Cold and Flu season can be such a bummer. During this time of year, we can do one of many things. That being first to stay home. Staying locked up in your sanitary bubble. But what about work? And the grocery store? Will you starve the cold out of your body? How about the kids? Our little ones being notorious for bringing viral invaders home with them. Are you to keep them out of school. Boundaried up in the house? These options aren’t always the most productive or appealing.
Then to boot, some of your friends seem to completely conquer this time of year. They maintain their resiliency and stay completely sickness free. Your question… how do they do it? What is the trick to health during the most challenging season of the year.
As your herbalist. I am here to help with as many complaints as I can. But those of you who know me have come to realize. It isn’t just about what herb is good for this virus. This herb and that herb for one thing to another. True and vital health goes much deeper than that. BUT that doesn’t mean we can’t work with seasonal issues via remedy.
Cold & Flu Season
My hope is that the threat of sickness doesn’t keep you at home. What I would love to see is you owning your health. Strengthening your body so that it can defend itself against any invader that comes into your vicinity. Viral infections are incredibly common this time of year. We are taxed because of winter. Cold temperatures and minimal light from the sun. We are lacking in vitality, and slowing down with the season.
Each of these aspects of winter lead to our systems being more vulnerable. Viruses are looking for a warm place to land and the human body, averagely holding a 98.6 degrees. This temperature being an ideal home for viruses. It also allows them to reproduce and grab hold. Generally resulting in you being bed ridden for days, and recovering for a week or more.
Sometimes this break is welcomed. Taking it as your body saying… slow down please! BUT most of us don’t have the time or patience to deal with a sick week. Let alone a sick week with 3 sick children who need us too. I hope to make this season a bit more doable and add in some preparedness so when the time comes again… you are ready to rock and roll while maintaining your resiliency!
9 NATURAL Ways Of Conquering Cold & Flu Season
#1 Eliminate Inflammatory Foods
Diet has more to do with the state of our immune system than we want to realize. Not only is the Gut responsible for some 90% of our immunity. Foods that we pour into our bodies can make or break the health of our gut. When those foods are ones like processed grains, refined carbohydrates, sugars, and dairy. The lining of our gut is compromised by immune and inflammatory responses.
Sticking with vegetables, healthy meats, and some fruit will keep your immune system fed. But most of all, the state of your gut in tact. With it functioning properly and maintaining it’s barriers fully.
#2 Add Bone Broth To Your Diet
I say this over and over again. Not only does Bone Broth contain a massive amount of nourishing nutrients. It helps to maintain a healthy gut lining. This all in all leads to healthy immune responses. As well as keeping inflammation low, and a vital body high.
IF you are not used to the savory flavor of broth. There are some easy ways to get the benefits into your system that won’t turn your nose up. I love to add a quarter cup to my tea. Or putting it in your smoothies in replace of milk or water. It is also a great base for soups. Giving you that rich, grandma made taste to your chicken veggie stew!
#3 Maintain a LIGHT Exercise Routine
During the winter we tend to want to hibernate with the bears. Snuggling up once in a while is a very good thing to do. But it is equally important for our bodies wellness to keep moving. Not only does it help with circulation of the blood, your lymphatics will also thank you!
Our Lymphatic system is the home of our Fighter Cells. It is the river of lymph that delivers, and houses our immune responders, and it doesn’t flow freely on it’s own. It has valves and nodes, but no muscle built in to keep it flowing. Unlike the vascular system that has our heart pumping blood through the body. The lymphatic system relies on movement in the skeletal muscular system and our breath.
Maintaining a light exercise routine through the winter time is essential to the immune system being strongly supported. Yoga, and light walks. Cross country skiing or snow shoeing if you live in the mountains will keep you outside and moving.
#4 Tea Time is Me Time
I can’t stress the de-stress of tea time enough. Not only can you fill it with enlivening herbal remedies, but it lets your psyche know you are supporting you! Pick a few of your favorites, and take the 5 minutes to boil some water, and sip that nourishing blend of flavors. Your mind being de-stressed in these moments will help take you out of the parasympathetic nervous system into the sympathetic. This keeping you in the moment far away from worry and stress.
#5 Vitamin D
Normally I am not one to suggest supplements. I feel that they create a new type of dependancy. And when all the norishing nutrients we need can be found in food. That is where I choose to rely upon for feeding the body. BUT Vitamin D is one of those tricky nutrients. Most of us probably know or have heard by now that our skin is responsible for creating this nutrient within the body. When sunlight touches our skin cells, they nourish our system with Vitamin D.
Well, when the sun shines low in the sky in the winter. And temperatures keep us inside more than the spring and summer months. Making enough Vitamin D becomes a challenge. I do suggest making sure to get enough of this nutrient in the winter. It is essential to our mood staying light and aspects of our systems functioning in their perfect design.
You can find high doses of Vitamin D in salmon, sardines, egg yolks, shrimp, mushrooms and some plants. Lichen being a very saturated source isn’t particularly delicious or available as a salad green. Though lots of Vegan Supplements of Vitamin D are made with it.
#6 Restful Sleep
We know that we need rest and rejuvenation. Our bodies go through a nightly renewal process while we are dreaming. This is vital to the proper functioning of our perfect bodies. Getting to sleep and sleeping soundly are key to health. Not only do our systems need it. When we sleep we can function during the day. Keep our stress levels in control. AND have the energy we need to keep up with exercise, tea time and preparing nourishing meals.
#7 Herbal Remedies
It is not a mistake that this section is last. Being your herbalist. I feel like you expected this to be first. BUT in Functional Herbal Medicine… we address the system as a whole. Offering Herbal Remedies to assist the body in healing itself. This being what we were designed to do.
The Materia Medica of each herb is vast and diverse. There are also many ways to use them. For the Cold and Flu season I am recommend using herbs that are nourishing to the system. Ones like Astragalus, Reishi mushrooms, Osha Root, and Ginseng. As well as employing nutritional plants like Rose Hips, Nettles, Dandelion greens and root, and Alfalfa. Dosages are varied and each person responds differently to plant medicine. If you would like to have a personal list created for you. Please feel free to get in touch with me.