Continuing our series on supporting your body and spirit as we transition into the fall and winter seasons I have a few tips and products that will support your respiratory system.
Both autumn and winter can be very challenging to sinuses and the respiratory system. The changing climate, seasonal allergies, and dryer air are a few things that contribute. The good news is an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure; if you do the right things to support and build your immune system you will be much less likely to get sick. So, here are a few things to try:
Give Your Sinuses a Bath with a Neti Pot
If you don't already have a neti pot, I HIGHLY recommend that you get one. I use mine every day, sometimes twice a day, and I almost NEVER get sick. If I do get something it is always the lightest little version and it goes away quickly. Using a neti pot regularly has also decreased my seasonal allergies by about 90%. I have very little symptoms anymore. Neti pots have been used in India and in Ayurvedic medicine for a very long time; the term comes from the Sanskrit, jala net out of the back of my throat as well. This may seem really gross at first, but I promise you the results are worth it! i, which literally means "to irrigate with water", and this practice keeps the sinus cavities clean and clear. To use a neti pot dissolve a teaspoon of sea salt in 2 cups warm water (don't use tap water that is unfiltered, the chlorine content tends to burn the nose a bit), and pour into the net pot. Go to a sink and tilt your head to one side. Place the neti pot in the opening of one nostril and begin pouring the water. The solution will go up into your sinus, give them a flush, and then pour back out the other nostril. Repeat on the other side. If you tilt your head back slightly, the water will head toward the back of your throat and then you can kind of hack it out. Sorry, no other way of saying it. I find that helps to clear the gunk at the back of the throat. Youtube has A LOT of videos on this, and I know Oprah featured neti pots at some point so you many be able to find some video of that out there. Here is one to get you started:
You can purchase neti pots from The Heritage Store, and they have another product that I highly recommend for respiratory care, called Alka-Thyme. It is a wonderful, refreshing mouthwash and gargle that really cleans and alkalizes the mouth. It can also be used as a topical pack if you feel a sinus or respiratory infection coming on. Just soak a wash cloth in Alka-Thyme and place over the sinus/forehead area, or over the glands on the throat, and on the chest. This is also a gentle and appropriate remedy for children, especially right before they go to sleep to help relieve congestion. I have started adding a 1/4 tsp of Alka-Thyme to my neti pot saline mixture and it is very refreshing. Alka-Thyme contains sodium bicarbonate which is another substance recommended for sinus irrigation.
Support Your Respiratory System Naturally with Mother Earth's Respiratory Tonic
This is another favorite of mine from The Heritage Store. It is a great support for the respiratory system and really helps relieve the congestion and tightness associated with allergies and colds. Their product description explains the active ingredients:
"Mother Earth's is a therapeutic combination of horehound, which soothes irritated mucous tissues, wild cherry bark to alleviate respiratory distress, rhubarb, which cleanses the system, and elixir of wild ginger for toning the digestive tract, preserved with grain alcohol in a honey and syrup base. This gentle, pleasant-tasting tonic is safe and effective for children and adults, just as Mother Earth intended."This is the kind of product I seek out and use because it supports the body in it's own wisdom and healing process, instead of bombarding it with chemicals that only treat symptoms and often lead to rebound effects worse that the original illness!
Humidify, humidify!...and Open Your Windows
One of the reasons colds and flus increase in the fall and winter seasons is that as it gets colder we tend to close up our houses, thus locking in stale air, dust and germs. Even during the coldest months if you can air out your house for a few minutes each day, you can prevent this stagnation.
Running a humidifier, at least at night when you sleep, is another big one. We do this for babies all the time, and it is one of the best ways to keep from getting sick. When sinus passages dry out the friendly mucus that provides a barrier to germs is reduced. Keep your mucus healthy! Humidifiers are very inexpensive and can be found online or at any drug store or department store near you.
Well, I hope you find these tips useful. Please share in your comments any favorites you may have for keeping the body and spirit healthy during this turn of the seasonal wheel.
Also, for more good information check out this episode from Vitamin Junkeys 5 Tips to Survive Allergy Season Ep 19.
And don't forget about drinking lots of Yogi Tea! it is a great support for the whole body. Find ideas for nourishing, warming meals for the winter months, here.
May you be happy, may you be filled with radiant health!