Here at Frank + Navy, when we talk about health, there are a few beliefs we hold dear:
1. The human body is absolutely amazing.
2. Our bodies are designed to heal themselves. (Truly, 100% believe this.)
3. Rest is King. And Queen.
4. Food is the best type of medicine.
5. Each person’s body is different, which means we have to try things out and see what the body responds to and what it does not. Each time we try something new, we get better at really listening to our bodies, which is a wonderful plus to implementing new healthy things into our lives.
6. Nothing is more powerful for one’s health than learning to love yourself.
7. WE ARE NOT DOCTORS. These are simply things that have worked for us and our lifestyle, over and over, through the years. So, please, for the love of everything, consult your physician if you are uncertain about adding something into your diet, or if you have any questions at all.
Now, let’s be honest, beating the flu in a day is not the norm. I think that if you can kick it out of your body in four or five days, you are doing great! But I really attacked it this time, using only homeopathic remedies, and-what do you know-within 24 hours, I was back in top form, and headed out the door to work on New Years Eve. In case anyone else is feeling under the weather, or if you are like me and just want to stock up on these items like it’s the apocalypse just in case you feel the slightest tickle in the back of your throat, then here you go—here’s what worked for me (and what has worked for us the last 5 years or so).
1. Let’s start simple: apple cider vinegar (ACV) + lemon water. What a powerhouse couple, this detoxifying duo! What does ACV not do?? It regulates blood sugar levels, reduces blood pressure, reduces heartburn and acid reflux, improves skin health, fights fungus, helps with seasonal allergies, and relieves cold symptoms. Now, combine all this with the power of lemon: loaded with Vitamin C (and a good bit of potassium, magnesium and copper) and stimulates the liver and helps your body flush out toxins. Wow! I actually start every day with a cup of warm water + 1-2 Tablespoons of ACV + juice of ½ lemon, and it gets my digestion in top shape for the day. But when I am fighting off something, I usually drink this elixir 3x/day, and if I need it to mellow out a bit, I will add a tiny bit of raw honey to it. Great way to start your day and a simple way to help your liver get rid of any toxins in your system that could be making you sick.
2. The almighty Elderberry Syrup. Honestly, we really aren’t super DIY people, but with this one, you’ve just got to make it on your own. It is so much more cost-effective and you have more control over what’s in it. It’s very hard to find an elderberry syrup on shelves for under $20 for a 4 oz. bottle (which is also going to have syrup and a few other not-so-body-loving ingredients in it). We love the recipe from Wellness Mama’s site, but I usually omit the sweetener since my body just tends not to love it. If you don’t have an issue with sweetener, though, I definitely recommend using raw, local honey. This type of honey hasn’t been pasteurized or overheated, and it is packed with antioxidants and minerals and enzymes that can aid your body in healing itself. (Side note: I also use raw honey on scrapes and burns all the time—it is a natural antibacterial! So amazing.) We usually double this recipe and make a bigger batch to have more on hand. It usually makes 2 full quart size mason jars for us. These are the elderberries we use—and one bag of berries makes over 3 big batches for us (or 6x the recipe). Also, for the ginger, we tend to buy a whole bunch of raw ginger, cut it into chunks for elderberry syrup or teas, then put it in the freezer. Then we just pull out what we need when the time comes. It last so much longer. Again, we won’t go through the recipe because Wellness Mama’s is easy-to-follow and very simple to customize according to your liking. As soon as I’m feeling the slightest bit run-down or “off,” I make sure to take a shot of elderberry syrup. And if it is something more serious like the flu, you can take a shot every 2 hours until symptoms go away. You can also just have it on hand in the refrigerator throughout the winter season and take it every other day (some believe that it is most effective when you give your body a break in between taking it, so you can just experiment with this and see what works best for you) to keep that immunity roaring strong.
3. Fire Cider. This stuff will warm you up from the inside out. And maybe that’s the point. It’s the good kind of “burns all the way down” because it has powerhouse immune boosters in it: apple cider vinegar, oranges, lemons, onions, ginger, horseradish, garlic, turmeric, and habanero pepper. HECK YES. That’s a lot of things I would rather not just have to gnaw on, you know? It’s intense and wonderful. I just take a small sip every now and then, and if I’m fighting off something more intense, I take 1-2 tablespoons a day. If you feel like it is bothering your stomach at all, just back off a bit and work your way up to taking more. We are in love with Shire City Herbal’s fire cider, especially since they make one without sweetener. It’s the holy grail.
