Monday, March 11, 2024

Beat Late Winter Woes, Naturally


Protect yourself from late winter woes

By Cal Orey


As a busy author and one of the many "worried well" I am on guard against pesky colds and flu during late winter. Back in the summer of 1999, I arrived at Tahoe. I finished my first Healing Powers book on vinegar. Then, I penned books such as Doctors' Orders: What 101 Doctors Do to Stay Healthy, and it was followed by the Healing Powers series, nine timeless books on how to put nature’s foods to work to keep healthy mind, body, and spirit. I know too well that good nutrition with a healthful lifestyle is a plan to bolster the immune system. The glitch is, people with a healthy immune system are not immune—but by using chill out secrets they may heal faster if hit with a cold, flu, Covid, or pre-spring allergies.


So, here are ten natural bug-busters that Southern California-based Dr. Ray Sahelian, M.D., recommended to his patients to keep from getting influenza, straight from my book Doctors' Orders. 

1. Drink plenty of fluids. Drinking water, herbal teas, and vitamin C-rich liquids (I like fortified OJ with calcium and vitamin D) can flush out any toxins that you accumulate.

2. Wash your hands frequently. Viruses can be transmitted by shaking someone's hand and then touching your face, nose or mouth. (This is probably the most important strategy. Doctors will tell you too wash with soap and water for about 20 seconds. Yep, I have been doing it.)

3. Eat right.  Medical researchers will tell you there are many disease-fighting antioxidants that have antiviral and antibacterial activity. So eating nutritious fresh fruit and vegetables daily will help keep your immune system strong. Don’t forget fish (I love Alaskan salmon which I get once a week from our butcher at the local Safeway), whole grains (such as oatmeal and fortified cereal like Total), onions and garlic which help stave off winter woes, too.

4. Treat yourself well. "I try to minimize junk food,” said Dr. Sahelian, “but I do succumb to chocolate [the dark stuff contains heart-healthy magnesium) or calcium-rich ice cream once or twice a week," he says. "It's possible that lots of sugar can interfere with the proper functioning of the immune system."

5. Take vitamin C. Most of the research says that it improves the immune system. Personally, I prefer to get the much needed vitamin in a glass of OJ or a whole orange.

6. Take echinacea. This herb is touted to have both antibiotic and immune-stimulating properties. But note, it's best used as a preventive measure before you get the flu.

7. Zinc yourself well... "Zinc lozenges are the most powerful," he says. Zinc is a potent virus-fighters that can cut the time you spend in misery.

8. Drink herbal teas. "Warm liquids help loosen mucus," explains Dr. Sahelian. I recall his story about going to Alaska and he was on a nature tour with a group of people in a van. He did catch a cold. However, drinking green tea helped the good doctor heal fast.

9. Exercise, exercise, exercise. "It helps me sleep more deeply at night. Deep sleep is a time when the immune system has a chance to regroup itself and get revitalized," notes Dr. Sahelian. I agree. So far this winter I haven’t caught the sniffles. I give credit to the endorphin high from my rowing machine and lifting weights.

10. Chill out. By keeping your stress levels down, you can keep your immune system up and healthy. Chillaxing is a challenge for this Type-A author. Recently, I’ve been listening to tunes more to practicing being mindful. I have discovered if I don’t worry about the past or the future and stay in the present it’s a calming place to be.

Germ-Fighting Four Thieves Rx

In the Middle Ages, four robbers in France stole belongings from sufferers of the Black Plague. The thieves’ timeless antidote for survival was the herbal solution they used during looting. In a spray bottle, combine 48 ounces apple cider vinegar, 2 drops eucalyptus oil, 2 drops lavender oil, 2 drops lemon oil, and 3 cloves garlic. Vinegar, essential oils, and herbs contain antibacterial and antiviral compounds. Wipe surfaces to destroy germs.

CAL OREY, M.A., is a bestselling author-novelist specializing in topics such as adventure, history, romance, and science. She holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in English (Creative Writing) from San Francisco State University. Her books include the Healing Powers series, and the Soulmates with Paws trilogy. She is a South Lake Tahoe local. Her website is


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