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Natural Remedies for Colds & Flus

by Dr. Amber Hincks LAc

A couple of weeks ago, I posted about cold & flu prevention, but lets face it, sometimes we get sick. If you are like me and have a child in preschool, maybe it happens more often then you want to admit. Here are some tips for bouncing back fast and fortified.  

·      Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant found in many foods, especially brightly colored fruits and vegetables.  It can greatly speed recovery from colds or flus.  In terms of supplementation, avoid synthetic ascorbic acid if possible in favor of mixed flavonoids or acerola powder.  (Vitamins are consistently better in their complex packages, rather than as an isolate.)

·     Zinc can also reduce the duration of an illness.  Lozenges can be helpful, applying its antiviral action directly in the throat.  Zinc can also be taken preventatively as a supplement when combined with copper.

·      Garlic is a powerhouse natural antibiotic, anti fungal, and antibacterial, garlic can tackle almost any illness.   Consider making a fire cider to get you through the worst of the cold season.  This combination of vinegar and decongestant herbs can help kick start your immune system.

·      Elderberry syrup is good to have on hand, especially for children.  There are multiple compounds in elderberries that contribute to them being effective for a variety of flu strains.

·      Chinese medicine has many herbal formulas that are effective for different stages and presentations of colds and flus.  For the initial onset of a cold, there are 2 herbal formulas that are great to have on hand.  The first, Cinnamon Twig Decoction (Gui Zhi Tang), is for the initial stage of a cold-type illness – runny nose, chills, stiff neck, sneezing, thin mucous.  The second, Yin Qiao San, is for a heat-type presentation, perhaps more flu than cold, but still at an early stage – fever, sore throat, headache, possibly rash (effective for shingles too).  Or come in for a custom formula, especially if your symptoms are lingering or worsening.

·      Facial Steams and Chest Salves especially with rosemary, thyme and oregano (fresh herbs or oils) or peppermint and eucalyptus.  Both of these combinations can help open the sinuses.   A few drops of essential oil can also be added to some coconut oil and rubbed on the chest. Or consider a product like Ogaan Naturals Minnnty Rush balm.

·      Warm liquids – there is a reason that chicken soup is what we crave when we are sick, but you can take it up a notch with bone broth, rich in vitamins, minerals and collagen. Add fresh ginger (Sheng Jiang) and some other Chinese herbs like Chinese dates (Da Zao), Chinese yams (Shan Yao), Tremella mushroom (Bai Mu Er) and Sargassum Seaweed (Hai Zao).

·      Acupuncture! We will help your lymphatic system to move in some white blood cells and move out the crud.