Sore Throat, Sniffles & Chills, oh my!

And February was so long
that it lasted into March
-Dar Williams

Blast you sore throat. Slow and insidious. It starts as a slight ache in the tonsil region. “Hmm, perhaps I should not have consumed all that tres leche cake last night.” The next morning it’s worse. Glands swollen, “I’m just tired and need to slow down, self-imposed house arrest.” Day three, it takes enormous effort to hide the grimace every time I attempt to swallow a sip of ginger tea. Bah!

How can this be? I live a relatively sattvic, regimented, routine based life. I color and listen to podcasts, swim laps, eat my fruits and veggies like a good swan. To no avail. Alas, I have succumbed to streptococcus. Sigh, I blame the children, always the children.

Penicillin is the only course of action, or so I am told. I acquiesce (great, now I can’t be a poop donor for those fecal transplants, but that’s okay). Plus, I have my Dad wagging his finger in my face telling me to get tested, for if left undiagnosed, strep can do permanent damage to the kidneys and other vital organs. His friend had to have a kidney transplant due to the coccus gram-positive bacteria migrating south, valid argument. Needless to say, between feeling like death and these scare tactics, it didn’t take much persuading to get me to the Northwestern Immediate Care Clinic. It hurt to sleep. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (click for entertainment) to do the math. If I cannot sleep, how will my body fight this infection?

Yes, I could have taken better preventative measures. Gargling with sea salt and turmeric each night and not letting the wee ones stick their chubby little hands in my comestibles. Then, just maybe, I would be strep-free. To quote Chicago native John Mulaney, “Who’s to say?”

So what to do with this card I’ve been dealt? My get-well strategy= A marriage of Western and Eastern Medicine. 10 day course of antibiotics and a medley of Ayurvedic home remedies.

Sore Throat Therapies:
Turmeric + Salt Gargle- Mix equal parts turmeric and salt in a glass ( ½ tsp each into 8 oz water), add warm water, dissolve, gargle. This mixture can be used both morning and night. Turmeric is great to help with inflammation or swelling, while salt works to sweep away any bacteria you may have ingested during the day. Salt is one of the best expectorants, meaning it helps get the phlegm up and out.

*Fun Tip- Coarse/chunky sea salt whirled in the food processor with ground turmeric makes a beautiful homogenized powder that can be stored in a glass spice jar in the bathroom. I used to keep salt and turmeric in a mason jar, but it separates. Turmeric on top, salt on the bottom. No amount of shaking could balance the ratio to my satisfaction. Problem solved. Love you Cuisinart.

Eating Frozen Berries- Cherries, wild Maine Blueberries and raspberries are my berries of choice. The ice cold orbs help to sooth my inflamed throat, while the berries’ antioxidant and blood building abilities help beef up my immune system. Rumor has it that Gandhi once said that cherries create the sensation of bliss. Accurate quote or not, I think it’s true, they make me sublimely happy. Yes, Michigan!

Lime Water- Drink warm or room temperature lime water upon waking. I’ve been told that the action of the lime is similar to that of soap, while the water works to give the system a flush. Lime is also an expectorant. If there is mucus or congestion, you may find yourself hacking up loogies, which is a good thing. Lemon works for the other days, but lime juice is not quite as heating as lemon, and it’s a better expectorant.

Hydrate- Drink up to half your body weight in ounces, per day, to send those bugs packing.

Raw Honey– Honey is one of the crowning jewels in Earth’s medicine chest. To name a few, honey is classified as a demulcent (relieves inflammation), expectorant (aids in the clearing of mucus), nutritive (nourishing) and antibiotic (prevents bacterial infections). A scoop of raw honey is basically a balm for the throat. Ahhh!

Increase honey’s superpowers by adding turmeric and fresh cracked black pepper. The turmeric will bring down inflammation and the black pepper helps with the efficacy of the turmeric. Make a paste by combining roughly ¼ cup raw honey to 1 tablespoon ground turmeric and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Keep a jar nearby to consume a spoonful whenever the throat begins to bark.

Peppermint Tea- Clears the head and sinuses, has an analgesic (pain relieving) nature and boosts emotional harmony.

Foods to Avoid- Refrain from consuming dairy, namely ice cream, yogurt and cheese. These chilled dairy products are mucus manufacturers, which will only serve to intensify the sore throat (think post-nasal drip prevention).

Yoga Postures for a Sore Throat-

Bhramari Pranayama (Humming Breath)- Sometimes called bumble bee breath, the vibrations from the humming are said to soothe the nervous system and is considered a form of sound therapy. Beneficial for the thyroid and throat region. Do up to ten cycles, it’s fun.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=onQiVRq8WLA

Eucalyptus/Epsom Salt Baths- I saved the best for last. Immerse yourself in a divine Epsom soak. The minerals will help draw out any impurities while the eucalyptus inevitably works to boost the spirits. Sweat it out and relax the muscles. Eucalyptus not only opens the mind and senses, but it also helps clear the lungs and remove phlegm. It’s become common knowledge that eucalyptus is extraordinarily beneficial for dissolving depression and negative thoughts. I’ll admit I’ve been a bit whiny these past few days, poor Ren. More eucalyptus!

Try one, try them all. Hope this helps you and your loved ones navigate a healthy February.

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