As we’ve all learned by now, when it comes to colds and flu, the first line of defense is common sense. It involves not only good hygiene in public especially, but also keeping yourself humming along in a nicely balanced and relatively happy state.
But even with our best efforts, the best and most healthy of us sometimes succumb to the occasional cold, even if it’s only once every 3 or 4 years.
That was me over this last holiday season. I’m so not used to it and don’t have a lot of patience for it.
Here’s how I knocked it out in 4 days flat. (Of course, you don’t need to do all of these, just use whichever ones appeal to you.)
Note: I am only skimming the surface of most of these fields of healing. This is out of necessity else I’d have to write a book. If you look down the list I’m sure there will be some things you can apply right now depending on your level of knowledge, and I do offer a few links for more information.
1) Take homeopathic aconitum napellus
This is always my #1. This is the first action to take once you get the itty-bittiest hint that a cold might be coming on. I am convinced that this is the reason I only get a cold once every 3 or 4 years. This stuff is like magic. You feel the beginning of a symptom, you take an aconitum, no more symptoms. Voilà.
2) Use other homeopathy as indicated
It’s rare, but every now and then the cold gets a good enough hold of you that the aconitum doesn’t do it. At that point you may use a few other homeopathic remedies depending on your symptoms.
For me, I had some post-nasal drip so used kali bich and hydrastis candensis. I also began taking the Schuessler cell salts regularly.
All in all, over the whole 4-day period, as symptoms shifted slightly, I’d also used pulsatilla, influenzinum, occillococcinum, rhus tox, nux vomica, and bryonia alba. (Note: Some of my symptoms were more flu-like than cold, so I was hedging my bets. Since I don’t do flu shots, it could have been either or a combination.)
3) Get adequate vitamins and minerals
Vitamin C and zinc are good to be taking all the time, either in your diet or as supplements. I make doubly sure I am getting these if/when a cold is coming on.
4) Drink water
Drink lots of water! This can’t be overemphasized. On about my 3rd day I forgot about this and could feel the cold getting worse again. As soon as I picked back up on the water intake, the cold began to recede. Amazing stuff.
5) Keep your throat relatively germ-free
This is important early in the process but also good during, since you can actually reinfect yourself even as you recuperate. But the idea is that your nose and throat are often where the virus enters your body and if you can keep these areas clean you are likely wiping out a good number of those troublesome little partiers.
3 effective ways to do this are:
- Use a tongue scraper — very satisfying (these are good to use all the time, not just when you feel a cold coming on)
- Gargle periodically with water that has a drop of tea tree essential oil in it
- Take a zinc lozenge such as a Cold-eeze™.
If you’ve got head congestion (and who doesn’t when a cold is starting?), there are several things you can do to minimize it.
- One effective way is to put a drop of tea tree essential oil in a pan of water on the stove and gently breathe in the steam (not too close!)
- Use 1/2 a drop of ravensara essential oil behind each ear
- And one of the very best decongestant herbs is mullein. It grows wild around here and I collect/dry it to use, but you can get it at a health-food store. Just make a tea from it and drink it periodically throughout the day. You’ll notice a difference.
7) Drink ginger tea or spicy chai
This is based on the principals of Ayurveda, but a cold in the body is usually a kapha condition, and consuming food or drinks that help increase pitta is helpful. (If you want a reference book about Ayurvedic remedies, Dr. Vasant Lad’s The Complete Book of Ayurvedic Remedies is a good one.)
I like to do this by making some ginger tea; it’s fast and easy. All you do is grate some ginger root into a pan (I use the equivalent of about 1/2 a large carrot) and add 2 qt. of water. Simmer this for about 20 minutes. After it’s almost cool, add a touch of your (wholesome) sweetener of choice and strain it into a pitcher. Drink warm cups of this with soymilk added throughout the day.
The other drink I like is homemade chai. You can find my delicious recipe at the end of this article.
