Winter is just about upon us once again, the winds and the early mornings have a chilliness nipping at us. The coughing and sniffles have begun and it really is time to stock your medicine chest with some natural cold and cough remedies to help ward off any winter illnesses.
It is very helpful to know what you can do to build up your immune system as much as possible so you can avoid getting a cold or the flu, or know what to do to treat any symptoms as soon as they become obvious. The other wonderful aspect of knowing what you can do, is that if you have been exposed to anyone that has full blown cold or flu symptoms, there are remedies that you can start to use immediately which will help you to boost your immune system so you don’t necessarily succumb. When you learn how to treat your body naturally, without any chemically laden products where ever you can, you will give your body the possibility of maintaining a stronger constitution and a more active immune system.
We can’t totally avoid the winter bugs! Colds and flu will be lurking everywhere. In fact the common cold is around all year, and deserves much more respect than we tend to give it! There are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold and once you are infected, a single cold virus can have sixteen million offspring within 24 hours! Now that’s impressive isn’t it!
So lets look at what measures you can take to prevent falling prey to winter illnesses in the first place, and what to do to treat these bugs if and when you do succumb to them.
There are many herbs, vitamins, essential oils and homeopathic remedies that are amazingly effective for winter ills. Remedies such as echinacea and olive leaf, Vitamin C and zinc, eucalyptus oil. Even foods in your kitchen cupboard can heal. Cayenne and turmeric powder, black pepper, ginger, lemon, onion and garlic. Salt is a very healing substance, and can be used as a throat gargle and nasal rinse.
Avoiding air-borne viruses like the common cold is made much more difficult because of the close proximity of people to each other, particularly in the modern world, when our busy, modern life crowds people together on trains, buses, planes and in offices where the air conditioning system merely circulates the viruses. It is hardly practicable to walk around wearing a surgical face mask, so therefore we must do all we can, if infected, not to further spread the virus.
Here are a few simple strategies you can adopt to help remain well during winter. You may well think these precautions are obvious., and some of them are, but it is amazing just how many people forget these simple steps when trying to avoid catching a virus or indeed to prevent spreading it further.
- The most important measure to prevent the common cold is to avoid infected individuals as much as possible, or if you have a cold and are coughing and sneezing maybe you could stay home for a day or two until the worst of the cold starts to dissipate.
- Keep your chest and back warm when you are out in the cold air, and remember to keep your young child warm too. You may not feel cold, but a small child is not as active as you are and they are more vulnerable to the cold air. Rug your child up well, as they are not the one doing the walking or the push bike riding! Exercising in cold air is not the best choice for anyone.
- You’ve heard it many times before, but washing your hands is the single most important way to stop the spread of colds. About 80% of infectious diseases are spread by touch – the cold germs get on the hands and from there into the eyes, nose, mouth, even the ears. You certainly can’t keep cold germs out of your home or workplace, but if you can keep everybody’s hands clean, they’ll be much less likely to get sick. Obviously wash hands before handling food and after using the bathroom, but also wash hands after wiping your nose or your child’s nose, as those pesky little bugs may be on your hands.
- Always cover your nose and your mouth when you sneeze. Also avoid spreading nasal secretions on your hands by using disposable tissues rather than a handkerchief.
- Avoid all refined and processed foods. They are full of additives that are foreign to the body, and so keep your immune system stressed.
- Avoid dairy foods as they are mucus producing. This is mostly for cow products, as many people tolerate goat and sheep products very well, and neither goat nor sheep products tend to be as mucus forming as cow products are.
- Avoid sugar, alcohol and fruit juices, as they can all suppress some immune ability.
- Wipe surfaces with a good natural disinfectant. Wipe door handles, phones, computer keyboards, bench tops, shopping trolley’s. Remember the cold virus can live on surfaces for several hours.
- Use tissues and paper towels that are easily disposed of.
- Get plenty of rest, and don’t go to the gym while you are sick. Let your body rest and heal. This is why we feel so tired when we get sick, our body wants to sleep, so it can regenerate and heal. Be kind to your body and rest it. If your child is sick keep them at home resting.
- Take Vitamin C , Zinc and Cod Liver Oil on a daily basis during the cold winter months. This will help to keep your immune system robust.
- Put one drop of eucalyptus oil onto a tissue and place it under your pillow at night. This helps to keep nasal passages clear.
- Drink a herbal tea two or three times a day. Herbal tea for colds can be purchased from my web site. See ‘my shop’.
- Reduce stress! This can be a hard one to get on top of, however there are some great practices that you can incorporate into your day to day living that can make a huge difference. Meditation, yoga, tai chi, Qi gong.
- Grow some of our wonderful healing herbs in your garden. If you are in an apartment, you can grow any of them in pots. Make yourself some fresh herbal teas, and remember to use them in cooking.
- Lower your exposure to toxins and chemicals as much as you can. I say lower, because we live in a very contaminated environment these days, and it is impossible to be free of a chemical overload. Sad but very true.
Here is a simple remedy you can make at home. I call this mixture Molly’s Magic Mix. It does work like magic!
MMM – Molly’s Magic Mixture
This is a recipe that I get most of my patients to make and use at the first sign of a cold or flu. It can be quite chili hot, however you can control that ‘chili heat’ aspect of the mixture. It is not really suitable for children under fifteen years old, or for anyone with any active digestive problems such as ulcers.
Onion – 1 lge
Garlic – 3 or 4 cloves
Ginger – about 1” piece
Lemon – juice of 3 lemons
Cayenne powder – 1/2 to 1 teaspoon, or you could use a fresh chili
Turmeric – I teaspoon of powder
Blend it all together in a food processor and store in the fridge.
To use it, make a cup of boiling water, add one level teaspoon of the mixture, add honey to taste plus juice of 1/2 lemon. Have three or four cups a day. This is a tasty, but more importantly, a very effective remedy.
If you want to learn more, I have written an E-book on how to treat winter colds and this will be available for purchase from my web page very soon. When you apply some of the simple strategies outlined in my book, it can make such a difference to your overall wellbeing and general health. The really important factor to remember is that there is no way you can prevent being infected with the cold virus when it is around you and there is no medical cure for the common cold. We need our natural remedies, and we need to know how and when to use them.