colds and flu – how I’m beating the bug and boosting immunity

macrame blue bowl with lemons

So….. lots of people around me are getting a bit sick with the lurgy. Ewww. nasty. Starts with a sore throat, full on head cold and then a cough that could light your lungs on fire. not nice.

I don’t want to get this…. no no no.

I have noticed the warning signs, a slight tickle in the throat, a bit stuffy in the nose and just a sense of ‘oh no i feel like i might get sick’-ness. So here is what I’m doing, I’m on the attack, I don’t want to get sick and more importantly, I want to support my bodies immune system raising it to optimum level so it can fight the threatening attack of pathogens. So I’m supporting body processes, not suppressing. Here’s my not-to-be-sneezed at fighting a bug 101.

1. Vitamin C – well known to help the immune system in numerous ways including mobilising your immune battalion of useful little soldiers – your lymphocytes, cytokines etc etc. During an acute episode, such as a cold or flu, or the threat of such, I recommend taking 500mg Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) 4 times a day, spread throughout the day. Split doses are best for Vitamin C as it’s water soluble and so if you take one large dose once a day you’ll exceed your bodies ability to absorb it and probably end up peeing it out. what a waste.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar Gargle – if you have that ‘i think i’m getting a sore throat’ feeling, put one dessertspoon of apple cider vinegar in a medium glass of water. Put it where you will see it frequently, like in the bathroom, this will help you to remember to take it frequently during the day (I might do it 6 or so times a day, that feels good for me). Gargle and spit. quick, easy, done. The apple cider vinegar acts as an astringent, toning your mucous membranes, hence assisting your bodies defences in not allowing those pesky pathogens – virus, bacteria etc – to take hold. If you can catch it at the getting-a -sore-throat stage, you stand a better chance of preventing the cold and flu escalation that happens thereafter.

3. Immune boosting elixir – this is my secret recipe, well not that secret, lots of my patients have grown to love it and appreciate its goodness. Chop one kiwi fruit, crush one clove of garlic and mix together with a teaspoon of honey (manuka is good if you have some, otherwise a good local honey – yum). Leave for 10 minutes or so. During this time, the ingredients learn to get along and start to temper each other. The enzymes in the kiwi fruit do something nice to the garlic and the honey helps everyone see the sweetness in life. OK, so yes, it stills tastes strongly of garlic and yes, your breath might have a garlic-y whiff about it (but who cares!) – it really does taste good. This elixir packs a punch of immune assisting nutrients, with the star being the garlic, its a wondrous immune boosting food. I think it’s super.

4. Honey, Lemon and Ginger drinks – and yes, I add garlic too.

5. Magic Herbs – and…. of course, I extol the abilities of herbal liquid medicines to support the bodies innate wondrous processes. I have prescribed for myself a marvellous herb mix, which tastes disgusting, admittedly, but I’m being brave. Of course I can’t (and don’t) make any claims that my herbs are actually magic, I am a professional after all, but they certainly are doing the trick at the moment for me. Of course for a prescription of herbal medicine you will need to consult a friendly (and qualified and experienced) naturopath or herbalist. I know of one! Contact me if you’d like to find out more. And to all my existing patients that are watching (I mean reading), if you get a cold / flu / acute episode of unwellness in between appointments, email me, we can arrange a quick phone consult, I can make you up some herbs (if indicated) and post them out to you, if you’re unable to collect them.

6. Be sensible – no, its not always easy, but really obvious good girls and boys things such as: going to bed early, not drinking alcohol, eating well, staying well hydrated are extra important at this time. Be selfish, say no to that late night boozy outing, watch that great tv program that you love (but why have they programmed it so late) the next day on catch up tele instead… that sort of thing…. obvious, sensible, but truly helpful.

We can’t always prevent getting sick, it’s normal for us to get colds, maybe once or twice a year, it shows us the immune system is doing its job. But if you’re feeling like you’re always coming down with a cold, that you’ve had a cough for ever and you just can’t get rid of that runny nose…. then it would be well worth a trip to a naturopath, to see what else might be going on for you and to put some immune boosting strategies in place.

In good health



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