growing up my hippie mom always believed in the power of good nutrition and positive thinking over illness. i didn’t see a doctor until i was nearly 12 (and this was while in the care of my father and step-mother). i have very, very few memories of ever being sick as a child, and if the odd cold or flu got to us we were never medicated. i wasn’t introduced to over the counter cold medicine until i entered the work force, in my 20’s. this has stuck with me. even having a toddler, left to our own devices, we almost never get sick. however, it seems that every time i enter some enclosed space where kids are running around, suddenly i feel a cold coming on. over the last few weeks i’ve been in and out of various doctors offices and children’s therapy centers with my son, and i’ve felt the faint hint of something in the back of my throat. this immediately sends me into intervention mode. i have a handful of remedies that i always reach for, and they serve me well.

  1. gargling with warm salt water. a friend of mine told me about this when i had first moved to san francisco and found the foggy, damp weather difficult to adjust to. i do this whenever i feel the first pangs of a cold coming on and it almost always knocks it out. the trick is to gargle with water that is as warm as you can take it, and so salty that it would be nasty to swallow any.
  2. zinc and vitamin c. sounds simple, but it’s effective.
  3. peppermint tea. a little menthol action, and peppermint oil is said to have anti-viral benefits.
  4. citrus. i eat a few oranges and drink lots of water with lemon for a little vitamin c boost.
  5. essential oils. four thieves (a mix of clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemon & rosemary oil created in the 15th century during the plague) peppermint, & tea tree is the mixture that i have going when i feel funky. these are all anti-viral and anti-septic and i swear this keeps my family from catching whatever i may have brewing.
  6. vegan tom kha gai soup is seriously magical. it might be the ginger, but it really does the trick.

that’s all. happy cold battling!


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