Maybe I need to knock on wood before I say this, but I've never had a flu shot before and I never intend to get one. Charge it to some of the research I've done, coupled with being breastfed as a baby (you'll be AMAZED what it does for a person's immune system, even as adults!), I've just never seen the need or had the desire.
That's not to say that I don't know that with the cold weather comes the need to ramp up my immune system. It's just that personally, I'd prefer to go the holistic route... And the following seven herbs? They always hold me down.
If you want to get your body "wintertime ready" but you'd prefer to not go the traditional medicine route, I can personally vouch for these herbs being just what you need to get through the winter season, and the rest of the year too!
If you're particularly susceptible to colds during the winter months, get yourself some thyme essential oil and some thyme tea. They both contain Vitamin C along with antibacterial and antioxidant properties that are able to boost your mood and strengthen your immunity.
Also, if you have an irritating cough and you drink some thyme tea, it will suppress it within a couple of hours. Thyme also has a reputation for alleviating mild bronchitis symptoms.
Tip: You can grow thyme in your house and use it to give your immune system a much-needed boost.
If the flu shot is something you'd rather bypass this year, stock up on some elderberry. It's an herb that contains anthocyanidins, which are chemical compounds that help to make flu symptoms short-lived and much more bearable. Oh, and if you're someone who always seems to get a sinus infection during the winter season, the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in elderberry can make those symptoms less of an issue for you too.
Tip: I recommend making some of your own elderberry syrup for the best results.
Here's something you may not know. If no matter what you do, you can never seem to get warm (especially during winter time), it could be because you have dampness in your body. If you Google that topic, you'll see tons of links on how damp weather can lead to damp-related symptoms like loose stools, head fogginess, and phlegm.
Something that can fight this kind of health ailment is cinnamon. The cinnamaldehyde in it will not only help you to "feel warmer", but it will also fight off viruses and infections and protect your cells from free radicals too.
Tip: Combine one teaspoon of ground cinnamon from your local grocery store with two teaspoons of raw honey and hot water and drink up!
4.St. John’s Wort:
If the winter literally makes you SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) and you're feeling depressed or you can't sleep because of it, you can't go wrong with taking a St. John's Wort supplement. There are countless studies to support that it can significantly decrease depression-related symptoms. Not to mention it's also the kind of herb that decreases PMS and menopause symptoms.
Safety Tip: Just a bit of caution, St. John's Wort is an herb that can sometimes interact with oral contraceptives, anti-seizure medications, and antidepressants. So, if you're currently on any of these, speak with your doctor before adding it to your health regimen.
Does your skin feel particularly dry during the winter season? It could be because it's suffering from windburn, which is what can happen when your skin is irritated by cold and harsh windy weather.
Tip: If you already have some chamomile tea in your house to take the chill off, next time you make some, pour a little into a glass bottle, and let it cool. Then take a cotton ball and apply it to your face after you wash it. It will soothe and moisturize your skin so that it's better prepared for ice, sleet, and snow.
A lot of people sleep on nettle, but they shouldn't. It's an herb that contains everything from potassium and calcium, to copper and chlorophyll. Its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties help to fight off infections and it has anti-inflammatory compounds that can get rid of a stuffy nose in record time.
I like it because it's a great way to treat dry scalp/dandruff, which is something that likes to creep up on me when it's cold outside.
Tip: You can infuse some fresh nettle leaves with some coconut oil and massage it on your scalp. Or, if you're pressed for time, you can wash your hair with some nettle shampoo. As a bonus, nettle is known to regrow hair and restore original hair color as well.
7.Horny Goat Weed:
Another thing that keeps your immune system strong during the winter is an active sex life. Sex reduces stress, boosts brain power, relieves pain, improves your quality of sleep, can help you to burn 144 calories every 30 minutes — and that's just for starters!
Tip: If your mind wants to get more intimate but your body isn't in it, do yourself a favor and invest in some horny goat weed. Yes, that's an herb's real name and yes, it does just what you think it does. So well in fact that its nickname is "Natural Viagra".
The perfect Christmas supplement stocking stuffer, wouldn't you say?
The 7 Supplements That TOTALLY Changed My Life – Read More
I Had Chronic BV Until I Said Goodbye to Antibiotics and Hello to Holistic Health – Read More
Five Ways To Combat Seasonal Depression – Read More
Featured image by Shutterstock
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Different puzzle pieces are creating bigger pictures these days. 2024 will mark a milestone on a few different levels, including the release of my third book next June (yay!).
I am also a Professional Certified Coach. My main mission for attaining that particular goal is to use my formal credentials to help people navigate through the sometimes tumultuous waters, both on and offline, when it comes to information about marriage, sex and relationships that is oftentimes misinformation (because "coach" is a word that gets thrown around a lot, oftentimes quite poorly).
I am also still super devoted to helping to bring life into this world as a doula, marriage life coaching will always be my first love (next to writing, of course), a platform that advocates for good Black men is currently in the works and my keystrokes continue to be devoted to HEALTHY over HAPPY in the areas of holistic intimacy, spiritual evolution, purpose manifestation and self-love...because maturity teaches that it's impossible to be happy all of the time when it comes to reaching goals yet healthy is a choice that can be made on a daily basis (amen?).
If you have any PERSONAL QUESTIONS (please do not contact me with any story pitches; that is an *editorial* need), feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org. A sistah will certainly do what she can. ;)
This article is in partnership with Sensodyne.
