There’s no shame in my “avoid flu germs at all cost” game. I would win first place. I’ve got my secrets; even down to refusing to shake hands and just doing fist bumps. People may look at me crazy, but for real, as the title says, I avoid flu germs during flu season.
As a parent, even one person having the flu in your household is a recipe for disaster. (And that goes for double when your husband has it….the dreaded man flu.) Everything needs to be sanitized, trying to limit contact between people, and just overall avoidance of anything that might get other family members sick.
There’s a reason we call it the dreaded flu...it's just plain awful.
So how do you treat the flu?
Well, I have a secret for you. Come closer… closer... Whoa-whoa-whoa! You’re too close! It’s flu season, and I can’t have you in my space.
So my secret is not just a treatment. “WHAT?!” you exclaim. That’s right, it’s not only a remedy for flu-like symptoms, but it’s also preventative. Why treat just the symptoms when you can exponentially boost your chances of not being able to get the flu in the first place? Sure, the treatment is still useful when you have the flu, as it can get your immune system working and kick the flu virus out of your body, but how about we make it harder for your body to catch it first?
What is this magical mystery treatment?
A good, long, hot, soaking, herbal bath.
Well, not just any bath. A herbal bath for treating flu that includes a carefully crafted recipe of herbs with medicinal properties. These herbs are used to allow the lymph nodes in your body to activate in order to energize, nourish and rejuvenate the body, through antibacterial, antiviral and antispasmodic properties.
Hydrotherapy is a lost art. It has been used to treat the body and ailments for centuries. Being submerged in a warm bath has long been proven to help specific systems in the bodywork more effectively. For example, a warm bath creates more oxygenated blood and makes it easier to flow through your body. You breathe deeper and slower while in a bath, especially with steam involved, giving your body the jumpstart it needs to activate your immune system by attacking bacteria and improving immunity.1
What is lymph?
I know, it sounds like some mythical troll creature, but it is a super valuable tool in your body that is needed to help fight off the flu. The lymphatic system is a crucial element in the human body. It aids the immune system by removing and destroying waste, debris, dead blood cells, pathogens, toxins, and cancer cells. Yeah, I’d say it’s pretty crucial. The remaining 10% of the fluid that stays behind in tissues, is known as the “lymph.” The lymph flows through the body within its own system and contains a powerhouse of nutrients. Using the right combination of herbs can help the lymph be more productive. 2
Why is it so important that I move my lymph through my body?
Many times, your body is so busy trying to fight off the illness, that it is not able to push the lymph through where it needs to go. This is where the secret bath recipe comes into play. By using a specified formula of fresh herbs (or high-quality essential oils), you can create a highly potent powerhouse bath recipe designed to activate the lymph.
Sooo… Share your secret.
Of course, I want to share my secret! I also want you to understand how important it is to make sure you use fresh or dried organic herbs in this recipe. Pouring in three-year-old processed dried spices from your pantry is not going to do the trick.
Flu Bath Recipe
- 2 Tablespoons of high-quality salt (i.e. pink mineral, sea salt or dead sea salt)
- 1 tablespoon Ground Ginger Root Powder
- 2 Tablespoons Rosemary Leaf
- 2 Tablespoons Eucalyptus Leaf
- 2 Tablespoons Lavender
- 2 Tablespoons Chamomile
- 2 Tablespoons Catnip (optional)
The best and most efficient way to infuse the herbs is to first steep your herbs on the stove. Get your large pot or pan and fill with 4 quarts of water. Heat your water to a rolling boil. For ease of clean up consider using a muslin cloth sack, and make a “soaking bag of herbs.” Similar to this. If you don’t have anything special, don’t fret. You can use anything that might work in a pinch, such as a washcloth tied up with string, or even a clean cotton sock. Us moms get pretty creative when tending to our sick children!
After adding the herbs to the boiling water, add a lid to keep the herb’s healing properties from evaporating. Take your pan off the heat and let soak and infuse for 40 minutes up to a few hours. You can then remove the herbal bag, add the water to the tub, and fill the tub the rest of the way with very warm water.
If you are not able to steep your herbs on the stove per the recommended way, you can also add directly to your bath. Begin by running your bath water with very hot water (not so hot you can’t stand it, but just a smidge above your average bath temperature). Add the salt, then place the herbs in once there are a few inches of water). Let the herbs soak for 5-7 minutes before entering the bath. This will give the herbs time to absorb and infuse the water. The water will also cool at this time to be a warm temperature but suitable for you. Once the infusion of herbs time has passed, enter the bath and submerge into the water as far as possible.
The best way to bathe is to fully submerge up to your shoulders, leaving only your head sticking out of the water. Soak for 20 minutes, all the while breathing deeply, and having low stimulation. This could be with low-lights, light music, or in my case, making sure to close and lock the door, so unwanted intruders (i.e., small children) don’t bust in.