4. We are obsessive about essential oils, and perhaps that is because I love smells—it’s incredible the power that smells have to uplift the mood and clear the mind. But we have fought off far too many things with essential oils to not believe that they are powerful and effective beyond just smelling lovely. If you’re just getting started, don’t be overwhelmed by the thousands of brands out there. Our top two fave brands: Young Living and Ancient Apothecary. These companies are champions of quality in essential oils, so we love supporting them and knowing that we are getting top-of-the-line, effective oils. NOW. We are just going to highlight a few today:
Clove/Thieves-Kills mold, kills parasites, natural anti-inflammatory, kills mold/fungus
Purification-Cleans and purifies the air
Oregano-Anti-fungal, antibacterial, kills parasites/viruses, antioxidant
Peppermint-Fever reducer, muscle pain reliever, headache cure, reduce nausea, improves
To use: we have our diffuser going all the time throughout the winter to combat the drying heat that is running non-stop. For sickness, we love putting 3 drops of Clove (or Thieves, for YL people) and 1-3 drops of Purification (depending on your preference of smell) in it to make sure that germs don’t stand a chance. These are powerful sickness-fighters and literally purify the air. Diffusing essential oils in our room is our favorite way to consistently keep our immunity strong all season long with very little effort. Peppermint has so many uses, but for the flu, I used it on any muscles that were achy, on my temples for headache, on my stomach for nausea, on the bottoms of my feet to fight fever, and I put a few drops in hot water and drank it as a tea to keep my digestion in fighting order (happy gut=happy immune system). Now, to kick it up a notch: I put Clove/Thieves + Oregano oil on the bottom of my feet every hour while fighting the flu, and I put 5 drops of Clove and Oregano into a capsule and also take that internally two times a day. But BE CAREFUL with taking essential oils internally—always do a bit of research beforehand to make sure they can actually be ingested, and start very small with them. Also, with Clove/Oregano, these are intense oils and I really never take them longer than 3 days in a row internally, then see how I feel—I have never exceeded more than 7 days in a row. We just want to give your immune system some fire power to fight off whatever is going on inside your body, so just listen to your body and it will tell you its limits. (Also, Oregano and Clove have the potential to irritate some skin types, so use sparingly to start out—I only ever use these oils topically on the bottom of my feet because they do tend to sting/burn anywhere else.)
5. Oscillococcinum is a straight up blessing. Boiron is a wonderful company that creates homeopathic medicines that work with your body’s natural rhythms—that’s what we’re looking for whenever possible because we believe that our bodies have the power to heal themselves—sometimes they just need a little extra help. Support the body from within, don’t add in more things that it has to fight off (here’s looking at you, antibiotics and drugs). You simply take one of these little tubes 3x/day, and it is the most effective form of fighting off the flu that I have ever come across. I even take it if I feel like an intense cold is coming on, and it almost always does the trick to help your body fight off sickness naturally. I’ve never taken a product from Boiron that I did not completely love!
6. Bonus: Magnesium oil. Did you know that most of us are deficient in magnesium? According to the World Health Organization, less then 60% of men and women in the U.S actually have the “adequate intake” values for magnesium. Here’s why this matters: magnesium naturally decreases stress, improves sleep, improves immunity, and is involved in over 300 reactions in our bodies that keep us healthy and well. Why are we deficient? Well, our food choices are poisoning us, our soil is not what it used to be, we’re eating more sugar than ever (which takes a lot of magnesium to process), we are increasingly stressed out, and many drugs like antibiotics and contraceptives and blood pressure medications deplete our magnesium. All this to say, magnesium is a crucial part of our overall health, and it’s likely that almost all of us are very deficient. My favorite way to help out magnesium levels (especially when I am fighting off sickness) is to apply magnesium oil to the skin. It takes time to really increase magnesium levels, so this is something I use every day whenever I am thinking about it. I put it on the bottoms of my feet and on my stomach the most often. But if I ever have any muscle aches or am feeling tense at all, I will apply the spray directly to these spots and let it work its magic. Our favorite brands are Ancient Apothecary and Organic Olivia.
Perhaps even more important than all of these things combined, though, is rest. It is grossly underrated what good rest and self-care can do for us, both our bodies and minds. So, if you are feeling under the weather, have some grace and patience with yourself--do what you can, with what you have, and believe that your body will heal when you give it lots of love, rest, and a few extra tools to keep it going strong.
To your health,