Cold Flu and Natural Remedies

Back to school excitement is easing.  The routine is starting to come together and Wham!  Suddenly you are hit with the first of many bouts of cold and flu!  It seems like it happens earlier each year.  There are some easy immune boosters and herbal supplements that can help.

What is the Flu?

According to the Public Health Agency of Canada Influenza, or more commonly known, The Flu, is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus.  The flu is extremely contagious and moves rapidly from person to person.  Various strains circulate each year with new ones popping up all the time.  The flu is generally treated with anti-viral drugs.

Flu symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Fever
  • Muscle ache
  • Running Nose
  • Appetite loss
  • Nausea
  • Vomitting

What are Colds?

According to Medicinenet The common cold is a self-limited contagious illness that can be caused by a number of different types of viruses.   The cold is thought to be incurable and is generally treated with decongestants, cough suppressants and time.

Cold Symptoms include:

  • Stuffy nose
  • Sore throat
  • Sneezing
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Headache
  • Fatigue

Prevention

It is far easier to prevent colds and flu than it is to take care of them after you have been infected.  There are a number of over the counter products available but there are also some simple things you can do without having to spend a lot of money.

Vitamin C is an amazing supplement.  It assists in boosting your immune system and making you less susceptible to whatever is going around.  Taking Vitamin C supplements daily is beneficial for a number of reasons

  • Increasing your resistance to infection.
  • Toning your blood vessels
  • Keeping muscle healthy
  • Anti-histamine
  • Anti Stress

Calendula

 

Calendula (Marigold) tea is also useful in stimulating your immune system.  It is

  • Anti-histamine
  • Anti-bacterial
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Antiseptic

A single cup of Calendula tea made with 1 tsp of herb in a cup of boiling water taken daily can be beneficial, especially if you are dealing with the public on a regular basis.

 

Spirulina/Blue Green Algae

Spirulina

Spirulina is an amazing item. It is actually the name for blue-green algae. Benefits of spirulina include:

  • blood sugar regulation
  • fatigue
  • anxiety and depression
  • Immune system booster

UCDavis did a study that indicated spirulina boosts immune function. Spirulina hasn’t been tested extensively on humans, however, I have not had a cold in the 2 years or so that I have taken it.  For more on spirulina and it’s benefits check out my blogs here and here.

Cold and Flu

You have taken good care of yourself but you can feel that you are coming down with something.  There are ways to ameliorate the symptoms.

Dominion Herbal College is the amazing school I graduated from.  One of the very first pieces of information they provide is for cold relief.

When you first feel yourself beginning to show symptoms you can prepare yourself a special tea made from equal parts Peppermint and Elder flowers.  You will need to drink 3 or 4 cups of this per day.  The number of days is dependent on how much of a hold the cold has.

Ginger is used in the same way.  Fresh ginger is best but dried ginger may be used.  Simply prepare a cup of tea using 1/2 to 1 tsp ginger and 1 cup of hot water.  The amount of ginger used is dependent on taste.  Add a spoon of honey to sweeten either of the teas.

Honey itself will assist with cough and inflammation so it is a wonderful addition to the tea.

The key to these two remedies is heat.  The more you sweat the more you sweat out the virus.  If you can combine the hot tea with a hot shower or bath that is even better.

In a particularly persistent cold soaking your feet in hot water with vinegar, drinking the tea and taking a hot shower will certainly make you sweat but you will feel much better in the morning if you follow these instructions before going to sleep

Flu can be treated with equal parts of Peppermint and Elderflower.  The Ginger tea is especially good for the flu since ginger calms the stomach and aids digestion.  Gingersnaps can also assist in calming the stomach distress.

An important note:  If you try these remedies and still find yourself with the flu SEE YOUR DOCTOR.  Herbal remedies are wonderful but sometimes a doctor is the better choice.

Reference:  Bartram Thomas, Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Marlowe and Company New York