Now is the time to start preparing your Immune system against Influenza and the Cold and Flu Season. Fortunately, we are spoilt for choice when it comes to natural remedies that can help prevent and may even help treat Colds and Flu. Being prepared for Cold and Flu season is super important, but a lot of these things go without saying.
Having a diet that is rich in nutrient dense foods, good sources of lean protein, beneficial fats, complex carbohydrates, fermented foods and superfoods is essential in optimising general wellness. In addition to this, avoiding refined sugars, alcohol, convenience and take away foods goes a long way to supporting not only the Immune function but overall body function. Having adequate levels of Vitamin D is also crucial to supporting the Immune system. Now that the bite has gone from the early morning sun, I am talking about the sunrise here, it is a good time to get out and expose the skin to the sun without sun protection. Allowing your eyes to see the natural light of the early morning and late evening not only helps with circadian rhythm but also Vitamin D to synthesise behind the eye. Regular exercise of 30 minutes, three times a week and sleep, minimum of 6-8 hours a night are the final pieces of the staying well puzzle.
However, when a cold or flu does strike it’s good to know what natural remedies to keep on hand:
- Zinc – deficiency can affect the healthy functioning cells necessary for normal immune function. Low levels of hydrochloric acid will impair zinc absorption, ensuring adequate GIT function is optimal in not only zinc, but absorption of many minerals.
- Olive Leaf – traditionally used to alleviate upper respiratory tract infections, olive leaf is known to enhance the immune system and decrease the duration and severity of colds and flu’s.
- Echinacea – helps to reduce upper respiratory tract infections, including tonsillitis, pharyngitis, common cold, influenza. Supports the body’s resistance to infections.
- Oregano – with strong antiviral and antibacterial properties, oregano is a must have for the cold and flu cupboard. Oregano applied to the mastoid bone is particularly good for ear aches in children and adults.
- Andrographis – helps to reduce the severity, duration and symptoms of colds and flu’s, relieves sore throat, fever and runny nose associated with URTI’s
- Garlic – loved by some and loathed by other’s garlic has been used in most traditional medicine systems, including, Ayurvedic, Chinese and Western for the symptomatic relief of URTI’s and catarrhal conditions. If you can stomach it, I recommend crushing two fresh cloves and swallowing with a small amount of pineapple juice to assist winter colds, tonsillitis or throat infections.
- Ginger – fresh grated ginger in warm water, with or without the addition of honey and lemon, is excellent for supporting the breakdown of catarrh and decreasing inflammation associated with colds and flus.
- Lemon – fresh lemon in warm water, with honey and ginger, is a beneficial tonic due to its high Vitamin C content and warming properties.
- Honey – the Manuka kind.
- Vitamin C – taken in a natural form from acerola berries, rosehips, camu camu can greatly decrease the severity of colds and flus and increase the body’s ability to fight infection and recover quickly.
Tips for cold and flu season:
- Take time to rest and recover, where possible have extra or longer sleeps, decrease stress levels with meditation and gentle yoga, reading books or being in nature.
- Wear warm clothes and avoid the wind and situations where you go from hot to cold. If you are sweaty remove damp clothes before entering a cold environment.
- Use essential oils such as eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, lemon myrtle, clove to help purify the air and decease the spread of air born pathogens.
- Wash hands regularly after blowing nose of coughing. Coughing and sneezing into your elbow to prevent the spread of illness.
- Keep shared surfaces clean, computer key boards, telephones, door handles, etc
- Avoid the sharing of cups, drink bottles, cutlery and bath towels, ensuring that these are hygienically sterilised after use.