- Alternative & Natural Medicine
Natural Cold and Flu Remedies- Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living - Green Tip #25
I feel it slipping away! It’s almost no longer within reach. No, I’m not talking about my mind (although I’m sure some of you can vehemently argue the point!)! I’m talking about the humidity, which has been particularly oppressive this summer. That can only mean Fall is around the corner! Hallelujah! I can get back in the yard to my canvas and paint a beautiful picture in the landscape, which will give me much more pleasure and more gardening tips to share with my friends. Nothing could please me more. Well, I could think of a few, but I won’t go there!!
A few weeks ago, my meandering cut short the intended topic of cold and flu remedies. I’ll be straight up with you folks, sometimes (total understatement!) it’s hard to reel my many thoughts intothe limited space of my cranial globe and stay on point, which is why I’m so anal about routine (those of you who know me well, know how anal I am!). See what I mean? I’m on the verge of getting side-tracked and I’m only on paragraph two! Ok. I’m throwing my fly rod out there and bringing in the one that’s trying to get away! So, without further ado……
Green Tip #25– Recipes and Remedies for Everyday Living– Natural Cold and Flu Remedies Part 2
Everywhere you go lately, flu shots are being offered, whether the drug store, grocery store, or even in the workplace. While flu shots are recommended, especially for those of us who are on the downside of the proverbial hill, I, frankly, have never had a flu shot. I prefer to arm my immune system and deal with the malady if it invades my body despite the precautionary measures.
Before I get into remedies, I’d like to talk about prevention. As with all ailments, especially those caused by airborne invaders, building your immune system is the best way to ward off illness. At the very least, a strong immune system can help you overcome cold and flu sooner than if your immunity is struggling to survive. Many times, illnesses are brought on by stress, which is your body’s way of forcing you to shut down for a bit and regroup. But that is not the issue I wish to address today.
You’ve heard me say it a thousand times: Mother Nature knew what she was doing when she created our food supply! While many practitioners will recommend supplements to keep your inner machine working properly, all of those supplements can and should be replaced by foods and herbs. Most supplements do not give you the full benefit of natural foods because your body will discard much of what the supplements contain before any biological benefit is realized. Not to mention the gelatin or silica most supplements contain in order to ease their way down your esophagus. By the time your body breaks down the foreign matter, not much of what the tablet is supposed to offer is available for absorption; your body’s natural reflex is to “flush” it away, bearing little benefit to your immune system.
That being said, how can we naturally build our immune systems in order to combat airborne “bad means” (that’s viruses in non-Shauna lingo)? One of the most important measures, is to get enough sleep. Your body works very hard all day long, dealing with movement (or lack thereof), poor diet and stress. Your body needs a break, as does your mind, to regroup, repair and rebuild for the next hard day’s work. Good, restful sleep of 6 -8 hours daily is imperative to helping your body’s immune system maintain it’s daily strenuous workout.
Daily Intake of These Will Help Build Your Immune System
Consuming garlic daily, or as often as possible, is a tremendous boost to the immune system. Garlic is so beneficial to the immune system that the ancient Egyptians gave it daily to the slaves who built the ancient pyramids. The Romans, recognizing garlic’s strengthening powers, also fed it to their soldiers before going into battle. Garlic contains anti-bacterial properties that help fight infection and is an excellent boost to the immune system. One of it’s many beneficial compounds is allicin, which is a natural, plant based potent antibiotic. Allicin, according to Wikipedia, is an organosulphur compound (organic compounds containing sulphur, essential for life)with antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, which is a natural defense mechanism against pests. Allicin, found in garlic, has been shown to decrease blood pressure, can reduce blood cholesterol levels and functions as anantioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Holy Vampire! And I thought it just tastes good!! By the way, onion, a close relative of garlic, contains many of the same properties. So, cook with garlic and onions. Remember from a previous tip, eating parsley after eating, will help cleanse your breath, so have no fear!
