Ward off Winter Bugs Naturally
Date Posted: 29.09.2012
Catching colds and flu is one of the biggest winter health woes, but there are things you can do to prevent them, and lessen their severity if you are struck down.
As with all illness, prevention is better than cure, so your first step is to get your immune system firing on all cylinders. Anne McIntyre, a medical herbalist has some top tips on how to give your immune system a boost.
Cure colds with Echinacea and Pelargonium
If you find yourself laid out with a winter bug, try Echinacea. A traditional herbal medicine made from flowering Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea has long been used to relieve the symptoms of common colds and influenza.
“If you do start coughing and sneezing taking Echinacea can help nip it in the bud,” says Anne. “It boosts your immune system by helping your body produce white blood cells to fight the infection. It could also be a good idea to take it if you’ve been around people who are ill and want to up your immunity so you don’t catch the bug yourself.”
Another option is the traditional herbal remedy, Pelargonium. Made from an extract of the root of the herb, Pelargonium sidoides, this can help your body fight sore throats, coughs, and blocked and runny noses, so is particularly useful for common colds and coughs.
“It is thought to work by stopping the bacteria sticking to the mucus membranes in the respiratory system,” explains Anne. “But remember to check with a healthcare practitioner for potential herb-drug interactions if you are taking any conventional medicines.”
Look to your gut
“Two thirds of immunity is all about your gut, so what you eat and how you digest it is crucial,” explains Anne. “This is because the role of gut flora is thought to be vital to your immune system.
“To keep the balance right and your digestive system working well, try to cut down on your sugar intake and limit your consumption of junk food, refined carbohydrates and dairy.”
Spice up your life
It’s not just about what you cut out though - what you add to your diet can have immune boosting benefits as well. “Add mild spices like ginger and cinnamon to your cooking,” suggests Anne. “These are good at killing bad bacteria in the gut and can help clear out airways.”
Have a tea break
“Teas like ginger and lemon and spicy Chai can help fight off infection,” says Anne. “They are antifungal and antibacterial. Try infusing freshly grated root ginger in hot water rather than the dry tea bags.”
Source : Anne McIntyre , A qualified medical herbalist and Ayurvedic practitioner.