Winter Cold Care
Feeling exhausted from the latest winter bug? *Raises Hand* Got the sniffles? Same. These last few weeks it seems like everyone in Atlanta is coming down with a bad case of something or another. As I type this, Elderberry Syrup is cooking away on the stove while me and my partner down as much Throat Ease tincture we can stand. We're employing every herbal medicine I have in my arsenal and well, it's working. Mother Nature provides the cure yet again! We could all use a little help keeping our immune systems strong, so I've compiled some of my tips and tricks for you.
Immunity starts with digestive health. Sounds a little weird, but 80% of your immune system spends most of its time hanging out in your gut. The health of your immune system relies on your digestive flora being in balance. But when it’s out of balance, so is your immune system. If you find yourself dealing with a constant stuffy nose, feeling sluggish, or experiencing chronic inflammation, it may be time to check in with your digestive system. Poor digestive health leads to food and seasonal allergies, chronic sinusitis, and colds and flus that just won't go away. Some of my gut-healing go-to's when I'm feeling an illness coming on are Ginger Kombucha, Turmeric Milk, Bone Broth, and fermented foods like Sauerkraut and Kimchi. To prevent digestive upset, work to eat mindfully and pay attention to what makes you feel icky. Keeping a food diary or trying the elimination diet can help you get to the bottom of what is upsetting your stomach and weakening your immune system.
Our immune system also depends on the proper functioning of our endocrine system. When our hormones get out of wack, so does everything else. And I mean everything. Be sure to get plenty of sleep this winter to help regulate your endocrine system. Especially if you're starting to feel run down! A good nights sleep may be all you need. This restorative sequence before bed does wonders to help you relax + restore. If you need an extra boost, look into adaptogenic herbs like Holy Basil, Astragalus, Eleuthero, Ashwaganda, and Rhodiola. Adaptogens help enhance our body's ability to cope with physical and emotional stress and are some of our most powerful herbal allies. Taking them regularly will strengthen your body's ability to cope with the stress that leads to a weakened immune system. I like to add a teaspoon of Ashwaganda to my cup of morning matcha or evening hot cacao and take Nightly Restore by Gaia Herbs when I'm away from home.
So we've covered some ways to prevent illnesses from getting to our immune systems, but what do we do when we wake up feeling like the Sahara desert just took up residence in our esophagus? We turn to our plant friends, that's what.
Knowing that sore throat season was upon us, in the fall I formulated a Throat Ease tincture made with some of my favorite respiratory helpers that soothe sore throats and clear congestion. After a few weeks of doing it's thing, this tincture was bottled and ready to heal.
Throat Ease Tincture
The star of this tincture is locally foraged Sumac, found right here in the heart of ATL. Not only does Sumac contain ample Vitamin C and Antioxidants – it also contains powerful Gallic Acids that make it a worthy opponent for bacteria, fungus, and even viruses. Studies have also shown Sumac's efficacy against certain strains of bacteria, including Staph, E. Coli, and even Streptococcus bacteria – impressive!
The Mullein leaf and Sage in this tincture work to clear congestion quickly and relieve coughs or other respiratory complaints. Our final ingredient, Slippery Elm Bark, soothes and coats the throat and reduces inflammation.
In my own experience, this tincture works to relieve throat pain, clear congestion, and help you feel better overall within 30 minutes. Throat Ease can be taken up to three times a day in a dose of 10-30 drops diluted in water. It's great straight up or as an oral gargle. It has been so helpful with my sore throat and cold this last week! Try this herbal ally for yourself and add it to your medicine cabinet by clicking here.
Some other tips + tricks:
Exercise! Staying active will help your immune system stay strong. Also add Vitamin D and a good B Complex to your morning routine. Both of these vitamins are absolutely essential to many of your body's natural processes and we really should be supplementing with them all year long. You can also try Elderberry Zinc lozenges to soothe a sore throat and Echinacea to boost your immunity as you knock out that cold. All of these methods will help you maintain a strong immune system this winter. But most importantly, make self-care your #1 priority. Do things that will help you de-stress: take a quick walk around the block, wind down with a hot epsom salt bath, or indulge in a full-length restorative yoga sesh. Just remember to take care of yourself!
Stay healthy my friends.