Daily Feng Shui Tip for Nov. 12 – ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul Day’

It’s ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul Day’ so let’s serve a bowl of therapy for the body and spirit. This soup is the traditional ‘go to’ when nursing the common cold, but it’s also a protective food that can ward off the evil eye. Legend speculates that chicken soup can protect from negative energies created by angry, irrational people. In fact, even mainstream medical science supports its protective benefits. Chicken soup contains several nutrients that stimulate and strengthen the immune system while cleansing your aura, especially if you’ve been exposed to someone else’s negativity. Eating protein-rich foods like chicken, fish, eggs and dairy can help one feel more grounded and balanced and better connected to our bodies and to the earth around us. So the next time you settle in with a good book, why not have a big bowl of self-nurturing to go with it? But if soup just doesn’t cut it when dealing with negative people, then this recipe might. Write the offending person’s name in green ink on white paper. Fold that paper in four and put it in a glass, lidded jar. Pour enough honey over the paper to cover it and then tightly seal the jar. Place a small white candle either atop or immediately alongside the jar and then each day for nine days straight light the candle while sending healing and forgiveness to that person. On the ninth day allow the candle to burn completely out while disposing of the sealed jar anywhere outside your living space. Sweet and sour, just like Chinese chicken soup for the soul!

By Ellen Whitehurst for Astrology.com


Herb of the Day for November 5th – Hyssop

Herb of the Day




(Hyssopus officinalis)

To Grow:
Perennial herb. Grows to 1 1/2-2 ft. high. Has narrow, dark green, pungent leaves and a profusion of dark blue flower spikes that appear July-November. There are also white and pink-flowered forms available. Plant in full sun or light shade. Fairly drought resistant.

It is used in coughs, bronchitis, and chronic catarrh. It can be used for the
common cold due top its diaphoretic state. As a Nervine it may be used in
anxiety, hysteria, and petite mal (a form of epilepsy).

Part used:
Dried aerial parts. Collect the flowering tops in late summer.

Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1-2 tsp. of the dried herb and leave to infuse
for 10-15 minutes. Drink three times a day.

Take 1-4 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Herb of the Day for June 11 – Chaparral Leaf

Herb of the Day – Chaparral Leaf
Native to the Southwestern parts of US and Mexico, Chaparral Leaf, or Larrea tridentata has long been used among Native Americans to treat arthritis, respiratory ailments, and even cancer. Interestingly, the plant produces a sap that keeps other plants from growing near itself, and while the branches may wither or fall off, the crown rarely dies and sometimes reproduces itself. Indeed, an example in California is believed by some to be well over 11,000 years old. For these qualities it was often revered within local lore, and the Southwestern Native Americans often used the sap as a sunscreen, and the plant in general as a treatment for assorted ailments, including blood poisoning, and liver disease. They also used to the leave to brew a tea that they would use to rid the body of parasites.

Modern herbalists see it most commonly as an expectorant, of great use in treating respiratory issues like asthma, bronchitis, and the coughing symptoms of the common cold. Chaparral Leaf has also been shown to possess antioxidant qualities, believed to help destroy the particles that destroy cells and possibly cause cancer. Studies have been conducted that show the leaf to aid in restricting cancerous growth. While the leaf possesses a great many positive qualities, it has been shown to occasionally react poorly with the liver, and you should discontinue use if you experience nausea, fever, fatigue, or Jaundice while using the herb.

16 Ways to Stop a Cold

16 Ways to Stop a Cold

  • Caring.com, supporting caregivers


Sometimes it seems like winter is just one long case of the sneezes; we all know what it’s like to go around for weeks with a cold we just can’t shake. Yet some lucky folks seem to get through the cold and flu season with nary a sniffle. How do they do it?

As it turns out, it’s not really luck. Although it’s true that some immune systems are more robust than others, just about anyone attacked by a cold virus is going to get a cold. The secret: Prevent the cold virus from breaching your defenses. And at the first sign of exposure or symptoms, mount a full-bore offense to stop it in its tracks.

