By Brigitte Mars
Colds often occur when we’re overworked, overtired or overindulged. A cold may be your body’s way of saying, “Rest up. Nurture me, pay attention.” Some ways to do just that include adding a nourishing soup to the diet. I often saute some garlic and onions in a bit of olive oil, add some sliced vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, or cabbage, a couple of roots of deeps immune tonic herbs astragalus and dang shen. Then I add enough water to make a soup. When the vegetables are tender, add 1 teaspoon of miso paste for every cup of water. I recommend making a paste of miso by blending it with a little water. Miso is enzyme active and will retain its properties best if it is heated but not boiled. Dairy products, such as milk, cheese & ice cream are best avoided when feeling a cold coming on.
At the first sign of a cold, I focus on breathing deeper and slower, getting fresh oxygen into the lungs.
- Rose Hips (Rosa species) – Rich in natural Vitamin C.
- Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – Helps warm chills, dispels lung congestion and feels great on an upset stomach.
- Elder Flower (Sambucus nigra) – A mild diaphoretic that helps to lower a fever rather than suppressing it.
- Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – A delicious herb with anti-viral properties.
- Lemon Grass (Cymbopogon citratus) – Contains Vitamin A that strengthens mucous membranes as well as having antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) – Stimulates white blood cell production, thus building immune strength.
- Marshmallow Root (Althea officinalis) – Wonderfully soothing on a sore throat.
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – Infection fighting.
- Astragalus (Astralgus memranaceus) – A deep immune tonic.
- Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) – Anti-inflammatory.
To make a cup of herb tea, bring 1 cup of water to a boil. Remove from heat. Add a heaping teaspoon of herb. Cover and let the herbs steep for 10 minutes. Strain and enjoy. For small children a little apple juice may be added as a sweetener if necessary. Many people find that taking zinc lozenges at the onset of a cold helps to chase it away. Zinc has been found to keep cold viruses from replicating. Several companies now make excellent zinc lozenges that also contains propolis, slippery elm, Vitamin C and Vitamin A.
Many folks drink lots of citrus juice when their throats are sore, yet the high acid content of such fruits as orange and grapefruit can actually make a throat more sore and irritated. Herb tea would be preferable. Gargling with salt water every hour gives splendid relief.
Eliminating dairy products is essential as the excess mucous they create can further clog up the Eustachian tubes. Rather than overusing antibiotics, many people have found that a dropperful of echinacea extract given every hour or two, orally will help the body’s natural defenses. Health food stores carry ear oils containing olive oil, garlic and St. John’s wort which may be warmed by placing the bottle in a glass of hot water, then putting 2-3 drops of the warm oil to fight infection and relieve pain. Massage in front, behind the ear and down the neck with a balm containing essential oils like eucalyptus, peppermint & lavender to help move congestion.
Consider colds a time to rest more and a chance to detoxify. Your body wants to heal itself. Soaking in warm baths with a few drops of rosemary, lavender or pine oil feels sublime. Getting a massage is another way to help the healing process. Provide the right food, herbs and conditions and your body will soon heal.