Monthly Archives: January 2012

A Real Cold and Flu Fix

It is cold and flu season and I am a high school science teacher, so it is almost inevitable that I get sick. The state of my health not only impacts me, but all of my students who depend on me to teach them Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science. Therefore, when I find something that keeps me well or makes me feel better, I like to brag about it.

This past Friday, when I started to feel the comings on of a cold, I was not surprised in the least. I had just come back from Winter Break and all of my kids were sick. However, I remained hopeful that my symptoms were due to something else. I tried to think positive, and I convinced myself that the sore throat I had was a result of dehydration. Still, when water didn’t help ease the sting in my throat, I blamed my lunch. The soy sauce that came with the sushi must have been filled with MSG. My little nagging sore throat and headache were just a reaction to the that; I was NOT sick. Nope. Not sick.

After work, I stopped by my parents house to say hello. While there, I started to feel worse and so I made myself a cup of Tazo Organic Chai tea. I felt a little better, but by 6 PM I was getting fever chills and had a horrible achiness overwhelming my head, neck and shoulders. Ugh. Sigh…yep, I was definitely sick! As I sat whimpering on my parent’s cold leather couch, trying to play with my little 3 year old nephew, my mom plopped down next to me. She handed me an over-the-counter pain pill and insisted that I take it.Too exhausted and hurting to put up a fight, I did as she said.

Sometime later I perked up a bit, maybe it was the pill, maybe it was the tea, maybe pure will power, but I found the motivation to say my farewells and drive home. I sent a text to Brandon before I left and let him know I would head his way after I stopped by my apartment to get cleaned up.

Once home, I dragged myself to the shower in hopes that the warm water would do something to relieve the throbbing I felt across my maxillary sinus. As I dried off, I thought, “Okay, alright…feeling better. Not good, but better. Maybe I just need a good night’s rest…” I packed a bag and was on my way to Mesa, for what I hoped would be a nice relaxing evening with my hon.

When I got to Brandon’s I was relieved to see his smiling face. He greeted me with a hug I just sighed and leaned into him, hugging back. When asked if I was feeling okay, I just shook my head no. “Awwww, baby, well, then let’s find something to fix you up”, he said smiling down at me. With that, we were off to Whole Foods Market to grab a bite, do some grocery shopping, and find me something to kick my cold.

We returned from our trip to Whole Foods with full tummies, ingredients to make the Macaroni and Cauliflower Cheese Bake from Jamie’s Food Revolution and Honey Gardens Apitherapy Honey Wild Cherry Bark Syrup. After putting our purchases away, I read the “Suggested Use” on the back of the bottle of syrup and whipped out a tablespoon to administer my first dose. I was surprised to see that the bottle said I could take one tablespoon every other hour. That seemed like a lot, but this stuff wasn’t like other cough syrups. It had no cough-supressing dextromethorphan. It was made of whole ingredients.

Warning I apologize if the following paragraph grosses you out.

Immediately, the pain in my throat subsided and within minutes my cough was calmed. Within two hours the phlegm in my throat was breaking up, and the sinus pressure I had was gone. By early morning, when I got up to go to the bathroom I was able to clear out all kinds of thickened green and yellow mucus. I have never seen any decongestant or cough syrup work as effectively as this stuff did for me. And to top it all off, I didn’t have any of the  weird side effects that accompany the conventional cough syrups containing dextromethorphan! No dizziness, no nausea, no weird lightheaded buzzing feelings, nothing! The only downside of this stuff is the sweet and sour taste it has due to the apple cider vinegar.

Today I woke up and decided I wanted to know more about the components that went into this amazing elixir. So I did some research. Listed below you will find a summary of what I found. But first, look here for the list of ingredients.

  • Raw Honey is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal due to the many plant nutrients and enzymes that are present. One major flavonoid (plant pigment that functions primarily as an antioxidant) in honey is pinocembrinGlucose oxidase, is an enzyme present in honey, that can act as a mild antiseptic when combined with water
  • Apple cider vinegar has been embraced as a health tonic since the late 1950′s when D.C. Jarvis publicized it in his best-selling book Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor’s Guide to Good Health. ACV has many beneficial components including potassium and calcium, but it is the malic acid present in it which makes it anti-viral, anti-bacterial & anti-fungal in nature
  • Elecampane is an antiseptic expectorant that comes from the same plant family as sunflowers and ragweed. It has been used in Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine to treat bronchitis and asthma.
  • Platycodon is listed with “phlegm-resolving” herbs in the Chinese Materia Medica guides and is purported to relieve sore throats because of this fact. In general, it is  useful in combating weak lungs and inflammatory conditions associated with the head and neck.
  • Propolis is the “glue” used by bees to build their hives. It has been described as having anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and even anti-cancer properties.
  • Usnea is a type of lichen that grows on trees. It is commonly used as a fever reducer and expectorant.
  • Wild Cherry Bark has minute trace amounts of a vegetable compound called hydrocyanic acid, also known as cyanide. Cyanide in its isolated chemical form is highly toxic, but when incorporated into whole plant parts by nature it demonstrates antibiotic and astringent properties.
  • Ginger may help with detoxification by promoting healthy sweating and is commonly used to treat respiratory tract infections, cough, and bronchitis.
  • Licorice is an herb that has a long history of use as a demulcent and expectorant though studies show mixed results for effectiveness.