How to stop a cold before it starts
The germs that cause colds have a preferred route of travel. Unlike various strains of influenza virus, which tend to travel in airborne droplets, cold viruses prefer a physical transmission route: from your hands to your nose or eyes, and then to the nasopharynx — where the nose meets the mouth at the back of the throat (and where most colds begin). Studies have shown that most cold viruses can survive for up to three hours on nonporous surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, and coffee cups. They can also survive on people’s hands for several hours if they don’t wash them.

That’s why hand washing — after you shake hands, after you open a door, after you push a shopping cart — is item number one in your anticold defense manual. If you kill cold germs on your hands before you transfer them to your nose or eyes, you stop a cold before it can start.

Few of us can wash our hands as often as needed, though, so be sure to follow these other strategies as well:

1. Avoid touching your face, especially your eyes and nose. There are hundreds of viruses that cause the common cold, and most of them are rhinoviruses, which need to get into the mucous membranes lining the nose or into the tear ducts in order to cause infection. That means touching your face — specifically your nose and eyes — is the primary way people give themselves cold germs. The nasopharynx, where the nose meets the mouth, is the “sweet spot” for cold viruses. If they can reach this spot, it’s very likely you’ll get sick; if you prevent them from getting there, you won’t. And a virus deposited at the base of the nose can easily be inhaled higher up into the nose.

So your mother was right: Don’t pick or touch your nose. The tear ducts provide another pathway; rub your eyes and the cold virus can easily drain through the tear ducts into the nasopharynx. Don’t rub them, and you avoid another possible cold.

2. Try not to touch public surfaces. Studies show that teaching children to sneeze into their elbow, rather than cover their mouths with their hands, has been very effective at reducing the incidence of colds in schools. Why? Because then the virus isn’t on their hands, where it can be passed to others via shared surfaces such as doorknobs, chair backs, books, and toys.

Here’s the surprising-but-true example doctors use: Did you know you’re far more likely to catch a cold from touching an infected person’s water glass and then wiping your eye or picking your nose than you are from drinking a sip of the sick person’s water?
Knowing this, medical personnel recommend being as ingenious as possible in your efforts not to touch surfaces that many other people have also touched. One internist reported that she trained himself to push elevator buttons with her knuckles; a nurse mentioned he’s learned to open doors by pushing them with his elbow or forearm.


3. Be finicky about sanitation. Dispose of dirty tissues promptly; the cold virus can live on them for several hours. Use hand sanitizer when you can’t wash your hands right away; a recent study found there was less spread of colds in families using alcohol-based hand gels frequently.

4. Don’t skimp on sleep. The studies are clear: Those who sleep less are much more susceptible to the cold virus once they’re exposed. In one study published in the January 2009 Archives of Internal Medicine, people who slept fewer than seven hours a night were three times more likely to develop a cold when exposed to a rhinovirus compared to those who slept eight or more hours a night.

How to get over a cold fast

Even when you try your hardest, you might still get an occasional cold. Fortunately, most colds begin to fade on their own after about a week, but sometimes it takes two weeks before you feel better. If more than two weeks has passed and you’re still coughing, it may be that tissues in the lungs have become irritated. These “rhinovirus-induced changes” can last up to four weeks.

Is there anything you can do to shorten the downtime? In a word, yes. Here’s what helps:

5. Go to bed. Rather than getting in the car and heading to the drugstore, get into bed and go to sleep. While you sleep, your body recharges your immune system, which is what fights off a cold. Studies show that people who get eight or more hours of sleep increase their resistance to cold viruses — and get better faster if they do catch a cold.

6. Drink a lot of water. And tea, and juice, and clear broth. Fluids help your body heal from a cold by loosening congestion and preventing dehydration. Water, juice, clear broth, or warm lemon water with honey are the best fluids to rely on; alcohol, coffee, and caffeinated sodas only make dehydration worse.

7. Cheer up with chicken soup. Recent studies that tested the effectiveness of chicken soup discovered that it does seem to relieve cold and flu symptoms. Scientists believe chicken soup acts as an anti-inflammatory by inhibiting the movement of neutrophils, the cells of the immune system that mount the body’s inflammatory response. Hot chicken soup also temporarily speeds up the movement of mucus through the nose, helping relieve congestion and limiting the amount of time viruses are in contact with the lining of the nasal passages.

