Herbal Protocol To Beat A Cold

Last winter when I was in Michigan I barely got ill – I didn’t even deal with a simple cold and I was pretty amazed at that. I felt like my immune system was really on track. This winter, being in Istanbul, exposed to germs from thousands of different people nearly every day, getting more tired than I was last year and so on, I caught a bad cold. I had a painful sore throat, I was congested, and I had a cough that would keep me up at night. The cough was not too dry nor too wet, kind of in between. Thankfully, it cleared up within a few days.

So the first thing I did upon waking up with a sore throat was to take a spoonful of my homemade Fire Cider (recipe below). Fire Cider which is a traditional herbal remedy (and not a trademark) is great for the body: it’s warming and it boosts immunity. Next, I combined some good quality honey with my mom’s black seed (Nigella sativa) oil and took a teaspoon of that. This I find very soothing. I use about 1:1 ratio of honey & black seed oil.

For my cough, I blended thyme, oregano & rosemary and drank that as an infusion about 3 times a day. I had fresh in hand, but you can also use them in dried form. I did a simple steam bath using eucalyptus oil to help with the congestion. At night when my cough would come around and prevent me from falling asleep, I would make any simple herbal tea (ginger, nettle, holy basil, mint etc.) and drink that while still very warm with some honey and that would usually ease the cough. So below are the recipes. The measurements are not all exact. Just go by your gut feeling but I’ll give you a rough idea! The key to natural medicine is to keep consistent. Don’t do it once and expect a miracle to happen.


Traditional Fire Cider

1 L mason jar

1 bulb of garlic

1 onion

1 piece of ginger, approx. 3″ in length

1 piece of horseradish, approx. 3″ in length

3 jalapeños de-seeded, or 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper powder

raw honey

apple cider vinegar

Excluding the honey – grate, blend or chop all the ingredients. Place in jar. Fill the jar with ACV. Cover with a lid and place the jar in a cool spot with no direct sunlight. Give the jar a gentle shake every now and then. After 4-6 weeks, strain the jar using a cheesecloth. Add honey to taste. Take 2-3 spoons, 2-3x a day while fighting a cold/flu.

This is the typical recipe. From here you can tweak it as it suits you. When I thought it was time for me to make fire cider, I didn’t have horseradish nor did I have any jalapeños or cayenne pepper. I had bought organic apple cider vinegar, a little hard to find in Istanbul, and I didn’t want to procrastinate any longer. So I combined garlic, onion, ginger, red chili flakes and I also included some dried rosemary, dried olive leaves & turmeric powder. Here is a video of Rosemary Gladstar making some fire cider.


Tea for Cough

1 part oregano, dried or fresh

1 part thyme, dried or fresh

1 part rosemary, dried or fresh

If you’re making one cup, you should use at least a teaspoon of herbs. Add boiled water over the herbs. Cover and steep for up to 20 minutes.


Nasal Rinse for Congestion

1/4 tsp of sea salt or Himalayan salt

1 cup of boiled drinking water (does not have to be hot but the salt will melt better in warmer water)

Combine salt and boiled water. The reason for boiling the water is to make sure all germs in the water are killed before you rinse your nose. We don’t want any germs where there are already some germs! So for this you use a neti pot. I don’t actually have one of those, so I do what we do during ablution to rinse our nose… Take some with the palm of my hand, ‘breathe in’ the water, and blow it. Of course you need to keep your hand near by with your thumb and index finger around your nostrils to catch whatever comes out, over the sink. If you’re a practicing Muslim, you will know how to do this pretty well. If this sounds complicated, just stick to the neti pot if you have one.


Eucalyptus Steam Bath for Congestion

5-6 cups of water in a stainless steel pot, newly boiled

2-4 drops of eucalyptus essential oil

Once the water boils, turn off the heat. Take the pot to a safe space on a table. Add the essential oil. In order to trap the steam put a towel over your head and bring your head over the pot to inhale the steam. You might want to take a second before you approach the pot to inhale the steam after you add the EO because it might be really strong at first. It’s a good idea to keep your eyes closed too. Do this for a couple of minutes at least, taking deep breaths. It’s very soothing. While you’re at it, if you’re suffering from weatherworn dry skin, slather your face with some coconut oil right after the steam bath since your pores will be open!

An alternative to this, if you don’t have eucalyptus EO, is another EO such as peppermint. If you don’t have any EOs or you’d rather not use any, you can bring some water to a boil, add some aromatic herbs such as mint, eucalyptus, oregano, thyme, rosemary, simmer for 10-15 minutes and use this as a steam bath.


Wishing you health & wellness.


