Cold & Flu Busters
The Natural Approach
by Klaus Ferlow
There are as many theories of how people get colds and flu as there are treatments. When our immune systems are compromised it is a challenge to fight these dreadful illnesses.
Colds cause clogged and runny noses, sneezing, sore throats, and often dry coughs. They will cause a variety of symptoms in different people, even if infected with the same virus. Flu symptoms are much more severe and will cause high fever and chills, a feeling of exhaustion, and the whole body may ache. This includes headaches, backaches, and sore muscles. Flu viruses are stronger, more infectious, and more harmful than colds. But whichever one you may be plagued with there are natural alternatives to prevent and manage them. One of the key considerations is to strengthen your immune system. The following suggestions will help to give you an overview of the natural supports that are available without any harmful and negative side effects.
Diet is crucial! Unfortunately many of us eat “junk-food“ (read the book, Fast Food Nation) and drink pop that contains the harmful artificial sweetener, aspartame, and carbonated sodas which further reduces our body’s healing power. It is essential that you drink enough liquid, preferably chlorine-free water, to prevent dehydration. Warm broths, vegetable juices, and herbal teas added to one’s daily diet will provide additional immune system boosts. Beet juice is very effective, as are grape, parsley, celery, watercress, lemon, and carrot juices, and coconut milk. You can also use pure elderberry (sambuco) juice. Heat it up and add lemon juice and honey. Drink it hot for maximum benefit as an immune booster. You may get rid of your fever, too, over night. That is how my mother successfully treated my fever as a child!
Drink linden flower tea with two drops of lemon balm oil, thyme tea with honey, or rose hip tea with natural sweetener stevia concentrate. Rest in bed as you work up a sweat from ingestion of the tea. After about one hour, dry off from the sweat and change clothes. Try to get more sleep. This process often stops the flu before it becomes full blown.
Liquids are nourishing and help to cleanse our system and promote healing. The addition of garlic to the liquid is believed to promote further protection from cold and flu viruses. Raw fruit and vegetables such as carrots, sauerkraut, and citrus fruits contain vitamins A and C; unrefined cold pressed flax and hemp seed oil are excellent sources of omega 3 and 6 essential fatty acids. And don’t forget our mothers favourite “secret“ recipe—chicken noodle soup!
When using supplements for cold and flu relief, use physician-grade, high potency liquid herbal tinctures such as Cat’s Claw, Echinacea, Pau D’Arco (Taheebo), and Grapeseed tincture/extract. Echinacea throat spray will also provide immediate relief of your symptoms. Supplements such as vitamin C, ester-C, and vitamin A are very important and should be started at the onset of a cold or flu. The same goes for the herbal tinctures. Begin to incorporate these supplements as early as possible in the cold/flu season to give your immune system a boost, just as you would charge the battery of a car. When the first tickle appears in your throat, begin using the echinacea throat spray. It will kill the virus fast, often with only a couple of sprays.
Other cold and flu busters include cayenne pepper (capsicum) and wild-crafted Mediterranean oregano oil infused in hemp or olive oils, or grapeseed oil with mint flavour. Further, certified organic pumpkin seeds (found to have a high percentage of zinc) and zinc lozenges are highly recommended for cold and flu symptoms. Zinc has a long list of health claims such as immune enhancing properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and is an aid to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, hair loss prevention, and prostate problems, to name a few. Additional dietary sources of zinc include whole grain products, brewers yeast, wheat bran and germ, oysters, and meat. Zinc supplements can be found under the names of zinc sulfate, acetate, gluconate, citrate, dipicolinate, aspartate, orotate, and amino acid chelates of zinc. Zinc is especially important for the elderly! A zinc deficiency can cause significant alterations in the immune system.
To help alleviate and disinfect dry air passages, add ten drops of tea tree oil to a bowl of hot water or vaporizer and leave it in the bedroom overnight. Another effective treatment is to inhale chamomile, eucalyptus, and thyme oils. This will loosen mucus and heat the throat, nasal passages, and bronchial tubes. Take a hot and cold foot bath before retiring. It is relaxing and will help you to de-stress and sleep better.
Gargle regularly with sage tea to disinfect your mouth. Use sage inhalation to reduce inflammation. Wash your body with an infusion of thyme or juniper needles.
If you have the opportunity to use a Soft Heat infrared sauna you will reap tremendous benefits which include: detoxification of heavy metals; pain relief from arthritis, fibromyalgia, sports injuries, and other chronic pain conditions; weight loss (burn 600 calories in 30 minutes); relaxation; and the treatment of acne, eczema, cellulite, and psoriasis. Saunas may also help you to arrest the beginning of a cold and flu.
Washing your hands often is also a key practise in the prevention of spreading cold and flu viruses! Germs are invisible and they are just about everywhere. When you touch a doorknob, pick up a book or newspaper, or touch a pet, many germs are transferred to your hands. Your hands should be washed more often during the cold and flu season, especially in the presence of someone with a cold or flu virus. Just 15 seconds of good hand rubbing with a quality natural bar soap (unfortunately most of the liquid soaps are loaded with harmful chemicals) and water should do it. If you use a bar soap, make sure that the soap dish is clean as it may contain lots of germs.
Your body is going to need energy to detoxify and fight off the cold and flu. Therefore, get lots of bed rest and if possible, avoid any stressful situations. Keep warm. Consider a juice fast. Even lemon with cayenne and maple syrup in hot water can speed up recovery time. Hot apple cider or ginger tea are also great to drink, as are Japanese green tea and other herbal teas, such as elderberry blossom, yerba mate, rooibos tea, etc. It is important to get plenty of fresh air to clear your lungs, but avoid drafts. All in all, with these cold and flu busters, a relatively healthy person can break a cold or flu in a few days or eventually avoid it altogether!
If you follow the natural way that Mother Earth provides us and as suggested here, you will do no harm to your body and strengthen your immune system. I am 67 years “young“, I have followed these rules from childhood and therefore rarely have suffered from a cold or flu. These natural remedies have been part of my health regime for as long as I can remember. You do not have to dread the cold and flu season, just be prepared to support your body’s healing power with these natural cold and flu busters.
References: Encyclopedia of Natural Healing, alive books, ISBN 0-920470; Herbal Antibiotics, Stephen Harrod Buhner, ISBN
1-58017-148-6; The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook, James A. Duke, PhD, ISBN 0-312-98151-1; The Green Pharmacy, James A. Duke, Ph.D., ISBN 0-312-96648-2.
Klaus Ferlow, life-long herbalist, innovator, lecturer, researcher, and writer, is the founder and co-owner of Ferlow Botanicals, Div. of Ferlow Brothers Ltd., Vancouver, BC, a 100% Canadian-owned and operated family business manufacturing and distributing toxin-free natural herbal medicinal and personal care products since 1993, supplying them to professional health & wellness practitioners across Canada and the US. In 1994, Ferlow Botanicals was the first to introduce Neem Tree herbal products to the Canadian market. Visit website: www.ferlowbotanicals.com and see their display ad on page 13 of the 11.4 November/December
issue of the WHOLifE Journal.