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So it seems that when I wrote this post about flu fighting yoga poses, it was much more than a premonition. I definitely spoke to soon when I said I don’t really get sick anymore because get sick I did!

It’s now almost two weeks since I came down with pneumonia. Ouch. Maybe you are thinking the same thing my friend Monique said…”But, your body is a temple!?” Well… If some inconsiderate person traipsed about inside a temple, dragging in rubbish and unsavoury characters then said temple would look a little worse for wear. I guess that’s what happened to me – I let a virus get inside when it really had no place there.

Pneumonia, or anything similar like influenza is viral. Sometimes, no matter how healthy you are it’s impossible to step out the way fast enough. If it’s got you in its sight, then you better brace yourself.

Let’s just say this. The past week wasn’t pretty, or fun, or easy. I was the most ill I have been in close to 10 years. Why? Well, in all my alone-time, recovering confined within the four walls of my home I realised something. I am an active person. Yes. I don’t like to do ‘nothing’. True. But, maybe, just maybe (I hate admitting this) I need to slow down a little, do less. Even though I don’t know how to do that.

When I rattle off a normal week in Claire’s world – 6 mornings of yoga practice, teach 4hrs of yoga, work full time, studying, social life, blog writing and all the other life /house stuff within that – it does seem a bit much. That is just what I do though, that is how I like it. Anyway, besides that realisation, getting sick presented an opportunity (ever the optimist) for me to really walk my own talk. What’s the talk? I don’t like antibiotics. I don’t like quick-fixes (as much as possible) because I don’t think they bring anything but temporary relief. As a child my memory of them is this; get sick, take drugs, get better then get sick again.

So this time, with the Doctor and my sister ‘s blessing (who had the same illness a few weeks earlier), I decided to see how much healing I could perform, sans drugs. The doctor didn’t see much point in antibiotics in this instance anyways. In fact, since I was a kid he had always said antibiotics were useless in viral situations but our poor, exhausted parents nurisng their children lose patience and sanity to ride it out for longer than 3 days! So, we made a deal that if I didn’t see any improvement by the 4th or 5th day then I needed to give in to the penicillin gods.

It worked. I am well and truly on the mend without the help of pharmaceuticals.

It didn’t work straight away, but it worked. And it was the best feeling to round the corner 4 or 5 days later and realise it had all been through a little effort, alot of text messages to my sister and a heap of natural remedies.

I should also say here that my instinct told me that due to the healthy lifestyle I’d led for so long that I should be able to fight it and come out relatively unscathed. I’m not saying this to toot my own horn, but to highlight that I don’t recommend everyone that comes down with pneumonia or even the flu go sans antibiotics. Each to their own. No judgements. But for me, healing myself naturally was important on a physical/health level and on an ethical level.

I thought I’d share some of the things I did (naturally!) to help my body heal thyself. This list is what I did each day and will keep on doing as much as possible.

1) 2 litres of Thyme tea:
Thyme helps calm the non-stop coughing, soothing the throat relieving headaches. Thyme is an expectorant, which means it helps to shift the mucous build up in the chest. Don’t reuse the thyme, use a couple of fresh sprigs for each boil.

2) 4-5 litres of hot water, lemon + raw/manuka honey tea:
I hardly went a moment without a cup in my hand – except when I was visiting the loo, again!

3) Supplements:
Vitamin C, echinacea, zinc, olive leaf extract and andrographis – all in one magnificent product called ArmaForce
Propolis – rich in amino acids which help the immune system and is a natural antibiotic.
Fish Oil

4) Thyme steam:
Boil a big pot of fresh thyme for 15 minutes. Then I’d sit at the table with a towel over my head to help release the mucous in the chest. I’d do this two-three times a day.

5) Steamy showers:
Only in the AM when the sun is out. I’d lay my clothes out in the bathroom so I could towel off in the heat and dress quickly to avoid changing temperatures. This was mostly for my sanity but the steam in the shower also helps open the airways.

6) Chicken soup:
It sounds cliché, but really, nothing else works! Packed with veggies -spinach, leak, kale, carrots, pumpkin, red capsicum, barley, chicken, parsley, thyme and a touch of chilli and coconut oil.

7)Sleep with the chest propped up:
This helps to prevent all the crap you are trying to get out from going straight back into your chest.

8) Essential oils: Every night before bed I’d mix three drops of Thyme and Eucalyptus into paw paw ointment and rub it all over my chest and thoracic spine. The Thyme oil helps to boost the immune system whilst the Eucalyptus is a decongestant. And to help me sleep at night, Lavendar oil in paw paw massaged into my temples.

9) Fruit:
Fresh orange juice, bananas, kiwi fruit, stewed apples, lemonades. Not alot, but just enough and always on their own – never with any other meal which may have created digestive troubles for the body, which is energy you don’t want to waste.

10) Sleep:
By the far the most important one and probably underestimated when most people are sick. I don’t mean lying down watching TV – this is often too much activity for the brain when you really just need peace and quiet to let the body heal.

11) Yoga + Meditation:
I was definitely too weak to do either of these for the first four days, but as soon as my energy increased I practiced a lot of incredibly gentle and restorative yoga poses such as the ones in this post. I also meditated when I could.

Some of this seems like hard work and to be honest, there were moments when I was so weak I didn’t know how I was going to chop the veggies for the soup or make another tea, but I did everything in ‘blocks’ and knew that for every bit of energy I expelled trying to make something I would benefit ten-fold by healing myself without drugs.

No amazing feat. We aren’t talking cancer here, but just proof that all the body needs is to stop. go slow. be nourished. heal.

I hope that next time you are sick you give yourself the time to heal. Step away from work and the long list of things you have to do and just stop. Take stock of how important your health is (and those around you – going to work when you are contagious is just wrong!) and actively fight for it. That doesn’t mean avoid antibiotics or anything that you need, but natural remedies will aid the body towards a speedier recovery.

Do you have any natural remedies that you swear by?




  1. Its sad we are all so busy that we jump to antibotics as a quick fix because we don't have the time to let our bodies heal naturally…Love the suggestions xx

  2. Hey Anon… sure is sad. It wasn't the best week to get sick, there was alot on at work, but it never is! In the end, we have to put ourselves first and give some love back to our bodies. After all our body does so much for us, each and everyday. Thanks for reading!

  3. I never knew that about Thyme. We had always gone straight for the garlic during coughs/cold seaon. I'll have to pass that one onto Mum.

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