There are several steps you can take in order to support your body's natural defense system in fighting viruses and bacteria. The best remedy is prevention; eat wholesome foods, avoid sugar and processed food and diffuse and apply essential oils throughout your home and on your body (preferable the feet and along the spine) during cold and flu season (list of oils for this purpose). If despite your best efforts (or if there has been no prevention efforts) and you or a family member comes down with a "bug" here are some natural ways you can aid your body in fighting off illness.
When you sleep, you are letting all the systems in your body slow down and not use up the much needed energy to fight off virus, infection and bacteria.
Stay away from sugar, meat and dairy while treating an illness. Sugar weakens the immune system, while dairy produces mucus, which you are actually trying to rid your body of in times of illness. Meat takes a lot of the body's energy to digest and by abstaining from it, in times of sickness, that energy can be used to fight off the illness.
While avoiding certain foods will help the immune system function at it's full capacity, partaking of nourishing foods will aid it in fighting the virus or bacteria that is invading. Whether you have an appetite or not, it is important to keep the body hydrated with warm liquids (see below). More than likely you will not feel like eating, remember, digesting foods takes up much needed energy and your body knows this so it won't put out the "I'm hungry" message, but you will have a desire for liquids. Make sure you are sipping on nourishing liquids such as herbal teas, bone broth, vitamin rich soups, etc. Make sure these herbal blends and soups are prepared ahead of time so you can conveniently grab and heat. These are also important to replace nutrients if you are loosing them through vomiting or diarrhea. Also use lots of spices in your foods such as pepper, cayenne (or any hot peppers), garlic, cinnamon, cloves,oregano, rosemary, thyme, etc. I love to include plenty ofraw honey to nourish and heal the body, just use this to sweeten your herbal tea. Raw honey is nutrient rich and filled with enzymes, antibodies and immune boosting properties.
Bulk Herb Store has some really great herbal teas blends that I love to incorporate during the fall and winter time (heck, I love them for the good months also in our herbal popsicles). If you follow the Word of Wisdom, as I do, and abstain from black and green teas you may want to make sure you read the ingredient list before purchasing a blend. The ones I use and love are; Creamy Pumpkin Pie, Double E-Immune Booster, Herban C, and Lemon Drop. Red Raspberry leaf tea should be consumed several times a day when sick, this particular herb has 20 different vitamins and minerals, which nourish the body and also has blood purifying properties to aid in healing the body. It also relieves nausea, constipation, diarrhea, vomiting, sore throat, and symptoms related to colds and flu. It is the perfect "food" for illness.
Have a hotherbal bath with healing herbs such as yarrow, red raspberry leaf, sage, ginger, andthyme (I always like to mix several herbs together depending on what I want to heal, you can find a growing list of herbs and their properties, here). Keeping your body warm is a must for aiding the healing process of your body, dress warm, keep bundled up and try to stick to warm liquids.
If the first four suggestions are followed, your body is already well on its way to feeling better, but there are specific herbs you can use to support the systems in your body being affected by the virus or bacteria. I have my favorite go to's for any type of illness that pops up, like garlic, Heal All glycerite, and Elderberry syrup, these work to boost the immune system and support those that are suffering. For specific symptoms and conditions you can check out my home remedies page, my herb series, my in progress ailment page and my herb page with book suggestions.
Essential oils are another great way to aid your body in it's natural healing abilities and when combined together to form a blend can be even more powerful. Like herbs there are different properties that can strengthen and support the body systems being affected. My first and favorite and sometimes only thing I reach for is an immune support blend (clove, cinnamon, rosemary, lemon, eucalyptus). This blends supports and strengthens the immune system to both prevent and aid the body in eliminating invaders. I apply this along the spine and bottoms of the feet. Other systems to support; digestive system - nausea, vomiting, cramps, constipation, diarrhea, etc. (tarragon, juniper, anise, ginger, fennel, patchouli, peppermint, lemongrass), respiratory & sinus systems - check out my respiratory support page and sinus infection page. Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) is a great infection fighter.
What I don't grow and preserve in my garden I purchase from both Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store. Both high quality, organic herbs and companies I trust to care for their herbs as much I care for my own.
Hi, I’m Annie, a Mother of Influence and Master Herbalist. Welcome to my place where I share what I have learned of natural and frugal living, healthy eating and living, gardening, homeschooling,herbal crafting, preparing temporally and spiritually, and love for God and Country.