Warding off colds

There is a multitude of herbs that can stimulate the immune system.

Many of them are also anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Some of these are echinacea augustifolia (coneflower), hydrastis canadensis (goldenseal), glycyrrhiza glabra (licorice), astragalus membranosus, reishi (mushrooms), lomatium and ligusticum (osha).

I usually combine these in a formula with other herbs, such as lung herbs to achieve comprehensive effects that can be picked up at the clinic any                time.

We’ve had great success using this tincture with the latest flus that have been a problem. I often have folks keep this tincture on hand, so, with the first signs of a cold, such as a scratchy, sore throat or sinus congestion they can start to use it.

This usually takes care of the virus or bacteria and the symptoms are usually gone in 1-2 days.

Another of the useful techniques that I find to be extremely effective is hydrotherapy. This is the use of water for varying problems.

One of these techniques is an alternating hot and cold with a probiotic sinus wash. When you start to get congested sinuses, this is the best tool to relieve that stuffy head!

Take a very hot facecloth and place it on your sinuses for three minutes, then a cold pack for 30 seconds and repeat this three times.

This helps to bring in fresh blood and nutrients and push out congestion.

Then take one teaspoon of sea salt and dissolve it in one cup of filtered water. Take that teaspoon and draw up the solution into the sinus and spit out the fluid and mucous.

Repeat five times with each nostril. It is easy to do in the shower and you will have enough solution for about a week.

Another is steam inhalation with an essential oil of eucalyptus for any bronchial or lung congestion.

You can do this by filling up the sink with hot water and putting 6-8 drops of eucalyptus in the water. Put a towel over your head and breathe in the steam for five                                     minutes.

This is anti-bacterial and does a great job of opening up those lungs again. You can easily do this with a child as well. Just hold the child in your arms and put the towel over both of you. What the heck, you’ll get a facial!

Lastly, is a warming sock. This is great to do if the first signs of a cold is a sore throat. You heat your throat with a hot facecloth till your throat is red. Wring out a cotton sock with cold water and place that around your neck, cover with a wool sock and go to bed.

The immune system will be drawn to the throat area to dry out the sock and will therefore bring fresh white blood cells and other immune modulators to get rid of the bugs!

Also, one must never underplay the role of a positive mental outlook, laughter, self-respect, affirmations, breathing exercises, meditation, exercise, yoga or whatever achieves that necessary balance in your                    life. I know this is         much easier said than done.

Many other treatments can be utilized, but most importantly, rest, large amounts of fluids, preferably diluted vegetable juices, water, soups and herbal teas and limited sugar consumption maximizes the ability of the immune system to not only ward off those bugs, but, minimize their impact.

Wouldn’t it be great to have an immune system working so well you hardly ever get a cold or flu?

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Dr. Brenda Gill is a Rossland naturopath