This entire past week I was knocked out with bronchitis. Coughing, more like hacking, away all darn week long. For two days straight I ran a low grade fever that spiked to 101 at one point, but not for very long. I was thankful when I got the fever, because I knew that meant my body was working this thing out. Getting a fever is actually a good sign your body is up for handling the illness. I am more and more inclined to just let a fever run it’s course anymore without trying to stop it by taking medication. It can be a difficult thing to do when one is feeling all achey and out of it, but the fever is there for a reason. It is accomplishing very important things in our bodies. Looking to the wisdom of older generation doctors, doctors who had the best of both worlds, traditional wisdom and honoring the body, along with medical knowledge in case of serious situations, you’d hear them say don’t try and prevent a fever. If you do, you will get sicker more quickly and it could be worse the next time. A fever is one of the body’s immune responses that attempt to neutralize a bacterial or viral infection, they slow down pathogens. Our bodies are created to take care of these illnesses all on their own. Just like when you get a cut, your body gets to work right away to clot the blood and repair the tear from the inside out. Fever reduction actually suppresses the immune system. So why are we so quick to stop any sign of a fever in this day and age? Good question.
Something I learned this week, is that acute illness, such as what I suffered with, is actually a good thing. Without acute illness from time to time our bodies can’t release toxins and then the stage for chronic illness is set. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly don’t want to get sick often with colds and such, but think about it a cold is your body’s way of showing you it is working to protect and heal you. When your body can’t generate acute illness then you could be in trouble. Often times cancer patients will not have had a cold in years, simply because their immune systems are no longer working well for them. I now think letting acute illness run it’s course may be very important to overall health. I just think in this day and age we are in such a hurry to keep going that we don’t take the time to slow down and let our bodies heal us when we get sick. Instead, pills are popped, medicines and antibiotics are taken and we are defeating the purpose of the illness to begin with. I think we’d be a lot healthier in this society with a lot less recurring infections and illnesses if we would honor our bodies right to heal. Rest, time and some simple home remedies are most often all a sick body needs!!
On a another note, I had several people ask me, or even tell me, if I was taking antibiotics or that I needed to. Ugh. We are so conditioned to think, or to fear even, any sickness that is unpleasant needs to be rushed away by antibiotics. There is also a complete ignorance in this day and age to the detriments of antibiotic use on the body. I for one, would rather be drug through mud by my hair than take an antibiotic. In the winter of 2008, I was VERY ill and extremely stressed out. Against my better judgement, I did take an antibiotic to clear up the nasty infection I had at the time. Maybe back then I needed some help clearing it up as my body was not in good shape and my immune system was in a weakened state. But, oh the repercussions that antibiotic had on my body!!
I had severe issues that I won’t describe here, for a LONG time. I am still trying to recover from the damage of having all my good gut flora eradicated from my body. Remember the gut flora is the seat of your immune system. Don’t be fooled either by thinking that just because you pop some acidophilus pill that you are in the clear when it comes to having healthy gut flora. Most of those supplements don’t even work, or aren’t even alive. Bacteria is alive and to stay alive it has the same needs as many other organisms. Bacteria must obtain food, break the food down, and protect themselves from their environment. Knowing this, I am not sure how bacteria can survive in a capsule or a powder form. I am not saying it is impossible, because I don’t know the science. But knowing how horrible supplements in general are out there in the wide world of consumerism, I’d say don’t place any bets on the probiotic supplements to be of very much value.
The best way to get good bacteria is from fermented foods. That is a lost art in this day and age. People think that eating store bought yogurt is gonna do the trick for them, but that is far from the truth. Store bought yogurt is laden with sugar and other ingredients you don’t want. Their effectiveness at supplying you with good bacteria is slim to none. The best bet is to make your own cultured foods at home. I have of course discussed this a lot before here on my site, as well as have numerous recipes for fermented foods. I have also just begun to make my own cultured dairy products such as kefir, yogurt, and buttermilk. Honestly, nothing could be easier than making these wonderfully alive foods. (I’ll be sure to post more on this in the future!)
At the earliest point of my illness I chose to take a cough medicine. I simply could NOT stand all the coughing. It didn’t work, it may have taken a slight edge off of the coughing but that was it. Thankfully, I ran out of the medicine and realized how loaded it was with synthetic ingredients and food dyes. Gross! Why on earth would I want to further poison my body while I am already sick? After all it wasn’t a medication deficiency I had, but most likely a nutrient deficiency. The medicine is never a cure, it’s only a crutch. I did stand in the drug store in the cough medicine aisle on day 3 or 4 thinking if I could just get some relief. But then I looked at all the brightly colored cough syrups and the ingredients and realized how completely stupid it would be to further toxify my body with that junk. I also hadn’t paid much attention to the ingredients in the cough drops I was profusely sucking on. My throat was so dry and I needed to constantly keep it moist, so I automatically kept popping cough drops. It finally dawned on me, that these too where loaded with garbage. Into the trash they went. In the future I will find some natural cough drops or even attempt to make my own.
Just listen to the ingredients in my cough drops. Glucose syrup, eucalyptus oil, flavoring, red no. 40, sucrose and water. Soybean oil used as processing aid. Absolute complete garbage!! What was I thinking?? Now that I have my head on straight, never again will I buy cough drops. Or cough medicine for that matter!!
Those were the things I did wrong while I was sick and not thinking too clearly. However, I did employ a few wonderful home remedies that I think everyone should have in their arsenal when they are down with a cold or bronchitis. Fortunately, I had planned to have lots of homemade stock for the month of August, as I was hoping to incorporate some of the GAPS protocol into my life. Homemade stock is chockful of minerals that the body can easily absorb. ‘A good broth will resurrect the dead’, says an old South American proverb. Check out this wonderful article on why ‘Broth is Beautiful‘ from the Weston A. Price Foundation.
Thankfully, I had 3 different kinds of stock already made up on hand. I had some beef stock, chinese chicken stock and regular chicken stock. I drank a quart a day of the heated stock. The only time I had respite from coughing was after I had drank some of my stock, or my herbal tea loaded with coconut oil and honey. I also made sure to load my stock up with garlic that I had fermented along with the brine, and sometimes some fermented sauerkraut for a good hit of vitamin C. I also took an epsom salts bath every day as another way to easily absorb minerals into my body.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic, and is actually known to be of use in treating respiratory problems. Not that long ago, I had been reminded to consume as much garlic as possible when I came down with a cold. I made a pot of soup with a whole head of garlic in it and consumed it all in a day! Today I will start another batch of chicken stock in the crock pot, as some of my kids are now coughing quite a bit!
Coconut oil also acts like an antibiotic of sorts.The fats in coconut help fight infections of all kinds.Published studies in medical journals show that coconut, in one form or another, may provide a wide range of health benefits. One of the known benefits is that it kills viruses that cause influenza, herpes, measles, hepatitis C, SARS, AIDS, and other illnesses. There are a whole host of other ailments that are known to be greatly helped by the consumption of coconut oil, see an article I wrote on this very subject awhile back.
Lastly, check out this wonderful article entitled, ‘What Most Doctors Won’t Tell You About Colds or Flus‘. Very Apropos!!
That about wraps up all I wanted to share in reflection of having contracted this lovely malady this past week. I hope this post was helpful to others. I am contributing this post to ‘Monday Mania‘ @ The Healthy Home Economist.