And no, it doesn’t need to be homemade. Researchers at the University of Nebraska compared homemade chicken soup with canned versions and found that many, though not all, canned chicken soups worked just as well as soups made from scratch.

8. Gargle a sore throat. Dissolve a half teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargle with it to temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. The reason this time-honored home remedy works is that a sore throat occurs when the throat tissues become inflamed by bacteria and germs. This inflammation takes the form of tiny fluid-filled bumps called edemas. The dehydrating action of salt draws out the edema fluid, killing the bacteria, which require a warm, moist environment to survive.

9. “Irrigate” your nose with saline. Studies show that over-the-counter saline nasal sprays work to combat stuffiness and congestion and also reduce the amount of time that virus particles are in the nasal passages. And unlike nasal decongestants, saline sprays don’t lead to a rebound effect — a worsening of symptoms when the medication is used for too long. A neti pot, an alternative therapy gaining in popularity, is basically another nasal irrigation technique that puts the saline solution directly into the nasal passages.

10. Moisten the air with a humidifier. Cold viruses are happiest in dry conditions, which is one reason colds are more common in winter. Dry air also dries out the mucous membranes, which can both contribute to a stuffy nose and scratchy throat and lessen the body’s ability’s to fend off cold viruses in the first place. Run a humidifier to add moisture to indoor air. It doesn’t matter if it’s cool or warm mist; both are effective. But be careful: Running a humidifier can also add mold, fungi, and bacteria to your environment, especially if the humidifier hasn’t been cleaned properly. Change the water in your humidifier daily, clean the humidifier with soap and water once every three days, and air out the rooms in which you’ve been running the humidifier once you’re over your cold.

11. Don’t overuse over-the-counter cold remedies. Nonprescription decongestants and pain relievers are useful for relieving symptoms when you just can’t stand them anymore, but they won’t make your cold go away any faster. And they can have side effects. Decongestants, for example, can have a “rebound effect” — they can actually make a runny nose come back worse than ever if you use them for more than a few days.

The most effective decongestants are the ones that contain pseudoephedrine (brand name: Sudafed), but nowadays they’re kept behind the counter and you have to ask for them. That’s because pharmacies are restricting the availability of pseudoephedrine, which can be used to manufacture methamphetamine. But do take the trouble to ask, because the decongestants that contain phenylephrine instead don’t work nearly as well. And antihistamines, such as Benadryl, not only don’t work as well but can be dangerous because they cause drowsiness. In fact, older adults shouldn’t take Benadryl at all, since it can cause dizziness and falls.

Be sure, too, not to double-dose on acetaminophen (Tylenol). Most combination cold remedies contain acetaminophen, so if you take a combination remedy when you’ve already taken acetaminophen for fever or pain, you’ll inadvertently take too much. Read the labels of any cold medication carefully to make sure you’re not overdosing.

12. Use alternative remedies cautiously. At the first sneeze, cough, or sniffle, many of us reach for the vitamin bottle or rush to the drug store for an herbal remedy. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to show that these work. Although some studies of vitamin C, garlic, echinacea, zinc, and the herbal combination in Airborne have suggested promising results, most have shown little or no effect. In most cases they can’t hurt, either.

However, sometimes a natural remedy that’s powerful enough to affect your health can have serious side effects. Recently, for example, a zinc nasal solution (brand name Zicam), which is sold at health food stores and some pharmacies, has been reported to cause permanent changes to some people’s sense of smell. Some researchers think that zinc lozenges could have the same effect. In June 2009, the FDA issued an advisory regarding some zinc products, so be careful about using them.

What to do when a cold won’t go away
Most cases of the common cold will go away on their own in one to two weeks, though sometimes symptoms such as a cough can linger longer. But if you’ve been sick for ten days or more and aren’t getting better, or are feeling worse, it’s time to rethink your approach.

