Aches, pains, fever, headache, weakness, cough, runny nose... none of it sounds good, and it definitely doesn't feel good, yet these are your typical flu symptoms.
We're still in the first half of flu season here in the US, and unfortunately we're no where close to it's end.
The CDC states that the flu season lasts from October to May, but it's peak season is January and February each year. Thankfully, we're not at peak season yet, and we have time to get prepared. You can take a look at this map to see which states are showing different levels of reported flu cases to see what it's like in your area.
Now I don't know about you, but with a husband that has his own business to run and has to be there to support his family, three small children and one more on the way, and myself having a household to run among my many other responsibilities... I definitely don't want the flu to come visiting my house this year.
So today I want to talk about how we more naturally minded folks, that choose to skip the "flu vaccine," are planning on preparing for the flu this year? This not only includes some basic information, but I'm even going to share a potent herbal remedy that I've started making each year when flu season is about to hit hard in our area to help us get our herbal flu shots ready to go.
#1 - Nutrition
I kind of feel like this doesn't even need to be mentioned here since you probably already know how important nutrition is in keeping our bodies functioning at a high level allowing it to fight off bacteria and viruses that come our way.
#2 - Immune Boosting Herbs
Another thing we make sure we do is to use immune boosting herbal supplements like herbal multi-vitamins and immune boosting tinctures. We use these two things year round so we almost always have them in our house. I try my best to keep tabs on these two things so that when I'm close to running out I can quickly make some more, but sometimes that's easier said than done especially when it comes to the herbal multi-vitamin balls. My kids CONSUME them!
#3 - Cleanliness
You can't skip this part. No matter how much you eat healthy, take supplements, and boost the immune system, if you aren't practicing good hygiene habits, you can still get sick. Your skin is your first line of defense. Good hygiene is important!
First of all, wash your hands! This is number 1, and don't forget to teach your kids how to wash their hands correctly too. Also, be sure to keep your home clean using homemade cleaners that have great disinfecting essential oils in them like this one. Lastly, if you or one of your children are sick, teach them how to cough or sneeze into a tissue, throw it away, and immediately wash their hands. This will cut down on the chances that the sickness is spread to someone else. And of course, if they have a fever... stay home!
So there you have it. 3 simple ways you can do your part to stay healthy and help your body keep from getting that nasty flu bug.
Now let's move on to my new favorite little flu remedy. I suppose I need to mention here that this isn't actually a flu shot. It's not going to vaccinate you or your kids. It's just a fun way to word this powerhouse herbal combination. Okay?
How To Make An Herbal Flu Shot (Flu Oxymel)
Now there are a lot of remedies floating around online for natural flu shots. Most of these consist of juicing and drinking different kinds of these juices for their health boosting benefits. These are all great and really good for you, but it fits in more with the nutrition section above.
What I'm about to show you today is how to make an "herbal flu shot" and it is powerful.
What you'll be making is an herbal oxymel. An oxymel is a combination of vinegar, honey, and herbs and they're commonly used for respiratory issues (which the flu is) as well as digestive issues like upset stomach or to help improve digestion.
This works by not only getting immune boosting, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial herbs directly into your body, but the vinegar preserves it as well as enhances the flavor among it's many other great health-giving qualities. And we can't forget the benefits of honey. Honey is also a preservative, an anti-bacterial, and it helps to sooth inflamed tissues and calm coughs. This remedy will get the blood flowing in your body, it's good for the heart, and it's fabulous at keeping infections and viruses at bay.
You'll need the following:
- glass mason jar with lid and ring
- parchment paper
- all--natural apple cider vinegar with mother
- all--natural honey
- astragalus root
- echinachea root
- horseradish, cayenne, lemon - optional
First start by adding equal parts of each of your herbs to your glass jar. You can eyeball it like I do or you can actually measure it out. The exact measurement will vary depending upon the size of your jar, but you want to end up with your jar 1/4 full of herbs. Remember... these are dried herbs and over time they'll expand as they absorb the liquid so don't get too herb happy and over do it or your jar will be crammed!
Next, coarsely chop your garlic, onion, and ginger and add it to your jar. Use equal parts of each of these as well. These should total 1/4 of your jar as well, making your jar 1/2 full of herbs and food at this point. If you want, you can always add in horseradish, cayenne, and lemon to your mix as well. I typically do this if I'm making an oxymel for my husband and I and a separate one for the kids. If you want to add these things to yours, just add in equal amounts of horseradish and fresh lemon slices, and then add about 1/4 tsp. of powdered cayenne.
Next, pour in equal amounts of honey and ACV. If you like your drink more on the sour side, use more ACV, but if you like things sweet or you'll be giving this to your kids as well as yourself like I do, equal parts or more honey than vinegar are needed. Take a spoon and stir your mixture really well.
Finally, cut a piece of parchment paper to put between your liquid and your metal lid and ring. Vinegar will corrode metal and ruin your preparation. Seal your jar up and put it in a cabinet. Be sure to give it a good shake every day to mix everything well.
Let your oxymel sit for 2 week, shaking it daily. After 2 weeks, strain your herbs from your liquid and compost them. You can then taste your oxymel and see what you think. If it's not sweet enough, add more honey to it. You can store it in your refrigerator, and it will last up to 2 years this way.
How to use your herbal flu shot oxymel:
- For adults: Take one shot glass or 1 - 1.5 oz daily
- For children: Take 1/2 shot glass or .5 - 1 oz daily
What I do is I pour up a small amount of our herbal flu shots in little shot glasses, and we all drink them each morning after breakfast. The kids really don't mind it as theirs is pretty sweet and they like the tangy, sour flavor of it as well. They like to sip on them.
You can also use your oxymel to make a delicious herbal salad dressing as well!