I am SO excited to shine a spotlight this year on the world of wellness. With that, Yancy of Five Seed has generously agreed to share some of her wisdom when it comes to ways we can take better care of ourselves – without all the toxic chemicals! Not only do her products do wonders, they emphasize the use of organic, fair-trade, herbal ingredients, AND are contained in over 95% reusable or recyclable packaging. I’ve been somewhat obsessed with her products, devoting a whole post to them at one point, and love reading her amazing blog that is all about increasing our sense of well being. So, with no further ado, please enjoy her recommendations during this season of sniffles and sneezes…
Three Ways to Kick a Cold
For many of us, there is no avoiding the annoyance of colds during the winter. You can wash your hands a dozen times every hour, sanitize everything you touch, and commit to avoiding sick people and still, somehow, a cold can sneak in. And it’s amazing how something so harmless (as far as illnesses goes) can be so overwhelmingly miserable.
There are, however, three powerful tools to beat colds to the ground. In the past, I used to suffer through my colds, with little help outside soups, cold medications and painkillers, but those colds always lasted at least 7 days and were immensely painful. The three tools I use now have kept me from being sick for more than 3 or 4 days at a time and work miracles on the painful symptoms.
#1 Neti pot
People swear by these for a reason, folks. Nasal irrigation can help ease sinus irritation and it clears out the excess mucus caused by colds. The simple act of washing the nasal passages with a warm saline solution is incredibly soothing, as well. I remember years ago, when I first started using a neti pot, I hated it – it was a very uncomfortable feeling. If you are a new to neti pots, don’t give up if it feels weird! I promise, it will become easier and easier and you will see the benefits.
#2 Eucalyptus oil
This is such a simple tool, yet you will not believe how much good it can do. Whenever I get a cold, I immediately treat myself to some eucalyptus steaming. There are two options for this. If you have the space, time and capability, simply fill a large bowl with very hot water (steaming) and several drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Lean your head over the bowl, drape a towel over your head (to trap the steam) and breathe in the vapors.
If you need a quicker fix, fill a mug halfway with super hot water and add the eucalyptus oil. Lean over this and breathe in the vapors. (You can do this while sitting in bed, which makes it a great alternative to the previous option if you are really, really sick.) If you want to prolong the experience, use a towel draped over your head, as in the first example, or cup your hands around the mug and your nose/mouth. Just make sure you dump out the mug when you are done to make sure no one (including yourself) accidentally drinks it!
As simple as it sounds, inhaling eucalyptus oil vapors can profoundly speed up your healing process. Eucalyptus oil is a real miracle worker, with antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It is incredibly healing to the respiratory system.
(psst…check out her Gingerwort Menthol Rub, infused with eucalyptus)
#3 Demulcent teas
For a long time, when I was sick, my go-to tea was Echinacea and ginger. It didn’t matter how I felt or what I had – that’s the tea I drank. As I’ve learned more about herbalism, I’ve started listening to my body and choosing teas based on what I need.
When I have colds, I tend to get very dry in the chest and throat. This is where demulcent teas come in. Demulcent teas are made from herbs that have mucilaginous properties. Licorice root is probably the most famous of the demulcent teas – if you look closely, you’ll find it in most commercial brands of herbal teas. My own personal favorite is marshmallow root – that’s some juicy stuff! (It’s so gelatinous that it is what marshmallows were originally made from and this plant is the namesake of that popular confection.) I have also been experimenting with mullein, lately, with great success.
You can find some of these herbal teas through commercial venues. I’d also recommend looking online, as well, from reputable sellers at places like Poppy Swap, or via herbal shops like Mountain Rose Herbs. If you choose to make your own, which I highly recommend, be sure to decoct the tea if you are using roots and infuse it if you are using leaves and flowers. (Do a search online to find out how to do that if you don’t already know. It’s super easy, I promise!)
Check out my blog for some more tips on making good medicinal teas, coming soon!