DIY Cough Syrup

Colds and flus are all around us this month! Are you coughing and sneezing along with the rest of us? One of my regular go-to's for this time of year is DIY Cough Syrup. It's easy to make, isn't full up crap and doesn't suppress the symptoms.

Remember, the cure for the cold is the cold itself.

Your body simply needs to fight off the virus, and you can help it by giving yourself lots of antimicrobial support in the form of garlic and onions. These two members of the Allium family are exceptionally high in antimicrobials amongst other things. But it's best to consume them in raw form, which is where this syrup comes in handy. So get out your chopping board and let's get started:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 large yellow or small purple onion, peeled
  • 2 cups honey, divided into 4 x 1/4 cups

Methods:

  1. Quarter the onion.
  2. Coarsely chop 1/4 of the onion and 1 clove of garlic. Place these in a small glass Mason jar and cover with 1/4 c of honey.
  3. Repeat step 2 until you have used up all garlic and onion.
  4. Place in the refrigerator. It will be ready within 1 hour, but it keeps for up to 5 days.
  5. You'll notice a thin liquid forming on top of the mixture. Take 2 Tbsp of this liquid as needed to alleviate your cold.

Optional Additions: 1 tsp cayenne, 1 tsp ground ginger

NOTE: please do not use if you have an Allium family sensitivity or for children under the age of 1.

Thanks for reading & let me know how you feel after trying them out.

Don’t forget to share with a friend in need, too.

P.S. Have questions? Contact me.

Magic Warming Socks for Headache, Fever, and Stuffiness

Headachy? Feverish? Stuffed up? You're not alone! Everywhere I turn someone is sick! I suppose that time of year is here. To help you through I am sharing with you one of my favourite Cold & Flu recovery tips - Magic Warming Socks! Yep, socks are your best friends when you’re under the weather. Pairing them with hot and cold water is the formula for magic.

Materials:

1 pair of cotton socks 1 pair of wool socks 1 bowl Ice water or very cold water Warm water

To Do:

  1. Place your pair of cotton socks in a bowl of ice water.
  2. Warm your feet in a shower or bath with warm water until they are pinky, red.
  3. Wring out the cotton socks and place them on your feet.
  4. Then cover the cotton socks with a pair of wool socks.
  5. Go to bed!

I know what you’re thinking... ice cold socks!!! Are you crazy? In fact, I’m not. But I ask you to try it first before you judge. Magic warming socks are incredibly therapeutic. They offer a kind of hydrotherapy that redirects blood flow away from your aching, stuffed-up head to your feet. By the time you wake up from a restful sleep your socks will be dry. It’s amazing. And best of all, your aching head will feel a whole lot better.

Thanks for reading & let me know how you feel after trying them out.

Don't forget to share with a friend in need, too.

P.S. Have questions? Contact me.

Top 5 Hydrotherapy Aids for Colds & Flus

I've touched on a few easy hydrotherapy options for reducing the symptoms of colds & flus a couple of times on my blog, but since having just had an invasion of the flu in my house I thought it would be helpful to round up the top 5 hydrotherapy aids for colds and flus help you recover.

  1. Steam Inhalation - The inevitable headache and congestion that comes along with a cold or flu can really send you off the handle. No one like to breathe through their mouth for days on end. Using 3 dashes of eucalyptus or thymus essential oil in a bowl of steamy hot water can work wonders. Cover your head with a towel and breathe deeply. Just be sure not too burn yourself. You can also dash a few drops of the oil in a hot steamy shower, too. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  2. Neti Pot - If your cold or flu comes with lots of nasal congestion it's time to employ your neti pot. This magic-lantern like tool drains yours sinuses with a steady flow of water in one side and out the other. Fill your neti pot with 1/8 tsp of sea salt and dilute with warm water. Run 1/2 the water through one side and then repeat on the other. Make sure your netty pot is cleaned thoroughly after use. For more details check out this informative video. Repeat as needed throughout the duration of your cold or flu.
  3. Warming Socks - Headaches, nasal congestion, and discomfort from fever aches can be remedied with a simple warming socks treatment. Prepare to do this before bed. Learn how here.
  4. Neutral Bath - Fevers can be managed with a lovely neutral bath. Fill your tub with tepid water. Sit in it for as long as you can manage. Simple, easy, and effective!
  5. Humidify - The dry air in our homes due to blasting furnaces can make colds and flus worse. Find a good-quality humidifier and put it to good use in your home each and every night. Better yet, dash more eucalyptus or thymus in the humidifier for easy breathing. Just be sure to follow the cleaning instructions that come with your humidifier - we don't want any hold outbreaks!

More advanced hydrotherapy techniques, like a constitutional hydrotherapy treatment or a wet sheet wrap can be done in the clinic by your naturopathic doctor. They are extremely effective & feel really, really good!

And don't forget the most basic hydrotherapy tool - stay hydrated! You can supplement your water with a dash of sea salt and a squeeze of lemon to help rebalance your cells, too.

Looking for more help overcoming your illness? Check out these great posts for the Top 6 Naturopathic Cold & Flu Remedies and DIY Cough Syrup.

Sleep Soundly

What the heck is going on these days? No matter where I turn I have a patient walking in my door who just can't sleep soundly. Certainly daylight savings time can throw a wrench into normal sleeping patterns, but this should clear up after a few nights. If it's persisting there might be something else going on.

I'm here to remind that you it's not normal to not sleep. Sleep is a vital to life as food and water.

