This cold season is really trying to get to me! Remember when I was sick last week? Well, I finally began feeling better this weekend and then today, can you believe I woke up with a cough, congestion, and a weird headache? Talk about annoyed, lol.
Truth talking here though, I actually love what’s happening. I love that my body is giving me all of this information about what’s going on with me. Let me explain :-). Theoretically, if my immune system was in good working order, it would be able to fight off the cold virus effectively enough for it not to come back, and definitely not so soon. Even if I was exposed to another viral strain, my body should be able to keep that one from taking hold as well.
However, that’s not what’s happening. Instead, I’m feeling a little weak, a little feverish, congested and sniffly again. No Bueno. So what this tells me is that 1. My immune system is obviously not in tip top shape and 2. I’m going to need to help it along again and address the bigger issue of an immune system in need.
So last week, I told you that I’d be talking about my favorite remedies for fighting off a cold or flu virus and apparently the timing is still perfect – I still need the advice myself :-).
My 3 favorite Herbs for Cold/Flu Viruses
You may have heard of this herb before, as it’s become very popular in the last ten years; it truly deserves the esteem that it has. If used within the first day of the onset of a cold or flu, in most cases, that cold won’t stick around. The general consensus is that the best way to take it is as a tincture. Tinctures are alcohol based liquid extractions of the herb’s active ingredients. (Glycerin based tinctures are available as well for those that don’t consume alcohol.) Most health food stores will have tinctures available for purchase and it is possible to make your own – I will be showing you how one day soon ;-).
Echinacea helps fight the cold and flu viruses by stimulating the immune system. In particular, it encourages the production of more white blood cells. White blood cells are the immune system ‘warrior’ cells that swarm to a virus and break it down equaling shorter colds and flus.
Elderberry is another herb used for many years as a remedy for colds and flus. It works best if used when you first feel yourself getting sick and can cut the duration of a cold to less than 3 days!
Elderberry is actually a tree and the part used most often medicinally for colds and flus are the flowers. They have antiviral, anti-catarrhic (decreases inflammation of mucous membranes), and general anti-inflammatory properties. Elderberry also promotes sweating, which helps to kill viruses as well as eliminates immune system waste from the body after the virus has been killed. Elderberry flowers can be taken as a tea (2-4grams per 8oz of water) 3 times a day. It’s also possible to find syrups made from Elderberry at health food stores and yes, you can make your own of this also ;-).
Last but not least, Pau d’arco, also known as lepacho or taheebo, is a tree found in South and Central America that has great healing properties. The inner bark of the tree is used to fight all types of viruses because of its strong immune-stimulating capabilities. This is my personal favorite and when I have it, I can almost always stop a cold before it settles in. I make a tea with 2 grams of the plant to 8 oz of water, let it steep covered for 20 minutes, and drink this 3 times a day.
So now you have my favorites. All of these are simple and safe to use. All of them will help stop a cold or flu before it develops so it’s a good idea to have at least one of them readily available in your medicine cabinet or kitchen just in case. You’ll be so happy that you do ;-).
In a later article/exercise, we’ll be talking about making an herbal first aid kit and medicine cabinet. Looking forward to sharing that with you all!
***Important! As always, be sure you run any herbs you are planning to take by your healthcare provider if you are under one’s care. Just make sure they are open to the natural way!