Fall and Winter Wellness

Tis the season for pathogens to fly about and lodge into our ears, noses, throats, and lungs.  However, illness is not inevitable and if illness strikes we have tools to put up an efficient fight.

A strong body, especially if it is supported by good rest, nutrition, and maybe a little extra herbal care (this time of year) will not succumb to a mild or moderate pathogen.  However, a strong pathogen or a weaker body, or an ignored body because we are too busy to rest, eat, or notice that tickle in our throat before we are struck down for days, weeks, even months does happen.  It can happen to you; it happened to me.

Following are some tips and tools to protect you from the nasty bugs and keep you healthy and strong.
Some of this is the information we all know, but don’t always apply:

  • Get enough sleep and down time. If you have a problem with insomnia, review the information shared in my last blog article:  http://www.newmoonacupuncture.com/insomnia-aids/
  • Eat well.  This is soup, stew, and roasted vegetables season, use garlic and onions with reckless abandon make your crock pot your friend.  Remember refined sugar weakens your immune system and it takes 24 hours for it to rebound.
  • Drink plenty of clean water; half your weight in ounces.
  • Supplementing with vitamin D3 can be important.  I have chewable orange-flavored fish oil that also has vitamin D in it that some of my kids eat like candy.
  • Stay warm and protect your head, neck and waist from cold air.  Wear scarves, turtlenecks, and coats and shirts that keep your middle covered and warm.  Rice-filled socks can be heated in the microwave and thrown around your shoulders before going out into the cold, or throw them on your belly or by your feet when you go to sleep.
  • Preventative herbal care:  Elderberry syrup can help keep your immune system strong. Immuplex is a great whole food multivitamin with extra immune boosting properties. There are some great East Asian Herbal formulas that a licensed practitioner can prescribe.
  • Moxibustion on Stomach 36 is an ancient preventative therapy to keep your immune system strong and pathogens at bay.  This blog article and the link details using moxa on Stomach 36 and we are happy to sell sticks of moxa to anyone:  http://www.newmoonacupuncture.com/conditions/immune-support.

If you feel a tickle in your throat, heaviness in your chest or sinuses, or are just tired and achy, take action (and inaction).

  • If you start feeling run down, clear your schedule and rest.  Your body needs energy to fight pathogens.
  • Eat well and cut out pathogenic white foods:  Dairy, white potatoes, and refined grains and sugars.  Increase healing white foods:  Onion, garlic, radish, turnips, pears and apples.
  • Keep drinking plenty of water and warm fluids (not coffee or black tea).  Drink water every time you cough to keep your lungs well-hydrated.  If your throat is raw, add some olive oil to the water.
  • Herbs:  Increase dosing of Elderberry syrup to 3 times a day.  The Chinese formula Yin Qiao or Gan Mao Ling are great to stop a pathogen at the first sign.  I keep these in stock during cold and flu season.  If the pathogen settles, there are other great formulas that can support a quick recovery.  Cupping, gua sha, and acupuncture are always helpful.
  • A few drops of hydrogen peroxide in each ear:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&v=M0t1K_-YA30&NR=1.
  • Easy to make cough remedies:  4 T. honey, 4 T. lemon juice (or apple cider vinegar) and if desired 1 tsp whiskey or rum.  Warm it on the stove so everything mixes well and take a tablespoon 3 to 6 times a day.  (To make this stronger add 4 T. raw onion juice.)  Another homemade remedy is:  1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp ginger, 1/4 tsp cloves, 2 T. honey (or to taste), 2 T. water, and 1 T. apple cider vinegar.  Take 3 teaspoons when needed.
  • Inhaling the scent of peppermint essential oil (from the bottle, on a cloth or diffuser) can help reduce spasmodic coughing and asthma attacks.
  • Wet sock treatment:  Our in-house naturopathic physician, Dr. Laura Flanagan, recommended this to me and I believe it helped me turn the corner from succumbing to illness to entering recovery.  This website has good directions: http://www.vsnaturopathy.com/Wet-socks.html.

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