Saturday, March 26, 2011

Natural Remedies - Bronchitis

I recently had a 48-hour flu and then when I was feeling better I got bronchitis.  I had a wonderful friend that brought me over some homemade, organic soup and it was so good!  Below are the natural remedies I took the past week and I'm glad to say its been 6 days with bronchitis and I'm almost completely better!  Here is what I used:

  • Echinacea - as soon as you start to even feel a cold/cough, etc coming on start taking echinacea.  I took 3 doses per day, which was a dropperful for each dose mixed in a tiny amount of water and shot down.   You need to get the correct echinacea, one with BOTH the purpurea (whole plant) and augustifolia (root).  Sometimes it is sold under the name "Premium Echinacea" but you can always make certiain by looking on the back for the blend.
  • Astragalus (Astragalus Membranaceus)- you can actually take this everyday, not just when you are sick, to strengthen your immune system.  For this illness, I took 2-3 doses a day, which a dose is one dropperful.
  • Raw Organic Garlic - garlic is a natural antibiotic, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, etc.  It is awesome stuff and you can ingest some everyday for good health.  For this illness, I swallowed 1-2 cloves a day.  I simply mince a clove and put it in my mouth, throw some water in and swallow - don't chew!
  • Eucalyptus Steam Bath - this is for not only pain relief in the sinus/bronchial tubes but it will prevent you from getting bacterial bronchitis.  Eucalyptus inhibits the growth of bacteria and its even used in public saunas.  It not only will help coat your airways and prevent bacterial growth, it soothes and feels so good!  You simply bring 4-6 cups of water to a rolling boil on the stove, remove from heat and let sit for about a minute or till the bubbles go down. Then, add 3-4 drops of eucalyptus oil and get under there with a towel for 10 minutes.  It feels awesome!
  • Neti-Pot or Nasal Douching - This is your best friend!  I use the neti-pot every morning I have a cold or in this instance for bronchitis.  It cleared out my nasal cavities, got rid of that terrible nasal dripping in the back of my throat by loosening it all up and expelling out.  If you don't have a neti-pot, you can do what my mom does and mix some salt/baking soda in warm water and then cup your hand get some and inhale it and spit it out your mouth.  I didn't like that way and I prefer the neti-pot's ease.  I did this every morning and not sure what I would have done without - probably been really miserable with nasal congestion and the dripping ugh!  A few years ago, I used to take nasal decongestants, such as Sudafed but my doctor told me NO MORE Sudafed EVER!  He hates the stuff and I can see why - its messes with you.  Anyway, since then, I've not needed a nasal decongestant because the neti-pot does it without the harmful effects that the drugs give you.
  • Vitamin C - this is a must to help you get better and build your defenses.  I was taking 2000-5000mg per day while I was sick but the form of vitamin c I had on hand was just too strong for my throat so I switched to some pure vegetable/fruit juice with extra vitamin c.  I would suggest if you have a sore throat or bronchitis to not use vitamin c in ascorbic acid powder but rather Ester-C.
  • Warm Water - at least 64oz of water a day and seems like warm, not cold or hot, worked best for me.  Also I added organic lemon juice to my water sometimes.
  • L-lysine - most won't need this but whenever I get sick, I tend to break out in cold sores on my lips.  I felt one coming on but quickly swallowed 1000mg of L-lysine and it never progressed thankfully.  I try and take this whenever I feel one tingling or when I'm sick, for prevention.

The next two are not natural but over-the-counter remedies that I feel are safe and work and benefits far outweigh the risk with bronchitis.

  • Guaifenesen - this is an expectorant for when you are having productive coughs.  It helps loosen the mucus and thin bronchial secretions to get your bronchial passageways clear and make your coughs more productive.  400mg every 4 hours when you have mucus in your chest/bronchials.
  • Dextromethorphan - this is hard to find but its there if you look for it.  Usually they have a store-brand, but make sure you only get this ingredient and not this and something else.  Kroger/Fred Meyer has a store-brand.  This is for those dry coughs at night or whenever that would cause more irration/damage to the bronchials if you didn't suppress them.  This is not for the productive coughs that are generally in the morning.  I took this when I felt that I was dry coughing way too much and my bronchials were burning to the point I thought if I don't stop the cough it will do more harm than good.  Generally you take it every 6 hours, but I only needed it on 2 nights.

Remedies I didn't try:

  • Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)- I tried to find this locally but couldn't.  This was what I wanted to try for my coughs instead of the above 2 OTC choices.  It does BOTH jobs - it works as an expectorant and suppressant.  I plan on trying this next time I get a problem with cough/bronchitis.  

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Friday, March 11, 2011

My Hair Care Regime

You can read my previous post from on hair care here and then there is also a series of "My Hair Story".   Someone had asked about hair care tips, so I thought I would do another post on it.  You can click on the first link above and basically still do the same thing I have done for years with my straight hair, except I do curl it LESS now than I did years ago.

It's not just wash, condition and go - you have to be gentle with your hair and even rubbing your hair with a towel can damage it, cause frizz, etc.  Here is my hair cleaning regime:

Shampoo mostly concentrating on the scalp and using the suds for the ends; Rinse.  Condition with half-palm size of conditioner only from ears down!  I don't use conditioner on my scalp or above my ears.  I then very gently put the conditioner on my ends with my head flipped over.  Then I gently use a wide-toothed comb (I keep one in the shower) from ends up to scalp.  Then I put my hair in a loose bun at the nape of my neck and cover it with a shower cap.  I leave it in the shower cap anywhere from 3-5 minutes.  Then I rinse it out.

When finished, very gently work your hands from scalp to ends squeezing with your hands - don't twist or rub.  Then I flip my hair over in the shower and squeeze from scalp to ends again to remove excess water.  Then I put the towel over my hair and it give it a twist to secure it on top and wear it for about 5 minutes.

Next, I take a wide-toothed comb and fluff my roots up, then comb my hair gently and it glides straight through - because remember, I combed it with conditioner in the shower so its not tangled.  Then I let it air-dry and depending upon humidity in the house, it usually takes anywhere from 2-3 hours and sometimes its dry enough to walk out the door at 1 1/2 hours, just damp underneath.

You can read about the coconut oil treatments here.  I do those just monthly now or whenever I curled my hair to prevent breakage.  I still clarify my hair about twice a month with Suave's Daily Clarifying Shampoo.  This is to remove buildup from my shampoo/conditioner that is inevitable.

Most people don't think about how they sleep on their hair damages it. I always throw my hair back behind my pillow and I also taught my daughter to do this and she does it every night - its a habit for her now.  It also keeps my hair looking good for the next day and I don't have to wash but every other day.

I comb and go - I no longer use ANY styling products!  I don't use any hairspray, silicone sprays, gels, NOTHING!  Just shampoo/conditioner......and my hair's natural state is allowed to flourish without all these added products.  I also never blow-dry anymore.  There were a few times I did but only in emergencies lol.  I refuse to put my hair through that because the damage is so great.

I also don't use a flat iron - I don't need to because my hair is naturally straight now that the perm is grown out.  The only curling iron I use is the one I told you about in the other post - the heat is so low, I can hold my hand on the iron and it will never burn.  Its barely-there heat and it still curls my hair and it lasts till the next day.

My recipe for perfect hair - a good shampoo/conditioner; NO BRUSHING! Just a wide-toothed comb; NO HEAT and NO products with drying ingredients - like alcohol in hairspray.

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