"I can't believe YOU are sick!"

That’s what I hear from folks when they discover that I had a cold or flu, or a virus that causes laryngitis.

Folks think I’m some sort of superhuman that is immune to disease. The truth is, I get sick just like any other person on this planet. I don’t live in a bubble.

On a daily basis, I am exposed to toxins, pathogens, bacteria and viruses, just like everyone else. And, sometimes they get in!

Especially, when I’m overworked, stressed out, or just plain tired.

But, the difference between my well-cared-for body today, and the body I used to neglect, is vast.

In the past, if I caught a flu or other illness, I was completely debilitated and it took weeks, or sometimes months, to heal!

Today, when I get sick, my body heals much quicker (usually within a couple of days), especially when I assist my body’s natural healing processes.

There are people who’s immune system is so strong that illness won’t take root in the first place. Unfortunately, that’s not the case for everyone. Some people have a tendency toward compromised immunity and there are many reasons for that; overuse of antibiotics, poor diet and lifestyle, environmental toxins, overwork and stress, and one of the biggest contributors to poor immunity, not being breast-fed.

In the 1960’s, when I was born, nutritional science advised women to NOT breast-feed their babies. They told moms that human breast milk was inferior to baby formula.

That was a BIG mistake. Breast milk is essential to the baby’s immune system.

When a mother breast-feeds, she is directly implanting into that child the immunity and antibodies from every generation that lived before her. She is giving the little human exactly what it needs for its survival and protection.

Modern science has confirmed that HUGE nutritional blunder and now tells us that formula-fed babies have higher rates of ALL diseases across the board; poor immunity, diabetes, thyroid disease, SIDS, digestive disorders, allergies, asthma, cancer… you name it![1]

If you were one of the unlucky formula-fed babies like me, your immune system was compromised as soon as you slid out of the birth canal and came into this world.

Laboratory science cannot surpass the wisdom of the universe. Although, I’m sure we’ll keep trying.

Having weaker immunity doesn’t mean you are doomed to get sick and stay sick. There are many ways to assist your body’s natural healing process.

To aid the body it’s imperative that we go with it’s design, rather than against it. That means do NOT suppress symptoms. Below are some tips to support your body during cold and flu season.


At the first sign of a tickle in the nose or throat, it’s helpful to simply gargle with warm water mixed with sea salt. If you have any anti-viral essential oils on hand like oregano, put one drop into the warm salt water and gargle 2-3x per day.


If pathogens make it beyond the nasal passages (and many do), help the body clear the lungs and bronchial passageways by using an expectorant like honey thyme tea. Coughing and sneezing is your body’s way of forcefully expelling the invaders (just try not to expel them onto the people you love).

As your body begins fighting bacteria and viruses, excess mucus forms. This shows that white blood cells are stepping up into action! First, the mucus will be runny and clear. As the illness progresses, mucus can turn yellow and then green (infection). White blood cells cause this change in color as they flood into an area, fight the invaders, die, and pile-up in the process. Assist your body in clearing out the carnage by using a Neti Pot.

Neti Pot: ½ tsp sea salt to 1 cup boiled water. Let the boiled water cool to luke warm and then flush your sinuses 1-2x daily. Follow the instructions and pour the warm salt water into your nose and out through your mouth.

You can also expectorate phlegm by using steam. Pour boiling water into a bowl, and add 1 drop of tea-tree, peppermint, pine, rosemary, or eucalyptus oil. Hang your head over the bowl, cover with a towel, and breathe deeply. Have tissues on hand and expect to expectorate!


When the body catches a flu virus or cold it naturally heats up with fever to destroy invading pathogens. This is the perfect time to get under the covers, rest, sleep, sweat, and let the body do its work. This is NOT the time to take symptom-suppressing medication and continue running around at warp speed. Think of this as a short vacation in the comfort of your own home. Relax and read a good book while you’re under the covers.


It takes energy to digest food. Don’t burden the digestive system with heavy meals. Eat lightly so most of your energy can go toward healing.

Sip on homemade bone-stocks and warm soups with fresh herbs (oregano, parsley, thyme, garlic). Bone-stocks support your body with easily absorbable liquid nutrients that refuel your system with minerals, collagen and amino acids needed to stay vital and strong.

