Well, Fall is here and with it comes that dreaded cold and flu season! When it comes to cold and flu season it’s true to say, “the best defence is a good offence”. You may be used to waiting for the bugs to come and get you and then you take remedies to get better. However, you can have a much nicer time when you support and build your immune system before the sickness is even going around. There are several ways to naturally keep your system strong and healthy and they are much easier to integrate into your life than you think!
Of course we all know that a good night’s sleep, regular exercise and stress reduction are key factors to a strong immune system, but some other less obvious practices are often overlooked. First, ensure that you are drinking enough clean water. The body carries all of its functions out most efficiently when it is hydrated. Consider adding a slice or two of lemon to your room temperature or warm water as well as it is a wonderful way to cleanse out the lymphatic system and lemons are also high in flavonoids that support our overall immune response in the body. Why room temperature or warm water? Cold beverages cool the central core of the body making it have to work harder to warm the body back up, and this can actually depress the immune response we’re trying to support.
Eating well also has a significant effect on how efficient our immune system works. When in the midst of all kinds of immunity stressors, you won’t believe how much a healthy diet of whole, unprocessed foods can actually help. To keep your defences up even more, remember to include herbs such as fresh garlic, ginger, rosemary, horseradish, lemon and cayenne in your cooking. That is not to say you have to resist absolutely all tempting foods in life. Let yourself indulge every so often, but stick to the 80/20 rule (80% healthy food, and 20% or less of junk food).
When the cold or flu does manage to sneak by your defences, remember not all hope is lost. There are many natural remedies you can turn to, and even keep in your cupboard just in case. They can make the sickness pass you by much more quickly and easily. If you act quickly and catch it just as you start to feel the initial sickness, you may even be able to avoid the cold and flu symptoms altogether.
Herbs such as Echinacea and Elderberry are great plants that really help by boosting your white blood cell count when needed. Most children actually love the taste of echinacea drops if they are extracted in an organic vegetable glycerin. Make sure your echinacea remedy makes your tongue tingle; that’s how you know it is effective! Elderberries can be made into a great tasting syrup (these work really well with rose hips for vitamin C as well) and taken daily or even used as an immune boosting syrup on pancakes!
The oregano plant has a volatile oil that acts as a natural antimicrobial. Oregano oil is best used for a lingering throat or sinus infection but is also a very effective for the whole system as an antimicrobial remedy. Just be sure to dilute the pure essential oil before taking it, or else it will burn!
Another delicious tasting remedy to try is a tea made out of ginger, cinnamon, star anise, lemon and honey. This warming tea can boost the immune response, help to break fever and clear phlegm from the body. The basic ratio is 2 tsp fresh ginger, 1/2 cinnamon stick, 3 pieces star anise, 3 lemon slices and a tsp. of honey to a cup of boiling water, let sit at least 7 -10 minutes and then drink a cup every few hours until symptoms abate.
Another great idea is to keep a good fire cider handy. This traditional remedy is made from fresh ingredients including horseradish, ginger, garlic, turmeric, rosemary, onions, lemon and hot peppers infused in a raw apple cider vinegar. This tasty immune-boosting remedy works wonders for fighting off infections.
You might even want to think about a twice-a-year deep immune program if you are prone to colds and flu. We use what are known as deep immune herbs such as astragalus, reishi mushroom and ginseng to work right on the bone marrow to help support a healthy immune response in our body. We suggest taking one of these deep immune herbs twice a day for a month, twice a year. September and March seem to be great months for this, so consider adding this practice to your health plans. It definitely helps to reduce the frequency of colds for those who have weaker immune systems.
Hopefully if you start now you can keep those nasty bugs at bay. Always remember we’re here at Tilia to help if you need us!
All material contained herein is provided for general information purposes only and should not be considered medical advice or consultation. Contact a reputable healthcare practitioner if you are in need of medical care.