I’ve been preparing myself mentally for getting things ready for cold and flu season. Things I need to do, fall harvesting, tinctures, drying herbs and the like. Unfortunately for a lot of people, it’s right around the corner. For some of you, the allergy season is already here! And so, my friends, this blog is just for you.
You know the old adage, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of Advil Cold & Flu”. Well, the prevention part is really true. Preparing your body for what you know you’ll have to deal with every year will go a long way in helping you avoid those sore throats, coughing and sinus problems you may be expecting. If you are one of those people who say “every year at this time I start feeling….”, then that’s your que to start now! Just suppressing symptoms as they come on is no way to combat an illness. You aren’t fooling your body and you could be setting yourself up for a more serious illness. Seriously. Those irritating symptoms are road signs, letting you know what’s going on. Masking them is like ignoring the red flashing lights at a railroad crossing. Start filling your body now with the weapons it needs to fight off infections and viruses and you may be surprised at how easily you sail through the coming winter months.
Boosting your immune system is the best way I know how to get a jump on that ounce of prevention. Herbs like Ginseng and Echinacea strengthen your cells outer membrane and makes it more difficult for nasty invaders to penetrate and replicate. These, along with Elderberry, Licorice, Lemon Balm and others also increase the production of leukocytes (white blood cells) which attack anything in your body that doesn’t belong. If your system is armed and ready, it’s proven that you will get fewer than normal illnesses, and the ones you do get will be shorter and less severe. First step, start now with some proven herbs to get your body ready!
So, what about those colds that do get in there? What if it’s already started! No worries, there are plenty of plants out there that are antiviral, antibiotic and are real contenders against bacterial infections.
Rosemary, Lemon Balm, Eucalyptus and Peppermint are proven to inhibit viruses and destroy bacteria that are often the cause of respiratory and sinus infections, coughs, and ear aches. They also thin congestion and make coughs more productive. Willow Bark fights fevers (aspirin was developed from this). Ginger and Turmeric fight inflammation and are anti-histamines (the leading cause of allergies and asthma). This isn’t folklore; the pharmaceuticals you pay a lot of money for were developed from studying the medicinal properties of plants. Here’s a great example, Garlic.
The active principal in garlic, called allicin, has been proven over and over to eradicate g-negative and g-positive bacteria in lab studies. Allicin in garlic is even able to destroy e-coli bacteria! (Weizmann Institute of Science, 1999) One reason e-coli is such a potentially deadly infection is that it is a drug-resistant bacterium. The antibiotic, anti-viral properties of garlic are certainly worth using to combat cold virus that has taken over your body. So, here’s step 2; stock up on garlic oil capsules, peppermint and lemon balm teas and rosemary and eucalyptus oils to use against an invading virus or bacteria. The properties of the teas get into your system quickly and the oils can be used diluted directly into the ear canal for earaches, inhaled in steamy water to sooth coughing from allergies or asthma and rubbed into the skin for absorption into the bloodstream.
The final step is eating right. Getting those vitamins and minerals into you is essential in allowing your body to work properly. The wrong kind of gas and the vehicle won’t go very far! You need these things for everything to do its job. Milk and refined products (white bread, white sugar, etc.) are mucus producers. Avoid them and it can cut down on the amount of extra work your lungs and nose have to do. Lots of vitamin C, juices and vegetables will really help get that immune system at peak performance and colds and flu won’t have a fighting chance!
The Game Plan:
At the first signs of a cold…..
Echinacea (400 mg) three times a day with food or 20 drops of tincture four-six times daily
Garlic Capsules (1000 mg) three-four times a day
Zinc (13mg lozenge) every few hours, all day
Vitamin C (500mg) four-six times a day
For Congestion & Cough……
Steam Inhalation: Small pot of boiling water, add 10 drops of eucalyptus, rosemary or thyme essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and the water (be careful and don’t burn yourself). Breathe deeply 5-10 minutes.
Ginger tea: ½ teaspoon of fresh grated ginger root added to almost boiling water. Let stand 5 minutes. Adding cinnamon or stevia for taste.
So here’s to to fall- the bright leaves and crisp mornings! Lift your tea cup, lower your chances.