13. Go over the checklist — have you really been following doctor’s orders? Typically, when people complain that a cold won’t go away, it turns out they’ve been trying to “power through” it and haven’t given their bodies a chance to heal, experts say. Go over the list of treatment options listed above and ask yourself if you’ve been doing all you can. Rest and fluids are the most important – – have you been getting at least eight hours of sleep a night and drinking plenty of water, juice, or tea with honey?

14. Take steps to relieve a cough. The symptom most likely to persist for weeks is a cough. And any time the lungs are involved, it’s important to take steps to avoid bronchitis or pneumonia.

The best way to get a cough to clear up: Take care of it. Gargle with salt water and drink lots of herb tea or hot water with honey, which has an antibacterial and soothing effect. (One study found honey to be more effective than cough syrup.) If a cough is preventing you from sleeping, try using over-the-counter cough syrup, though experts are divided over whether they work. Read labels and choose one with dextromethorphan, which at least some studies have found effective. Dextromethorphan actually works in the brain, rather than having a physical effect on the lungs or throat. It raises the threshold at which you feel like coughing, breaking the cycle of repeated coughing fits to give your lungs and throat a break. And that gives you a chance to sleep, so your body can heal itself.

15. Watch for a sinus infection. If a stuffy nose and congestion persists, you could be getting a sinus infection. That happens when mucus gets trapped in your nasal passages and is unable to drain for a period of time, becoming a safe harbor for bacteria. Sinus infections can be difficult to diagnose, particularly in the early stages before a full-blown infection develops. Be sure, then, to keep your nasal passages well irrigated with saline spray to help avoid an infection in the first place. And keep a lookout for these telltale signs of infection:

  • Facial pain, particularly behind the forehead, cheeks, nose, or between the eyes
  • Headache
  • Persistent fever
  • Nasal discharge that’s green or dark yellow in color

If you suspect a sinus infection, call your doctor. This is one of the rare instances in which you’ll probably need antibiotics.


16. Be on alert for breathing problems. In a small minority of cases, a cold or flu may lead to pneumonia. And if you suffer from asthma, a cold can trigger an asthma attack when the air passages in your lungs overreact to infection by the cold virus. Asthma can be treated with an inhaler or other medication. Pneumonia can be viral or bacterial, so antibiotics may or may not be the treatment of choice.

But if you suspect pneumonia, be sure to see a doctor to get it checked out. Symptoms to watch for include:

  • Fast, shallow breathing — the feeling of not being able to draw a deep breath
  • Difficulty breathing, as though you can’t get enough air
  • Chest pain
  • Coughing or wheezing that won’t stop
  • Mental confusion
  • Severe vomiting
  • Signs of dehydration, such as dizziness when standing or decreased urination (or decreased tears, in an infant)
  • Blue or purple discoloration around the mouth
  • Mental confusion that wasn’t present before the illness
  • Convulsions or seizures

It’s best to take seriously any illness that won’t go away. If you’re getting worse instead of better, or are still concerned about symptoms after two weeks, call your doctor.

Does Your Pet Know When You’re Sick?

Does Your Pet Know When You’re Sick?

  • Melissa Breyer

An acquaintance of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of his son, suffering from strep throat, and Happy the cat curled luxuriously around the boy’s neck. I could practically feel the warmth, weight, and goodness of Happy’s body as we joked about the Happy cat cure.

It was an exceedingly cute picture, for sure, but it got me thinking about my old kitty, Serena, and what seemed an infallible instinct for illness or general blues. The minute anyone plopped on the bed with pain or malaise, Serena would be there, hop upon the chest, and assume ‘the position’…a long straight-out stretch punctuated with her legs and paws wrapped around said sufferer’s neck. I’m not sure if she ever cured my strep throat, but she certainly melted away sorrow like there was no tomorrow. I really can’t say for certain whether or not she had some instinctual sense, or if this was a usual cuddling configuration that I only noticed when I was not 100 percent.

I have heard of dogs being able to detect cancer, but what do you think? Are our pets so in tune with us that they can tell when we are not well? And if so, do they act on it? I think there’s something to it. Share your thoughts in the comments.

Can Dogs Get Colds?

Can Dogs Get Colds?

