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How to Stave Off a Cold and Flu

Updated on July 6, 2011

Cold and Flu Season

In North America, the cold and flu season typically runs at its height from October to April. The flu is a contagious virus that is spread from one person to others by an infected person when he sneezes or coughs. Also, others can pick up the virus by touching something infected with the virus like door knobs and handles and then touching their own mouth or nose.

Most people are contagious from 1 day before symptoms to about a week. That means you could infect someone else without even knowing you are ill. No doubt, that is why the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and every hospital promotes good handwashing and practical hygiene always as a first line of defense against colds and flu.

In particular, the flu can be more than just a nuisance. It can be life-threatening to those over age 50 and those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, heart disease, and asthma. This proved true in the case of the highly publicized and just as feared H1N1 strain commonly known as swine flu.


When Precautions Just Won't Do

Needless to say, we want to do all we can to prevent a cold or flu in the first place. Yet with all the precautions we take, colds and flus can and do strike from time to time. So if you still end up with it, you will want these herbal remedies to the rescue!

 

The Fab 5 On Active Duty

1) The first is what many experts believe is the most potent herbal enhancer of the immune system, Echinacea angustifolia. There seems to be some discrepancy as to which specie is the most effective, whether it’s angustifolia, pallida, or purpurea species, yet all of them contain phytochemicals—that all important immune response charger. Plus, the synergy each offers in disease resistance on different fronts is nothing less than awesome! There are some powerful properties that combine to give echinacea a powerful punch for knocking out bacteria, viruses, and inflammation. So that makes it an ideal agent for tackling colds and flus, not to mention its ability to stimulate immune response to step up its effort in the fight for your health. This power is best tapped by taking echinacea at the first sign of infection or you might find yourself fighting a losing battle. If the infection has already gotten underway, you may need the assistance of another agent with antiseptic quality like goldenseal for the most effective treatment.

Echinacea does not taste good. Capsules will cover that, and they are my preferred method of usage. However, if you can brave the taste, you can make a tincture using 30-100 drops a day or tea in 3 to 4 cups a day, according to Annie’s Remedy.com.

Experts caution that those with TB (tuberculosis), HIV/AIDS, RA (rheumatoid arthritis), or lupus should not take Echinacea. Also, anyone who is pregnant or has allergy to ragweed should avoid echinacea also.

2) These next up on the battle line in defense against cold and flu is Oregano (Origanum vulgare). Another name is wild marjoram. The Greeks used it on the outside and inside of the body as narcotic and anticonvulsant. It is known now that the oil and leaves are both great antibacterial agents. This is because of the thymol present in oregano. Oregano tea has a sedative property, which makes it good for treating the maladies of cold and flu.

Oil of oregano can bhttp://www.brentwoodnursery.co.za/images%20for%20the%20site/oregano2.jpge purchased in health food stores like the Vitamin Shoppe. You can make your own brew to drink as a tea with proper instructions.

3) The third soldier going up against the pesky symptoms of cold and flu is peppermint, (Mentha x. piperita var. vulgaris) Yes just the mention of the word makes you think about candy and mints, but this herb has shown power beyond just freshening your breath. It is also contains agents to fight bacteria, fungus and viruses. While it is not chosen often as some stronger agents enlisted for fighting cold and flu, I like it for its soothing, cooling effect. The aroma alone is very calming. The menthol is what you smell, and it can relieve nerve senses, which can inhibit pain in muscles from a dry cough, and act as a decongestant to loosen phlegm (mucous).

UMMC Health News cautions that too much peppermint oil can be toxic. As with any medicinal agent, it should be taken under the guidance of a professional.

4) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is not as widely used in the cause of fighting cold and flu either, but it is a medicinal herb that can be used to alleviate cold and flu symptoms, such as fever and inflammation. It is also noteworthy that the extract from yarrow contains antibiotic qualities. So, it has to march in the fight as well.

HowStuffWorks.com does caution that too long or overly frequent use of yarrow could cause sensitivity to light.

 

5) Last but not least, well yeah, I guess it is least, but still helpful, and that is sage (Salvia officinalis). You see sage is an antiseptic and antifungal. So it does more than just add that pungent flavor to your favorite stuffing. The essential oil it contains has antioxidants and antimicrobial qualities. These are fine ingredients to war with cold and flu symptoms also.

 

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    • Cassidella profile imageAUTHOR

      Cassidella 

      7 years ago

      Hope you are able to beat it with these tips Francesca27 and get to feeling better quickly!

    • Francesca27 profile image

      Francesca27 

      7 years ago from Hub Page

      I read your hub just in time... I feel a cold coming on and I have most of the things that you mentioned in your hub. Thanks.

    • Cassidella profile imageAUTHOR

      Cassidella 

      8 years ago

      Great to know you found the info in this hub helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

    • lisa brazeau profile image

      lisa brazeau 

      8 years ago from Canada

      With such an overwhelming amount of choice to make when trying to purchase a flu remedy, it's great to know of just a few that work just as well, and also help stave it off.

      Great hub!

    • Cassidella profile imageAUTHOR

      Cassidella 

      8 years ago

      Askjanbrass, thanks for checking it out. You are so welcome!Hope to keep them coming!

    • askjanbrass profile image

      askjanbrass 

      8 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Another great topic for a Hub. I can ALWAYS feel a cold coming on and start grabbing left and right for anything that will make he healthier and/or better equipped to fight! I never knew that Oregano was good to have to help fight colds.

      Very useful information, thanks for sharing!

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