Sniffles & Coughs

School is back in session and so are the sniffles.  Already this week we have been bombarded with extremely sore throats, dripping noses, and some bad coughs.  So I thought I’d throw out there some home remedies to remember when you are feeling low and when your brain can’t even think, to pull into action to get your body feeling better.

Keep your Body in Balance
First and foremost, make sure your spine is adjusted!!  When the nervous system is out of balance, most every function in the body has to ‘work harder.’  If you or your child have really tight upper shoulders for example, the lung nerves come out of that region and could be ‘weak.’  If your neck is tight, the lymphatic and nervous system flow will not be adequate; ears and sinuses will plug.  If your low back is aching, your food elimination through the bowel can be slower, dampening the strength of the immune system in the gut. Adjustments help your body stay in better balance!

Good Nutrition
A couple of foundation nutritional ideas we recommend to a lot of patients is more vitamin C.  There is some newer literature out that states if you try taking different types of vitamin C; chewable, liposomal liquid, capsule, whole fresh/frozen berries, that your body has various routes to absorb it best.  We have many varieties on hand to help you out there.

The second foundation we lay is within the gut.  Your gut is where your immune system originates, so that is why we always suggest probiotics. The best long-term plan for taking probiotics is to take different strains every couple months to get a rounded variety going.  We also highly recommend fermented foods; sauerkraut, pickles, kim chi, kombucha, yogurt, and anything else you can get your hands on.  With that, cutting out sugars and processed foods helps tremendously in allowing the gut to work in an efficient manner and allow time to focus on building a strong immune system.

And also as a Minnesotan and student, it seems once school hits the kids are indoors more and we lack that glorious sunshine that brings us the natural vitamin D.  Encourage your family to get outside while the sun is still up if you can. Get in those last few games of kickball or tag before the clock jumps back.  And usually we see by October the need to get a supplemental form of vitamin D going; and we have many forms available for the young and the older crowd. If you are wondering what your blood levels are going into the winter, ask us in the office how you can check yours and know what level of supplementation you may need.

But now if you are sick…
We need to ramp up the defense system!  If you feel the first signs of a tickle in your throat or a runny nose, the herb Andrographis can help save the day. If used at first onset of symptoms, often you can beat the illness.  If the herb is combined with some extra fluids like room temperature water and warm teas, and lots of rest, the body can work through the bug and fight it.  And if that doesn’t work, there are natural herbs to help with the miserable symptoms of a cold such as below.

  1. Sore throat: Zinc lozenges, elderberry or “Thieves” lozenges, Throat Coat tea by Traditional Medicinals, throat spray by Standard Process, warm pack wrapped around your neck, various topical essential oils
  2. Excess mucus in the nose and/or throat: We run with NAC-600 all the way!! This has been a life-saver in drying up mucus and stubborn sniffles.
  3. Coughs: Honey is our first go-to (for those over 1 year old), Natranix (elderberry syrup and herbs), ImuMax (echinacea), V-Clear (homeopathic remedy), NAC-600. Using an essential oil rub (we don’t recommend Vicks) such as Breath Clear has worked great to loosen a chest up.  Warm packs on the front and back of your chest or a bathroom sink/towel tent for some humid essential oil air can also be very beneficial. An essential oil diffuser is quite useful in this situation.
  4. Chills: Get warmed up! Either submerge in a really hot-as-you-can-handle bath with some essential oils and 1-2 cups of Epsom salt.  BUT, if you don’t like a bath and a shower will do, plug the drain, add 1 cup of Epsom salt, super hot shower and let your feet soak in the Epsom salt water.  And if a shower still won’t work, you can apply a ‘kidney wrap.’ This is where you take a dark cotton cloth, and snuggly wrap your lower rib cage all the way around; to be worn day and/or night to keep your kidneys warm, therefore your whole body! Wearing socks to bed can also help.

I hope those few tips will help combat the bugs already circulating out there, or help you if they got you down.  Fall is a major time of transition not only in seasons and for our body’s to adjust, but also in lifestyles of many people.  Don’t forget to eat well, get your sleep, get some exercise, and take care of yourself first!
Hope to see you soon!
-Dr. Christine