On Friday we hit the road on a two week tour out to BC. It’s been great so far, but the day before we left I came down with a nasty cold and I’m pretty sure I went through about three tissue boxes in done day. It’s really daunting to start a tour with a runny nose and spontaneous sneezing so I went on a rampage with hot liquids and essential oils to knock it off. Now, three days into tour I’m feeling almost 100%! Singing with a sore throat and runny nose is the pits, so I’m very thankful I was able to get healthy quickly.
Since the viruses are spreading like wildfire as they tend to do this time of year, I thought I’d share some of my tips and tricks for staying healthy on (or off) the road. It takes some diligence, but if you’re able to get it right at the beginning, you will hopefully not have to deal with weeks of congestion!
1. Ricola – That natural cough drop that you can pop in a few times a day to help soothe the throat. It’s not something that really helps get rid of a cold, but it does make it more manageable!
2. Lemons & Honey – I try and have a “Hot Lemon” every day, just to get my day off to a healthy start, but it’s especially beneficial when you’re not feeling that great. A Hot Lemon is just lemon juice from 1/2 a lemon, a dollop of honey, and hot water. My mom would always make these for us when I wasn’t feeling well as a kid, and I would always try and add more honey. 🙂
3. Apple Cider Vinegar – This magic liquid can be used for so many things, but I mostly use it when I have a sore throat. It’s the best! You can take 1 teaspoon with about an ounce of warm water and gurgle it as soon as you feel a sore throat coming on, but I also make like a hot lemon: 1/2 to 1 tablespoon with hot water and honey. It really does work wonders.
4. Throat Coat – Any singer will know the benefits of Throat Coat and if you don’t, now is the time to change your ways and get on the bandwagon! It’s an Herbal Medicinals tea that has licorice root, slippery elm, fennel and marshmallow root (among other things) that are really beneficial to minor throat irritations. When I’m on tour for long periods of time I drink a cup of this every day, especially after shows when there are lots of people to talk to and my throat can get really scratchy.
5. Cold 911 by DAVIDsTEA – Over the holidays I worked for DAVIDsTEA and got to greatly improve my tea collection. One of my favourites is Cold 911. It’s an herbal tea with peppermint, juniper berries, and natural eucalyptus flavouring. The eucalyptus is great for coughs and any kind of chest congestion. I call this tea Cold FX in a cup. It’s soothing and slightly sweet. I’ve been drinking it religiously the past few days!
6. Tiger Balm – This little jar of magic is a staple among many households. Not only is it great for muscle pain, but I’ve been using it every night on my chest to help clear my sinuses. It has eucalyptus like the Cold 911 tea, as well as menthol and clove oil.
7. Peppermint leaves – Lots of herbal tea blends include peppermint, but sometimes you just want the pure stuff. My favourite health food store (Community Natural Health in Calgary) has a bulk herb section so every so often I’ll buy a little bag of peppermint to have on hand. I make it like a cup of any loose leaf tea and add some honey. It’s great before bed, and also when you have a cold.
8. Essential oils – These are your best friends when it comes to fighting a cold. As soon as I feel a sickness coming on, I take drops of oregano, and a blend called Thieves (from Young Living Essential Oils) that includes clove, cinnamon bark, rosemary, lemon, and eucalyptus oils. When I feel like I might be getting a cough I also use a drop each of peppermint and lavender on my chest at night. It smells so nice!
I know there are so many ways to fight colds and other sicknesses, and I think the best method is to use everything! There are a few other things that I could have included on this list like turmeric, garlic, and the most important, getting enough rest! But this is what I have on hand right now and what has been helping me get better the past few days. I’d love to hear of any recipes or staples that you use for fighting sicknesses. Please share in the comments, and let’s stay healthy together!