8 ) Stay warm
A cold is called a cold for a reason. It’s important to stay nice and cozy warm while you recover.
Sometimes I will use a heating pad (I know, this isn’t “natural” but it’s easy and I recommend it) but the very best thing is to take a nice hot bath with some epsom salts (they help pull toxins from your body) or a jacuzzi if you have one. Ahhh! This is especially helpful before going to bed.
9) Get a lot of sleep
When I have a cold, my sleep is disturbed. Even when I sleep, it’s lighter than usual and I wake up feeling like I was awake all night. Very odd.
Besides following general guidelines for getting a good night’s sleep, flower essences can help. I like the combination that is the equivalent of the Bach Sleepytime formula: White Chestnut, Rock Rose, Clematis, Impatiens, Cherry Plum, and Star of Bethlehem. I have a spray bottle of it and I also have drops which I put in my water glass near the bathroom sink, to sip if I get up during the night for any reason.
If I’m really not sleeping well at all I will sometimes resort to taking an antihistamine. Your body will not get deep natural sleep that way but in my experience it’s better than nothing so I do keep those on hand. Nothing’s better for healing than a good night’s sleep.
10) Avoid sugar
I had some type of sugar (a cookie or something, I don’t remember) and could immediately feel it in my body. It was as if I got set back to when I was feeling my worst. I suggest avoiding big doses of processed sugar if you can.
Subtle But Effective Remedies
I began by saying I would tell you how I managed to knock my cold out, but to be more precise, that’s not exactly what I was doing.
11) Get the message: You’re out of balance
First, don’t be mad at or feel you have to attack the cold. A better way to think of it is that the cold is a sign that you’re somehow out of balance or you wouldn’t have gotten it. It’s a messenger of sorts. And so, we get the message and take the actions that counteract our particular imbalance.
12) Think about what might have brought it on
I don’t mean that lady who sneezed on you at the grocery store. I’m talking about your life situation, especially some type of disturbance.
For example, this time I had just gotten a box of old diaries out of the closet. There was other old stuff in there that I started going through; old letters, some photos, cards I’d saved, etc. That is exactly when I first felt the cold symptoms. And they weren’t as obvious as sneezing or a sore throat (although they might be for you); it was just something “not right” with my body. But bingo, that was it. So make a note of that as it will be helpful as you move forward.
13) Do affirmations
Louise Hay wrote a book ages ago that I have gotten some great insights and benefit from. It’s called You Can Heal Your Life and toward the back she lists affirmations for each illness. It’s based on what she learned about the source of disease.
I looked up “Colds” and the probable cause she lists for that didn’t resonate with me (Too much going on at once. Mental confusion, disorder. Small hurts. “I get three colds every winter,” type of belief.) I looked up “Post-nasal drip” (yes, this gal gets specific) and that one did (Inner crying. Childish tears. Victim.) The moment I read it I felt an immediate clutching in my heart area and felt like crying.
So I wrote the affirmation for that one on a piece of paper and repeated it often. Over the next day or so, and as I considered when my symptoms started, I realized that the probable cause for colds was a definite match too.
Here are the two affirmations I did, from her book:
Colds: “I allow my mind to relax and be at peace. Clarity and harmony are within me and around me.”
Post-nasal drip: “I acknowledge and accept that I am the creative power in my world. I now choose to enjoy life.”
As I look at these now, I see they might seem trivial, but if you’re familiar with the power of affirmations, you know they can pack quite a punch by addressing unconscious hang-ups.
14) Write or talk with someone
As you become more aware what emotional state is causing or related to your cold, it’s very good therapy to process that to some degree. I find writing in my journal is extremely enlightening and cathartic. Seeing the issue in black and white helps get your head around it, and solutions flow onto the page as well. I highly recommend it.
15) Use flower essences
I’m especially fond of the Bach Flower Essences. Although there are others I’ve played around with, the Bach set seems complete and sufficient for everything you might run into.