Another antiviral herb is ginger, of which I spoke in detail in the first cold and flu remedy tip. Ginger contains nearly a dozen antiviral compounds! It provides pain relief, is an antiseptic and an antioxidant. (Love those antioxidants!). It reduces fever and can encourage rest through it’s mild sedative effect. A tasty way to add ginger to your diet is to grate some into the blender when making a fruit smoothie. Or, as added flavor to your coffee, put a couple of thin slices into the bottom of your pot when brewing. I always keep a cinnamon stick in my coffee pot, but I think I’ll switch it up a bit and add ginger next time I brew a fresh pot!
And don’t forget vitamin C! Vitamin C is also an antioxidant and helps the body fight infection. It is an essential nutrient required by the body for the development and maintenance of scar tissue, blood vessels and cartilage. Your best natural sources, (again, Mother Nature knows best!) are red and green chili peppers, guava, bell peppers, thyme, parsley (also known as Nature’s toothbrush!), dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, papaya and citrus fruits. Add citrus zest to your recipes for an added boost of vitamin C!
Would you rather take OTC medications, get a flu shot or use home remedies when you become ill?
Natural Remedies When Prevention Fails
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again,“ah, the best laid plans of mice and men”! You’ve added the immune system strengthening foods to your diet, but alas!, you’ve come down with a cold or flu. So what now? I’m so glad you asked!!
One of my favorite remedies, is ginger root tea, as discussed at length in tip #23. Here are some other suggestions:
·Combine fresh orange, pineapple,seedless grapes, lots of fresh ginger (remove the bark), banana, pink grapefruit and cantaloupe in a blender. If more liquid is required, add a bit of oj.
·Stay away from junk food! It takes too much of your body’s vital energy to digest. Your energy is needed to fight infection, not the negative effects junk food has on your system!
·Add Echinacea to your diet when symptoms first occur and while they are present. It increases your immune system’s defense mechanism. Echinacea is actually a genus of flowering plants in the daisy family, commonly known as purple coneflower. Who knew! Not only are they beautiful in the garden, but they have medicinal purposes! North American Plains Indians and the early settlers used Echinacea to treat snake bites, anthrax and pain relief from sore throats. In the 1930’s it was discovered that Echinacea helped combat cold symptoms. Today, it is used to treat influenza, colds, chronic fatigue syndrome, sinus infections, bladder infections, liver detox and even AIDS! While Echinacea is available in tablet form, the green in me would like to provide you with a “recipe” for it’s use. You’ll want to make this recipe as soon as you can, as it takes 2 weeks for it to “steep” but has a shelflife of 2 years, if kept out of direct sunlight.
- Fill a glass quart jar (preferably dark in color) 2/3 full with Echinacea flowers, fresh or dried.
- Pour 80 proof alcohol over flowers, filling jar. Vodka or rum is used. Rum apparently hides the bitter taste of the herbs, according to my research. If you’d rather not use alcohol, water, vinegar or glycerol can be substituted, although alcohol is used to extract and preserve the soluble material from the plant.
- Cover the jar tightly and label.
- Store in a darkened area, such as pantry or cabinet for at least 2 weeks, shaking the mixture daily.
After 2 weeks, tincture can be strained.
Repeat the above process using Echinacea (purple coneflower) roots. Combine the two finished tinctures for a more powerful blend.
For acute cold or flu symptoms, take 1 teaspoon every one to three hours for the first day or two. Reduce dosage to 2 teaspoons daily until symptoms are gone.
·Sage helps to sooth sore throats, as it has antiseptic and antibacterial qualities. Gargle with a mixture of sage, applecider vinegar and honey. If feverish, make a tea and drink the mixture.
·Peppermint is a valuable expectorant. It also reduces fever by causing the body to sweat, is a painkiller for headaches and migraines and is an effective decongestant. It also treats skin irritations, anxiety associated with depression, nausea, diarrhea, menstrual cramps and gas (more on those remedies in a future tip). You can make peppermint tea by steeping 1 teaspoon dried peppermint leaves in 1 cup boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and cool. Drink 4 to 5 times per day, between meals.
·Cinnamon tea will stop vomiting and relieve nausea.
·Lemon tea will help with sore throats and cold symptoms. Make a tea out of honey and lemon.
Well folks, my day has gotten away from me, so I’ll leave you for now. I hope you find these tips helpful. Be healthy, stay healthy, keep a smile in your heart and never, ever let the music fade!
Shauna L Bowling
Refining, Defining or Rhyming
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