Winter is coming. With that come colds and flus for some. We all know we should stop and rest, keep our fluids up and load up on vitamin C. But what else can we be doing to shorten the severity and duration of that dreaded cold?
Kill the infection
Many people think to take Echinacea when they are sick with the cold or flu. Well, forget Echinacea once a cold has taken hold. Echinacea is great for preventing colds so you can take it to ward off getting sick in the first place. Studies show it makes no difference to the severity or duration of respiratory infections if you start taking it when you are in the throws of infection.
The herb you want to be taking is Andrographis aka King of Bitters. Andrographis is great for resolving your infection, as is Olive leaf, Thyme, Sage and if it’s viral (the mucus is clear) then think about St Johns Wort (NB: definitely run this one by your naturopath or herbalist as it may interfere with the efficacy of any other medication you are taking). These wonderful immune enhancing and anti-microbial herbs will get you better sooner.
Eat your way to health
Eating may be the last thing you want to do when you are in the throes of a respiratory infection, especially the flu. However, there are a handful of foods that will definitely help you get well fast. Focus on eating more of the following foods:
Chilli / Cayenne
Soothe a sore throat
Using herbal throat sprays can be very helpful when your throat feels like it has razor blades lining it. The more you cough the more it all hurts. Herbal throat sprays that contain Clove, Calendula, Marshmallow, Echinacea, Sage and Myrrh are a great to keep in the medicine chest. You can also drink marshmallow root tea, sage tea or my personal favourite, manuka honey, sliced ginger and lemon tea to help soothe a dry and sore throat.
Boost your immunity
We all know vitamin C helps fight colds and flu but there are other nutrients you may not be aware of that you can use to fight your infection. Zinc is a fantastic immune boosting nutrient that supports your innate immunity. Other nutrients that give your immune system a boost include vitamin D, vitamin B12 and probiotics.
If you are prone to recurrent infections you may want to get in touch with your health practitioner to discuss the possible requirement you may have for some or all of these nutrients over the winter months to keep you sickness-free.