Winter is the Season of Coughs, Colds, and Flus. Of course, there might be the odd time that an antibiotic is required, but these should ONLY be resorted to in people who are already immune-impaired such as the elderly and chronically ill.
For all other times, it is wise to try and avoid these medicines as much as possible. "A common cold will never be cured will never be cured with conventional medicine". Why? Do I hear you ask? Because it is not necessarily a virus or disease as such, but rather your body trying to tell you to slow down for a while.
At any given moment we have thousands of strains of both 'good' and 'bad' bacteria in our bodies. During the times we are stressed, run-down, or slogged with harsh weather conditions, our immune systems take a battering and the 'bad bugs' get a chance to overpopulate. If you can do what your body is asking and SLOW DOWN for a day or two, and support your own natural defenses, your cold will be a thing of the past in a matter of days. Not weeks.
Here I have listed a few effective Natural Remedies that you should try before running to the Medicine cabinet...
For a congested head: Try a hot tea made from Peppermint; Lemon and Ginger; Lemon and Honey. In the clinic, I use a tea called YEP tea, which is made from Yarrow, Elderflower, and Peppermint leaves. Second to none for effectiveness!
For a sore throat: Try the following: Finely chop up some garlic or onion and place in a pot. Add some fresh Thyme if you have any. Cover with honey (the darker in color the better!) Warm slightly to let the medicinal properties of the garlic/onion or herb infuse into the honey. DO NOT BOIL! (or you'll kill all the good bits!) Pour mixture into a jar and let cool. Use as a syrup. The honey will encourage the medicinal stuff in the herb/garlic/onion to stick to your throat, the site where it's needed.
For a chesty cough: Our cough reflex is a beautiful thing! Unfortunately, due to marketing by pharmaceutical companies, we have been led to believe that we should suppress a cough. This is very misleading information. Your body creates mucous to 'coat' bacteria and then coughs to try and expel it. Do not suppress this action!
Expectorant herbs are amazing for this purpose: My favorites include Licorice Root, Marshmallow Root, Elecampane, and Peppermint. Combined into a tea these are also very tasty!
To help soothe a cough and congestion in order to sleep, a tea made up from some of the above herbs is always a wonderful thing... But a natural alternative to Vicks (minus the petrochemical bases) can easily be made by using a few drops of Eucalyptus oil either neat, straight onto a pillow or collar of your pyjamas, or add a few drops into a vegetable oil base and rub onto the chest and back.
Also importantly, try keeping the mucus-producing foods down to a minimum -wheat, dairy, soy- just whilst you are trying to heal. Get as much rest as you possibly can, and keep your body warm. Your immune system works at its best when your body has to do a minimum amount of 'work' to keep in a comfortable state- this includes keeping warm or cool...
When all else fails, seek the advice of a practitioner! Home remedies are wonderful, but if you do not begin to see improvement within a few days, then I strongly recommend you seek further advice from a trained professional.
Claire @ NBL