I can feel the change in the weather as we move into the harvest season. Fall weather brings cold and flu season. For those of us with autoimmune issues, this can be a trying time. We try our best to stay healthy but it’s a constant battle. We eat healthier, try and get plenty of rest, and take care of ourselves but life happens. We get tired. We get worn out and fatigued creating a prime opportunity for illness to set in. How many winters have you spent fighting the common cold, or the flu, or both?
I thought I’d share some of the holistic approaches for fighting illness that I’ve found helpful over the years. There are certain things that I consider necessary for the season’s medicinal arsenal. These are my “must-haves”.
1. Peppermint Oil- an absolute “must-have” for the coming season. Peppermint oil can be diffused to help clear up the sinuses. If you don’t have a diffuser, you can boil a pot of water, remove it from the stove and then add a couple of drops of peppermint oil to it. Keep the pot nearby breathing in the steam (not too close, it can burn so be careful).
I add a few drops of peppermint and eucalyptus oil to a carrier oil and use it as a chest rub to help clear the airways. You can also use a roller bottle for this one. Use 2-3 drops of each oil in a 10ml bottle (filled 3/4 of the way with the carrier oil first).
I also make myself some peppermint tea, especially before bed. This helps clear the sinuses and airways so that I can sleep more comfortably. Peppermint tea is also good for relieving an upset stomach. Loose-leaf or an organic tea brand is recommended.
I also use peppermint for headache relief. I use a 10ml roller bottle for application. I fill it about ¾ full with my carrier oil and then add about 3-5 drops of peppermint oil. How much peppermint oil you add is going to depend on skin sensitivity (you don’t want to burn your skin). I apply my oil to the back of the skull where it connects to the spine, to the temples, and across my forehead just above the brow.
2. Eucalyptus Oil- I’ve already shared the use of eucalyptus as a chest rub, but did you know it can also be used in relieving muscle aches? I create a muscle rub by combining eucalyptus and peppermint oil in a carrier oil ( I use coconut). I don’t use a specific recipe for this rub, I just add a few drops (of each oil) at a time until it feels right for me. I use a little more eucalyptus than I do peppermint. You will need to experiment with this one, everybody is different. Some people have more sensitive skin than others. (I also use this muscle rub to help alleviate muscle pain associated with fibromyalgia). Eucalyptus may also be diffused.
3. Echinacea leaf- There’s nothing like some echinacea tea to boost the immune system. If you can’t find loose-leaf, or you prefer ready-made tea bags, look for a quality organic brand. This tea is great even when you’re not sick, as it will aid in boosting the immune system and help prevent illness.
4. Slippery Elm- This makes a great tea for soothing the throat. I use this when I have a sore throat. It helps relieve the soreness so that I can get some much-needed sleep. ‘Traditional medicinals’ makes an organic throat coat with slippery elm in it. It works wonders if you’re looking for something in a tea bag rather than loose-leaf.
5. Keeping Lemon on hand is essential. Lemon is a good natural expectorant. Who doesn’t take comfort in a hot cup of tea with honey and lemon when they’re sick?
6. Don’t forget to take your supplements. I take vitamin supplements regularly, but it’s especially important during cold and flu season. I like to take extra vitamins C, D-3, and B-12 on occasion to make sure my defenses are up. You can check with your doctor as to which supplements you can take. Also, make sure you’re getting the rest you need for your body to sustain optimal health.
I hope you find some of this helpful. Remember to start small with the essential oils, especially if you’re new to them. Always test with a small amount first. Essential oils should always be diluted in a carrier oil before using on your skin. *Ingesting Eucalyptus Oil is not recommended.
I am not a physician and I don’t pretend to be. If you have any doubts or questions about whether you can use any of these home remedies you should check with your physician.
Stay healthy and well!
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