking could mean more white flour and white sugar which is like sending your immune system a note to take some time off the job. In light of that, there are many natural ways we could avoid getting sick in the first place but what if you do anyway? What natural cures should you have on hand? Forget the drugstore you need a DIY natural remedies kit. Here are some things you may want to have on hand:
Garlic – My local organic delivery service has the best garlic ever so I have been adding it to almost everything we eat… 1-2 bulbs a week is what we have been going through. It has an anti-bacterial, anti-fungal compound called Allicin and is, like many things, best when eaten raw and unprocessed. You can simply chop or crush some up and swallow with a spoonful of honey, Mary Poppins style.
Elderberry – This amazing herb is an anti-viral and it helps to fight viruses by warming your body temperature. It also has strong antioxidant properties that boost the immune system. Elderberry syrup actually tastes good too! You can make your own easy enough and you can buy it, Sambucol is quite popular. A daily dose goes a long way to towards keeping everyone healthy or at least able to fight off illness fast when it does arrive. Here is a video describing how to make it.
Ginger – Another big favorite of ours because we LOVE Asian foods here, especially soup. My kids love my hot and sour soup with tons of ginger. Not only it is yummy for a winter evening the ginger warms you up so fast you think you might be having a hot flash. That is of course why it works so well. It raises your body temperature and fights off viruses and prevents them from replicating. It is also anti-inflammatory and it supports our immune system. We like to buy fresh ginger, peel it and cut in large chunks, and then freeze it. Then we just take some from the freezer and grate it over our food.
Echinacea – This amazing plant is recognized by our body as a bacteria which when ingested mobilizes our immune system to increase the production of T-cells. This is precisely why so many natural health experts advise us to take it after we have been exposed to an illness. If so and so coughs all over you at the office party then taking echinacea for a few days afterward mobilizes your defensive system and can help you ward off the illness or fight it faster than you otherwise would.
Licorice – This amazing root is an antiviral with antioxidant and fungicidal compounds. It is also anti-inflammatory so it soothes as well. It can help with respiratory issues such as such as coughing, asthma, sore throats, and bronchitis when taken as a tea. The sweet flavor is usually a hit with kids too. Drink 3 cups daily if you are fighting a respiratory illness.
For many herbal remedies check out this amazing board game called Wildcraft designed to teach the whole family about medicinal herbs and help you build up your own home apothecary. Also an ebook by a talented blogger called Herbal Nurturing. We love both!
Related: The Magic of Herbal Remedies