Saturday, January 12, 2013

How to Keep a Cold Away

I've been so successful at keeping viruses away (or on the down low so that I don't have to spend more than a day resting) for almost two years now that I thought I'd share what's worked.  I'm actually doing these things this very day because I've felt the virus Nathan and Adam had a week ago trying to give me my turn (right before needing to sub for the church organist and perform a musical number tomorrow, of course).

(I've also had friends tell me I had to post about the ways I've learned to deal with tendonitis so look for that post soon.)

To make things easy, I've included links and pictures so you know what to look for at your local grocery and herb stores as most things are available that way.  You can also use the links to order things online if you don't know how to get them nearby.

First, catch it before it catches you!  

While watching my kids do crazy stunts, or when helping them to climb up and down the stairs for the first time, my mom would always gently remind them, "Listen to your body." I find it's a good phrase and applies here. You know the feeling when there's a virus creeping in (unless you don't - in that case - listen to your body better).  Maybe you feel it in your nose, your throat, your neck.  That's when you act.  That minute - not the next hour or the next day.

Next, choose your weapon! 

(To be clear - I'm not a medical professional - ask a doctor, or use these suggestions at your own risk!)

I try to keep the following all on hand because using them at the first sign of sickness is the key - I can't stress that enough. I alternate or mix and match - you begin to get a feel for what remedy works better with different issues (or with kids) and at different times of the day, over time:

Liquid Cayenne - This is for when you REALLY can't take a day off work. I add two drops of this in a neti pot in addition to the saline packet (not kidding).  I suggest using a neti pot normally (or with only one drop) at first so the cayenne isn't your first experience with a nasal rinse :).   I've done a half a dropper before, too, and lived to tell the tale. I do it about once a day, but usually only have to do it once and I go from feeling like a tornado is about to hit to 98% myself a few hours later (or less).

 On Guard Essential Oil.  You can find this hereIt is a blend of wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. My brother is a doctor and has started seeing positive results adding essential oils into his practice.   Can I just say that a doctor who also is open to adding natural healing remedies into the mix of synthetic options is so refreshing?? Anyway,  I have found this blend is a great addition to my prevention routine.  I will either put 2-3 drops under my tongue and then drink 8 oz. of water (make sure to slosh the water around).  Or I'll mix it with a few drops of fractionated coconut oil and rub it on the neck, chest or on my kids feet (this kept my three girls from getting the nasty virus Adam and Nathan had over Christmas break (Elise told me the minute she felt it coming on, Nathan didn't ... Adam worked too long before doing anything).

  • Effervescent drops - One popular brand is Airborne (I like the berry flavor).  You drop it in a half cup of water and drink it after it dissolves.  I'll take this every four hours unless I feel like using one of the following instead.  I split the drink in half for my kids.
  • Zicam Spray  one squirt each on the inside of both cheeks, under tongue and on the roof of the mouth. Hold it there for 15 seconds or more and then swallow.  
  • Echinacea Plus Herbal Tea (I've never had much luck with Echinacea pills). I'll cover a cup of hot water that has a tea bag in it for a couple minutes, then remove the bag and stir with a tablespoon of honey and drink it down (every three or four hours). Don't know if you're suppose to, but I save the bag to use for the next glass three hours later before throwing it away.

Call me silly, but it doesn't feel right to use just one remedy, so I mix them up (like last night I exercised my courage by using the Cayenne in a rinse when I'd rather just crash in bed I felt so terrible all the sudden.  Then in the morning I didn't feel sick, but thought I'd better rest anyway and did Zicam, then three hours later I did the Echinacea tea, then airborne a few hours later, now I'm sipping another cup of Echinacea.  Maybe my combo technic is why it's so successful :). Right now I'm confident I'll be playing the organ for church and then rushing off to another church to sing in a quartet. Yay! It really works (for me, at least).  Go ahead and comment if you find any success with this "magic formula." Maybe no one is as crazy as me to keep all this on hand though haha.

If you don't catch it early, but still want to reduce the mess a virus creates in your body, I've found the following helpful:

  • Throat Coat.  This is SO yummy and is great if you have to sing with a throat that isn't feeling so red hot (or if you have to sing a more than normal and need to give your vocal chords some TLC).  
  • Lemon Essential Oil. Two or three drops in a tablespoon of honey.  It helps sooth the throat.  I used this with Adam recently when he was sick with a nasty head cold and it immediately helped reduce the pain.

  • Melaleuca oil. I actually used Melagel form on Nathan's poor chapped nose from all the constant blowing.  You can apply the oil to the chest for respiratory issues or use in a diffuser 

There you go!  Some of those remedies are only available through buying on membership-type sites like and doTERRA, darn it.  At least doTERRA is nice in that you can buy without a membership (just pay a little more). You can get Melaleuca oil on doTERRA, too, so there's the solution to that problem! Good luck this cold/flu season everyone and don't forget...

"Listen to your body!" 

Thanks for the advice mom :) 


  1. I should also add, Norah got some different stomach bug this week with a fever and I used lemongrass oil to reduce the fever and peppermint and lavender to help calm her and reduce the vomiting. She was better in less than 24 hours, but I had quite the reaction to the lemongrass. So be careful using some of these things if you have allergies!

  2. feeling under the weather, and remembered this post! Just made my list and am off to the store. Did a nasal rinse (don't have the Cayenne...yet) and also have been using On Guard. feel a difference. Hoping that I catch this in time. Thanks for taking the time to post this. Trying to listen to my body!