In my monthly newsletter, Health & Healing, readers share a variety of health hacks in a feature called “Works for Me.” We cover myriad health conditions and all sorts of remedies from natural cures to conventional treatments. Below you’ll find a list of winter health tips to help get your through the colder, darker months to come. Enjoy!
Winter Health Tips for Fending Off Colds and Flu
Oscillococcinum After reading about oscillococcinum in your newsletter a few years ago, I gave it a try. What a find! Now, whenever I feel a cold or flu coming on, I immediately reach for a vial of this amazing product. Even my very conventional husband can’t deny the effectiveness of this homeopathic remedy, asking me where the “little white bumpy things” are whenever he has a sore throat or runny nose. I don’t know how it works, but it clearly does. I can’t tell you how many colds we’ve fended off over the years. It’s the one therapy that is in my medicine cabinet year-round! — Kimberly Bowes, Erie, PA
Oscillococcinum is one of my favorite winter health tips for colds and flu. Though researchers have yet to identify precisely how this homeopathic remedy works, when taken at the first sign of flu its effects are amazing. In a landmark study of 487 flu patients, recovery within 48 hours was significantly greater among those who took oscillococcinum, compared to placebo. Packaged in individual doses of little pellets that dissolve under the tongue, it is easy to take, has a pleasant taste, and like all homeopathic remedies, is gentle, safe, and nontoxic. You can find oscillococcinum in drug stores and health food stores.
LDN Almost everyone in my family and circle of friends has been hit hard with colds and coughs this winter—except for me. I am convinced that it is because of LDN [low-dose naltrexone]. I read about it in the newsletter for cancer and autoimmune disorders, but you also mentioned that it boosts the immune system. I convinced my doctor to write a prescription three years ago, and I never get sick. — P.L., via email
I hear this all the time. The suggested dose of LDN is 3–4.5 mg per day at bedtime. LDN is safe and well tolerated, with the only reported side effect being vivid dreams that resolve over time. Opioid drugs must be discontinued before starting LDN. LDN requires a prescription and must be obtained through a compounding pharmacy. To see a Whitaker Wellness physician about a prescription, call 866-944-8253 or fill out this form for a complimentary consultation with one of our Patient Services Representatives.
Vitamin Cocktail + D3 I can stop a common cold in 24–48 hours with a cocktail of vitamins, minerals, echinacea, and other herbs. More recently I’ve added vitamin D3 to my supplement program. Perhaps I’ll have less use for my anti-viral cold cocktail in the future. — W.S., Seguin, TX
Eucalyptus Oil I have reaped the benefits of cheap, effective eucalyptus oil to prevent upper respiratory infections. I used this oil for five days, and rather than weeks of a lingering cough, I am restored to health. It cost me $5 as opposed to $20 for antibiotics. And I have plenty left over for the next time. — I.H., Canada
Eucalyptus oil has been shown to reduce inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and help loosen mucus due to colds, flu, asthma, and sinusitis. For nasal congestion, sprinkle a few drops onto a damp washcloth and hold it over your nose. For deeper relief, put a few drops in boiling water or a steam humidifier and inhale the steam for about 10 minutes.
Cayenne Pepper When I get a sore throat, I mix a half-teaspoon of cayenne pepper in six ounces of water and drink it. Does wonders. — Kevin, via Facebook
Great tip. Whenever anyone in our family comes down with the flu, a cold, or a sore throat, my wife Connie sprinkles cayenne pepper in chicken soup. The warm liquid helps thin mucus and the spicy pepper clears sinuses and eases congestion.
Winter Health Tips for Preventing and Treating Cold Sores
L-Lysine I’ve had cold sores since childhood. A few years ago, I decided to try L-lysine. I took it for about two years on a pretty regular basis, and it helped prevent cold sores from forming. Although I’ve stopped using lysine regularly, I haven’t had an outbreak in months. Just thought your readers might find this helpful. — C.S., Lincoln, NE
L-lysine is an amino acid that inhibits the growth of the herpes virus responsible for cold sores. For prevention, take 1,000 mg per day. At the first sign of an outbreak, take 1,000–1,500 mg three times a day. Lysine can be found in health food and drug stores or can be ordered from the clinic by calling 800-810-6655.
LDN I used to get cold sores every other month or so, whenever I was under a lot of stress. After reading about low-dose naltrexone (LDN), I got a prescription for its overall immune benefits. Much to my surprise, my cold sores completely went away. I haven’t had a single outbreak in two years! — D.G., Newport Beach, CA
As noted above, LDN is a safe, inexpensive drug that has powerful effects on the immune system. In addition to successfully treating cold sores, shingles, and other infections, LDN is an excellent therapy for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other autoimmune disorders, as well as many types of cancer. Again, LDN does require a prescription. If you can’t find a doctor who will prescribe it, consider coming to the Whitaker Wellness Institute.
Garlic + Vitamin E I thought I would let you know about a supplement I used one evening in desperation to relieve the burning itch of a fresh cold sore. It formed quite a painful blister under my nose, which was driving me crazy. I read somewhere that a person should take garlic and vitamin E for cold sores, and to put plain vitamin E right on the sore. Well, I didn’t have any plain vitamin E in the house, but I did have capsules of garlic with vitamin E, which I take every day. I broke the capsule open into a little dish, added a few drops of water to make a paste, and applied it to the ugly, painful blister, thinking “What have I got to lose?” Since it caused a burning sensation at first, I thought I had better not leave it on too long. Within one hour, the pain and itching stopped. I was shocked because I had tried all the usual over-the-counter ointments and they never helped. But just one hour after applying the garlic/vitamin E not only was the pain gone, so was the actual blister. The sore took the typical few days to disappear, but this homemade remedy really worked wonders. —Margaret Rose, CA
Winter Health Tips for Dry, Cracked Skin
Miracle Foot Repair Two years ago I developed a severe dry foot condition with painful, cracking skin. I went to my doctor and was given a prescription for an antifungal, which did nothing. I was then sent to a dermatologist who put me on prednisone and a prescription cream as well as a lubricating ointment. Again no real results, although the ointment did help a little. Two months ago I was in Long’s Pharmacy and I saw a product called Miracle Foot Repair which contained 60 percent aloe vera. I decided to try it. After just the first two applications I had remarkable results. I will continue to use this product every day from now on. — J.G., Dana Point, CA
Miracle Foot Repair is sold in drug stores or may be ordered online from a variety of retailers. I’ve also heard great things about O’Keeffe’s for Healthy Feet foot cream, available online and in drug stores.
Petroleum Jelly + Vitamin E + Baby Lotion Gloria reported that a good remedy for dry skin, which she heard about from her pharmacist, was to heat a little petroleum jelly in the microwave to soften it, then mix it with vitamin E skin cream and baby lotion. She says it’s particularly good for the hands and feet. — Excerpt from Health & Healing Newsletter
Have Winter Health Tips to Share?
These are just a handful of the wonderful tips and tricks patients and subscribers have shared with us over the years. If you have winter health tips of your own, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.