These are things I regularly recommend and prescribe in my clinic to heal a common cold naturally or to bolster up immunity ahead of a nasty flu season.
1. Minimise processed foods and sugar
Start with removing food devoid of nutrition by eliminating processed foods and ingredients, sugar and additives. Instead of that choose…
2. Build nutrition:
Eat what we have evolved to eat — plenty of organic fruit and vegetables, grass-fed meat, chicken, dairy, eggs and wild fish. Healthy rich soil imparts healthy nutritious plants and animals.
Specifically, consume medicinal soups that provide mineral-rich support in a time of decreased energy and immunity. Bone broths made with whole chickens or beef, lamb of fish bones. Consume 1 cup daily before each meal. Bone broths are traditionally used in every culture to heal, restore and repair. Add sea salt and a splash of good quality organic apple cider vinegar to help extract further minerals from the bones. Make sure bones are from the best quality animals.
In addition, take a good quality fermented cod liver oil every day. It’s an old fashioned Northern European remedy for winter strengthening, rich in vitamins A and D.
3. Build gut immunity “ good bugs”:
Eliminate causes of immune system compromise such as “bad bugs” – candida, parasitesetc and re-inoculate with good bacteria. Seek professional advice on the best probiotic for your needs. Enjoy cultured and fermented vegetables and drinks.
4. Warm up:
Lowered vitality combined with chilly, frosty air and a weakened immune system can open the door to colds and flus, or worse. Warm foods such as stocks, soups, stews and slow cooked meals are wonderful winter staples, not only for taste and comfort but also as a rich source of nourishment and immune-bolstering nutrients. Spice with warming, circulation-enhancing herbs such as cinnamon, ginger, paprika and cayenne. Abide by your mother’s sage advice: keep warm when out in the cold! Wear hats, gloves or scarfs and avoid getting wet unless you have a very strong constitution.
5. Sunshine, fresh air and movement:
Keep energy flowing and avoid stagnation by exercising and dry brushing. The lymphatic system, which does not have it own circulatory pump, relies on the circulatory system to pump immune cells to and from lymph nodes. Step out of your dark, air-conditioned office and take a walk in the fresh air and sun daily at midday. Midday sun (UVB) is where we get our sun dose of Vitamin D – even 15 minutes is sufficient for those with fair skin.
6. Use your herbs:
Use herbs in the form of organic dried herbs and spices, fresh garden herbs, herbal teas and herbal tinctures. For example:
– Sip on herbal teas such as those made with warming spices: cinnamon, fennel or aniseed. They also offer calming digestive properties. Other herbs to include are; Rosehip, as a wonderful source of vitamin C which tastes delicious as is or with aromatic apices; Lemon myrtle for its antiseptic, anti-viral, and sedative actions, indicated for colds and flu; Lemon and ginger as a traditional pairing to soothe sore throats – this effect enhanced by the addition of licorice root.
– Herbal tinctures are concentrated herbs in a liquid form and are only available with a prescription from your Naturopath or Herbalist. A qualified practitioner will assure your medication, supplements or disease state does not interact with the herbs, and always remember to tell you practitioner if you are pregnant or breast-feeding.
Herbal tinctures for acute symptoms:
i. Head cold/common cold: echinacea, root, manuka herb (the herb that bees pollinate not the honey), olive leaf, eyebright herb and/or elderflower
ii. Hay fever/allergies: albizzia bark, calendula flower, thyme leaf, echinacea root, elderflower and/or eyebright herb
iii. Sore throat: myrrh resin, manuka herb, licorice root, marshmallow root, thyme leaf and/or wild cherry bark
iv. Wet cough: elecampane root, white horehound herb and/or caraway seed;
v. Dry, irritable and exhausting cough: wild cherry bark, thyme leaf, licorice root and/or marshmallow root
vi. Fever: peppermint leaf, yarrow flower, elderflower, manuka herb, echinacea root
vii. Chest infection: echinacea root, manuka herb, olive leaf and /or adhatoda leaves
viii. Natural antibiotic/antiseptic: manuka herb, echinacea root, olive leaf, garlic, thyme leaf, myrrh resin, skullcap root, albizzia bark and/or andrographis herb
ix. Mucous congestion: eyebright herb, golden rod herb and/or elderflower.
For more targeted strengthening, your herbalist may prescribe an herbal tincture. Olive leaf, cat’s claw, astragalus root, manuka herb and echinacea root are immune-boosting favourites.
There are many measures you can employ to maintain robust health and a healthy immune system. Some are simply common sense – cherish your mother’s concerned parting words. ‘Take a cardigan!’ and ‘stay dry!’ Others, you might implement with the assistance of your naturopath or health care practitioner. Nurture, nourish and rejuvenate and stay well.