Natural Remedies For Colds
Taking care of your health as naturally as possible is also beneficial for your fertility.
Early stage natural remedies for colds, according to Chinese medicine
Natural remedies for early stage colds, coughs and sore throats can be very helpful as we transition seasons. Changeable weather and temperature variability can be hard on our bodies. Your body’s ability to defend itself against viral or bacterial infection depends largely on how strong your immune system is, versus the strength of whatever pathogen is trying to opportunistically take hold. Prevention is obviously the best option. As are early stage natural remedies to help nip things before they take hold.
Fortify your immune system
Some simple lifestyle choices that can be helpful for supporting your body’s defence system include :
- Make sure you have appropriate clothing layers you can add and subtract easily according to the temperature. Getting chilled stresses your body and can weaken its resistance.
- Likewise, if you are sweating after exercise, it’s really important you get out of your damp clothes quickly and put on dry ones. In Chinese medicine, when your pores are open from sweating and you are damp, you are more vulnerable to chills and drafts. You risk getting run down really quickly when you get chilled in damp clothes!
- Don’t go outside with wet hair on a chilly day – it’s like putting on a wet hat! A bit silly really. And it’s a fast way to drop your body temperature which stresses your immune system.
- Wear a scarf when you are outside on chilly days or likely to be in drafty places. The handles of my handbag often have a scarf conveniently knotted around them at this time of year, just in case the air starts to feel a bit cool. Many people feel instinctively the need to wear a scarf and Chinese medicine has volumes of literature about acupuncture points in the neck that are vulnerable to wind and drafts.
- Good nutrition is also important to strengthen your immune system’s ability to fight off pathogens. Warm, unprocessed and homemade food is best. Make sure you are getting at least 5 handfuls of veggies a day and some fruit. Plus good quality protein and whole grains. I’m a great fan of bone broths filled with lots of grated vegetables – make them in bulk and freeze some so you have an easy ‘go to’ when you are busy. Click here to download a healthy bone broth recipe.
- Rest! Inadequate sleep and rest weakens your immune system. All the natural remedies in the world won’t make up for lack of sleep. In Chinese medicine we talk about Wei Qi. It has many functions including defending your body against external pathogens such as viruses. There is a bio rhythm involved with all aspects of our body function. Our Wei Qi is consolidated between the hours of about 11pm to 6a.m – and in order to optimise this we actually need to be asleep during these hours. I know it’s not always possible, but certainly if you know your immunity is struggling, it would be worth paying attention to these sleep times for a while.
Early stage treatment
Recognising the early symptoms of a cold and taking action immediately is the best time to treat it. In Chinese medicine we generally diagnose early stage colds as an external pathogenic invasion of wind-heat or wind-cold. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish between the two very early on, but the symptoms of each become clearer over time. Sometimes people just notice a scratchy or sore throat, a slight headache, maybe a slightly runny nose or a few sneezes, possibly a little chill or slight temperature elevation. Often what goes unnoticed is that you start peeing more too.
The Chinese medicine treatment principle we apply in this early stage promotes what is called mild diaphoresis i.e mild sweating. The chief herbs we use in formulas and the acupuncture points we choose for colds are to encourage this function. This is because the external pathogen in this early stage is sitting at the surface level of the body i.e it hasn’t gone inwards to affect the deep organs, and sweating is an effective way to push it off. So if you can’t get to your acupuncturist and haven’t got some Chinese herbal medicine, one of the ways you can help yourself is to allow your body to sweat gently. If you are running a mild fever, your body will most likely be slightly sweating. Just let it. However if you are chilled and don’t have a mild fever, you can raise your temperature by having a warm bath or shower. Then bundle yourself into some warm layers and have a hot drink. There’s a recipe below that is one of the most effective ‘at home’ natural remedies for the early onset of colds I have used, because it promotes this mild sweat. It’s always good to make sure you increase your general fluid intake as well.
We love it when medical research proves what Chinese medicine has known for thousands of years! Using cold and flu pharmaceuticals is now thought to interfere with the body’s ability to kill viruses. This not only prolongs your cold but actually is thought to make you more infectious to others as well. This research is suggesting we actually need a little bit of temperature elevation to fight off viruses. Rest and unprocessed, wholesome nutrition is also recommended.
One of my favourite early stage natural remedies for colds
In a cup add:
Finely chopped whites of 3 spring onions
Grated or finely sliced fresh ginger root (about the equivalent of 3 slices)
1 teaspoon of brown sugar (don’t substitute with anything else)
Pour boiling water over the other ingredients. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then drink.
(Food therapy in Chinese medicine is all about energetics which is why
you mustn’t substitute the brown sugar.)
If your immune system struggles in cold and flu season, this needs to be discussed as part of your fertility treatment plan with Suzanne. You can email us for more information about how to work with Suzanne.