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Will this cold never die? Words I’m sure we’ve all uttered at one time or another. Well today folks, I utter those words. All my symptoms are gone mostly except this darn tootin’ cough. During the day I can handle it. It’s annoying yes, but it’s first thing in the morning that is just killer. Going from my horizontal sleeping position to a vertical upright meet the day kind of position is putting quite a damper on my day. I usually go through about 30 minutes of spleen rupturing coughing first thing in the morning. Enough is enough already!


Super Bugs

It seems to me that the cold and flu viruses that are floating around these days are extremely powerful. Now perhaps some of this has to do with the super adorable yet full of germs addition to my life about three years ago. I am definitely exposed to a lot more nasties than I used to be now that I’m a mama. Having an elementary school teacher in the house (who we have nicknamed Typhoid Paul) doesn’t help matters.  But I have memories of colds lasting a few days, then 1-2 days of recovery and you’re right as rain. But now, these buggers seem to go on forever! Coughs are the biggest complaint I’ve heard. They are lasting weeks, long after all other acute symptoms are gone.


My Immune Protocols


So what do I do when a nasty bug comes into my house? First and foremost we talk food. Dairy and gluten containing grains are reduced or eliminated all together. Why you ask? Because these guys create more mucus in the body and that is the last thing you need when it feels like your head is going to explode from all the grossness in there.


Second let’s talk vitamins. Immediately we amp up our vitamin C and D intake. This includes adding more lemon to my water (verging on mouth puckering). Add back in probiotics and if I’m a good girl I start drinking my kombucha again (I love it but it gives me heartburn 50% of the time).


Finally let’s talk herbs. My go-to remedies are the following:


elderberry syrup

  • I can’t say enough about this stuff. It’s antiviral, immune stimulating, safe for kids (as long as they have had honey) and safe for breastfeeding mamas. It tastes great and if you are so inclined it can be made in your kitchen. If not, message me and I’ll hook you up 😉


Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)

garlic + honey

  • This is what I refer to as “the big guns”. If I’m really feeling like crap or it’s been 3 or 4 days and I’m still not getting any better, out come the big guns. One clove of garlic pressed onto a spoon, drizzled with honey (raw and local preferably) and shoot it back – follow with a water chaser. Twice a day ideally. Will you smell like garlic? Yes, but you’re sick so who cares!

garlic heads

thieves oil

  • Thieves oil (or Four Thieves oil) is a blend of essential oils that help support the immune system and is a powerful antimicrobial. It has a really neat history too, check out this page if you are interested. I dilute the essential oils with olive oil and apply to the bottom of my feet (this is considered the safest place to apply it).  This is a fairly new addition to my immune protocol but I am loving it. The above link also has recipes if you are interested in making some yourself. Not to be used on children under 10.




Pulse Those Herbs and Oils!!

To get the most bang out of your natural remedy buck you need to pulse your remedies. What does this mean exactly? Take your remedies for about a week. Still feeling sick? Don’t give into the temptation to keep taking them. After about a week you need to stop! Continue with your healthy eating, probiotics, vitamins etc but immune stimulating herbs and essential oils needs to stopped.  We do this for a couple of reasons:


The body will adapt to the effects of these remedies. This means that they won’t work as well as they used to. Just like if you take multiple rounds of antibiotics and when you really need them they don’t work as well as they should.


The second reason is that you need your body’s own immune response to assert itself.  Herbal medicine is not about forcing the body to do something (like the pharmaceutical approach often is). Instead it is about gently supporting the body’s own natural response. This natural response is what keeps us healthy most days. We need our immune systems functioning well and if we take an overabundance of herbs that do the body’s work for it, well our body will get lazy. It will become dependent on these remedies and we don’t want that.


So while you will be tempted to keep taking your elderberry syrup, garlic and the other remedies you use, it does your body way more good in the long run to pulse those herbs. The 1-2 punch as my teacher used to call it. Hit that virus hard, take a rest and BAM just when it thinks it has you beat, hit that virus again… right in it’s annoying cough ridden nose.


In good health,