Healing Home Remedies for Winter Ailments
by Valerie Gennari Cooksley, RN

Soothe your winter cold and flu symptoms with some of nature’s most pleasurable remedies. The secret to the effectiveness of these feel good remedies are in the way they work together to create powerful home treatments that are safe, natural, and aromatic.
Creating your own “Healing Home Spa” offers the opportunity to heal while enjoying life’s simple pleasures while taking responsibility for one’s personal health and well-being.
How do the pleasure principles work together with natural healing elements? The aromatic bath treatment is a combination of warm water (hydrotherapy), inhalation and skin absorption of essential oils (aromatherapy). It also has the benefit of raising the physical body temperature which helps make the immune system more efficient when fighting a cold. By taking a hot bath with these essences you are encouraging the body to do what it knows how to do naturally!
The early signs of a cold also include a scratchy throat, nasal congestion, slight fever, mild headache, and a general feeling of being unwell. Colds typically reach their peak within 2 or 3 days’ time. You will find prevention and early treatment are the best approach to cold symptoms.
Essential oils most helpful with colds are those that have antiseptic and anti-viral properties as well as immuno-stimulant and anti-catarrhal effects. There are numerous essential oils that are effective against colds. Some effective anti-cold aromatics are basil, cedarwood, eucalyptus, ginger, hyssop, lemon, niaouli, peppermint, pine, ravensare, rosemary and tea tree.
Cold and Flu Relief Synergy: 4 drops Hyssop essential oil; 3 drops Rosemary essential oil; 3 drops Peppermint essential oil; 3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil; 3 drops Lemon essential oil. Combine theses essential oils in a small amber bottle. There is a total of 16 drops in this recipe.
For a full body spa soak, you can mix 8 drops of the Cold and Flu Relief Synergy in a cup of baking soda and pour into a hot bath. Soak for at least 20 or 30 minutes. Dry yourself completely and wrap up in a cotton terry bathrobe or blanket and rest for a half hour or more. This cold treatment may encourage you to sweat and raise your body temperature. Viruses and bacteria are very sensitive to body temperature.
Drink more fluids, especially diluted fresh fruit and vegetable juices, herb teas and plenty of pure water. Avoid dairy products that promote mucous production. Eat spicy foods such as horseradish, cayenne pepper, garlic, onions and ginger, which are all anti-bacterial. Herbal medicine has much to offer in treating the common cold. Herb teas, herb capsules, and herbal tinctures can be used to treat colds. These include herbs such as astragalus, calendula, echinacea, elderberry, ginger root, goldenseal, garlic, olive leaf, peppermint and sage.
For an extremely effective steam inhalation treatment simply place 3 or 4 drops of essential oils (Cold and Flu Relief Synergy recipe given above) in a bowl of hot water. With a large towel over head, and holding your head approximately eight inches from the water level, form a tent under which to breathe the vapors. Perform this while breathing deeply for five minutes or longer. Do at least 2 or 3 treatments per day, especially the first day of onset of symptoms, for best results.
For a simple case of a sore throat that may be caused by local irritation, trauma or overuse, a pure and easy-to-prepare throat gargle will be sufficient, especially at the onset of a sore throat. By gargling with this recipe, or simply rinsing the mouth and throat with salt water and lemon throughout the day, you will have an excellent chance to stop any further symptoms from occurring.
Simple Sore Throat Gargle: 1 cup Sage herb tea or water; 1 Tablespoon fresh Lemon juice; 1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar; 1 teaspoon Sage Honey or plain honey; 2 drops Geranium essential oil; 1 drop Ginger essential oil. Brew 1 cup Sage herbal tea or use hot water. Add lemon juice and apple cider. Add essential oils to the honey and mix well before adding to herb tea liquid. Gargle with this recipe for 1 to 2 minutes, several times per day. For optimal freshness prepare daily or store in the refrigerator.
To fight a cold is easier said than done, as many of us do not want to slow down to heal, but that is what it takes. Getting more rest, taking hot aromatic baths and frequent hand washing to prevent spread and re infection is old, but timely advice. Work on lowering your stress levels and do what you can do minimize its’ affect upon you. You hold the key to healing by enjoying nature’s pleasant, life-affirming remedies.
Valerie Cooksley, RN is a best-selling author of several natural health books, including her newest publication Healing Home Spa (Prentice Hall Press; 2003; $19.95). She is a holistic nurse and president of Flora Medica and Co-founder of the Institute of Integrative Aromatherapy. Visit Valerie at www.floramedica.com.