Mother Nature’s Helpers To The Rescue!
Here’s an interesting folk remedy to ponder.
“William Osler was a physician in the nineteenth century. If a male patient of his got sick with a cold, his recommendation was for him was to go home and place their top hat on top of one of the bedposts, get into bed and get comfortable. They were then told to drink whiskey, and keep drinking whiskey, until they saw a top hat on each one of the bedposts.”
Can you image? Bet the hangover was worse than the cold! This is certainly not a recommended natural healing remedy, but rather an example of why it is important to use common sense when looking into natural remedies.
The most important ingredient in Mother Nature’s “prevention” arsenal to fight colds and influenza is the food you choose to eat! All “treatments and remedies”, whether they be allopathic, homeopathic, holistic, or herbal, do not work as well in an individual making poor diet choices. It is not possible to overemphasize the value of a healthy diet in preventing AND treating any illness. When you, “the host”, are as healthy as possible, a disease process has a tough time getting in. You have the power to change your diet and live healthier.
But in case the cold/influenza still makes it way into your body, understand the symptoms of colds and influenza can be quite similar. The nose, eyes and mouth are usually the first sites of invasion from cold viruses. The most likely target for the influenza virus is the respiratory tract.
Colds have these basic characteristics:
- Slow onset
- Body aches
- Rarely accompanied by fever and headache
- Localized symptoms such as sore throat, sinus congestion, listlessness, runny nose and sneezing
- Mild to moderate chest discomfort
- Sore or burning throat is common
Influenza has these basic characteristics:
- Swift and severe onset
- Flushed, hot, moist skin
- Usually accompanied by high (102° – 104°) fever, headache, and sore eyes
- General symptoms like chills, depression, body aches, listlessness, runny nose and sneezing
- Extreme fatigue, sometimes lasting 2-3 weeks
- Acute chest discomfort, with severe hacking cough
- Sore throat occasionally
- When recovering from a cold or influenza, eating light and avoiding dairy products and other mucus producing foods such as sugar and yes, even orange juice, can help ease symptoms and speed your recovery. Foods should be simple and warming.
- Seaweeds such as Kelp can be added to salads and soups as a super immune booster.
- Adding herbs such as Astragulus and Echinacea to soups can also give the immune system a real boost.
- Adding lots of onions, garlic, and curry to foods also takes advantage of some of nature’s best remedies for colds and flu.
- Taking zinc as soon as you feel a cold coming on has been shown to diminish some cold symptoms. However, taking more than 50 mg of zinc per day can negatively affect cholesterol balance and actually diminish immune system function.
Chicken Soup is STILL a super natural remedy for congested coughs caused by colds and influenza. Studies have shown chicken soup actually helps stop the movement of neutrophils (the white blood cells that eat up bacteria and cellular debris that are released in great numbers during an infection). This neutrophil activity can stimulate the release of copious amounts of mucous which can produce the cough and stuffy nose during a viral infection. A scientific study conducted in Nebraska on chicken soup concluded that all the ingredients in the soup were found to be inhibitory of viral growth, including the boiled extract of the chicken alone. Most canned soups work as well as homemade according to their study.
Earache Folk Remedy: I love folk remedies!!!!
Place about 1 or 2 cups of salt (any type) in a skillet—(iron works best). Warm the salt slowly by stirring constantly until it is VERY warm. Quickly scoop all the salt into the toe of a clean sock (or a wash cloth/towel) and close the material by securing with a piece of string. Place the “sock” over the ear and form it closely to the ear (you can lay on it if it is not too hot). If the salt is too hot, place a wash cloth under it until the salt cools and then remove it. The warm salt actually draws the moisture out of the ear helping ease the earache (frequently with one application). Involve children in preparing this “remedy” to make it more fun—let them pick out the sock!
One of the oldest cold remedies is a drink made of 6 ounces of warm water, two teaspoons Bragg’s apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of raw honey and 1/2 fresh squeezed lemon. Can be drunk six times a day. Good for colds with a sore throat.
In the middle European nations, steamed milk with several crushed onions added to it is taken at the onset of colds. Garlic may be substituted for onions – or both! Can be sweetened with honey.
Sage and Thyme Tea*:
1 tsp dried sage (or 1 tbsp fresh)*
1 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tbsp fresh)*
Juice of ½ lemon
1 inch chopped or grated root ginger with the peel left on
Honey (unfiltered, raw and local) to taste
Pour a pint of boiling water over the herbs and add ginger in a covered teapot or mug. Steep for 20 minutes. When making the drink without ginger, you can steep for 3 minutes if you don’t want to have a really strong sage taste. Strain and pour into a mug containing the juice of half a lemon and honey to taste. With these herbs, a little more is NOT BETTER. Use no more than noted!
- Sage works well on sour throats with or without a fever with intermittent chills. (Note: not recommended for use beyond three weeks)
- Thyme: works well on acute colds with shivering and excessive mucus that causes constant coughing. (Including yellow & green thick mucus). (Note: Very irritable to the skin* This tea should not be used for children 2 years of age. This drink is really warming and comforting and can be drunk 2-3 times a day.
Echinacea Tinctures: Taking 1/2 teaspoon every 30 minutes at the first sign of infection may help ward off a cold. (Note: In my practice I do find a fair amount of people who are allergic to Echinacea. Please use cautiously until you know!)
Elder Berry Tinctures: Modern research has shown that elderberry kills many kinds of influenza viruses and is extremely effective in shortening the infection duration. Elder Berry neutralizes the virus by stopping its ability to replicate in the body. Taking 1/2 teaspoon every 30 minutes at the first sign of infection may help stop the replication early. If the cold is already active, taking 1 teaspoon of the tincture every 2 hours may help reduce symptoms and the length of illness.
(Note: In my practice I find a fair amount of people do much better with Elder Berry than Echinacea.)
Garlic & Honey: In a quart size canning jar, place 8 heads of garlic (all cloves peeled). Fill the jar up with local organic honey, raw, unpasteurized honey and close tightly. Place in a dark, cool place for 6 weeks, shaking occasionally. This can be used by adding about 2 tablespoons to hot water or just drizzle over any foods (veggies). Do not cook with it.
Hint: You can help liquefy crystallized honey by pushing several cloves of garlic into it!
Hair Raising Cider: Rosemary Gladstar
(Warm, decongesting tonic – cleans sinuses!)
1 quart apple cider vinegar (organic, with the “mother”)
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 head of garlic, all cloves peeled and chopped (about 1/8 cup)
1/4 cup fresh grated horseradish
2 tablespoons powdered turmeric
Pinch or two of Cayenne
1 cup honey (more or less to taste)
Combine the vinegar, horseradish, onion, garlic, turmeric, and a pinch or two of cayenne. Cover and let sit in a warm place for 3 to 4 weeks. Strain the mixture, add the honey, and rebottle. Refrigerate. Can take 1 to 2 tablespoons at the first sign of a cold and continue throughout the day (every 2 hours or so) until the symptoms subside. Pour some over your veggies makes a nice dressing or seasoning