Nov 17, 2006

Natural health for cold and flu season

To go along with my last post, I wanted to share some insights that I have gained in my (short) experience treating illness through natural means. Please, everyone add their two cents.

Colds-- lots of vitamin C. Lots of fluids, of course. And avoid those sugars and dairy like the devil.

Sinus infection-- Tea-tree and peppermint oil. I put the tea tree oil in a pot of water, boil it, and then breathe in the vapors. A towel over the head helps. You look silly, but when you're sick enough, how you look doesn't matter. I apply the peppermint oil to the areas of my forehead, cheekbones, jawline and hairline where I can feel sinus pressure. (be careful to avoid the eyes by a wide margin). I think that this works even better than pill-based decongestants-- and without the side effect of anxiety from long-term use.

Flu-- Emergen-C works as an electrolyte balancer in mild cases. But don't hesitate to seek medical help if you're becoming really dehydrated-- that's pretty dangerous, especially with kids.

Here's a recipe for the soup that I use in lieu of chicken noodle soup. It might sound yucky to some of you, but I think it has a rich, round flavor, and the steamed mung beans are very like noodles, and without the refined flours that will contribute to illness.

Mung-Bean Miso soup.

1/2 pound of Mung beans.

2/3 cup of thinly-shaved cabbage, purple or green (the purple will turn the soup dark blue, so look out.)

2 green onions, chopped.

1/2 package of Bonito fish flakes. (you can use the broth cubes, which are easily found in Asian stores, but almost all of them have MSG. I like the fish flakes because they do not have MSG added.)

Steam these all together in about 3 1/2-4 cups of water for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables feel really soft-- almost melting.

Let the soup cool a little (to bearable eating temperature,) and add 2/3 cup of red miso (easily found at discounted prices in Asian stores, or health food stores.)

VERY healthy, and very nice when you're sick.

If you want to do something fancy with this soup, add baby bok choy instead of the cabbage-- the texture of bok choi in soup is really nice.


Fred said...

The Missus. Everyone should have her available when they get sick. She works wonders for me.

Lucy Stern said...

I just ordered some Tea Tree Oil and Peppermint oil when we did our herb and spice order a few weeks ago. I will have to try those things. I like trying natural things before going to the doctor too. I will go to our "Hong Kong" food market and get a few of those items and try that soup. My daughter and her family are sick right now and I hate seeing her take over the counter drugs.

I usually make homemade chicken soup when we get a cold. I put the equivalent of 1 chicken into the pot and cover it with water. I add plenty of onions and garlic, black pepper corns and a couple of bay leaves as well as chopped celery, and dried parsley. I let it cook on low overnight and then drain out all the veggies. I put the chicken into a bowl. I then pour the broth into jars and put it in the refrigator so that the fat comes to the top. I skim off the fat and then the broth is ready to eat or use for soup with the chicken and other items. I have my turkey carcuss in a pot on the stove right now, simmering away. I will freeze that broth for future use.

Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving.

keesh said...

These are great ideas! My Mom always had me pop a pill anytime I had any sort of ailment! I am now totally opposite. I only take something if I have to and I am not nearly as sick as i use to be. I use to get sick so often and so easily...
I am a firm believer in flushing your body by drinking lots of water. I think that helps.

Garry said...

You might be interested in this story, which says that the reason influenza peaks during the winter months is related to vitamin D deficiency - folks don't get out in the sunlight enough during the cold weather.