It’s flu season, again. And while everyone stocks up on cold and flu medication I keep reminding myself, “It’s not the germ, it’s the terrain”.
This saying, which I learned from a former professor, is one I repeat to all of my clients, friends and family. It means that by building a healthy body and immune system, germs will not be able to survive and make us sick. Being preventative creates an environment that germs don’t want to live in.
This means eating lots of fruits and vegetables, cutting back on processed foods and sugar, making time for exercise and getting enough sleep.
However, life doesn’t always go as planned and we sometimes do end up getting sick. Whether you’re just beginning to feel a scratch in your throat, or are in full-blown flu mode, this year try sipping on my homemade, immune-boosting, flu-fighting tea that kills bacteria, loosens mucous, relieves pain and allows you to naturally fight back. Here’s how:
With natural antibacterial properties, high levels of vitamin C and the natural ability to support and detoxify your liver, lemon acts a strong defense against germs. As disease thrives in an acidic environment, it’s alkalizing effect also promote health.
Traditionally used to soothe aches and pains because of its natural pain relieving effects, cinnamon is also a natural antibacterial and anti-fungal. This warming spice stimulates circulation and increases the elimination of toxins. (For more on the soothing health benefits of cinnamon click here.)
Ginger’s been used for centuries to relieve a sore throat and loosen up congestion due to a cold. Best known for its ability to calm an upset stomach, ginger can also relieve aches and pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties. (Click here for a warming apple ginger soup recipe.)
Cloves are expectorants, which means they make it easier to cough up and eliminate phlegm. They’re also natural pain relievers and high in antioxidants that support the immune system.
One of the most effective anti-inflammatories around, turmeric is one of the best things you can put in your body to prevent and treat cold and flu. Naturally anti-viral and antiseptic, this traditionally used spice works wonders on our immune system, liver and overall health. (For more on the health benefits of turmeric click here.)
Great for warming the body and stimulating the release of built up mucous in the sinus and respiratory passages, cayenne pepper also causes you to sweat, lowering a fever and eliminating toxins. Adding cayenne to your diet can also help to increase circulation and give you a natural relief of pain.
7. Raw honey
By using raw honey you’re getting all the benefits of the enzymes, vitamins and minerals that would otherwise be destroyed during the pasteurization process. Raw honey offers tons of protection against germs due to its strong antibacterial and anti-microbial effects, and I often eat a spoonful right out of the jar if I feel a sore throat coming on.
3 cups of water
Juice of half a lemon
1 cinnamon stick
3 slices (1/4 inch thick) of fresh ginger
¼ tsp cloves
½ tbsp. turmeric
1 pinch cayenne (start with this and add more to taste…the more you can handle the better)
1 ½ tbsp raw honey (can add more or less to achieve desired sweetness)
1. Add all ingredients (except honey) to a pot and bring to a boil.
2. Once boiling reduce heat and let simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Add honey and stir, adding more if necessary.
4. Pour tea through a strainer and drink while warm.
Please note these recommendations are meant for otherwise healthy individuals. Those that are immuno-compromised, elderly or sick for a long duration of time should consult their physician.
Tara Miller is a Toronto-based holistic nutritionist. Her educational background is from The Institute of Holistic Nutrition combined with a degree in psychology from the University of Guelph. This combination allows Tara to address the challenges individuals face when it comes to everyday healthy living. Tara is also the owner of the Health Hut Boutique in Muskoka where she offers effective and toxic-free beauty, household and specialty food items. You can follow her blog for holistic recipes and tips at taramillernutrition.com.