Has a cold or sinus infection got you down and out? One of our bodies most effective and important tools for beating a cold or the flu is sleep. However when the symptoms strike and you become congested sometimes sleep can be very hard to get! I have compiled a list of some of my favourite effective natural treatments to clear congestion.
1) Steam inhalation + eucalyptus essential oil
This treatment warms the mucosa (the inner lining of the respiratory tract) bringing blood flow to the area which helps to encourage decongestion and expectoration.
Boil water and transfer hot water to a bowl. Add several drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Eucalyptus oil contains a constituent called 1,8 cineole. This compound clears bacteria in the air, helps to break up mucus in the respiratory tract and has also been used as a natural cough suppressant. This compound was found to be effective and safe in the treatment of sinusitis. Place a towel over your head and around the bowl of hot water making a tent over the steam. Inhale the steam + eucalyptus for several minutes or until the steam has stopped rising from the water. Breathe slowly and deeply. Replenish the bowl with boiling water and more eucalyptus. Continue and Repeat for 5-30 minutes up to three times a day. Make sure to NEVER do a steam inhalation over a stovetop, or in a kettle where the water is still actively boiling, there is a high risk of injury or burning the internal structures of the nose and respiratory system.
2) Traditional Hydrotherapy: Wet sock therapy
This ancient but HIGHLY effective hydrotherapy treatment may sound uncomfortable, but trust me it works! It is done by taking a pair of cotton socks and immersing them in cold water. Wring them out so they are not soaking wet, but make sure to keep them wet. Place them on your feet. Put a pair of DRY wool socks over top and go to sleep for the night. In time your body will warm and dry the cotton socks. In doing so it promotes circulation which helps to not only boost the immune system but helps to relieve congestion allowing you to get some extra zzz’s when your sinuses are full. Don’t knock it until you try it (seriously---try it!).
3) Netti Pot- Saline nasal irrigation
You will require a Netti pot for this treatment. The treatment is an infusion of warm, sterile water alone or sterile water plus sea salt. Bringing water to a rolling boil for at least one minute is sufficient enough to sterilize the water. Allow the water to cool to a warm temperature as to not damage the tissue of the nasal passages. Nasal irrigations have been shown to minimize symptoms of sinus congestion and upper respiratory tract infections by clearing away dust, irritants, and excess mucus from the nasal passages. This treatment has also been shown to restore moisture to the mucous membranes as well as speeding healing of inflamed or damaged tissues. This treatment can be performed with sterile water on its own, or sterile water plus 1/4 tsp of non-iodized (sea or Celtic salt).
4) Botanical Medicine
Hydrastis Canadensis is one of the most powerful anti-microbial herbs and is a natural antibiotic. It has been shown to promote immune system function by increasing white blood cells (important cells in mediating the immune response), as well as affecting other aspects of the immune system. This herb not only acts to kill the bacteria causing the infection but also helps support the immune system to fight it off. Echinacea is another herb often used to stimulate the immune system and help support the body in fighting off infection.
Book now for more information. As we approach cold and flu season I encourage you to read about the natural flu shot and how it can help boost your immunity! click here to learn more.