Fighting Fall Germs, Colds, and Flu: A Game-Plan.

November 24, 2018

 

Fall brings many wonderful things: cooler weather, gorgeous fall foliage, festive holidays, friends and family gatherings, and seasonal treats and treasures. However this time of year can also mean more stress, more germs, and more feeling under the weather.

 

Despite where stress comes from you need to take care of yourself in addition to others. That includes getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking enough water, exercising, and incorporating natural wellness products as needed. 

 

Most adults need a good seven to eight hours of sleep per night, teens and kids need even more. While some people think they can tough it out and get by on little sleep there is a reason why all animals sleep.

 

This downtime is good for the body, and in my experience sometimes when we're feeling tired and decide to listen to our body and get extra sleep we can ward off a cold or shorten it's duration. And it you think about it, it makes sense. If we are fighting off an infection our body could use the rest time to turn its resources to the immune system and fighting off the germs. Sleep allows the body to rest and focus its resources on fighting germs.

 

We grow, repair, support immune health, recover from workouts, build our brains, and undergo a plethora of other beneficial things during this time. Don't view sleep as a luxury, it's a necessity and way more important than the next episode of whatever you're watching. I know how easy it is to skip on sleep to work more, relax more, and what not, but regular adequate sleep does a body good. Period.

 

Good nutrition can mean many different things to people -- such as paleo, low carb, keto diets etc. But in general if you are eating real whole foods, avoids highly processed foods and avoiding too much sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and empty foods you're most likely in a good place. So find a nutrition strategy that feature real food that you can stick to.

 

Exercise is so beneficial for good health. For the most benefit it should include aerobic exercise, strength and core exercises, and flexibility. Granted it may not be easy to include exercise with all the demands of everyday life but in the scope of things it really only takes 30 to 60 minutes four or more times a week. Sometimes you can even do it while you're enjoying your favorite show.

 

Aerobic exercise can include anything that gets the heart pumping. It can be a brisk walk, running, kickboxing, rowing, biking, dancing, team sports, swimming, or what not. Strength and core training could mean pilates, yoga, weightlifting, or basic exercises like push ups and crunches. And yoga or post exercise stretching can improve flexibility (and balance). The best exercise is of course the one you will actually do. Exercise is worth the investment of time. 

 

In addition to good nutrition, sleeping well, and exercise essential oils and herbs can help support the immune system and act as antimicrobial agents within the body. In my experience essential oils and herbs can help fight germs and boost the immune system to either thwart a cold or help one feel better faster.

 

There are a variety of essential oils that can support the immune system and fight germs and I can't list them all but I will offer three of my favorites. If you'd like to discuss more please feel free to comment or contact me.

 

Essential Oils to Fight Germs:

1. Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora): This is one of my favorite essential oils to support the lungs and fight germs. It is gentle and non-toxic, however since it is rich in 1,8 cineole care must be taken when using around kids under ten. I like using a drop or two in a diffuser blend or adding to a cream for a chest rub. 

 

2. Cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): When you start to look into the history of spices it makes sense the aromatics of cinnamon, clove, ginger, rosemary, and what not surface in the fall and winter. Herbs and spices are fantastic germ fighters. I could choose from many but the fact that my husband who is a scientist who works in food testing told me that cinnamon has been particularly difficult to find a way to test for microbes made me want to include it. Why? Because it seems to thwart microbes so well that the food testing industry is having a hard time trying to find any microbial contamination that may be present during its processing. 

 

Cinnamon smells wonderful and it is a powerful anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral essential oil. So should you slather yourself with it during cold and flu season? Well um no. It can irritate the skin and cause blistering and burning. If you've ever tasted cinnamon you know it can be kind of hot. If used in a topical blend it's recommended at 1 drop per 40 oz of carrier. In a diffuser use only a drop or two.

 

But if you are looking to clear the air of germs adding a drop of two of cinnamon bark alongside other oils will certainly help and smell wonderful. Try two drops of cinnamon bark, 7 drops orange, and two drops ravintsara or rosemary for a gorgeous diffuser blend. 

 

3. Lavender (Lavendula angustafolia): WHAT!? Yes good old lavender is a gentle germ fighter. But why I love it is because it helps people sleep and is a tonic to the body. And I'm an advocate for fighting germs from the inside out using a good immune system. If you sleep well and reduce feelings of stress your natural fighting system (the immune system) can do its job and help you to stay well. 

 

My Favorite Herbal Syrup for Fighting Germs:

In addition to taking care of the body and using essential oils to fight germs, I like to employ the power of herbs to support immune health and fight germs. There are many pages dedicated to using herbs to  fight colds and flu but I offer one of my favorite simple ways to boost immune health: elderberry syrup.

 

If you don't have the time to make your own elderberry syrup it is available at many grocery stores or online. However it is pretty easy to make and quite effective.

 

Since I don't typically have access to fresh elderberries I begin with a cup of dried and add two cups of water and add to a pot. I cook over a low simmer until reduced by half.  I strain and add an equal amount to 3/4 cup of honey. For acute conditions I suggest 1/2 to 1 tsp every two hours for seven to ten days to fight the condition or one or two tablespoons per day for chronic conditions. It is a simple and delicious way to support immune health.

 

Are you struggling with colds, germs, or flu? Please contact me or give me a text or call and let me know how I can help. 

 

Aromatic blessings,

Tricia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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