Do you dread the winter months when you and your family easily succumb to coughs and colds, sneezing and sniffily noses, headaches, sore throats, or muscular aches and fevers from the flu? These symptoms, whilst normally mild, are the leading causes of days off work and school, and can leave many people feeling sick and tired.
Instigators of a Weakened Immune System
A strong, healthy immune system is able to keep us well, even when those around us are coughing, sneezing and getting sick. There are many factors that may contribute to the weakening of your immune system including stress, poor sleep, a lack of regular exercise, not enough rest and relaxation and making poor food choices.
What to Do For a Cold or Flu?
Both the common cold and flu are caused by viruses, with the most common virus being rhinovirus. What many people may not realise, is that antibiotics target only bacteria and are not able to kill the viruses responsible for colds and flu. Fortunately there are herbs and nutrients that can help manage these viral infections and keep your immune defences strong.
Nutrients That Support Immune
Zinc is crucial for immune function as a zinc deficiency may cause a weakened immune response, predisposing you to a longer or more severe cold. Zinc and vitamin C are nutrients essential to good health and have a growing body of scientific evidence to support their benefits in boosting immunity and strengthening the healing process.
The following herbs have been shown to improve immune function and reduce symptoms of the common cold and flu:
- Andrographis: Andrographis is an Ayurvedic herb with a long history of use for viral and bacterial infections. Clinical studies have shown that andrographis can reduce the severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.
- Picrorrhiza: This herb has been used traditionally in Indian and Chinese medicine to help maintain a normal healthy immune system, and has been shown to exert anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulating actions.
- Elderberry: Elderberry has traditionally been used for its anti-catarrhal and fever-reducing actions to help relieve the symptoms of colds, and recurrent or acute coughs.
Do you need relief for your stuffy nose? Mucous congestion and phlegm are signs that your immune system is hard at work, and can result in blocked sinuses and breathing difficulty. The decongesting, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial essential oils of eucalyptus, thyme, lavender and peppermint may help to reduce the nasal and sinus congestion that accompanies upper respiratory tract infections.
Keeping Well This Winter
Give your body a fighting chance against the common cold or flu this winter. Prevention is always better than cure, so follow the simple dietary and lifestyle tips for building healthy immunity. If you do find yourself sniffling, coughing and sneezing, talk to us today about specific natural supplements to help reduce your symptoms.