I'm sure you know most of the reasons why sleep is so crucial, from better energy to better hormone balance to better weight control and more. So let's investigate a few ways to improve your sleep hygiene (which means preparing for sleep):


  1. Turn off the Technology. The backlighting from your screen (whether it be iPad, computer or TV) messes with your brains understanding of night time. It won't produce as much melatonin, which means you won't stay asleep.
  2. Turn off the Lights. For the same reasons as above, it's best to turn off all lights, even the ones flashing from your alarm clock, and turn down the blinds. Things like black-out screens or eye masks can be helpful in brightly lit cities.
  3. Turn off your Brain.  Yet another reason to turn off the TV, computer and iPad is to avoid reading stressful things like news headlines before bed. Put yourself in a better state of mind with a light read.
  4. Turn Down your Temperature. Turn down the temperature of your room to a cool 68 degrees Celsius, and change duvets according to summer and winter temperatures. These will all help to encourage a restful sleep.
  5. Turn Up the Mood. Prepare for sleep with a restful routine including calming teas, proper supplements and even hydrotherapy treatments like Warming Socks. Botanicals like Chamomile, Hops, Oats, and Valerian can all be helpful, as can supplements like melatonin, 5HTP, GABA, and magnesium glycinate, but it's best to speak to your physician about the best options and doses for you. Even meditations, like this one from Andrew Johnson, can be helpful for preparing for sleeping.

In my opinion, the bedroom should undergo a name change to the S-room. Only Sleeping, Sex and Snuggling should happen in this room. Nothing else!

If things aren't getting better, it's time to consider visiting your physician. Things like waking up withs pains in the night, persistent night sweats, constant night terrors, and persistent insomnia all require a visit to the doctor to figure out what else could be going on.

Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea

Nothing says summer like iced tea and boy does my significant other make a good one!

I have embarked on a 30-day no alcohol challenge this summer and in light of this Mat decided to make me a fun summer drink - Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea.

It's a perfect after-dinner drink for sipping on the balcony, porch, beachside or on the dock. Lemon stimulates liver detoxification, spearmint aids digestion and cools, lemongrass & kombucha aid immunity & green tea boasts major antioxidant properties.

Here's how to whip up this delicious, refreshing drink in no time:


Ingredients

Methods 

  1. Brew 8 tea bags in 2 cups of boiling water. This may seem like an odd ratio, but iced tea has a tendency to lose strength of flavour so using more teabags is crucial. Add honey. Let cool for 1 hour.
  2. Combine brewed tea and honey and sparkling water.
  3. Cut lemon in half crosswise. Squeeze the juice of 1/2 the lemon into the iced tea. Cut the remaining lemon into thin wheels for garnish. Top with mint & enjoy.

Tip: Replace the sparkling water with ice to make a slushy iced tea instead.

Castor Oil Packs for Inflammation

One of my favorite things in the world is a castor oil pack. It sounds like a totally naturopathic thing (and it definitely is), but it's great for so many things that I can't help but share it with you.

Castor oil is made from the castor bean (Ricinus communis). When eaten it can cause major gastric upset (such as crazy diarrhea) so we'll focus on the external uses.

The major benefit of castor oil is anti-inflammation. It can be used for arthritic pain, liver cleansing, inflammatory bowel conditions (like Crohn's & colitis), gallbladder conditions, skin inflammation and more. You can even throw in herbs for added benefit. Book an appointment with me to learn which castor oil pack is best for you.

Here is a step-by-step guide for you brave folks willing to give it try at home:

What You Need

  • castor oil (I like Palma Christi best)
  • piece of flannel
  • old cotton T-shirt
  • heat pack

What You Do

  1. soak flannel in castor oil
  2. place flannel over your abdomen (or whatever you are treating)
  3. put on an old cotton t-shirt because the castor oil can stain
  4. heat up your heat pack and rest it over the castor oil pack to increase absorption
  5. rest for at least 20 minutes (up to 60 would be best)
  6. wash off any excess oil from your skin
  7. store the castor oil pack in a plastic bag and leave in the fridge for future use

Castor oil absorbs through the skin and reduces inflammation.

A few weeks ago I overindulged at dinner and had terrible stomach pains afterwards.

The winning combination of a castor oil pack and peppermint tea had me back to normal in no time.

Give it a try! It's just what the Naturopathic Doctor ordered!

Urinary Tract Infection Healed the Natural Way

Urinary tract infections are extremely common. Men, women and children alike can be affected by these pesky little infections, but women seem to be especially prone. I have a funny, yet painful story to share with you. A few years ago I was away on vacation on an island in northern Ontario at a cottage without running water or electricity. The nearest town was an hour away by boat. I’m sure you can guess what’s coming next.

Just a few days into my vacation I was cursed with a very nasty UTI. What’s a girl to do?!? Well, I called upon my arsenal of naturopathic treatments to treat myself. First of all, a quick boat ride was made to the local dock to pick up unsweetened cranberry juice.

The sugar in cranberries (d-mannose) works to remove the bacteria from the urinary tract wall.

Then I increased my water intake to 4 liters in order to flush out as much bacteria as I could. Finally, I employed one of my favorite hydrotherapy tools – a modified Sitz bath.

I boiled water and poured it into a bowl. I then alternated dipping my pelvic region in cold lake water and hot water to encourage healing blood flow to the area. What a mess! But within a day I was feeling much better.

You may not be in the same sticky situation I was in, but it certainly is proof that UTIs can be managed without antibiotics in the appropriate situation.

If you’re suffering from UTIs, whether acutely or chronically, I want to see you. Make an appointment with me so we can discuss ways to make you feel better. I’ve got tons of other tricks up my sleeve!

UTIs healed the natural way – just what the doctor ordered!