And, many folks forget this simple tip… water. Keep yourself well hydrated with plenty of water. This will help keep all of your systems running smoothly.


Hire a health coach or other practitioner that understands natural healing. I use an acupuncturist in NYC, James MacLean, L.Ac. and an herbalist, Richard Mandlebaum, who utilize many facets of natural healing in their practices. They work with my body’s systems to help it heal, not against it.

The flu and other respiratory illnesses don’t stand a fighting chance when you give your body the right ingredients and align with it’s self-healing abilities.


  • Hey Andrea, you are being very very kind when you say, “We’re silly ego-driven creatures.” Stick in the words “profit driven” instead. Profits over people!!

    • Ah yes… so true, Dan. I should have said, “We’re silly ego and profit-driven creatures.” Good catch!

  • Sickness is simply our body’s way of telling us to slow down . . . . you are a busy lady helping to heal the world! 🙂 great job!

  • Mike

    Thank you for this article! I’m a health coach and I feel I’m coming down with something and now I feel a little more comfortable when it comes to facing my clients about my temporary condition. I am so eager to start the New Healer’s Master Program on Tuesday! Great tips on getting better! You are my style!

  • Excellent advice and spot on!

  • Sonia Pereira

    Hi Andrea,

    Unfortunately, I am convinced there is more toxins being added to our system than people realize. Chemtrails! Airplanes leaving aerosols with aluminum in the atmosphere over NYC skies. I have been watching them for the past weeks, and it’s impressive the intensity right here above our heads!

    I’ve also checked the aluminum levels in NYC water (public safety reports) and it has increased 3fold between 2003 and 2011 with no explanation given.

    Here is a link to a movie “What in the World Are They Spraying?” available on your tube that shows how to identify what is going on:


    We need to spread awareness on this and not take this crap!

    Feel better and thank you for all the detoxifying work you are doing with us!!!

  • Rommy

    Wonderful post Andrea! Your suggestion to rest is radical in our day and yet, it is where the healing process takes place. One of my Ayurvedic teachers, Arun Deva, started a class with these words, “We have started to think of ourselves [bodies] as inconsequential.”

  • You’re so right Andrea. When I get sick it only lasts a day or two which I attribute to clean living and diet. Notice how many people seem to get really sick in January, after the stress and overindulging that happens during the holiday season? Add to that the stress of an election year and the horrible school shootings and we’ve got an all out attack on our immune systems. No wonder there is a flu epidemic right now.

  • I really loved the way you explained what the body is doing when it’s fighting invaders/infection. Interesting to know how the white blood cells rally. What amazing machines our bodies are! By giving it premium fuel, we’re much more likely to run effectively, efficiently, and healthily. Thanks for the reminder!

  • Yvette

    Thanks Andrea, this is a great article to share with my clients!

  • Love this article…thank you for the tips….it’s funny how I’m the only one in my family who took to breastfeeding and I’m the only one with an auto-immune issue – but then again, maybe it’s because I was breastfed that my body is able to handle my issue well……..thanks again………

  • Debbie


    I agree with all your comments and practice them as best as I can. I would add some things that strengthen and nourish our bodies. We start off the cold & flu season with daily doses of elderberry syrup and if someone is feeling under the weather, we blend nourishing teas that include elderflower, licorice, ginger, nettle, peppermint, tulsi to name a few and add astragalus roots to all our soups and stews. This has worked for us so far. http://www.knowyouroots.com/ijustgottashare/2012/10/09/how-do-you-prepare-your-family-for-the-cold-and-flu-season/

    • Love your tips! Thank you for sharing.

    • Denise Osborne

      Great health tips, thank you for sharing.

  • Alaina Muckell

    Hi Andrea!

    If anyone has chest congestion, it’s also important NOT to take cough suppressants (much like avoiding fever-reducers). I’ve had Cystic Fibrosis all my life (constant chest congestion), and I wanted to share really helpful tools to help average people clear that junk out:

    1. Get yourself into a down-dog position and hang there for as long as you can. The gravity will bring the congestion out of your lungs so you can cough it out easily. Repeat.

    2. Lay on your sides, stomach, or back, and have someone cup their hands and clap on your (clothed) chest. Deep breathe during this cupping & clapping. Also, try breathing all the way in and huffing all the way out forcefully.

