Posted on

The Cold & Flu Survival Guide

Yes, it’s that time of the year when everyone knows someone who is blowing their nose, sick in bed at home, coughing incessantly, and just overall miserable. The common saying that “it’s going around” truly applies to this time! 

To prevent cold and flus, the key is to maintain healthy immune systems. However, keep in mind that getting sick once in a while is also a good sign of a healthy and reactive immune system. Having said that, there are many natural, safe and effective medicines to help with the nuisances of a cold or flu. This is my go-to list for surviving this season:

  1. If you haven’t already done so, now is a great time to start introducing more fermented foods to your diet to help you build a strong immune system and stay healthy during this fall/winter.
  2. Use food as your medicine. Make sure to include onions, garlic, berries, lemons, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and good quality protein. Also, reducing intake of refined sugar and alcohol can help you stay healthy this season.
  3. Reduce stress! and if you can’t on your own, get help! Acupuncture is one great way to chill out and respond to stress in a healthier way. Taking the right “adaptogen” (natural formula to help with stress response) is also very beneficial.  We now know that stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline suppress your immune system by lowering the number of infection-killing white blood cells in your body. This is usually why when you’re stressed out, you get sick more often.
  4. Exercise! I know some of you don’t want to hear it but it actually works and even has evidence to prove it. Exercise increases your levels of infection-fighting white blood cells, allows you to recover faster and of course helps to prevent infections. Try it! It’s an inexpensive way to stay healthy and it can be fun if you find the right type of exercise for you.
  5. Stop throwing away chicken bones! Instead make a bone broth with them; rich in minerals and protein it’s a great for preventing and treating colds and flus. This is such a simple and inexpensive way to improve your family’s immune system without the need to buy lots of expensive supplements. Bonus benefits: it helps to heal your intestinal tract (gut) so for those of you with digestive issues, this might be a great food for you! For those of you with joint issues such as arthritis, this is also a must for you. Your skin and hair will also thank you after you start making this at home!
  6. For those of you who prefer supplements for improving your immunity and help you fight off colds and flus, good quality vitamin A, C, E, selenium and zinc are a must. There are products that you can find that have all of these in one – they’re called A.C.E.S + Zinc. Amazing stuff.

I hope these tools are all you need to allow you to sail right through this season so that you can enjoy all that fall and winter has to offer and you can focus on the things and people you love.   


Posted on

Colds and Flus: Aromatic Herbs

Ever wonder why herbs like Sage, Rosemary, Clove, Thyme, and Oregano are known as ‘culinary spices’? It’s not because they’re divinely tasty. In fact, it’s likely the arrow goes the other way: we find them tasty because, over time (thyme), we sagely discovered that these herbs are potent anti-microbials.

Imagine you’ve just killed and cleaned some kind of beast for a familial feast. But as you’re stoking some coals for an all-day flesh-roast, an urgent flapping of wings delivers a carrier pigeon message to inform you that Aunt Rosemary, the one that always brings those tasty pies, got her wagon wheel stuck in a rut and had to camp an extra night by the creek. You chuckle, then try to stuff the carcass in the fridge but realize you don’t have a fridge because they haven’t been invented yet. Your innards churn uncomfortably as you remember that three-day-old racoon meat you ate last summer. What to do?

Answer: rub and stuff your game with aromatic herbs. This prevents infection and spoiling. And as a bonus, it helps hides that gamey-taste.

Great folklore, you say, but what does this have to do with treating my cold or flu at home? It means that if you’ve got any of these herbs in your spice cupboard, you needn’t go further than your own kitchen to brew up a potent anti-microbial brew. At first onset of that tickly throat or stuffy nose, take any combo of these herbs, add about six combined tbsp to a liter of water and simmer for 1 hour. Drink up to 2 liters a day for up to 1 week.

Posted on

Colds and Flus in Children

The most common condition seen in children is infection. Why? Because kids like to put things in their mouths.

Usually, the resulting immune responses are good. They help build a stronger system.

However, in treating children, the best medicine is rest, warm fluids, and calming down symptoms. Herbal medicine can help a child move through an infection a little more smoothly.

Usually infections are bacterial or viral in origin. Cooling diaphoretics can be used when fever is high, warming diaphoretics when fever needs to be encouraged, decongestants or astringents when there is copious production or congestion, demulcents for sore throats, and nervines as analgesics.

So at the end of the day, what should be used?

Here is an example formula that addresses most of these actions:

Elderberry 30mL

Echinacea 30mL

Elderflower 20mL

Sage 10mL

Licorice root 10mL

Dose: 1 teaspoon three times a day, at any time.

Keep in mind it is always best to seek the services of a qualified health practitioner. This ensures proper assessment and proper management.