It’s helpful to use whichever essence will support you in healing whatever related emotional issue you’ve uncovered above. If you’re not familiar with these — or even if you are, I think Mechthild Scheffer’s book Bach Flower Therapy is one of the best available and pretty much the only one you need.
Two that I remember using were Crabapple and Rabbitbrush (this one is not Bach but I made it myself years ago and it’s for overwhelm, which matches Louise’s possible cause for colds, above.)
16) Practice Tolle’s method of being present in your body
In Eckhart Tolle’s book The Power of Now, page 103, he gives a process for enlightening your cells with presence.
Essentially, you “flood” your body with consciousness. Close your eyes and choose a part of your body to focus your attention on briefly at first: hands, feet, arms, chest, etc. Feel the energy or life force inside those parts as intensely as you can. Stay with each part for 15 seconds or so. Then let your attention run through your body like a wave a few times, from feet to head and back again. Do that for a minute or two. Then feel the inner body in its totality, as a single field of energy. Be intensely present in every cell of your body. Do this for a few minutes.
This is a preventive tonic for the immune system and can also work as “medicine” for any current disease. It’s powerful. You can actually feel the difference immediately.
If you have access to or are trained in these next/final modalities, I highly recommend you practice them since they may be the most powerful of all.
I am a Reiki practitioner so I gave myself some Reiki treatments. Full-body is best and in the beginning I also focused on the swollen glands in my neck area. There are also some good books about which areas to focus on for certain ailments.
So here’s a reminder if you know how to do this. And if you don’t, you may consider getting a treatment. These can be done long-distance, even while you’re cozy in your bed.
18) Matrix Energetics
I am trained in Matrix Energetics and so I used this to help shift the imbalance into a more “useful” condition. There’s nothing magic here, even though it’s so surprisingly powerful that it seems like it sometimes, and I will be sharing over time some techniques you can use yourself.
I will also be offering Matrix Energetics related services pretty soon. Stay tuned.
19) Connect with healing guides
I actually have a few particular guides who show up regularly when healing is called for. I always feel a shift as they work with me, sometimes with the condition clearing up completely.
If you know how to connect with your guides, invite them to help you or ask them if they can usher in some other guides who specialize in healing.
If not, then you may want to get a session with someone who can call this help in for you. (The Matrix Energetics related services I just mentioned above will include connecting with guides as well.)
My husband trained in and practiced something called Actualism lightwork for several decades and he led us through a session related to the Divine Mother energy. Powerful and soothing.
If you have any experience at all with using energy, light or consciousness to heal, now’s a good time to practice it! If you don’t, but would like to, stay tuned to this space since being able to effectively develop those skills is a large part of what I am here to share with you.
My Chai Recipe
These measurements are approximate. You want it to be fairly concentrated.
- Ginger root (about 1/2 of a large carrot’s worth, grated)
- Star anise (whole, about 2 T)
- Cinnamon (1-2 sticks, or 1-2 t powdered)
- Fennel seed (about 2 t, ground in a pestle)
- Cardamom seed (about 1 t, ground in a pestle)
- Black pepper (about 15 twists from a grinder)
- Clove (about 1 heaping t whole or 1/8 – 1/4 t ground)
- Nutmeg (about 1/8 t, grated)
Put all ingredients in a pan with about 2 qts. of water. Simmer, covered for about 25 min. After it cools some, strain into a pitcher. Sweeten just a touch with agave nectar or your sweetener of choice. Serve hot (Ayurveda would technically say warm) with soy milk (I use vanilla soymilk). Yum, and so good for you!
Here’s to a happy and healthy winter! (Or summer, as it may be. ;-))
I know there are lots more natural/vibrational remedies; these are just the ones that popped into my mind over those 4 days. Do you have any favorites you’d like to share?
Disclaimer: These suggestions are not meant to take the place of medical treatment.
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