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Managing allergies and colds in the time of isolation

by Stacey Kaplan LAc, LMT


I hope you're keeping healthy and well! It's Spring! There are beautiful buds popping out on tree branches, bushes and coming up from the ground. Inevitably, that can mean allergies being kicked up for many of us. Here are some at-home remedies to keep at home during this time, and beyond, to help keep your isolation pod thriving.

Daily lifestyle choices are the best way to bolster your immunity:
Drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Get some light exercise daily.
Make sure you're getting to sleep at night, and eating well throughout the day.
Wash your hands many times a day.
Make some deliberate quiet time for yourself every day. Whether that's mediation, sitting quietly, reading a book that uplifts you or listening to an inspirational podcast, set aside time to do something that connects you to yourself. I know this can be challenging while social distancing at home with kids, roommates, family or by yourself, but try to commit to this for your own sanity and for those around you.
If symptoms do come up, here are some of my go-to's that help me stay healthy:

1. Oil of oregano. This is my go-to for any time I feel a little scratchiness in my throat or some sinus congestion creeping in. It is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, it basically helps fight all the bad stuff. The brand matters here, there are a lot of brands that are not meant for internal use out there, I use "North American Herb & Spice" brand, "Oil of Wild Oregano, Oreganol" ( . It is oil of oregano mixed with olive oil. Start with one drop under your tongue as needed, it is an extremely intense sensation in your mouth, so have some water near by if you need to wash it down. Once you're ok with it, you can let 2 drops dissolve under your tongue a couple times a day when you're feeling symptoms, or just once a day as maintenance.

2. Fresh grated ginger and peppermint tea. I always keep some fresh ginger at home, it has so many wonderful medicinal uses. Brew a cup of peppermint tea and grate (it must be grated here, not just cut up) about a half inch of peeled ginger into the tea. Let sit for about 5 mins before drinking, but do drink it warm. This is great for sinus pressure and headaches, especially due to allergies.

3. Eucalyptus steam. Keep a bottle of pure eucalyptus essential oil around to help keep your sinuses open. For a steam, boil a pot of water, add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil and with a towel draped loosely over your head, breathe in the steam from hot water and eucalyptus. Do this multiple times a day if your sinuses are clogged, for a couple minutes at a time. You can also diffuse eucalyptus oil throughout your home, or mix it with a lotion or oil for a DIY chest rub.

4. Thieves essential oil blend. I use an essential oil blend called Thieves which has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal properties. It is great to diffuse in your home to clean the air, add a couple drops to water as a mouth wash, also great for toothaches. Clove essential oil works great for everyday tooth aches as well. These must be the highest quality essential oils, as you are taking them internally. I am happy to talk more details about which brands are safe for internal use if you're interested, just let me know.

5. Coconut oil pulling. Swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20mins a day has big benefits. It kills bacteria, soothes inflammation and can have other health benefits. Measure out about a tablespoon of coconut oil, swish that around in your mouth for 15-20mins (you can start with 5mins and work your way up), then spit it out into the garbage (not your sink or toilet). Rinse with water afterward. This can also double as a great excuse to take that quiet time, since you can't talk while you're swishing!

I am happy to talk more in depth about any of these tips, please reach out any time!

If there are specific topics you'd like me to address, please let me know. I will do my best send out tips and suggestions that I think will be helpful through this crazy time. Please know that I am thinking about you and am looking forward to connecting in person again soon!