“It’s either the flu or love… The symptoms are the same.” ~ Charles M. Schulz
This sentiment is echoed by US country singer, Alan Jackson, in his song ‘It Must Be Love’ – “First I get cold and hot think I’m on fire, but I’m not. Oh, what a pain I’ve got, it must be love!”
With cold and flu season just around the corner, it’s time to look at some natural ways to help should you get the dreaded lurgy. This article might be a little longer than usual so grab a cuppa and find a comfy seat.
With many people now starting to take control of their own health care, natural alternatives are becoming more popular. This is a good thing because natural alternatives are much kinder to our planet, better for our environment, and much better for us.
But before we look at how to help boost the immune system, let’s have a brief look at what the immune system is and does. In short, “the immune system is a complex network of cells and proteins that defends the body against infection.” Better Health Vic.
In an article by Dr Axe, he describes how we have two immune systems. One being the “innate” immune system, which is the general defence system; and the “adaptive” immune system, which remembers pathogens it has already dealt with.
Now, there are two schools of thought on illnesses and medicines. One is the “Germ Theory”, and the other is the “Terrain Theory”.
Here is a brief description of each.
Germ Theory suggests “that certain diseases are caused by the invasion of the body by microorganisms, organisms too small to be seen except through a microscope.” ~ Britannica.com
This is where we get sick, go to the Dr, then the Dr prescribes us with something to make us better.
Terrain Theory* suggests “that if the body is well and balanced then germs that are a natural part of life and the environment will be dealt with by the body without causing sickness.” ~ Unknown
This is where we take care of our body from the inside, so it is better equipped to deal with any infections/illnesses as they arise.
Antoine Béchamp said “Germs seek their natural habitat – diseased tissue – rather than being the cause of diseased tissue.”
*Unbiased information about this theory is difficult to find on the internet. It is often called “germ theory denialism” instead. Make of that what you will.
I believe we have been given an immune system that shouldn’t need too much human intervention, and if we look after our immune system, our immune system will look after us.
We can take care of it by eating and drinking healthy, avoiding things like sugar, smoking, drinking and, believe it or not, stress and fear.
But since we don’t always do this, there are natural ways we can help give it a boost for when cold and flu season rolls around.
1. Foods: “Studies display that getting enough vitamin C (along with zinc) in your diet may help to reduce the symptoms of respiratory infections and shorten the duration of illnesses like the common cold and bronchitis.” Dr Axe
There are many foods that contain vitamin C such as oranges, kiwi fruit, pineapple, lemons, grapefruit and mango. Parsley is packed with vitamin C also.
2. Herbs: According to Thomas Bartram author of Bartram’s Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, “The alternative school of medicine believes a cold should not be suppressed with popular drugs of the day but allowed to run its course. That course may be dramatically reduced by use of herbs. A cold is sometimes an acute healing crisis in which nature expels accumulated wastes and toxins. …” He recommends teas of elderflower, peppermint, and feverfew. Echinacea and ginger are also excellent for cold and flu.
3. Supplements: According to the National Kefir Association, ” Probiotic-containing foods like kefir are essential during cold and flu season for preventing offending molecules from entering the bloodstream and creating reactions that can cause symptoms of ill health.” Probiotics can come in capsule form, in drinks such as kefir, kombucha and sauerkraut.
Last on the list is garlic. I included it in this section as it can be in capsule form for those who dislike the taste of garlic.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will help you on your way to switching to natural alternatives
(Please always remember to check with your trusted health professional before using anything herbal if you are already taking any prescription medication.)