Nicola Raimbert – Osteopath

It’s that time of year again. Frosty mornings, wet days and everyone’s a little run down from the end of term. 

Ahead are 7 little tricks that I personally use at home every year to keep my family well and care for them when they do get under the weather. If you’re going to try these – get the best and freshest quality ingredients that you can find – the active compounds in them will be much more potent!

1. Get a good nights sleep. Sleep is when our body rests and recuperates. When we don’t get enough of it, our immune systems ability to function drops dramatically. Common sense I know, but so many of us today are burning the candle at both ends. Aim for 7-9 hours.

2. Immune supplements. I’m not typically one to recommend supplements. However, as a mum of three with a very irregular sleep pattern, I’ve found taking an immune boosting supplement helpful the last 6 months. Mine contains Tumeric, Garlic, Vitamin C and Echinacea. Tall told, these power houses contain anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anti-microbial properties that give your immune system a real kick. A little extra note on Echinacea – it really does need to be taken preventatively, rather than as acute management to be most effective. 

3. Raw Garlic. Bare with me here, I know it doesn’t sound pleasant. But if you’re starting to get a little tickle at the back of your throat or a few sniffles, it’s not too late. Get some raw garlic into you asap. It works like an absolute charm. I chop up 1 clove finely, add it to 100ml of water and down it like a shot. It burns on the way down but it’ll give your immune system a real boost! I always find it works best on an empty stomach. You might say that you cook with a lot of garlic – but cooked garlic is no where near as potent. 

For your little ones, marinate the garlic in olive oil, rub their feet with olive oil, then apply the garlic to their feet and wrap them up with gladwrap and socks over the top. It increases circulation through the body, helping your immune system to fight any mild viral or bacterial infections 

4. Essential oils. Once one family member has the sniffles it’s easy for the whole family to catch on. Try using an oil burner with pure essentials of tea tree or eucalyptus oil (both are antimicrobial) to help purify the air in your home. Cutting an onion into quarters and placing it in a few different spots around the home can also help as it absorbs a lot of the bacteria in the air. 

5. Heat compresses. If a sore throat or chesty cough has taken hold, try using a heat compress. Apply a cool damp cloth to the area (chest or around the throat), cover it well with glad wrap, then wear lots of warm layers or a scarf around your neck. Leave it on for about 2 hours. The cool cloth prompts the body to increase blood supply to the area, bringing with it all your kick ass white blood cells to fight off the bad guys. You’ll soon find yourself coughing up a bit of gunk and detoxifying your body.

6. Lemon, ginger, turmeric and honey teas. Who doesn’t love a good cuppa on a cold morning when it’s filled with anti-inflammatories, antioxidants and anti-microbial compounds as well as a good dose of Vitamin C. Honey has also been shown to act as a cough suppressant and soothe sore throats. 

7. Open the window – I know it’s cold and wet out there in winter, but opening the windows and letting the fresh air, even for 10 minutes, really helps to improve the air quality in your home by clearing out all the bugs the family have been coughing, sneezing and generally spreading around. If it’s too cold to do it when you’re home, leave them open when you pop out to the shops.