RED Hearts: Natural Flu Fixes

ginger_teaRED Hearts are guest posts on I Heart Daily from the authors of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today. Today’s RED Hearts post is from RED author Zoe Mendelson, 22, in NYC who shares some soothing natural remedies for flu season.Ahh....:

I am not the kind of person who refuses to take an aspirin for a headache. “No, no, I don’t like taking drugs…” I'm all for organic and and the politics of food, including working to launch this journal. But the no-compromise, pharmaceuticals-are-evil people drive me crazy. Medicine has its place. Take the aspirin, dude, your head will almost certainly stop hurting.

I think though, especially in this country, most of us fall on the other end of the spectrum. When we have colds and flus, we think it's normal to pump ourselves full of symptom-masking drugs that often do us more harm than good. Medicines designed to fight congestion dehydrate you. And that mucus is your friend -- it's your body’s natural way of getting the bad germs out of your system. Interrupting the process may not be the best route to getting better. What is? Besides TONS of SLEEP and WATER, here are some of my favorite natural cold and flu remedies:

 Fresh Ginger Tea (pictured). Get some whole ginger, slice it into thin strips, and boil it in water for about a half hour. Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory and soothes nausea/stomach discomfort, too. I like to add lemon -- the vitamin C is good for you, and the citrusy touch feels good on the throat. I scoop out almost an entire lemon. I love the pulp. I also add a little bit of apple cider vinegar, because I love the flavor (but not everyone does). Drink hot with lots of honey.

 Reishi Mushrooms. The Reishi mushroom -- a tree fungus that can be used to make medicinal tea -- is one of those things that the Chinese have known about for a few thousand years and Western science is just beginning to catch onto. These mushrooms are amazing for your immune system and almost every other system in your body. They balance bacteria levels and are even good for alleviating stress. Check out if you want to read the studies. Finding the cure-all fungi may take some hunting down in your nearest Chinatown, but I swear by them. Worth the effort and more.

 Steam Tent. Put a big pot on the stovetop with about three inches of water in it. If you have eucalyptus oil, add a few drops. Boil the water and then turn off the flame. You've cooked yourself some serious relief. Take a towel and put it over your head. Lean over the pot, make a tent with the towel. Insta-steam room. It will make you cough your head off, but it can really clear your head and feels amazing in the end.

RED Hearts guest poster Zoe Mendelson is an author of RED: Teenage girls in America write on what fires up their lives today, which is out in paperback.