Lots of folks lately have had a spring cold that shows up in all kinds of ways like messing up digestion, settling deep in the lungs, and lingering forever. Whether it’s allergies or a full blown flu, it can put a damper on your energy level and day-to-day living.
I recently had a visit from the cough fairy. I paid attention to it because last year at this same time I also had a live-in cough. And last year it didn’t go away until I sat in the warm California sunshine for a quick bake in June. Ever since then, I’ve used Vitamin D medicinally to help support my immune system. This year, I noticed the same cough came back, and it started after I ate something that I had an allergic response to. It started to clear up when I started clearing up my digestion. I took some Bentonite clay daily which soaks up intestinal toxins, and ramped up my vitamin intake.
There’s a question I ask patients: what is your symptom telling you? So I spent some time reflecting on what this sickness was saying. With every coughing bout I noticed how much I was feeling the weight of responsibility on my chest. I had been working loads of hours and every hack was like a shout from my lungs yelling “yikes!!!!!” Simply acknowledging this (whether it was true or just a story) created some relief in my body.
So what are some things I re-learned from my cough? Here are some things to consider if you’re dealing with a lingering mess too:
1) Be gentle with yourself. Have patience with your body’s healing process. We’re processing and doing A LOT every day; recovery can take time.
2) Get lots of rest. Go to bed early. Take a day or two (or longer if possible) to stay inside, away from the elements including wind, rain and pollen, and do as little as possible.
3) Hydrate. Flush your insides with lots of water.
4) Tea love: stimulate circulation with ginger tea and teas like Throat Coat that have licorice in them.
5) Clean out your gut. 70% of our immune system is in our gut. Take a spoonful of bentonite clay daily for a week. Go easy on your digestion with soups and stews.
6) Make spicy onion soup. Onions are good for the lungs. Sautee a couple sliced up onions, and add them to a big pot of broth. Add in cayenne pepper to taste – so that it’s spicy but not unbearable. Throwing in some greens like kale adds some goodness too.
7) Keep the sinuses clear by using a neti pot before bedtime and/or first thing in the morning. Post-nasal drip can trigger a coughing fit, especially while in bed.
8) Check in with what your symptoms are telling you. Exhausted from a long winter? Or is your body asking for you to get out and move? Let yourself be heard.
9) Take a [sunny] vacay. Nab a plane ticket for a long weekend, or spend a day at the beach, or schedule some down time on your deck.
Relaxation is medicine. Here’s to feeling better!