    3. Combine #1 + #2 !

    Would love to give you more information if you need it for a future flu-season blog!

  • Thanks, Andrea! I recently wrote a similar blog, after a short bout with the flu-ish. I wondered if a well-cared-for body would get through it quicker. The nurse said no, but you say yes. Guess who I believe?! 😉

  • Richele Corbo

    I too a holistic health coach–graduated from IIN–have been taking care of my sons where 2 of the 3 were down for 2 days with a fever and sore throat–cuddling is one of the healing techniques we use and we enjoy playing games together when fevers subside & between naps. Its no surprise to me that I too have come down with a touch of the same thing as my boys had. Fortunately I have some extra soup, plenty of lemon and honey to soothe my throat and I plan to rest.Natural healing to ease my illness. My body is learning to build strength from the inside out–no flu shots needed or chosen here–I am grateful for my body’s ability to heal simply, peacefully & naturally.

    • Awwhhh, I love that you added in cuddling as part of the cure! Thank you for sharing.

  • pistachio33

    appreciate your reminders of simple wisdom as inherent common sense can get lost in all the noise (read hype) about flu epidemics and vaccine shortages. The media is working hard to convert the masses away from self-care and proper nourishment so thanks for highlighting these important tips.

  • pistachio33

    BTW, neti pot water should be *boiled* and cooled to luke warm before using as nasal wash.

    • Thanks for the catch! Yes, the water must be boiled first and then cooled to luke warm.

      • Laura0109

        I have heard to never use regular tap water. However, what about warm distilled water or water that has been “purified” like what comes from the machine on the side of my fridge (warm of course).

        • Whatever water you use it must be “boiled” first and then cooled to luke warm.

          • Laura0109

            Yikes! I was using purified water but not boiling it! Thanks for clarifying!!

  • Anna

    Can I please come work with you as an IIN intern 🙂

  • Shelly

    Hi Andrea,
    Love your website! I am a new student at IIN.
    I have also been trying to avoid the flu or whatever is going around.
    I have been doing alot of juicing and using ginger. Seems to really help.
    Also Apple Cider Vinegar with some warm water and honey. Lots of extra rest and letting my body do its thing naturally.

  • Karen

    I started a couple new natural remedies this cold and flu season that seems to have made a huge difference for me. I sub in the schools and there are so many kids and teachers who get sick and come to school and pass it on. (It’s the gift that keeps on giving.) In the past several years, whenever I got a sore throat and/or cold, it would go immediately into a severe case of bronchitis that would put me in bed for several weeks.

    This year, I read of a remedy on Facebook and started taking it. I take 1/2 tsp honey mixed with 1/2 tsp of cinnamon 1-3 times per day. (It’s also curbed my sugar cravings and I haven’t had any chocolate since the day after Christmas, when prior to this, I HAD to have it every day and a lot of it.) I also started drinking ginger tea.

    The other thing I’ve been doing is taking Echinacea supplements when I’m around those who are sick. With just these three things, I avoided getting a cold or bronchitis during this latest flu season. (I don’t get the flu shot.)

    We need to remember that everyone responds differently to different remedies, but I would highly recommend giving these a try.

  • Yvonne

    Thank you so much for this article! I just began my journey to be certified with IIN as a health coach, 3 days ago! Your words are so encouraging and helpful!

  • Weezer

    Yes, I do receive comments like that and then I feel guilty, like I’ve let them down if I get sick. Rest and a tea with ginger & lemon helps. Thank you.

  • Dan

    Andrea, you are a Blessing to us all.

    Gardiners so tenderly care for seedlings, prepping the soil, providing food and water; keenly visually inspecting and even talking to their charges.

    Volunteers at animal shelters give tender compassionate care to stray cats and dogs, animal whisperers communicating their compassion.

    Mothers nurture their babies as if clairvoyant, sensing needs, offering warmth and security, nothing short of agapeic love.

    Ah, that we adults might listen to our own bodies, and treat ourselves as well. Truly, we are not machines. It isn’t selfish to do so; we are simply honoring the gift that our very own life represents.

  • As a Doctor of Chiropractic these are many of the same recommendations I have been making to my patients for over twenty years! Great article Andrea!

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