THE COLD and FLU~
The common alternative school of thought is that the common cold and its related problems of fever, sore throat, cough and headaches should not be suppressed with popular prescription or OTC (over-the-counter) drugs, but be allowed to run its full course right to the very end.
The reasoning is that the common cold is an acute healing crisis. It is one of Nature’s way of ridding the body of accumulated wastes and toxins.
The use of allopathic prescription drugs stops the cold dead in its tracks. The wastes and toxins are then reabsorbed back into the body to incubate and fester until some major illness has grown big enough to rear its ugly head some time sooner or later. And most of us then wonder what went wrong!
That course of the common cold may be eased naturally and without disruption by taking certain vitamins / supplements and herbs.
The common cold and flu are respiratory infections caused by viruses. However, their symptoms are slightly different.
The common cold comprises symptoms which include:
- a runny nose
- sore throat
Influenza ~ The Flu is more severe than the common cold. Symptoms include:
- Aches and Pains
- Fatigue and Weakness which may last for days, even weeks.
The viruses of both the cold and the flu are transmitted by contact with the respiratory secretions of an infected person, for example, touching an infected door knob, shaking hands, then we touch our eyes, nose, mouth etc. or we breathe in the infected cold/flu particles from an infected person, which can stay in the affected/contaminated air for up to 3 hours!
So hospitals, buses, metros etc especially in the winter, are not really places to linger in, and to be avoided, if possible!
A WORD OF CAUTION
If you are treating young children with natural means, you MUST consult a medical doctor if these home remedies do not give positive result within 1 to 2 days.
Natural Remedies / Therapies
1. Elderberry Extract / Liquid / Syrup
This is an excellent remedy against the common cold / flu. For certain people, taking it soon enough can keep the cold from getting a foothold. This extract helps with upper respiratory and allergies. Take immediately with the first sneezes and runny nose!
A standardized elderberry extract seems to be active against viruses and bacteria that cause upper respiratory tract infections.**** However, more clinical studies are still required to confirm this.*****
****(BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Feb. 25, 2011)
*****(Phytotherapy Research, Jan. 2010)
You can collect and dry elderflowers in the summer for use as a soothing tea from winter coughs and colds.
You can easily purchase elderberry extract commercially in good health and herbal stores.
2. Up Your Intake of Vitamin C. Consume Foods High in Vitamin C
Vitamin C is an old but powerful remedy. Vitamin C has both antibacterial and anti-viral properties. As such, it is capable of, and effective in, treating flu as well as cold viruses and their bacterial complications.
Vitamin C has several points of attack: It energises natural killer (NK) cells to attack pathogenic microbes. It also energises macrophages, an immune system front line defense against infection.
The human body cannot produce or store vitamin C. Therefore, it’s essential to consume it regularly in sufficient amounts, and especially so now you are suffering from a cold.
These Vit C-rich foods will help you get through your cold more quickly. Or take 2 to 3 grams daily of Vitamin C. At the beginning of your cold/flu, you may want to take 1 gram per hour. Taper back if you experience diarrhea. Take up to the point when you experience diarrhea, then maintain it at that dose.
The ascorbic form of Vitamin C rather than Ester C, or other buffered forms should be used orally, either as a pill or powder. 1 teaspoon of powder is approximately equal to 4 grams. You may avoid diarrhea using the buffered form of vitamin C, however this buffered form is less effective when compared with ascorbic acid.
High-dose intravenous Vitamin C is perhaps the most effective treatment for flus, colds, even avian flu. It is also used for treating cancer, as advocated by Nobel Laureate, Linus Pauling.
You may be surprised, but Vitamin C-rich foods highest in Vitamin C are not actually citrus fruits (!). In descending order of vitamin C content, they are:
- Kakadu plums from Australia
- Acerola Cherries
- Rose Hips
- Chilli Peppers
- Sweet Yellow Peppers
- Mustard Spinach
- Papaya (Pawpaw)
3. The Super Star, Vitamin D
Recent research has discovered that the cold and flu problems in cold countries result largely due to a lack of vitamin D as a result of the lack of sunshine in the winter months.
