I’m a terrible sick person, no two ways about it. When my mom and fiancé are “lucky” enough to watch me suffer through the flu, they’ll tell ya that I crawl into a cocoon of a bed, shutter in darkness and shun showers – for days.
My life has improved considerably since I’ve decided to make my sick day – into a spa day! All those face masks stowed in the back of my bathroom cabinet, smeared. Intricate nail art my patience couldn’t be bothered with – nailed it!
Who knew though, that turning to beauty products could actually help you get better – no, seriously better. Taking inspiration from the spa makes perfect sense, whether you’re opting for an ayurvedic massage, detoxing facial or warming foot bath, some of these services have been around for centuries to improve health, not just your good looks.
Here are just some of my favorite cold and flu remedies that have not only helped ease my symptoms, but, hey, let’s be honest, made my skin, head and feet feel pretty great, too.
Make your own version of electrolyte water – inspired by that day at the spa! This compares to Gatorate and Pedialyte – with an ingredient listing you can actually pronounce. The lemon is loaded with vitamin C and reduces phlegm, honey imparts a bit of energy is antibacterial and antimicrobial and sea salt keeps your electrolytes in check, especially if you’re suffering with a fever.
Combine into a jar with a lid and shake well to combine. It stores in the fridge for up to a week. If you’re feeling a little nauseous, add some ginger to the mix!
Recipe from Raising Generation Nourished
Not only is this warming orange ginger detox bath perfect for when you’re suffering from the flu, it does double-duty for those days you’ve consumed a bit too much sugar or alcohol or want to decrease a little bit of excess bloat.
Let me give you the skinny on each of these ingredients first. Ginger is an incredible anti-inflammatory and helps increase blood circulation — this circulation promotes sweating, allowing your body to get rid of toxins. Epsom salt is actually not a salt at all! It’s a naturally occurring mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate that is absorbed through the skin and has been used for years to relieve muscle tension, pain, and inflammation in joints. Orange and orange peel oil have histamine suppressing compounds that will help with a cough and are really energizing – and after a day of lounging around in pajamas, any energy I can muster is welcome.
- 1 cup of Epsom salt
- 1/4 cup fresh ginger
- 1/4 cup orange peel
Draw a hot bath and pour all the ingredients inside and soak for approximately 30 minutes.
Things you should know:
- Be sure to hydrate during your bath because you’re going to sweat due to the temperature of the water – and chances are you may not notice it. Drink at least 4-5 glasses of water pre- during and post-bath.
- Make sure someone’s home while you detox – you may feel light headed when you stand up, do so slowly.
Full Steam Ahead
While there are many Vicks VaporRub bath bomb recipes online, you may want to steer clear – turns out mom may have been wrong on this one! Camphor, the active ingredient in Vicks, is made by distilling the bark and wood of the camphor tree, and while it was a mainstay during our childhood, it’s now thought to be unsafe and cause liver damage. Yikes.
And it’s not just for camphor that’s inhaled. Turns out applying camphor to the skin while taking medications might also harm the liver can increase the risk of liver damage.
Instead, why not harness the power of steam and menthol in a more organic way with these aromatherapy shower bombs? They are so easy to make!
2 cups baking soda
2/3 cup water, enough to turn it into a paste
essentials oils of your choice; eucalyptus to clear sinuses, rosemary to clear your mind, lavender for relaxation
blue and green food coloring, optional
In a mixing bowl, combine the baking soda and water until it forms a paste. Scoop it into cupcake liners, marble in blue and green food coloring (optional), place it into a 375 degree oven for 25 minutes. With a dropper, add essential oils to each bath bomb, say 9-10 drops. Store in a cool dry place until you’re ready to use in the shower! Just rest it where the water hits and as it breaks apart during your shower the essential oils will envelop the shower helping you breathe easier – and deeper.
I also love that it’s all natural and not oily at all, so it’s not slippery for your tub and shower! If you plan on bathing with your shower bomb, make sure you can tolerate the essential oil you used, in large concentrations they can be irritating. Too much food coloring can also stain your shower, so beware!
Cayenne pepper’s active ingredient, capsaicin, causes the blood vessels under the skin to dilate, increasing circulation throughout your body, and that includes to your extremities, read: your fingers and toes. So what does this do, you ask? It works to keep make feet toasty warm!
There are a few ways to do this, but the basic premise is that by sprinkling just a bit of cayenne onto your feet, you’re topically heating it through the capsaicin.
Method 1: Two-sock sprinkle
Spread one teaspoon of cayenne pepper inside a thick pair of socks. Put on a thin pair and layer the thicker socks over them.
Method #2: Cayenne + powder mashup
If you like living on the edge, mix a bit more than one teaspoon of cayenne with some talcum powder or cornstarch, then sprinkle it in your socks, or right onto your shoe.
Things you really need to know:
- Warming may begin immediately, or over a half to a full hour. Resist the urge to sprinkle more cayenne until you know how it will affect you personally. If you have really sensitive skin, may want to avoid this hack all together!
- Your feet and socks will turn red. Your feet will smell like bean chili.
- Don’t use cayenne on your feet if you have any cuts or blisters. Someone will need to peel you down from the ceiling cartoon-style.
- The heat may intensify if you use too much on a sock and place it inside a shoe.