Fighting the Cold and Flu Season with Nature's Solutions
Everyone knows that there is nothing worse than the onset of a cold or flu. The aches and pains, the sore throat, the coughing and wheezing – generally, you experience a host of symptoms that make you feel terrible all over. Every year, most of us come down with a cold or flu, struggling for days if not weeks before we start to feel better. Our friends, co-workers, and family then get sick, and before you know it, you’re sick again.
Since there is no cure for the common cold or flu, we have to rely on medications, doctor’s visits, and antibiotics to help us cope with our illness. Many of cold medications don’t actually do anything to improve your health, but rather simply mask the symptoms of your cold or flu. Antibiotics, as we are finding out, aren’t always the best course of treatment, either, as they lead to side effects and a reduced immunity to disease. Fortunately, there are many natural solutions to help you fight that nasty cold or flu that are just as effective, if not more so, than traditional Western medicine.
Why Do We “Catch” a Cold or Flu?
Stress, poor diet, and lack of sleep all compromise the body’s immune system, and this weakened defense against illness is the primary reason most people get sick. Of course, everybody’s body is different, which is why some of us are more inclined to get sick than others.
The old saying “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” really does carry a lot of weight in the healthcare world. Along with getting enough sleep and trying to reduce your stress, improving your diet and using a few natural products can help to prevent you from getting sick.
- Diet – Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, while avoiding sugars and simple carbs, is the easiest and surest way to stay healthy. Colds and flus will have a slippery fight, especially if your diet includes plenty of fresh garlic, ginger, and spices like red and black pepper. In addition, fiber is extremely important to keeping your digestive system working properly.
- Vitamins – In a perfect world, with a perfect diet, you wouldn’t need to take vitamin supplements because your diet would provide all the vitamins you need. Unfortunately, most of us don’t meet our daily vitamin requirements, so a wide-spectrum vitamin supplement is a good addition to our diet.
- Acidophilus – Also known as the “friendly bacteria,” these little guys are responsible for the proper digestion of the food we eat. Excessive alcohol consumption, antibiotics, and food additives can wipe out your system, leading to irregularity, allergies, and a weakened immune system. The most common source for acidophilus is yogurt, but it’s even more effective when taken as a supplement.
Natural Cold and Flu Fighters
Most of us are aware of the benefits of taking vitamin C and echinacea when we’re sick. But what most people don’t know is that the natural world abounds with literally hundreds of natural anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and antibiotic-containing plants. Here are just a few of the more common natural products that will help you fight off your cold or flu. All of these products can be found at your local natural-food store, and some you may be able to find already in your own home.
- Grapefruit seed extract – This potent extract has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties that are powerful enough to be used in industrial cleaning products, yet safe enough to be taken internally for long periods of time. If you are looking to get rid of a bug that keeps sticking around, grapefruit seed extract may provide just the boost you need to give it the boot.
- Oregano oil - Oregano oil has very strong, natural antibiotic properties. Oregano oil is usually combined with fennel and ginger, which keep you from getting a stomachache while it does its job as a powerful antibiotic.
- Olive Leaf extract – The flavanoids found in olive leaf extract act to keep swelling and pain to a minimum, and its antimicrobial action works to kill off viruses and bacteria.
- Ginger – Ginger has long had a reputation as being an asset to good health. The root, or rhizome, is used throughout Asia in cooking and medicine. When chewed, ginger will help to soothe sore throats, provide mild pain relief, and settle an upset stomach. When boiled as a tea, along with cinnamon, cloves, and honey, the mixture will help to relieve the symptoms of a cold or flu, while at the same time treating the source of the illness.
- Cinnamon – In addition to its digestive and warming properties, cinnamon has powerful anti-microbial properties.
- Cloves – This antiseptic herb is effective in calming mouth and throat pain, as well as killing germs.
Other Things to Keep in Mind
When you’re sick, you must remember that there is no substitute for rest. Although this is a luxury that most of us cannot afford, getting adequate rest when you experience the first symptoms of a cold or flu could save you from having to take several days off work and feeling even more miserable. And you might also want to skip having those drinks with your friends at the bar. Instead, stop by the natural food store on your way home to a hot cup of tea and a good night’s sleep.
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