Disclaimer: The information provided is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, it is provided for educational purposes only. You assume full responsibility for how you choose to use this information. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider for serious health concerns or before following any alternative treatment.

Speaking of Dallas Hartwig: Whole30 experience

I discovered the Whole30 after finding Dallas Hartwig’s instagram through Nutritious Movement. I was about 2 months postpartum when I decided to give it a shot. It was Ramadhan. I wasn’t fasting this year as I was exclusively breastfeeding. I encouraged my mom to give it a shot too. She thought it’d be incorporated nicely with her 30 day Ramadhan fast. Unfortunately I couldn’t go past day 17, not because it wasn’t doable, but because I was invited for an iftar at a friend’s and I felt too shy to tell her I was strictly avoiding pretty much everything I knew she’d be serving for dinner – turned out I was right. I didn’t want her to plan according to me as I wasn’t the only guest, but I knew she’d make changes so I didn’t want to give her a hard time. Well, the plan was that I’d break only some of the rules. I ended up breaking them all. I felt like I had a hangover the next day. I experienced a terrible headache that lasted nearly all day. I had had sugar, wheat, chickpeas, rice, and yogurt. For those of you who don’t know, Whole30 is basically a paleo diet, except somewhat stricter: no legumes, no natural sweeteners etc. After this, I decided I’d try one of the no-no’s on the list every other day and note how I’d feel. I noticed that I experienced major joint pain and headaches shortly after eating particularly gluten. I didn’t feel much difference eating dairy.

OK, since my Whole30 attempt was a bit of a fail, I want to still mention some of the positives I noticed while I was following the rules in those 17 days. I didn’t experience any constipation or bloating at all during those 17 days. Even after eating, there was no bloating. I felt very light which made me feel good overall. I did notice some bloody stools a couple of times, and after some research, I thought it could be due to reducing carbs cold turkey. I didn’t have any pain though, so I don’t know.

My mom, on the other hand, successfully completed the 30 days. She was suffering from frozen shoulder syndrome for about a year. Whole30 cleared that up for her, which we thought was pretty amazing. I remember reading somewhere that frozen shoulder was something Dallas experienced too, until he improved his diet.

Just another note on Whole30/Paleo, I’m personally not too fond of the idea of eating so much red meat & chicken. I prefer sea food. That reminds me, I will be writing a post about some locations in Istanbul that are worth going to for those visiting Istanbul including a couple of seafood restaurants that I liked. I can’t find grass-fed organic red meat easily where I live in Istanbul, and Sunnah-wise it’s best to reduce red meat intake in general.

As the weather is getting colder now and as I’m experiencing stiff and achy knee joints, I’m seriously considering reducing my wheat intake (don’t touch my rice & oats! I try to prepare those properly, I promise.) I have some guests staying over with us for the next 5-6 days. My plan is to go on a 10 day wheat & sugar detox once our guests leave and then compromise once in a while if necessary.

To health & overall wellbeing.

How To Make More Time In Your Day

Recently this quote caught my attention: Not enough hours in the day? Stop doing things that don’t matter.

When I became a first-time mother 7 months ago, just like most parents, I began to feel like most of my time now went to raising my baby. Mind you, that’s not a waste of time at all. I think it’s a very honorable as well as challenging endeavor. You’re raising a human being who will be contributing and impacting this planet. I clearly didn’t have much luxury anymore to do what I want, or to go where I want, when I want. I even asked a respected teacher of ours in regards to voluntary worship – I told him that I am not able to perform as much voluntary worship as I did prior to having a baby. He advised me that raising a child is worship in itself, and that I should be in a state of remembrance of God in all times.

One evening while chatting with my husband I told him that, while it’s true I am not as ‘free’ as I used to be before, the real problem was different. I just spend way too much time on my mobile phone. I underestimate how much of my time it takes. I realized the gravity of this issue even further when I stumbled upon Dallas Hartwig’s More Social Less Media program. I did very well for a while. I avoided using it while in the presence of people, including my baby daughter because she’s an individual too! I didn’t browse the internet or text with friends while nursing her, and I didn’t look at my notifications first thing in the morning. I keep my wifi off while sleeping anyway, so I avoided turning my wifi on until after I was done with my morning errands in the house. I avoided looking at FB on my phone, and only made some time for that to be done on my laptop at some point in the day. Actually in this way I was able to answer more messages and focus on important notifications in a more attentive manner.

Then I lost some discipline and so some days I’m good, some days I’m bad. But I would really like to start again. I definitely noticed that I had more time in my hands, I connected with my daughter even more and I also felt like she received the respect she deserves as an individual. Our babies grow in a blink of an eye; we don’t want to miss those precious, fleeting moments while scrolling down useless feeds.

What are some distractions that take up your time?