Facing the greatest challenge of our generation is no mean feat.
Obvious thoughts arise.
- Can we do it?
- Will we die?
- How can I keep myself healthy?
- How long will it go on for?
- I am lonely? Can loneliness kill?
- I feel isolated.
Whatever your thoughts or feelings, you can guarantee that there will be hundreds if not thousands of people who will be thinking the same thing.
The question is not that you think it, the question is what you do with your thoughts. If you succumb to fear and panic, the evitable effect on the immune system, hormones and emotional wellbeing will be a very negative one.
If you challenge the fears and proactively create a scenario which you are more in control of, this isolation period could become one of the greatest moments to learn more about yourself and your endurance. You may never get this opportunity again. So, my answer to you, whatever the question, is use this time wisely.
As a naturopath and Master Herbalist, I have spent a good amount of time teaching, talking, writing and consulting people of all ages and denominations, to look at themselves in a way that helps them understand their ‘drivers’.
i.e What makes you do things, even if you don’t really want to do them? e.g eating that piece of chocolate cake that you promised not to eat, or the cup of coffee you promised you would cut down or the relationship you swore you would never enter into?
When we learn why we behave in ways we cannot rationally control, and we learn to master our drivers, then we have true power and self-esteem. We understand life more clearly and our place in it more easily.
This moment in time is a way for you to understand yourself and I am hoping that if you are reading this page, I may be able to hold your hand through part of that journey.
I have been asked to set up a page to help people understand their immune systems better.
It sounds so simple doesn’t it? Eat some zinc, don’t eat junk food, make sure you have probiotics and drink lots of water and all will be fine.
The truth is that often our immune system is affected by our stresses, our sleep or lack of it and our ability to cope with what life throws at us. When considering your immune system, don’t discount your emotional good health.
Below are some questions that have been asked of me during this time in isolation. It may help you build your immune system and feel more in control of your situation. Being proactive and feeling that you don’t need a doctor all the time, could be very liberating.
Q) What is the immune system
Your immune system protects against disease, infection, and helps you recover after an injury.
It involves various systems like the lymph, organs like the spleen, lymphatic, spleen and white blood cells..
White blood cells are the key players in your immune system. They are made in your bone marrow and are part of the lymphatic system. White blood cells actively look for and kill pathagens, like bacteria and virus.
Our bodies are actively looking for ways to protect us. Even our skin is a protective organ and our stomach contains the right amount of acid to kill bacteria and the right amount of good bacteria to kill the bacteria that gets through.
We are complex and our bodies are remarkable. However, if we mistreat our bodies, or over strain them, or don’t feed our bodies what they need to ensure maximum efficiency, then recovery will inevitably be slow and hampered.
Consider your immune system to be an army. You would never send an army into battle without good training, good food, good sleep and weapons at their disposal, unless you wanted them to fail. So this is how you must consider yourself.
Q) I am coughing and I cannot get to the doctor, what can I take?
The Spanish take about 5 oranges an chop them up and then simmer them down to a syrup. This is a great cough syrup for children, it tastes great and is soothing. Although it has no anti-viral properties, so to make it slightly more potent, you could do something like make a sage or thyme tea and then add some of the syrup to it to make it palatable.
For coughs that are unproductive try sage, it is fantastic. Take some dry leaves and steep it in boiling water for about 10mins. Add honey to taste.
You can also make a mustard pack. This is made from 4 teaspoons of flour and 1 tablespoon of dry mustard. Add enough warm water to makea pate. Place onto a muslin cloth and warp. Put on the chest and leave for no longer than 10-15 mins. It may cause irritation, so remove if this is the case.
For a productive cough:
Mix honey with lemon juice and take when the lungs are irritated
Thyme tea made the same way as the sage above.
One onion chopped in a jam jar, cover the onion with honey. Allow the onion juice to ‘sweat’ into the honey overnight and take one tablespoon as needed. This is also a great preventative for flus and colds.
Q) What in my kitchen can help with colds
Despite popular belief, colds and flu cannot be cured with antibiotics. Antibiotics will fight bacterial infections, but do not treat viral infections like coldsand the flu. The best remedies, therefore, are natural ones.
To prevent colds and flu, chop an onion and put it in a glass jar and cover with your favourite honey. Leave over night in the fridge and then every morning take a spoonful. It tastes more of honey than onion, although the onion smell is strong. It is great for children in the winter months to boost their immune system and lungs.
At the first sign of a cold, drink ginger, lemon and honey tea. Slice a thumb nail of ginger root add ½ a lemon and simmer on a low heat for 10 minutes. Pour into a mug and add honey to taste. Drink as often as you can. You can make a large quantity, (double the ginger) and then just warm it when you need another cup.
Garlic oil is a natural killer of bacteria. The immune system is activated when ingested. The fresher the garlic the better it works. (Oil capsules work better than powder.) Add the garlic to your food or garlic oil capsules are equally as effective.
Nutritionists say that you should take 2gms of vitamin C 3 times a day, so you are taking 6g a day until your cold has cleared. Kiwi fruits contain the most vitamin C, while grapefruit, oranges and lemons are also very good sources of vitamin C. Your body naturally flushes what it does not need of vitamin C, so there is no fear of an overdose. If you get diarrhoea reduce the dose.
To soothe a cold and aid sleep there is a lovely hot spicy drink to sip at night. Put 1 oz of fresh ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, 1 tsp of coriander seeds and 4 cloves simmered in 2 cups of water and simmer for 15 mins. Drain and then sweeten with honey. For those of you who like your red wine, you can change the water for wine and simmer the ingredients for 15 mins.
Q) Why do I need to be alkaline and why would it help me fight infection?
Our bodies are a little like the ocean. We have heard in the press how important coral is for the sea and the fish. The reason being that the minerals in the coral keep the sea/ocean etc alkaline. Why would that be important? Well fish live in an alkaline environment and if it becomes even slightly acidic, they begin to get ill and die.
We are 70% water and when our bodies become too acidic we draw minerals from our bones, teeth and hair in order to buffer ourselves to become more alkaline. This seems great as our body is doing it for us, but at what cost. Later in life, we could end up with osteoporosis, something you want to avoid.
So the first point to the question is, stay alkaline to protect your bones.
The second part is because bugs thrive in an acidic environment. They grow and thrive, therefore, keeping your body alkaline gives you a better chance of fighting virus, bacteria or bugs.
Q) I am not a great cook and I don’t know if I can cook well with the foods that are supposed to be good for me.
Food is in fact incredibly easy to cook. I think chefs over complicate it. You don’t need to cook cordon bleu for things to taste great. In fact, some of the best tastes come from raw foods and salads. Everyone loves raw fish or rainbow salads with avocado and nuts and seeds thrown in.
If you steam vegetables and then add things like a hemp, flax, olive oil, along with some herbs like oregano or thyme, not only have you given yourself an alkaline meal but you have added herbs that are beneficial to the immune system because they have oils in them that kill bacteria. You can add a steamed, grilled or baked fish to it.