With the cold and flu season, you see more and more people who have recurring coughs and/or acute colds or the flu. It is best to avoid the common over-the-counter cold/cough medications, such as antihistamines, cough medicines and decongestants. Many of these medications induce toxins into the body, including dyes, chemicals, high fructose corns syrup and GMOs. The medications may offer temporary relief, however, they may also prolong the immune response/healing time of the viral infection and often have undesirable side effects. I have some helpful tips that can help you and your children breeze through this cold and flu season. The herbs listed below can be taken in powder, capsule, tea or tincture forms, and should be certified organic or wild-crafted if possible.
First and foremost, avoid dairy. If you or your child is suffering from a chronic cough, avoid dairy completely. For a more acute cough or cold, eliminate dairy during this acute phase. Dairy can be mucus-producing.
- Avoid sugar and processed foods. This increases mucus production and decreases the white blood cell's ability to fight off invaders.
- Eat raw cloves of garlic all day long, or as often as you can handle. You can chop it up and mix with some legumes, or raw honey or coconut nectar. Garlic is an excellent anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal agent. In fact, garlic is even used intravenously to treat meningitis.
- Astragalus root is a powerful respiratory tonic and also promotes the multiplication of white blood cells that are essential for fighting infection. Astragalus root can be used long-term over the cold and flu season to promote wellness and increase your overall immune system.
- Ashwagandha is one of the most powerful herbs used in Ayurvedic healing. It is an adrenal supporting herb and therefore a powerful adaptogen. It decreases stress, enhances immune health, increases vitality, promotes sound sleep and acts as an anti-inflammatory. This may also be taken over an extended period of time.
- Olive leaf extract has antibiotic and antiviral properties.
- Maitake, shiitake or reishi extract, chaga, cordyceps or a combination of them all. These mushrooms have immune-boosting properties. AHCC complex can be used as well. AHCC is a complex produced by the cultivation of several species of mushroom mycelia, including shiitake. It is considered a superfood in Japan and has been researched extensively for its immune-enhancing properties.
- Turmeric is wonderful to help fight coughs, boosts the immune system, has anti-viral properties and is a powerful ant-inflammatory.
- Oil of oregano offers strong immune system support, as well as antifungal support and is strengthening for the respiratory system.
- Elderberry extract works well to fight off respiratory infections, and should be added to the supplement regimen for a cold or flu.
- Use eucalyptus oil to help relieve congestion. Put 5 drops in a hot bath or shower. These drops can also be put in boiling water while one inhales the steam. It can also be used with a carrier oil (such as almond or coconut oil) and rubbed on the chest.
Nettle and quercetin can be used as a natural antihistamine. Other immune-supporting herbs and nutrients include ginger, goldenseal, licorice root, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium.