On our flight home from Ireland I could hear someone just a row or two ahead of us coughing incessantly. For eight hours. Initially I talked myself into believing she had just inhaled some pretzel crumbs, but my resolve wavered around hour three. I tried my best not to think about recirculated airplane air, and before we knew it we were home.
Two days later both kids were sick. (If not from the coughing person on the plane, from the veritable snow globe of germs that is airport travel in general. Honestly, we may as well have licked the handrails.) Sore throat, cough, headache, the works. As soon as they pulled out of it three days later, I was in.
Aside from our trip (which, I suppose, is stress of a different sort) I've been pushing myself like mad since May. It's a wonder I didn't catch something sooner. So I'm doing what I can to rest up and recuperate and be ready and back on my feet in time for the October retreat!
I thought today was the perfect day to share once more my method to bounce back, in hopes that it might help some of you in the coming weeks as well.
So grab some tea, snuggle under your favorite quilt and read on!
(An abundance of links follow. Most are to past blog posts and recipes, but a few are afflinks for products our family regularly loves and uses; makes; or both. Thank you for supporting what we do!)
Get well soon! (5 simple steps to kick that cold)
Lots and lots of rest.
That means falling asleep early and staying in bed as late as you can. It means taking it easy during the day. I literally slept for something like 16 hours yesterday. No exaggeration. And I woke feeling remarkably better!
A comfy chair, a quilt, and basket of knitting beside the fire helps. A lot.
2. Chicken Broth/Stock
I have been sipping cups of bone broth for days. It's my magic potion for getting well in a hurry.
My basic recipe is can be found on the blog here. (And no need to pressure can! You can keep it in the freezer if that's more your speed.) I also throw in helpful medicinal herbs and mushrooms like astragalus, chaga, shiitake, and gads of garlic.
Pro Tip: Always let your garlic rest after slicing/crushing for 5 to 10 minutes before heating! This waiting period allows the medicinals to activate. If you throw it in the pot immediately you're missing the benefits aside from taste.
Hardcore Crunchy Tip: For the afraid-of-nothing-super-crunch among you: if you can find chicken feet by all means add them. (For the non-super crunchy: I know. Gross.) But seriously. They make the most nourishing bone broth imaginable once you get over the ick-factor. I'm sorry/you're welcome.
3. Herbal tinctures & remedies
I think simple, homemade tinctures are the best medicines of all. Our family makes many different kinds each season and we rely on them throughout out the year to support our health. Currently I am taking elderberry tincture and an immunity blend we made at a recent retreat.
If you haven't made tinctures before you won't believe how simple it can be! My recipe and instructions for homemade elderberry tincture can be found on the blog here.
Also, in case you were curious, I do give alcohol-based tinctures to children. A single child-sized dose of tincture contains less alcohol than a ripe piece of fruit or serving of kombucha. Honestly, I just don't fret about it.
I'm also taking a homemade fire tonic a couple of times a day. My recipe is in the current issue of Taproot Magazine, #23: TRADE. If you aren't lucky enough to have a subscription, a little googling around will yield a plethora of recipes. My recipe is a bit more mild, which I find sets better with my Norwegian constitution.
4. Stay hydrated
Warm drinks are key. Herbal tea and hot toddies are my top picks to deliver good medicine while helping us stay hydrated.
My hot toddy recipe – with variations from the most simple to more complex – can be found right over here. This has been my saving grace this week. I'm doing lemon, ginger, and sage with shots of the tinctures I listed above. If you're choosing a purchased herbal tea blend, find one to match your symptoms. (There are teas for a plethora of conditions. We love the this brand best.)
5. Treat your symptoms
Body aches? Epsom salt baths (I use this kind but any sort should work. Just beware that some from the pharmacy are laced with fragrance oils!). I'm also wild about arnica massage oil worked into aching back and shoulders. Also try an old-school hot water bottle tucked up against an aching back or sore neck.
Earache? You can't beat garlic ear oil. I shared this recipe years ago (along with a few other holistic earache remedies), though these days I add a good sized pinch of dried mullein flowers to the formula along with the garlic.
Sore Throat? Those toddies work wonders; so does gargling hot salt water. My preferred remedy for sore throat is homemade Monarda tonic. Made with just wild bee balm, raw honey, and brandy it soothes sore throats in a hurry.
Fever? Try Belladona 12 c homeopathic remedy. This along with our homemade fever tea and the other wellness steps above are our best defense. To make the tea, combine equal arts dried elder flowers, catnip, and peppermint leaf.
We keep a jar of this blend on hand just for fevers.
Cough? I can't sing the praises of this remedy enough. If you don't have elecampane on hand I urge you to pick some up now and have this remedy ready for your next round of coughs. It works like magic. I also shared two herbal cough syrup recipes in the Herbal Apothecary booklet, one for day and one for night. Both are simple to make and work wonders on persistent coughs. (All proceeds from Herbal Apothecary sales are donated to worthwhile charities worldwide.)
What would you add to the list above? I'd love to hear what works for your family as well in the comments below.
And with that, I have a cozy spot next to the fire that's calling me.
Rest up, friends. And get well soon! (All of us.)
The majority of the post above was originally published in 2015.