As a powerful preventive measure, ensure that you take adequate quantities of Vitamin D before and during those cold, dark winter month, if you live in such countries. You could consider this the ‘ultimate vaccine against the flu / cold‘!
The recommended dosage by Vitamin D researchers is this:
Summer months and for people living in the tropics:
1,000 – 2,000 IU (International Units) daily of Vitamin D3
Other months (late fall, winter, spring):
Double the summer time (tropics) dosage 2,000 – 4,000 IU
You can achieve this through a combination of the following:
- Exposure to sunlight
- Dietary intake of Vitamin D-rich foods eg cod liver oil
- A Vitamin D3 Pill-form Supplement, Cholecalciferol (not D2) Ergocalciferol
Pill form supplementation is perhaps the easiest way in the cold, sunshineless winter months to achieve the correct amount.
Daily amounts of up to 10,000 IU are known to be safe. Experts estimate the toxic dose to be around 40,000 IU daily.
The skin produces about 20,000 IU of Vitamin D during a 20-30 minute unprotected summer-time exposure to the sun. An SPF 8 sunscreen can reduce Vitamin D production by a whopping 95%!
So up your intake of Vitamin D as a preventive measure against the flu and cold.
4. Zinc Therapy
Colds are usually caused by viral infections that develop in the nasal cavity with the rhinovirus strains being the usual, common culprits.
Studies have shown that ionised zinc is very effective against rhinovirus activity. The use of ionised zinc at the site of infection within the nasal cavity reduces the severity and duration of the symptoms by up to a whopping 85%!
This over-the-counter remedy of ionised zinc gel is called Zicam, and is available at most pharmacies and supermarkets which stock medical remedies.
From a preventary dietary approach, you can help decrease the symptoms of cold and flu by adding zinc-rich foods to your daily meals.
Zinc-rich foods include:
Shellfish (including mussels and oysters)
Nuts ~ pine nuts, almonds
5. Use Herbs
for relief and to help expel toxins and wastes.
~ Teas to promote sweating: peppermint, elderflower, feverfew, catmint
Formula for tea:
Equal parts of:
* peppermint and yarrow, or
* peppermint and elderflower, or
* hyssop and white horehound
Add a pinch of cayenne pepper to each combination for extra potency and improved circulation
1 teaspoon of each herb to 1 cup boiling water.
Infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.
Add pinch of cayenne pepper.
Dosage: Drink freely. Drink copious amounts.
6. Hot Lemon and Honey Teas
Drink copious amounts. The addition of Echinacea to honey and lemon tea is another big boon for relief of the common cold.
Cinnamon: Helps to relieve symptoms of cold and flus.
7. Dab 1 to 2 drops of sesame oil
on the insides of your nostril. Sesame oil has been used to prevent the cold virus from implanting itself in the system.
Rub a drop or two of sesame oil on the inside of your nostrils. Studies have shown that sesame oil can slow down, or even prevent, the cold virus from taking hold.
8. Do A DETOX
A great and easy home remedy
Fill a wide saucepan with about 5cm /2 inches of water.
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon thyme
a pinch of cayenne pepper.
Heat the water until it steams. Turn off the heat. Wrap your head and face in a soft towel.
Exercise extreme caution as steam can burn. Taking great care not to burn yourself with the steam, put your face over the steaming saucepan concoction. Breathe in the steam through your nose and mouth.
9. Chicken Soup ~ The age-old, time-tested…Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Remedy
Yes, you read correctly, chicken soup! Just like yours and my grandmother used to make when you were a child and she lovingly coaxed you to drink the soup when you were weak and teary and in need of cuddles and hugs because you were ill with the wretched common cold.
Research has shown that chicken soup is full to the brim with certain amino acids that do an excellent job in breaking up the mucus that makes the poor sufferer cough up his lungs.
The hot steam from the soup doesn’t do a bad job either to help clear the lungs.
© Helen Chow, ND
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