I have not been as sick as I am right now in years. Six years to be exact. I remember the dates because Tami and I were on our honeymoon in southern Spain and I was suffering miserably with a cold, sinus infection and cough. We weren’t yet “woke” health-wise, were relying on middle school Spanish and were staying in a very isolated time-share hotel that only had Chapstick, pretzels and condoms in the store, if that’s what you want to call it. To boot, Tami was also low-key freaking out because she was in another country with this woman she just married. Of course, she didn’t tell me that little tidbit until several months later.
It’s sad, but we’ll always remember our honeymoon as a pretty crappy experience. So it shall also be of Thanksgiving 2016, the first holiday we celebrated in our new ATL home. Same symptoms. Same misery. Added bonus of an equally sick child. At least this time, Tami’s sure that I’m a keeper.
Because I never, ever want to forget, because I can’t think clearly when I’m sick and because everything lives on the internet forever, here is my cold protocol:
• Tea: Eyebright and Chamomile (1 cup, 3+ times per day)
• Tincture: Blend equal parts Echinacea, Elecampane, Elderberry, and Calendula (1 dropperful every 2 hours)
• Decoction: Elderberry, Echinacea, Clove, Cinnamon, Calendula, Eyebright, Hibiscus and Osha
• Garlic: Chewed raw with food, (1 clove, 5+ times per day or as much as your stomach can tolerate)
• Add 1/8-1/4 tsp each of Ginger and Cayenne Pepper to hot honey-lemon water
• Add 1/8-1/4 tsp each of Turmeric and Cayenne Pepper to hot soup
• Incorporate adaptogenic herbs like reishi to resist stress and help the body return to its normal state.
• Warming foods: soups, broths, anything Indian (yum)
• Avoid sugar, coffee, fruit juices, dairy and alcohol (unless it’s whiskey for a Hot Toddy)
• Infused water with lemon and cucumber
• Swallow spoonfuls of raw, organic honey throughout the day
Find the balance between resting and getting in enough gentle movement throughout the day so that the lymphatic system remains stimulated. With the assistance of the immune system, the lymph nodes neutralize and eliminate poisons, bacteria or infectious microbes that may be present. What cannot be neutralized in the nodes is carried by the lymph to the liver, colon, lungs, skin, bladder and kidneys to be eliminated from the body. There is no pump to move the lymph like the heart pumps the blood. Lymph moves by stimulation through movement and exercise, also by the electro-magnetic energy system of the body.
• Take a walk outside for the fresh air.
• Beginner Yoga: Forward fold, Downward Dog, Child’s Pose, Cat and Cow, slow Sun Salutations.
• Advanced Yoga: For immediate relief of sinus congestion, pressure, pain or headache, do a headstand or get into wheel pose for 5-10 deep breaths or as long as you can safely hold the pose. Use the assistance of a wall or ask someone to spot you. If the last time you did a headstand or a backbend was when you were in the 5th grade, then ignore this suggestion entirely. Safety first. Don’t call me talkin’ ‘bout “I hurt my neck!”
• Jala Neti – The process of cleaning the nasal passages with salt water.
• Pour eucalyptus or lavender into an essential oil diffuser.
• Sleep with a humidifier to help relax the bronchioles.
• Hot facial steams with essential oils to loosen congestion.
Spend some time reflecting on the questions: “Why do I need to be sick right now?” and “What’s my pattern of illness?”
Circling back to our honeymoon, we weren’t nearly as herbally equipped as we are today. I’m pretty sure we relied solely on Campari and orange juice (2 for 1 happy hours!) to relieve my symptoms while traversing Spain. It goes without saying that it wasn’t very effective and the infection just ran its course.
Then much like now, but with way more intention and wisdom, I’m supporting my body, but also surrendering to the natural healing process. It’s given me a great deal of time to think about the timing and deeper meaning of being this sick and uncomfortable.
Our honeymoon was the culminating event of a series of major transitions. In that same year, not only had Tami and I gotten married, she started a new job and we purchased and moved into our Brooklyn apartment. Big year. Six years later and we can clearly see the similarities.
The emotional accumulation of the last year is literally pouring out of me. It’s a challenge for me to express all feelings in the moment (there are just so many). I like remaining calm and analytical. Most things don’t actually bother me, and when they do, I’m aware and I do take time to process, but not too much time. I just like to keep moving forward, gain the spiritual insight and get back to feeling peaceful. As quickly as possible please.
Our process of moving from Brooklyn to Atlanta was down right maddening and long, lasting over a year. I’m realizing I internalized a lot of that emotional stress. I was so determined to stay positive, grounded and patient that I allowed little else in (or out). Unchecked, unrealized, unprocessed emotions always find expression in the body, be it through pain or illness. I’m receiving a lesson to remember and instead of rushing through it, I’m allowing it unfold with gratitude. Even as I type and acknowledge the huge transformations that have taken place in the last year, the congestion is loosening and my breath flows a little more easily than it did moments ago.