Well summer has come and now is gone and we are now heading into autumn. Of course it is a really gorgeous time of the year with the leaves changing colour, the is weather starting to cool down and its a perfect time to catch up on the reading you didint get to do in summer because you were enjoying the sun. Unfortunately, it is also the time when we see viruses start to develop. How prepared is your body to fight off those nasty little bugs? The common cold also known as acute rhinitis, is as its suggests a common condition affecting the upper respiratory tract. There are many strains of virus that contribute to it and they are constantly undergoing mutation. Of course when our mucous membranes become inflamed they also become vulnerable to attack by bacteria causing secondary infections. Some of these secondary conditions are more serious than the common cold like bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections etc. Because colds are viral they are not destroyed by antibiotics therefore we need to look at different treatment plans.
Staying healthy is the best way to avoid or shorten the duration of a cold. Naturopathy (more specifically phytotherapy) offers treatments that focus on prevention and treatment. A naturopathic treatment focuses an individual’s unique needs utilising herbal medicine, immune support, lifestyle and diet making a truly tailored program. It may be that there is an acute case where treatment will focus directly on the now but more often than not we see chronic cases of recurrent colds thereby needing to use tonics to build the immune system.
A few tips to survive a cold:
Don’t suppress the body’s natural defence system. Mucous is a normal response to rid the body of the virus. Steam inhalations can work well here (add some eucalyptus in the water but don’t burn yourself!).
A bit of cloth or cotton wool soaked in peppermint oil placed near your bed to help the sinuses clear while you are sleeping (Don’t put it where your face will touch, it can burn)
Including garlic, onions, cayenne and watercress may reduce the severity or may even prevent
Reduce wheat and dairy as these are mucous forming.
Keep hydrated with plenty of fresh filtered water (2-3 litres a day)
Kitchen recipe that may ward off a cold:
A good knob of fresh ginger
1 stick of cinnamon
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ lemon including skin
Decoct all ingredients for 15 minutes in a litre of water (preferably filtered) to release the oils and volatile organic compounds. Strain and drink a cupful hot every 2 hours. You can add raw honey just before serving if you prefer it a little sweeter but always make sure your honey is not overheated as this will destroy the important enzymes. (this is why raw honey has health benefits that the processed honey does not!) (Acknowledgement: David Hoffman, Medical Herbalism)
Autumn is a great time to see a naturopath to build your immunity and give your body its best fighting chance to stay well this winter. Come in and see us and we can build a program together that may help you avoid those winter blues.
Fiona Is a naturopath at The Holistic Apothecary, South Yarra Melbourne, VICTORIA
Images by Wix.