It is the time of year where the weather cools, the days get shorter, winter settles in and the holidays are just around the corner. For many it marks the beginning of endless symptoms of head and nasal congestion, sore throats, coughing, headaches, sneezing and watery eyes – ah, yes the common cold.
Contrary to what people think the cold weather does not cause the common cold. Viruses thrive in colder temperatures which make the probability of catching a cold higher in the winter months. Once the virus enters your system it strikes within 18-24 hours infecting the upper respiratory tract.
There is no cure for the common cold, the best approach is prevention. Once the virus has a firm grip on you my momma would say “get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids.” As simple as it is we opt for the quick fix and spend countless dollars on over-the-counter cold medications; which by the way do nothing to cure the cold or shorten its duration. Decongestants and cough suppressants offer temporary relief from symptoms but these products have many unpleasant side effects.
I recommend my clients use herbs and supplements as a safer and inexpensive alternative to strengthen the immune system and help prevent colds and flu’s. There are plenty of products out there but here’s a breakdown of a few of my favorites that I commonly recommend to my clients.
- Astragulus – Protects immune system acting as a tonic, produces sweating and promotes healing. Helps promote the multiplication of the white blood cells that are vital for fighting infection
- Echinacea, Zinc, Selenium & Vitamin C – Taking one or a combination is an excellent approach to boost immune system, fight off bacterial and viral infections and stimulate white blood cells.
- Elderberry Extract – Effective against flu viruses and naturally relieves coughs and congestion. Elderberry helps to enhance immune system: increase perspiration, lower fevers, soothes respiratory tract and stimulates circulation.
- Probiotics – Our immune system begins in our gut, thus it is vital to have proper bacterial balance. of . A simple way is to supplement daily with friendly bacterial strains Lactobacillus acidophilus and Bifidobacterium. Probiotics boost immune system, fights against disease causing micro-organisms and reduce upper respiratory tract infections.
Many start taking herbs and supplements at the first sign of a cold. True, it may help alleviate symptoms and shorten the duration but the best time take these are before the winter months to boost immune system. Keep in mind most colds clear up on their own within 10 days so it is important to allow yourself to heal and keep the common cold in harms way of progressing into more serious conditions, such as bronchitis or sinus infection.
This winter, check with your local natural health store to get these natural cold and flu fighters. Stay warm!