This morning I woke up and realised just how many bare trees are around. Winter is pretty much upon us, and it's fairly safe to say that so is the season of the Colds and Flu.
So today I wanted to talk about something I see in my clinic very often, and that is the mismanagement of respiratory complaints and head colds- and I'm not just talking about in the home, I am talking about some practitioners as well.
Far too frequently I am seeing people being put onto antibiotics to control a persistent cough. The other thing I am seeing more frequently, is the prescription of steroids such as Ventolin in an attempt to suppress the irritation and cease the cough.
Firstly, I will say that of course there is always a rare time and place for this! However I want to remind you that when the body is coughing, it is a natural response to irritation and it is actually trying to get something out.
The same goes for mucous like runny noses, post nasal drips and a productive cough -The body produces mucous in order to protect its mucous membranes when they are irritated- this is when your nose is running clear or you are coughing up clear to white phlegm.
When there is an infection somewhere, the body sends immune particles, via the lymph system, to be excreted into this mucous in order to help combat the infection at the site. It will then try and encourage you to get rid of this mucous via coughing, running nose, etc…
Now that you have a crash course in head cold physiology (LOL), do you think it is a wise thing to try and supress a cough or a runny nose?? Actually, it is better to try and encourage the body's natural lines of defence!
Infection aside (I will talk about this more extensively in another post), there are two main classes of herbs that can help in a basic head cold or persistent cough; The Decongestants and the Expectorants.
A Decongestant will help you to break up the mucous in your airways and sinuses, and encourage natural elimination of these.
An Expectorant is a herb that will encourage you to cough, helping to break up anything that is stuck in the bronchials and chest.
Today when I was wandering in my garden with my dogs, I decided to gather as many of these herbs as I could find, many of which are common garden herbs or even weeds. I am putting together an article about the various way to prepare these herbs for your family this Winter… From a simple infused tea, to a steam inhalation, bath or balm.
I have quite literally run out of time to ramble on about these plants right now, but I wanted to demonstrate just how many everyday plants can have a very strong therapeutic on cough or cold!