What to do when a cold hits suddenly and you’re caught off guard?
As a naturopath I’d have your immune system stocked with an essential natural first aid kit of herbal and mineral/vitamin supplements but sometimes you have nothing on hand. Or so it seems. Head to your kitchen and you could knock up some top line immune boosting remedies straight from your pantry:
Onion (Allium cepa)
A natural antibiotic used since Roman times, it also has antitussive properties (it stops chesty-cold coughs). Try steeping chopped onion in antimicrobial Manuka honey, strain and taken the honey off the spoon for a natural cough-remedy to soothe sore, raw throats.
Garlic (Allium sativum)
We can thank garlic’s active ingredient, allicin, for its antibiotic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antifungal and antiseptic properties making it perfect for respiratory infections. Chopped and eaten raw, steeped in Manuka honey, used in cooking warming soups and stews or taken as a capsule or liquid herb, garlic is one of the best and most easily accessible natural immune boosters.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Ginger not only eases nausea but is great at raising the body’s temperature and helping to break a sweat. To kill off pathogens, the body needs to generate enough heat to kill the bacteria or virus. This is why we don’t want to dose with regular panadol which does the exact opposite – brings the temperature down. If we stop the body’s natural system of killing off pathogens, the infection just takes longer to shake. By encouraging your body to sweat via ginger, chilli, hot baths, steam inhalations, keeping warm, drinking warm drinks etc, your immune system can do its job and get rid of the infection. That moment of feeling drenched in sweat when the flu fever has “broken” means your body’s just kicked that viruses’ butt and you’re well on your way to a speedy recovery.
Immune Boosting Teas
Brewed sage and thyme tea, cooled, are great mouth gargles. They’re full of tannins that help tighten mucosal junctions and stop invading pathogens. To help relieve the congestion of colds and flu, a great tea to have on standby is YEP tea, which stands for Yarrow, Elderberry and Peppermint. You can make it yourself from dried teas from your local health food store combined, brewing for 10-15 minutes. TIP: if using teabags with fresh or dried herbs, ensure the cup is covered with a lid while brewing. This ensures the essential oils with the herb’s active properties remain in your cup and are not evaporated away.
What are your favourite immune boosting foods for cold and flu fighting?
Kate is a qualified naturopath who is passionate about helping women heal from hormonal havoc and inspiring women to know their own power, worth and wisdom.
Kate offers one-on-one Skype consults for irregular cycles, PMS and period pain, endometriosis, PCOS, peri-menopause, mood swings, fatigue and mental and emotional stress.
Simply drop me an email to see how I can help you!