It’s very important to remain submerged in the bath for twenty minutes, but not for much longer. Too long in the tub can have your body reabsorbing the toxins it just released and can start to dry out your skin. Submerging your body makes your lungs work 60% harder, pumping oxygen through the blood. You don’t want to overwork your body while you are not feeling well.
**If you are unable to find and use fresh herbs, it is possible to do this recipe using high-quality essential oils (Also, do you know smelling lemon essential oil is a great remedy for treating nose bleeding), just substitute 3 to 6 drops of the essential oils for the herbs, but please still incorporate the use of high-quality salt.
When do I take a bath?
It’s recommended once you start feeling sluggish or the “ickies” that you fire up the bathwater. You also probably want to alternate one fresh bath with one herbal bath. Remember, the soaking is a critical step in the process, so be sure to give yourself enough time to reap the full benefits.
Even if you already have been diagnosed or ridden with the flu, you can draw up a bath to speed up your body’s process. For example, a few years ago my husband arrived home so ill, he was driven home by his father. His skin was an ashy grey color and he was coughing, shaking and cold. He had called prior to leaving work to let me know he was ill, so I prepared the “flu bath” recipe to let it steep while awaiting his arrival. As my husband and father-in-law arrived, my father in law asked if we needed to go to the doctor’s office immediately. He offered to stay with the children. My husband said to his dad “I know I will feel better in a few minutes, I am just going to take an herbal bath. I will be alright.” We got him into the herb-infused bath and I set the timer for 20 minutes. Just a few minutes into the bath, my husband asked for a bowl. Odd request. But as soon as I handed him the bowl, he coughed up nearly a whole bowl of thick white mucus. YUCK! But glad his body got rid of the toxins. Soon the timer was going off and it was time to help my husband out of the tub. His color had returned, he remarked his aches and pains were gone, his body was warm and his spirits were high. I helped him get into bed and he quickly fell asleep. When he woke up, I insisted that he rest and take it easy. After a full day of rest, the next morning he was up and back at it. The flu usually will put someone down for three to four days. It is not easy to recover so quickly. But with the help of specific herbs, we can credit the herbal bath for my husband’s quick recovery. This is a staple in our home for the cold and flu season. You need to make it a staple in your home as well.
If you can do something as easy as a relaxing herb-filled bath to keep it away, why wouldn’t you?
I need deets!
Some people need specific details! Here’s more info about each herb listed in the recipe, and ALL of the powerful benefits they offer.
- Pink Mineral Salt, Dead Sea Salt or Sea Salt- a true salt made from sodium. (Epsom salt is made from magnesium, and not suitable for this recipe). Salt improves blood circulation as well as draws blood to the skin’s surface, which encourages the release of toxins while also promoting healing.
- Organic Ginger Root Powder - promotes circulation and lymphatic detoxing. Also ginger is an excellent remedy for nausea. Ginger is excellent to relieve muscle aches and pain, joint pains, abdominal cramps, muscle stiffness, and extreme body tension.
- Organic Rosemary Leaf Just the smell of rosemary can give you an extra boost of relaxation when you are feeling under the weather. Rosemary helps to fight physical fatigue and stress. One of my favorite uses of rosemary is its ability to stimulate my mind and clear my thoughts, for me when I am ill I do not like the “foggy head” feeling.
- Organic Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus has been used for thousands of years to treat a wide range of conditions. It has a marvelous ability to open airways and wake up the immune system. The antimicrobial and antibacterial effects of eucalyptus are often being researched and studied for its potent health benefits.
- Organic Lavender Buds - The benefits of lavender are extensive and often well known. For its use in this recipe, it is used to chase away the winter chills and promote relaxation. The aromatics soothe the nervous system and boost one’s mood.
- Organic Chamomile Flowers - Chamomile has antispasmodic properties and is used to relieve muscle spasms. It can also help to relieve menstrual cramps, intestinal pains and the aches and pains that are brought on by the flu.
- Organic Catnip Leaf -- A very versatile herb -- it's not just for cats. It can improve relaxation promoting peaceful sleep and rest. It has long been used to help with the common cold and flu, menstrual pains, colic, flatulence, headaches, nervousness, and insomnia.
Try it out, and let us know how it went in the comments below.
Cite yo’ sources:
1- Pentucket Medical: 10 Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Taking a Bath. https://pmaonline.com/posts/adult-primary-care/10-scientifically-proven-health-benefits-of-taking-a-bath/
2- Lymph Notes: The Lymphatic System. http://www.lymphnotes.com/article.php/id/151/
3 - Medical News Today - Health Benefits - https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266580.php#eucalyptus_health_benefits