There is big talk around town about the dreaded flu affecting many people this season. Many are opting for the flu vaccine whilst others are taking the immune boosting preventative approach to winter infections. What can you be doing if you do actually get struck down with a cold or flu?
We all know that when we have a cold or flu we should rest, keep our fluids up, eat chicken soup and load up on vitamin C. There is more we can be doing to help us shorten the duration of and resolve infections.
Support a fever
Rather than taking paracetamol and suppressing a fever, try supporting it. A fever is the body’s way of trying to get the bug out of your system. By embracing a rise in our body temperature it makes the body an inhospitable place for bacteria and viruses to hang out. Diaphoretic herbs i.e. herbs that help you sweat, can help the fever do its job. Drink ginger and YEP (yarrow, elderflower and peppermint) tea throughout the day when fever is present. Try 1 tbsp of dried herb, 2 slices of fresh ginger and 250ml boiling water, then steep for five minutes. Drink, rug up, rest and sweat it out!
If you are hardcore another great hot drink to make has 1 clove of crushed garlic, 3 slices of fresh ginger, 1/2 squeezed lemon and half a chopped chilli (add honey if you like). Steep for 10 minutes then drink, rug up, rest and let your body do the rest. Try having three to four cups a day.
Soothe a sore throat
Herbal throat sprays can be a life saver for persistent sore throats. They really should be a staple in the medicine chest. You can try the Ethical Nutrients or the Mediherb brand throat sprays available in health food shops. A great anti-bacterial remedy for infected throats is this garlic oxymel, it’s an easy home remedy to make and most people have those ingredients in their pantry. And also consider drinking marshmallow root tea to help soothe a dry and sore throat.
Dose up on herbs
Forget echinacea once a cold takes hold. The studies say it makes no difference to the severity or duration of respiratory infections if you start taking it when the bug has you in its grips. The best way to take Echinacea is preventatively. One good quality echinacea tablet a day will help ward off infections in the first place.
Your best herbs to take once you have the cold or flu are Andrographis and Olive leaf . They are excellent anti-infective and immune-enhancing herbs that will get you better sooner.
Go high dose on Vitamin C and Zinc
Everyone knows vitamin C helps fight cold and flu, and you can take quite high amounts in divided doses to support the immune response. One gram doses up to six times a day is ok for a short period of time. Just watch out for loose stools! Zinc is also a must. It is a mineral that is crucial for strengthening your innate immune system. Please consult with your health practitioner to explore your requirement for zinc supplementation and note that zinc should never be taken on an empty stomach.