Well, my readers, the summer is well and truly behind us and it’s time to put away the flip-flops, say goodbye to the sunscreen and bring out the Uggs! (Do people still wear Uggs? I remember them being all the rage is 2002)
Now flu-season has arrived. The common soundtrack I hear as I peruse the aisles of the local Supermarket is sniffling, sneezing and that hacking cough! Delightful. Why is it, that the British are too proud to fashion themselves a totally-helpful surgical mask to ward off the nasties flying around? No, that looks far too sensible and health-saving for us stiff-upper lip folk.
If you do, however, decide to purchase a surgical mask and become a trend-setter (Quick, somebody send one to a Kardashian!) then don’t forget, if you’re sick – wear the coloured side on the inside to stop the germs going in the air. If you’re trying to avoid getting sick, wear the coloured side on the outside to stop those germs getting in. If you didn’t know that handy tip, you’re welcome!
Now, let’s say you are one of the conservative, self-conscious Brits (or hey, whatever Nationality you are, maybe you’re Asian and wouldn’t be seen in public wearing a surgical mask without a Medical degree. You’re CRAZY by the way, because this is the most genius, considerate and amazing thing to practise EVER!) Fear not, for I am here to share some health-saving products that will keep your immune system fighting fit and treat minor ailments to keep you out of the Doctor’s office.
So let’s get to the list, shall we? I’m going to order this leaving my favourite product to last! Get your notebook out, bookmark this page and subscribe to this blog for more handy tips!
I have very early memories of my dad putting drops of this disgusting liquid into a glass of water for me at the mention of me coming down with a cold. My immunity was decidedly poor as a child, so colds and ear infections were a common visitor in my life. Though, I do know that the times I drank the vile echinacea in my drink, my cold was less severe. Now, they come in tablet form so you can enjoy the benefits of this herb without having to suffer the taste.
According to Webmd.com, Echinacea is “a flowering plant that grows in the U.S. and Canada, and it’s been used as medicine for centuries. There are nine species. Some of its common names are the purple coneflower or black-eyed Susan. The leaves, stems, flower, and roots are used to make supplements, liquid extracts, and teas.”
It is known for preventing a cold and helping the body fight off the onset of one. Studies on this herbal remedy are however, somewhat mixed. You can read more about Echinacea here.
9. OLBAS OIL
Again, this oil has been used within my family ever since I can remember. There were often pieces of folded tissue wet with drops of this stuff sitting on or near a radiator in the bedroom. My parents always told me it would help with a stuffy nose or when you’re struggling to sleep at night from a cold. The smell is very strong, so only a few drops are necessary. And do NOT put it on your nose (like I decided to try one day) it BURNS.
“Olbas Oil has long been a household name that families reach for when suffering from seasonal distress and related discomforts. As an aromatic inhalant, this completely natural essential oil formula delivers invigorating and soothing sensations to the nasal and bronchial areas.”
Olbas oil is inexpensive to purchase and relatively easy to get, usually available at your local Supermarket or pharmacy. I recommend searching here for hints and tips how to use it and its benefits.
Is it sad that the smell of this just takes me back to my childhood? Good old Vaporub. It is absolutely NOT an all-natural remedy, it’s Eucalyptus Oil and Menthol are encased in Petroleum Jelly (along with varying other ingredients depending on the brand or product you look at) Yet it is simply ESSENTIAL in your medicine cupboard. Bad chesty cough? Got a child suffering with Croup? Slap this baby all over the chest and back and sit in a bathroom with a hot shower running. You’ll be feeling better in no time. In the 90s, it was also popular to bend over the washing up bowl with a towel over your head and breathe in the fumes of Vaporub in hot water. Ah, good times…
The Vicks website is actually a brilliant resource on how to use Vaporub and identify which product (there are loads) you will benefit from most. There are also some handy-dandy how-to-prevent cold and flu guides too.
Got toothache? A teething baby? Dentures rubbing you up the wrong way? This pal is your best friend. This comes in a gel or liquid form. Personally, I found the liquid to be far more effective as the gel does slide around awkwardly. I have grabbed this whenever any of my children wouldn’t stop screaming as those cute little tooth pegs started to pop through their inflamed gums. It never failed to provide instant relief (for me and my babies!) The effects certainly don’t last forever though. Sadly.
According to the leaflet; “Anbesol Liquid contains 0.9%w/w of lidocaine hydrochloride, 0.1%w/w of chlorocresol and 0.02%w/w of cetylpyridinium chloride. Lidocaine hydrochloride is a local anaesthetic which works by stopping the sensation of pain. Chlorocresol and cetylpyridinium chloride kill bacteria. Anbesol Liquid is used for the temporary relief of pain caused by recurrent mouth ulcers, denture irritation and teething.”
Anbesol is available to purchase over the counter at any pharmacy and is usually around £3 to buy. So it wont break the bank by any means and the bottle – although small – does last a long time. Be sure to read the leaflet in full for possible side effects and/or drug interactions and as always, check with your Doctor before using this.
6. COLLOIDAL SILVER
I suffered with terrible ear aches and infections growing up. I guess I’ve always been prone to them. It was not until my adulthood that I was introduced to Colloidal Silver though. At the time, I had no idea what this metal-tasting liquid was, but a loved-one handed it to me when I suffered badly with a sore throat (that was totally turning into yet another bout of tonsilitis) and I managed to avoid taking antibiotics. After a little research, I then found this to be a true staple for any sort of wound or infection.
Although Webmd is rather dismissive of this product, especially the claims that it’s a cure-all for almost any ailment. They do state on their website:
Colloidal silver can kill certain germs by binding to and destroying proteins.