  • Nicolas, selected from petMD

Winter isn’t the only time of year we have to worry about “catching” a cold, but it is the primary time for it. We’re spending more time in closed quarters, with windows and doors shut tight and no way to escape the germs. It is only a matter of time before someone in the house becomes sick. It could be you, but did you know that it could also be your dog that comes down with this common respiratory infection?

While there are differences in the types of viruses that infect humans versus dogs, the symptoms are basically the same: sneezing, coughing, runny or stuffy nose, watery eyes. What can you do to protect your dog from catching cold, or if your dog does come down with a case of the cold, what can you do to treat it?

Different Germs, Different Viruses

As mentioned above, the type of cold a dog suffers from is different from the type a human suffers from. The illness is not communicable between species — at least, one has not yet been discovered — so there is no need to worry about catching your dog’s cold, or vice versa.

You will need to differentiate a common cold from a more serious health issue. For example, a common cause of dry cough is a condition known as “kennel cough.” This contagious type of cough, as its name suggests, is typically contracted through a kennel or boarding facility. This cough is most easily recognized by its characteristic honking sound. If your dog has recently been boarded or has had contact with a dog that has been boarded recently, this will need to be considered, and will need to be treated by a veterinarian.

There are other highly contagious, cold-like illnesses to be familiar with, as well. The influenza virus, parainfluenza virus, adenovirus, and tuberculosis are all illnesses that can be transmitted by infected dogs.

Another potentially life-endangering viral illness is canine distemper. A dog exhibiting symptoms of distemper will usually have coughing, vomiting, high fever, and a thick discharge from the eyes and nose.


When a Cold is Not a Germ or a Virus

There are several types of parasites that can get into the lungs, heart and trachea, and which can also cause symptoms that mimic a cold infection. Coughing and other breathing problems are the main symptoms. Fungal infections are also commonly found in dogs, and can sometimes lead to life threatening conditions, when the fungal parasite sets up house in the lungs, causing ongoing, repetitive coughing, scarring of the lung tissue, and eventually, in some cases, pneumonia.

More difficult to distinguish in many instances, but just as common in animals as in humans, are allergies to environmental triggers and/or food products. An undiagnosed asthma or allergies that trigger respiratory symptoms can also bring on coughing and sneezing fits in dogs.

How to Care for a Pet with a Cold

If your dog is coughing or sneezing, but is in otherwise good health, you may be able to treat the condition as you would a simple human cold — with lots of liquids, healthy foods (Chicken soup, even? But of course! Just make sure to leave out the bones.), warmth, and maybe even some time in a warm and humid room. This can be done by placing a humidifier near his rest area or by filling the bathtub with steaming water and letting the dog hang out in the bathroom for a bit (not in the water), just to let the steam loosen up his sinuses and lungs.

It is important to note that while most respiratory conditions will begin to improve within several days from the time of onset, some dogs’ immune systems are not as prepared for an infection and may need a course of antibiotics or other medications in order to fully recover.

If your dog is either very young or very old, it is best to have her looked over by your veterinarian, since dogs at either end of the age scale tend to have less capable immune systems and can suffer more as a result.

You can help to prevent a cold by keeping her indoors during cold, wet weather, with just brief trips outside for relief. It isn’t the cold temperature that creates the illness, of course, but over exposure to unfriendly temperatures or environments can create a physical situation that makes it easier for a bacterial or viral germ to latch on and take hold in the body. And making sure the physical body is at its healthiest is the main preventative for a host of diseases, not just the cold. Provide your dog with plenty of fresh water — even if there is water still in the bowl, make sure to change it out at least once a day, ideally with a clean bowl every day — and healthy foods so that your dog’s immune system can keep up with whatever germs come his way, and so that he has the strength to exercise at a level that is normal for his age and breed. If your dog is of a breed that typically has respiratory challenges, your veterinarian may suggest keeping a humidifier in your dog’s rest area as a matter of course.

Finally, it can be challenging enough to have one pet who is as “sick as a dog,” you certainly don’t want a house-full of them. While your dog is ill, make sure she is separated from the other dogs in the house so that the infection is not passed along, and if symptoms don’t improve or appear to worsen, consult with your veterinarian.