How to treat colds and ‘flu’s naturally.
I promised this article a while ago, but life has been full. The last few weeks, its seemed like everyone has got a bug. I too found my nose streaming on Friday, although by Saturday afternoon I was fine again. I am not going to give you every possible natural solution to colds and ‘flus, but a few key ideas that will do more for you than vitamin C and Ecinaecea.
The best time to act is at the first hint that you are going down with something. If you wait too long, and the invader really gets dug in, its harder to drive it.
And driving it out is just what we have to do. To the ancient Chinese (and other traditional medical traditions) colds were indeed invaders that got past our wei qi, the outer line of the body defensive energy located just below the skin. The main strategy for treating an invasion of this sort in its early stages was to mobilise the “home guard” to drive it out again.
Traditionally, sweating therapy was the treatment of choice for the initial stages of acute infections. Hot baths, saunas or sweat lodges together with sweat inducing teas were used to raise body temperature and open the skin pores. The idea is that by raising body temperature and increasing circulation, the body’s natural defences would be mobilised to fight of the invader.
This is of course why we get a temperature when we have a bug. The raised temperature is the body adjusting itself to the optimum state for the immune system to function. We have all experienced the sequence of chills, where the body is trying to heat itself up followed by sweat and burning as it reaches it peak. Often the body will go through several waves of temperature rises before it finally deals with the bug.
In many ways then the approach of suppressing the raised temperature with paracetamol is working against the immune system. Sweating on the other hand works with it.
The procedure is simple. At the first sign of a bug, drink a cup or two of herb tea and either retire under the duvet with a hot water bottle or into a hot bath until you break a sweat. Then rest. You can do this a couple of times a day.
There are a lot of herbs you can use that have a diaphoretic or sweat inducing effect. Ginger and peppermint and cayenne are the most easily available. Yarrow, elderflower and lemon balm are all effective too. Lemon balm is good for children, because it tastes nice and is mild acting.
A particularly powerful herb, much favoured by settlers in the pioneering days of America, is boneset, or eupatorium perfoliatum. This is the one to bring out for the really big ‘flus. It has a complex range of diaphoretic, expectorant, anti-viral, anti inflammatory and immune enhancing effects. Dose is 1-2 teaspoons of dried herb steeped in boiling water for 15 minutes and drunk hot. You can also take 2-4ml of tincture in hot water. For a bad ‘flu, have a dose every hour.
Another herb I would not want to be without is andrographis paniculata. This herb is widely used in Asia and the Far East. To me, andrographis actually delivers where echinaecae only promises. Research has shown it to have powerful immune enhancing and anti-inflammatory effects. It is also a good general detoxifying tonic to the body. It is very bitter and can be a bit hard on the stomach. I tend to add a little ginger or angelica to it to warm it up. I suggest the tincture, 2ml every hour in the acute phase of a cold or ‘flu. You can also use it long term as an immune builder.
Two other herbs worth mentioning are licorice which has wonderful soothing effects on sore and inflamed throats and lungs. And eyebright which is an effective astringent to dry up streaming mucus membranes.
A Chinese doctor in Glasgow gave me the following inhalation recipe, claiming it was 100% effective for all respiratory infections:
5cm piece of fresh ginger, head of garlic, large bunch of spring onions, all minced and simmered in 1L of water for 10 minutes with a tablespoon of vinegar. Use as inhalant. It will keep several days.
And here’s a recipe for oinion syrup that is wonderful for chest infections:
Slice a strong tasting onion very thinly. layer it in a bowl with plenty of brown sugar. put a weight on it and leave overnight. Pour off the resulting syrup and store in a jar or bottle. Take a spoonful regularly.
You can obtain all the herbs memtioned from Bristol Botanicals
Thank you for reading this. Do please visit my website www.integramassage.co.uk and I wish good health!