I think that is a rather bold statement! Although there are no high quality clinical studies to prove the effectiveness of Colloidal Silver, that does not mean it isn’t effective. The conspiracy theorist in me is daring to suggest that the reason there are no clinical studies on this product, is that it is a mineral – and therefore can not be patented by a drug company. Where there is no money to be gained, there will be no formal studies to prove it’s effectiveness.
You may be put off by Colloidal Silver if you’ve read this on the Webmd website:
Colloidal silver is LIKELY UNSAFE when taken by mouth, applied to the skin, or injected intravenously (by IV). The silver in colloidal silver products gets deposited into organs such as the skin, liver, spleen, kidney, muscle, and brain. This can lead to an irreversible bluish looking skin that first appears in the gums. It can also stimulate melanin production in skin, and areas exposed to the sun will become increasingly discolored.
However, Gwyneth Paltrow swears by this as a germ-repellant by spraying this on her seat when she gets on an airplane and Dr Oz claims this is the world’s first antibiotic and uses it daily as spray.
Dr Axe also wrote this post all about the uses and benefits of Colloidal silver, including the science into how it works. So don’t rule it out just yet. Like I mentioned before, the medical world and big Pharma cant make money from this golden nugget so they wont be rushing to prove how effective it is.
5. PEPPERMINT OIL AND WILD ORANGE OIL
Ok, you got me. This is actually TWO products. However, they work in perfect harmony when it comes to lifting the mood. This post is all about surviving the flu season right? Well, another common condition I suffer with is S.A.D. which simply put, is when there is less sunlight and the dark nights draw in, I get sad. It’s so horrific that sometimes I find myself unable to leave my house or get up off the couch. You mood can affect everything, from the food you eat and energy levels, to the relationships you have with others. Take two drops each of Wild Orange and Peppermint on the palms of your hands and rub the back of your neck and behind your ears for an instant pick-me-up. I am particularly fond of Spearmint oil too because they remind me of Softmints, but that’s just getting carried away now isn’t it.
Why Doterra? Because the cheap oils I used to buy from Holland and Barretts are watered down and -in my opinion – less potent. Doterra is also an ethical company and I like to support direct sellers. Odds are you know someone who is a DoTerra rep to find out more.
You can read about more uses for Peppermint and Wild Orange and see for yourself how awesome they are.
4. TURMERIC AND BLACK PEPPER
Turmeric is used a lot in Indian cooking. However, it’s not just awesome in your Saturday night take away, it’s actually a super-powerful anti-inflammatory and natural pain killer! It’s suggested that you need to take Turmeric with black pepper to allow proper absorption so getting them in a tablet form can be a simple way to ensure you’re getting both. I know people who sprinkle turmeric powder and black pepper on their cereal, salad, soups and even in their smoothies! There are also claims that people who took Turmeric in powder form experienced more benefits than those who took it in tablet form. So if your pain is substantial and the pills aren’t kicking it, give the powder a try. Just don’t forget the black pepper too! I love this post which discusses the difference between cooking with Turmeric and taking it in supplement form.
3. DIGESTIVE ENZYMES
I love enzymes. As a sufferer of IBS (That is, Irritable Bowel Syndrome) If I consume dairy, greasy food or anything my stomach has taken offence to on a particular day, this is my go-to product. The one I use actually has Peppermint oil included. (See, told you it was awesome.) This is a product I have only using for the past year, but it’s one I simply will not go without. Ever.
Gas? Acid reflux? Stomach pains? Bloating? Suffer with Crohn’s? This is your friend. There is even reports to suggest that this can be used for Osteoarthritis! I like this post that explains more.
2. TURKEY TAIL MUSHROOM
I am new to this supplement. Yet, Turkey Tail Mushroom has been around for centuries. This post is extremely thorough addressing the history, origin and uses of Turkey Tail. What I love is that it has powerful anti-oxidant effects, can prevent cancer and super-charge your immune system. What is not to love, right?
What’s more, according to Primalherb.com:
A 2011 study on turkey tail found that it also contained a unique protein, called TVC, that both stimulated the immune system and modulated its response. This could possibly make it a great agent for protecting against illness, while also being great for controlling the immune system from harming itself, as in the case of autoimmune illnesses (like rheumatoid arthritis).
Yes. Definitely a worthy addition to the medicine cupboard in your home.
1. ANTIBACTERIAL HAND SANITISER
I told you I’d save the best til last and before you roll your eyes and think “Antibacterial hand sanitisers don’t even kill Norovirus.” THIS is not just ANY hand sanitiser.
Yes it’s true. MOST hand sanitisers you find at the local Supermarket are NOT effective at killing Norovirus or indeed many other virus’. Serenity have formulated one that DOES. In fact, it is commonly used in hospitals to protect patients from outside germs.
What I love MOST is that this baby kills E.Coli, Norovirus, C. Difficile and so much more. BUT it is also Alcohol-Free and free from harsh chemicals that dry out your skin. The smell is pleasant and Serenity have a whole range to kit out your house with.
Why is this the best? Because prevention is the best cure right? Since my family and I have been regularly using this hand sanitiser, we have suffered with much fewer colds and flus. Fingers crossed that continues.
So there you have it! 10 Products everyone should have in their medicine cupboard. Do you use any of these products? I’d love to read your experiences in the comments below. What are your go-to products to survive flu-season? Any that I have missed! Let me know!
I wish you a very healthy and happy Flu-Season and hope that you can remain bright-eyed and busy-tailed all year round.