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My 3 Favorite Herbs for Colds and the Flu

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My 3 Favorite Herbs for Colds and the Flu

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

Echinacea.

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.

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 ;-).


Pau d’arco.

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!



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Cold and Flu Symptoms - what are they good for?

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Cold and Flu Symptoms - what are they good for?

So it only seems appropriate this week for me to talk about cold and flu remedies, since I’m currently getting over a bad cold and spent most of last week sick in bed :-D. Yes, I could have stopped it BUT being a bad herbalist, I didn’t have the right herbs on hand and I had a LOT going on this week and so, um yeah..sick in bed it is :-D.

BUT I have been taking really good care of myself and for that I am grateful. I’ll tell you all about how you can avoid being in my situation this season in just a bit, but first I must share my beautiful news :-).

Aalayah Ramel - my beautiful new niece :-).

Aalayah Ramel - my beautiful new niece :-).

The big event of last week was the birth of my beautiful niece Aalayah Ramel! Crazily enough, I was actually there the exact second she was born. OMG my friends, talk about a magical moment. I’m sure many, or at least some of you, have shared similar moments. Looking past the obvious pass out factors, it’s a beautiful beautiful beautiful moment. I feel so blessed to have been lucky enough to be there for my sister and to see Aalayah enter our world. WOW doesn’t even describe it!

So that was a big part of my week – helping her get settled, getting to know the new baby, and keeping tabs on my other niece and nephew as well.

Needless to say by the time, Thursday, came around – my body revolted like – 'yeah, you need to spend a lot more time in bed. Lot more chickee. Try all day.'

And so I did. A good mix of guilt and gladness there, I must admit, lol. Who else feels guilty when they stop and make time for themselves. Crazy of us right?!

In any case, I finally have gotten back around to taking care of myself the right way – so let’s get back to that.

 

 

Knocking out that cold, the natural way.

I’m actually going to talk about cold and flu remedies over a couple of posts. This is going to be one of many series that I do when there is a lot of information to share. I know how hard it is to carve out even 15 solid minutes to read these days, so I’ll try to always keep my posts to a 5 minute read or so.

Coughing, sniffling, sneezing. UGH!

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Otherwise known as symptoms, these typical signs of a cold/flu are more than just inconvenient. They sap you of energy and are downright irritating to say the least. If you can get rid of them, why not right?

Wrong dears! Let me tell you why. The reason is because symptoms have a point. They don’t happen just to make you miserable. They are actually immune system responses engineered by your body to get rid of the virus that is causing your cold/flu.

Here are three common symptoms and what they are actually designed to do.

Fever: When a virus is present, your body temperature will rise in an attempt to kill the virus. We are familiar with this concept in our everyday lives. We wash our hands with hot water. We boil things to sterilize them. Your body is doing this same thing by “heating itself up” in an attempt to kill as much of the virus as possible and “sterilize” your system. 

Chills: Chills are a sign that your body is in the process of killing off the virus with heat. As your temperature rises, you naturally perspire. As this perspiration evaporates, you lose a bit of heat as well, leaving your skin feeling cold and this is what gives you chills. It’s just an indication that your body is in combat mode!

Coughs and Sneezes: Coughs and sneezes are one of the ways your body expels the virus out of your system. Cold and flu viruses enter your body through your nasal cavities in most cases. As they begin to cause irritation, your body responds by trying to push them out, hence coughs and sneezes. This very same thing is what accounts for runny noses as well. Your body is attempting to rid itself of the invading virus. 

Makes you think a little differently about symptoms right?

Symptoms are NOT a bad thing at all and as much as you can, your focus is better spent on helping your body defend itself and NOT on suppressing symptoms. The symptoms will naturally subside once the virus has been effectively fought off (think about it – we don’t have a cold forever do we? Why does it eventually go away?).

So instead of using our go-to over the counter medicines that suppress symptoms – why not use medicines that help your immune system rock out its job better??

I thought you’d agree on the wisdom of that  and in the next post, I’ll give my top 5 natural remedies for cold and flu season. You definitely don't want to miss out on that one because in the Midwest, it's already snowing and here down south our breezy 48 degree days aren't feeling too warm either! 

Be on the lookout for it and it you want to make sure you don't miss it, be sure to join my email list. I always send out notices when I post something new. 

Until then,

Keep living it up the natural way!

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