by Anna Scofield, L.Ac., Dipl.OM
Okay, here we are mid-way through the winter and the light is beginning to return! If you’re family is anything like mine, we have had our fair share of bugs to ward off this season, mostly yucky, phlegm producing viruses, with an occasional upset tummy thrown in the mix.
Phlegmy viruses need to run their course, but can definitely be shortened or alleviated with a few herbal allies. First of all, if your little is (or maybe it’s you!) producing snot in copious amounts, it’s time to ramp up the body’s natural defenses. I’ll lay out a handful of helpful suggestions to get you out of the tissue aisle of Safeway and on your way to a full, snot-free recovery.
- Skip the sugar! Viruses, like us, love the stuff. It temporarily stuns our immune system, which means we are giving them a better chance of thriving, not what we want.
- Ramp up the good guys! Introduce probiotic rich foods during this time. Sauerkraut, kimchi, and other fermented foods are loaded with probiotic goodness, the virus-zapping, healthy bacteria in our gut.
- Lay low! This may seem obvious, but even dragging kids out and about on our normal errands can be too much for a little one battling a new challenge to their immune system. Stay home, let them rest with some favorite toys and books, the bug will likely pass faster.
- Try making congee. Chinese medicine suggests that we recover faster when our digestive system is given easily digestible foods, as we can utilize more of our energy fighting the cold than digesting food. Congee, or rice porridge, is ideal for this. Make rice in the normal way, but with a 6:1 ratio of water to rice, then cook it on low for an hour or so. Add in ginger, garlic, turmeric, or cinnamon (whatever flavor combo that suits your fancy); all are cold-busting, herbal heavy hitters. Win! My kiddo actually loves this with ginger, cinnamon, and a handful of blueberries.
- Go dairy free! This last one is specific to Chinese Medicine. In our theory, dairy products contribute to phlegm, meaning that if you splurge on a pizza night mid-cold, it may be more likely you’ll be keeping the tissues around longer.
There are many more options to consider, and of course, this will not help everyone. This is just a quickie go-to guide in hopes that it may help get your family feeling better faster.