Our teeth are connected to so many things - our nutrition, our confidence, and our overall mood. We often take for granted how important healthy teeth are, until issues like tooth sensitivity or gum recession come to remind us. Like most things related to our bodies, prevention is the best medicine. Here are five things you can do immediately to improve your oral hygiene, prevent tooth sensitivity, and avoid dental issues down the road.
1) Go Easy On the Rough Brushing: Brushing your teeth is and always will be priority number one in the oral hygiene department. No surprises there! However, there is such a thing as applying too much pressure when brushing…and that can lead to problems over time. Use a toothbrush with soft bristles and brush in smooth, circular motions. It may seem counterintuitive, but a gentle approach to brushing is the most effective way to clean those pearly whites without wearing away enamel and exposing sensitive areas of the teeth.
2) Use A Desensitizing Toothpaste: As everyone knows, mouth pain can be highly uncomfortable; but tooth sensitivity is a whole different beast. Hot weather favorites like ice cream and popsicles have the ability to trigger tooth sensitivity, which might make you want to stay away from icy foods altogether. But as always, prevention is the best medicine here. Switching to a toothpaste like Sensodyne’s Sensitivity & Gum toothpaste specifically designed for sensitive teeth will help build a protective layer over sensitive areas of the tooth. Over time, those sharp sensations that occur with extremely cold foods will subside, and you’ll be back to treating yourself to your icy faves like this one!
3) Floss, Rinse, Brush. (And In That Order!): Have you ever heard the saying, “It’s not what you do, but how you do it”? Well, the same thing applies to taking care of your teeth. Even if you are flossing and brushing religiously, you could be missing out on some of the benefits simply because you aren’t doing so in the right order. Flossing is best to do before brushing because it removes food particles and plaque from places your toothbrush can’t reach. After a proper flossing sesh, it is important to rinse out your mouth with water after. Finally, you can whip out your toothbrush and get to brushing. Though many of us commonly rinse with water after brushing to remove excess toothpaste, it may not be the best thing for our teeth. That’s because fluoride, the active ingredient in toothpaste that protects your enamel, works best when it gets to sit on the teeth and continue working its magic. Rinsing with water after brushing doesn’t let the toothpaste go to work like it really can. Changing up your order may take some getting used to, but over time, you’ll see the difference.
4) Stay Hydrated: Upping your water supply is a no-fail way to level up your health overall, and your teeth are no exception to this rule. Drinking water not only helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth, but it also washes away residue and acids that can cause enamel erosion. It also helps you steer clear of dry mouth, which is a gateway to bad breath. And who needs that?
5) Show Your Gums Some Love: When it comes to improving your smile, you may be laser-focused on getting your teeth whiter, straighter, and overall healthier. Rightfully so, as these are all attributes of a megawatt smile; but you certainly don’t want to leave gum health out of the equation. If you neglect your gums, you’ll start to notice the effects of plaque buildup, which can irritate the gums and cause gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Seeing blood while brushing and flossing is a tell-tale sign that your gums are suffering. You may also experience gum recession — a condition where the gum tissue surrounding your teeth pulls back, exposing more of your tooth. Brushing at least twice a day with a gum-protecting toothpaste like Sensodyne Sensitivity and Gum, coupled with regular dentist visits, will keep your gums shining as bright as those pearly whites.
Russell and Nina Westbrook are one of those low-key, unproblematic couples we don’t talk about enough. They met in college and got married in 2015. They also have a beautiful family with three kids. While Russell is an NBA star, Nina is a licensed family and marriage therapist and a mental health advocate.
She recently launched the podcast The Relationship Chronicles with Nina Westbrook, and in the latest episode, she had none other than her husband on as a guest. The college sweethearts dived into important topics from marriage to children and how they navigate it all.
One of the topics they touched on was dealing with resentment in your relationship. The former MVP highlighted the sacrifices his wife has had to make in order for him to pursue a career in the NBA, and that’s why it’s also important for him to support his wife whenever he can.
“For me is respecting and understanding what your partner do and the time it takes,” Russell said. “Not kind of downplaying what they do, understanding the time and energy and effort they're doing to make sure whether it’s their job or making sure home is taken care of, and understanding that, I think that is the challenge of not being resentful.”
Nina agreed and also shared her thoughts on resentment. According to her, one of the best things couples should do is have their own identity and passions outside of the relationship in an effort to be fulfilled.
“I also think that when you’re in a relationship, that’s why it’s so important that each individual kinda pursue their own passions and follow their own dreams as I feel like it only becomes or leads to resentment when one person is not feeling fulfilled in what they're doing in their lives,” she explained.
“And so, they will start to look at the other partner who’s happy or excelling or promoting or moving along in their journey, then they’re left feeling stuck like they sacrificed themselves, their happiness, their career, their future and have not pursued it in the name of the relationship or their partner. So, it’s so much easier to avoid those feelings of resentment when you’re each equally pursuing your passions.”
The couple has many passions that they work on together and separately. Outside of basketball and his family, Russell has become known for his eclectic style and started the fashion brand Honor The Gift. Nina has her podcast, and she also started the mental health website Bene. Together, they run the Why Not? Foundation, which works with kids in underserved communities.
“I’m a firm believer that one person can’t be everything to you, so you have to sort of seek out those different friendships or groups or hobbies or activities that help to fulfill you,” Nina concluded.
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Feature image by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Religion of Sports