I find this time of year particularly stressful - not because it is Christmas and all the extra work this brings, not because I have started a new business and I am trying to figure out how to get more footfall into my shop and onto my website, but because it's that time of year when there is always a child at school getting struck down with the winter vomiting bug and whole host of other snot inducing viruses.
Those of you who know me will be aware of my total vomit phobia, for which I have had quite a lot of therapy!!!(but lets leave that for another time) So how do I keep myself and family bug free?
Before my venture into the world of fashion and creative folk I actually qualified with a BSc Hons in Herbal Medicine and MSc in Public Health Nutrition and since having my first child 8 years ago my skills and knowledge have been in constant use.
Firstly my aim is not to prevent getting colds, because it is virtually impossible to stop yourself from coming into contact with these viruses, but my aim is to keep the immune system as strong as possible and remaining as well as possible whilst your body fights it off and protects itself.
So here are my top tips for keeping well this Christmas
- Eat well - plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, a well balanced diet. I believe it is all about keeping the right balance and boring as it may seem but the governments recommendation on the Eat Well plate are as good as any advice to follow. I absolutely do not recommend fad diets especially those that involve cutting out certain food groups or eating only raw food, pineapples, lemons or cheese!!! Eating should not be stressful, but again I will save that for another blog post.
- Include lots of immune boosting foods in your such as turmeric and garlic as well as Ginger which is great for nausea and tummy troubles so lots of home made soups, stews and curries
- As a herbalist I obviously use herbal tinctures and always have one for the immune system and one for stress made up and in use. My favourite go to herbs that I love to use during this time of year are Elderberry and Elderflower, Thyme and Liquorice, turmeric and of course the most used one I am sure Echinacea. If I am needing something to pick me up and destress I quite often will combine Passionflower, St Johns Wort, Lemon Balm and Vervain.
- A multivitamin could be useful - of course we should all be having a vitamin D supplement in winter, especially important for children. Vitamin supplements should never be a substitute for a balanced diet. Make sure you get a decent good quality brand. The government also provides free vitamins for those on low income via their Healthy Start programme.
- Get some sleep and rest. If you are feeling run down and tired, get some rest it will make you feel stronger in the long run.
Some useful over the counter remedies I find very useful having in the house.
Weleda Cough medicine The herbal elixir is really soothing for irritating coughs and suitable for the family
Bronchostop another cough medicine based on the traditional use of herbal remedies
Sambucol This remedy is an easy to take remedy containing Elderberry. We use this a lot in our house!!
Potters Herbals have a range of medicines and remedies based on traditional use. Not so suitable for small children but great for adults.
Neals Yard Remedies is a great shop selling high quality herbal products and individual tinctures. They also offer great advice as quite often you will find a qualified herbalist working on the shop floor ready to give some advice.
Remember seek the advice of a professional if you are unsure or worried.
It is obviously fine to take over the counter remedies but nothing beats having a consultation with a qualified practitioner who will be able to make a remedy especially for you based on an in depth medical history. They will also be able to advise regarding any contraindications.