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.

3 Ways to Stay Healthy While Traveling

My mom and sister were packing for their business trip to Australia when they asked me how they should stay healthy while away for so long. I made a few suggestions based on a few common trouble areas.

Here are 3 ways to stay healthy while traveling:

  1. Sleep: Melatonin is a traveler's best friend. Using it before bedtime after changing time zones will help your body readjust its sleep cycle and ward off jet lag. Magnesium can also be used as a natural muscle relaxant to help encourage sleep, too.
  2. Digestion: Tummy troubles can be a scary thing while on holidays. They can easily put a damper on anybody's good time. I tend to be a bit too adventurous on holidays and have wound up with food poisoning too many times. Aside from encouraging you to play it safe, I will also let you in on a few secrets: Gentiana lutea is one of my favourite herbs and just a few small drops 15-20 minutes before a meal will get your digestive juices flowing to improve resilience and digestion. Magnesium (as mentioned above) not only helps you sleep, it also relaxes the bowels to ease the discomfort of constipation that often occurs when traveling. Shelf-stable probiotics are also extremely helpful for balancing gut flora so your tummy can fight off the bad.
  3. Immunity: A simple increase in Vitamin C with Emergen-C or Sisu to Go can help manage exposure to viruses while you're away on travels. Don't forget to wash your hands, too. But my favorite thing to have in my carry on is a bottle of St. Francis Deep Immune packed full of herbs to keep your immune system chugging along even in the face of travel.

What are your favourite ways to stay healthy while on vacation?

You can find more travel tips here.

 

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.

30-Day Alcohol-Free Challenge

You  may think I am completely nuts for having gone alcohol free in the middle of the summer months, but it was an excellent challenge which I am glad I accepted. Leading up to this challenge I was given some perspective by my patients. As a primary care provider it is crucial to ask my patients about alcohol intake. I noticed that a majority of them had a lower intake than me. This realization certainly got me thinking.

I knew I had come to rely on alcohol during challenging times while heavily studying and dealing with lots of family matters that had cropped up this year. A glass of wine or 2 at the end of the day just seemed to ease my worries. But 14 drinks a week is right on the borderline of healthy and not-so-healthy... and somehow this (future) naturopathic doctor wasn't taking a dose of her own medicine.

In comes trainer, Rita Catolino, who has been helping me get back into the shape I lost during some of my most challenging times. She encouraged me to ditch alcohol for 1 month.

Hmmm... I thought she was crazy, too. But why not give it a try.

It all began on July 15th. I spoke to my significant other about the changes, and he fully supported me & even decided to join in the fun by cutting out alcohol during the week. I made it through a bachelorette party, a wedding, and 5 days at the cottage all without indulging.

Amazingly enough, going cold turkey has made me desire alcohol much less, and it certainly left a lot more room in the budget for... shoes... I mean, um, not shoes.

Alcohol is a sugar that often has no benefits. In days gone by beer was considered a food and was extremely nutritive, but with today's heavy processing this isn't the case. And even though red wine has heart-healthy antioxidant powers like those from resveratrol it should still be enjoyed in moderation.

What is moderation? Less than 7 drinks/week for women and less than 14 drinks/week for men.

Now, I am thrilled to say I am done the challenge (see my countdown calendar above). I celebrated with 2 glasses of sparkling wine. And I won't have another drop until the weekend.

Care to try it yourself? Try alternatives like Rise Kombucha, my Sparkling Kombucha Iced Green Tea, or anything with soda water, lemon, lime and mint to give your water a kick.

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!

6 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies

If I had a nickel for every time someone asked me what to do for a cold, I would be a very wealthy woman. This has to be one of the top health inquiries... it offers up 14.5 million hits on Google alone. Wow! My biggest issue with conventional cold remedies acting as decongestants, antihistamines and cough suppressants is that they leave you feeling like you are walking with your head in the clouds. This is no way to travel about life. So what can you do about it? Lots!

The common cold, typically caused by the rhinovirus, crops up every winter (and in summer, too).

It's easy to catch, but once you've got it it's best to realize one simple thing - the cure for the cold is the cold itself. This means that every cough, sniffle, and sneeze serves a purpose. Your body is trying to get rid of that darned virus. Of course, no one really likes feeling under the weather so here are 6 Naturopath Approved cold and flu remedies  support yourself through it.


  1. Rest - I really can't state it enough and you know it to be true. Listen to your body. It knows what to do.
  2. Avoid Sugar - Yes, I know you've heard it a zillion times, but I mean it! Sugar has the incredibly awful ability to toss your immune system into the toilet for 3+ hours after consumption. This means orange juice is out, too.
  3. Vitamin C - "But how am I supposed to get this without my orange juice" you ask? Easy. Grab some Sisu or EmergenC packets to toss into your water, by a good-quality brand, like Biotics C-1000, or nosh on almonds, broccoli and quinoa, which are all packed with this beautiful antioxidant vitamin.
  4. Vitamin D - of course!
  5. Steam Inhale - dash eucalyptus oil into a hot, steamy shower and inhale.
  6. DIY Cough Syrup - you'll think I'm crazy, but I'm not. This stuff really works - just like Mr. Buckley said. 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic and I could go on and on forever, but these 6 tips are the perfect place to begin.

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!