Winter is well underway, so it's a good time to talk about natural remedies. First, let me make it clear that I am not a doctor and this is not medical advice. I'm simply telling you about some things that I do to make myself more comfortable. If you are sick, have a fever, infection, etc., please go to the doctor.
Dry Skin - With little humidity in the air, many of us are suffering from dry, flakey, itchy skin. Some remedies:
-dry brushing the skin before you shower to exfoliate
-massaging sesame, olive, or almond oil into your skin and scalp before showering (be careful not to slip in the tub) and slathering on oil or another moisturizer after showering while the skin is still wet
-use natural soap, such as an olive oil or oatmeal based soap that doesn't have harsh detergents
-massage a drop or two of olive oil into your face. If skin is super dry, you can put the olive oil on top of your regular moisturizer. Use a high-quality extra virgin oil that would be good for salads or dipping bread. This can give a lot of relief and usually does not clog pores.
-drink plenty of water throughout the day
-swallowing a tablespoon of flaxseed oil or ghee every day can help moisturize from the inside out -- especially if you have a very low-fat diet.
Sore Throat - I put a nickel-sized drop of oil into my palm (almond, jojoba, and grapeseed are good carrier oils, but I often use sesame or olive because it's handy) and add a couple of drops of clove oil -- essential oil from the plant -- do not use a fragrance oil. Rub palms together and pat it into your throat, especially around the glands. Clove oil is a powerful infection fighter, and I always use this at the first sign of a sore throat. When I wake up, the sore throat is gone. You can also gargle with a mixture of clove oil and sesame oil, and rub it into sore gums. Do not swallow clove oil and do not put it on your skin undiluted -- it will burn.
Dry Throat - Gargle with sesame oil to moisturize the throat. Make sure to drink plenty of water during the day, and adding a humidifier to your home may help. A mudra that brings moisture to the throat and eyes is to place your thumb over your pinky finger and press. The right hand will bring moisture to the right side of the throat, and the left works on the left side. Just do both together...
Respiratory discomfort - basil and/or oregano help with respiratory issues. You can pour boiling water over the herbs and let it steep for 10 minutes before drinking. You can use essential oils of basil or oregano by mixing a few drops with a quarter-size drop of oil. Rub into your chest, place a bit under your nose, or just put it on cotton and inhale the aroma. I use this while flying as well -- I put a little into my nostrils to avoid viruses that may be floating around.
Aches and pains due to cold weather, arthritis, etc. - turmeric. Mix a tablespoon of the spice into a cup of warm milk, honey, and a drop of almond extract. Or you can buy turmeric capsules at a health food store. I like the New Chapter brand. This is used as an anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, etc. in India. I've had students use it with good results.
Stay warm and cozy -- curl up with a good book, a cup of tea, and a comfy blanket whenever you can take a break!