If you read my original post about Dealing with a Spring Cold in 2016, you'll know I wrote it in the throes of just such a headcold, and with much timely and relevant advice. Here is an updated version, with some additional links and tips.
So you've come down with a cold. Now, some people might argue that the occasional cold is actually exercise for your immune system and I agree, to a point. Past that point, well, pass the remedies. There are limits to how much discomfort I'm willing to endure for the sake of my lymphocytes practicing tactical maneuvers.
Here are my tried and true steps for "Dealing with a Spring Cold" when it hits you hard and fast like that last nor'easter. Yes, there are LOTS of herbal things you can do to help move things along. But even without a medicinal herb in the house, you can still support yourself through your cold.
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I know you don't feel like it. But the ONLY way to get past this is to encourage your lymph system to get immune cells in, and trash out.
-Take a hot showers
-Use a netti pot
-dry yourself briskly!
-snuggle into warm clothes
2. Take Stock and Make Stock
Start making hot water, on the stove or in a crock pot, and a tea kettle. I am forever freezing chicken bones and this is the time to use them. Dig around in your fridge and freezer to see what you might add to that hot water. If you were thinking ahead, you may have some veggie ends like carrot tips and celery butts and parsley stems frozen against a future soup, in which case toss it all the pot with the bones. Otherwise, just the bones will do fine, with some salt and a wee splash of vinegar. And a few seaweed leaves, if you have them. Then just put the pot on low with a lid and forget about it until tomorrow.
Like #1 up there, keeping your lymph moving and thin is super extra important now, so we need to stay hydrated and warm. With that hot tea kettle water from #2, make yourself some tea- I keep it easy with instant dandelion or ginger tea, or one of these mushroom lattes that help your immune function and are DELICIOUS. Also, dig out that container of miso you forgot about in the back of your fridge (I'll share other ways to enjoy miso some other time) and drop a spoonful in a second mug. Add a sprinkle of kelp and poof- you have soup. Drink up.
4. Feed a cold, starve a fever
Here's my take on this saying, really one of the only thowbacks our culture has left of a traditional medicine system. Colds are low-grade attacks on our bodies, and we pull out all the stops to fight it- mucus to trap and drain, fatigue to conserve energy, aches as destroyed cells pile up in our lymph glands. An army fights on its stomach, so if yours is calling for fuel, go for it.
Keep in mind, you are working HARD to fight this off, and it takes energy to digest food into that fuel. Choose simple, nutrient-dense, easy to digest options, which are primarily soft, long cooked, and uncomplicated foods. Soups, stews, roasted vegetables, eggs, applesauce, porridges- you know, the really healthy stuff. Dairy, sugar, large quantities of grains, raw foods will all use too many resources or actually feed the bacteria causing the cold. Help your body out.
If you reach fever stage, I believe your body is throwing all available energy at raising your temperature to basically cook your illness right out of you. Support that with hydration, warm clothes, lots of simple resting, and fasting as you feel you need it. Now's the time to really check in and see what you're up for and in need of. It'll take your stock from #2 at least 24 hours to simmer into a mineral-rich broth that will feed your depleted immune system, so nap your way till then.
Don't be surprised if you sleep for 12 hours or more. Don't be surprised when I suggest you go to bed before it's dark out. Give yourself the chance to recover. Just do it, please!
6. Recovery wasn't done in a day
Our culture does NOT value convalescence. But I do! And I get it, it's hard to all for recovery when we're so pressed with obligations and responsibilities from all sides. But if you keep your energy output to 70% MAX for at least 2 days after you start feeling better, you'll actually be able to recover to at least your pre-cold energy levels in record time.
A woman was recently telling me about a strange rash she developed on her upper back. After a few rounds of doctor visits, she was finally told that it was coming from a virus that gave her an upper respiratory issue 3 months prior to the rash! Enough people had had the hacking cough AND didn't actually recover from it, leading to identical rashes on the outside of their lungs months later, that the local physicians were recognizing the symptoms- and recommending steroids. I recommend recovering fully in the first place.
Drink your broth, make it into vegetable soup, eat your simple foods, allow for more time to do routine things, take naps, and when your symptoms start to recede start the clock- you still need at least 2 days of this easier pace to be well again.