A confession: I snore. Like a lumberjack. So much so that my husband keeps a flat speaker under his pillow, permanently tuned to NPR. And when I am sick, it gets much, much worse.
How bad does a sinus infection have to be for someone who has a fear of getting water up her nose to consider flushing out her sinus cavities with lukewarm saline? And then actually do it?
This bad, apparently.
I didn’t do it correctly, I know — my grandmother, born and raised in India, who used to practice yoga and swore by aryuvedic medicine, used to tell me about how invigorating sutra neti could be, but the very idea of running a string up one nostril and out the other (or out the mouth) is very, very high on my list of Things I Never, Ever Want To Do. I tried the much more gentle jala neti, which uses a special pot to push the water up into your head (non-technically speaking), except I didn’t have a neti pot. So…
I’ll spare you the details. Anyway, my point is, that it was gross, but now I feel better, and I’ll probably do it again. Which led me to root through my archives, looking for other natural cold-and-flu remedies to reconsider.
1. Hot Tea. Cliche? Yes. But so, so soothing. When I’m not feeling well, all I want is strong black tea with peppermint and a metric ton of sugar. If it’s bedtime, I’ll make my own version of a medicinal toddy: Chamomile tea, honey, fresh lime, candied ginger, and a shot of rum.
2. Getting over my fear of nasal irrigation. See above. Really, it did help.
3. Gargling with apple cider vinegar instead of salt water. Mix the vinegar half and half with warm water and gargle it, trying to keep it up against your enormous tonsils for as many seconds as you can (hint: it won’t be long). Spit it out into the sink, wipe your eyes, and do it again. Tastes nasty, but it fixes my sore throat like nothing else.
4. Tea Tree oil. It won’t kill my headache completely, but if I dab a little of it straight onto my temples, it gives me a pleasant feeling to focus on while I ride it out (or, if it’s a bad one, wait for the ibuprophen to work). It also does a great job at making me feel like I can breathe a bit more easily..
5. Sleep. What? Did Lylah actually advocate getting more sleep? Hypocrite. But it is all natural, it’s exactly what your body needs, and it works. If you’re fortunate enough to have sick days at your job, use them, if you can. Get your spouse an under-the-pillow speaker, if necessary, and hit the hay.
How do you soothe your cold and flu symptoms without (or before) turning to meds?