It’s that time of the year, when colds and ‘bugs’ seem to be more prevalent. No matter what time of the year you get a cold, the results are the same, and you can find yourself in an uncomfortable, miserable mess.
To aid you in relieving even the most severe of cold symptoms, as well as help you “kick” that cold faster, there is an arsenal of tried-and-true health warriors at your disposal, to get you through your cold period not only faster, with less discomfort, and no drug side-effects.
A cold virus usually runs it course in 7-10 days, and symptoms usually 3. Cold symptoms can sometimes linger for up to 14 days. While you can catch a cold at any time during the year, many health experts explain some of the reasons why we tend to catch colds more often in the winter months.
* We are in constant and confined contact with co-workers and family member’s who catch a cold.
* Because we tend to not open windows in the winter months to circulate fresh, cleansing air throughout our work and living spaces, the cold virus germs of our co-workers and family members is re-circulated throughout a work place or home.
* The decreased exposure to sunlight has a factor. The ultra-violet light of the sun, kills viruses. We obviously not only have less sunlight during winter months, but we tend to spend less time outdoors in the winter months as well, thereby exposing ourselves only minimally to the natural health benefits of the sun.
What Are The Most Common Cold Symptoms?
* Sneezing and Runny Nose
* Nasal and Chest Congestion
* Sore Throat
* Low-Grade Fever
* Whole Body Weakness or Aches
Some of Mother Nature’s gladiators, for natural yet potent cold relief.
GARLIC – This is one of the most important and most powerful health defenders we have, not just for natural cold and flu relief, but for our general health as well. The key compound in garlic is allicin, which is one of the plant kingdoms most potent of antibiotics. Garlic also boasts anti-bacterial properties, to assist our immune system in fighting infections. A key factor to note is, to use only FRESH garlic, or a garlic oil supplement. NO garlic salt or garlic powder. Although either of these can offer some minimal benefit when neither fresh garlic or a garlic supplement is on hand. Start taking garlic at the first signs of a cold. If taking garlic as a supplement, take every 3-4 hours. When taking garlic fresh, add freshly grated garlic to as many foods and beverages as you can, especially hot tea. For instance, you can add fresh garlic mixed with olive oil to toast, as well as to vegetable juice or soup. Garlic tea is especially beneficially and tastes much better than it sounds. Simply prepare a black tea, or other favorite tea of yours, and add 1 tsp of fresh garlic, a splash of fresh lemon, and 1 tsp of raw honey. Consume this tea as often as you can, and before bed, to help you get a good nights rest.
GINGER – Ginger root can be found in any grocery store, and is very cheap. Try to always keep a fresh root on hand (they last several weeks), and you’ll always have a great health aid available for those “bugs”. Ginger tea is another great option, if you prefer not to grate the ginger. As with the garlic, start taking ginger at the first signs of a cold. Ginger has many benefits, including increasing circulation, thereby being a great warming agent to the body. Ginger is an antiseptic, and has a dozen anti-viral compounds. Ginger helps relieve aches and pains, and has a mild sedative effect, to help encourage rest. To help warm the chest area as well as relieve chest congestion, make a strong ginger tea and soak a handkerchief or cheesecloth in the hot tea. Apply this ginger compress to the chest, ideally tolerating it as warm as you can. Here is a double-whammy: Add freshly grated garlic to hot ginger tea for all-star cold fighting effects.
The next 3 gladiator cold defenders, can either be used in tea form, or as an essential oil. (When using essential oils, never place directly onto skin, without first diluting in a carrier oil)
PEPPERMINT and/or EUCALYPTUS – Both of these give the same cold relief benefits of easing a headache, comforting digestive processes, as well as being soothing decongestants. As a tea preparation, drink a strong tea every few hours. When using as an essential oil, you can either: inhale the pure essential oil directly from the bottle; add a few drops of the essential oil into a room humidifier; add a few drops into a warm bath; or mix a few drops with a carrier oil such as olive oil, and spread onto chest area, then cover with an old t-shirt.
CINNAMON – Cinnamon is powerful in that it protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Cinnamon also helps stop vomiting, and eases nausea. As a tea, make a strong tea, and drink every few hours. As an essential oil, simply inhale directly from the bottle.
HOT SPICES – A variety of spices can be used in food or beverages, to open up air passages, as well as induce drainage of mucous. Any of the following can be added to soups and vegetable juices. Cayenne pepper, hot sauce, hot mustard and curry. If you want, or need, to relieve yourself of LARGE amounts of mucous all at once, try using horseradish. Start with a small amount first, and see how you handle it. Add a smidgen of horseradish to your soup or vegetable juice to draw that mucous out. It is counter-productive to try and stop the drainage process. You want all that viral and bacterial filled mucous OUT of your system, not suppressed and forced further into your body tissues.
* No Sweets – Sugar is not only highly inflammatory to your body, but it also impairs neutrophils, which is a special type of white blood cell that engulfs and destroys cold viruses and other foreign invaders. Sugar can impair these abilities for up to 5 hours after consuming, so no sweets.
* Disinfect Often – Cold viruses can survive on hard surfaces for several hours, and we often don’t realize the many little areas we touch constantly. So be sure to disinfect often, especially counter tops in bathrooms and kitchen; light switches; door knobs; toilet handles; sink faucets; shower and bath knobs; phones; keyboards and computer mouses. And don’t forget to wash hands frequently.
* Avoid Dairy – Dairy products increase mucous, and the last thing you need is more congestion, so avoid all dairy products.
* Eat Light – Digestion takes an enormous amount of energy, and you need that energy more in fighting off your cold. This is one of the reasons why nature squashes our appetite when we are sick. Think of how your dog or cat immediately stops eating when they are ill. Their bodies know how to utilize that energy for healing. You want to eat light, fresh and healthy, and avoid all processed and fast foods and sugar.
* Spit It Out – Don’t swallow down that mucous you feel at the back of your throat, or nose. One of the reasons why sore throat and colds go hand-in-hand, is that all that excess mucous runs down the back of your throat. This is very irritating and often results in a hoarse, scratchy, painful throat. To help minimize this, gargle every few hours with warm salt water. Swish around for as long as you can in the throat area, making sure not to swallow the mixture. Spit and rinse.
* Zinc – For portable sore throat relief, suck on a zinc lozenge every 2-3 hours.
* Honey – Raw honey (not pasteurized or processed honey) is ever-so-valuable at calming a cough, and soothing a sore throat. You can take it by the spoonful, or put it in some tea. (Never give honey to babies under 24-36 months of age)
* Vitamin-C – Take 500-1000 mg of Vitamin-C several times throughout the day. Vitamin-C has too many benefits to list here, but for the sake of assisting in times when you have a cold, the optimal dose seems to be anywhere from 2-5 grams (which is 2000-5000 mg – every 1000 mg = 1 gram). If you start having loose bowels, these ease off the amount of Vitamin-C.
These cold defending gladiators provided by Mother Nature are tried-and-true, in relieving your symptoms, and help lessen the duration of your cold. Try to avoid taking over-the-counter cold medications as much as you can. They may stop a runny nose, but where do you think that mucous is going? You ideally want that mucous out of your body, not shuttled to your lungs. Stay warm, yet try to open a window for at least 5-15 minutes daily to shuttle out germ-filled air, and cleanse your breathing space.
Wishing you a healthy cold and flu season, and if you do catch a cold, you have these powerful and natural cold defenders to bring you back to health quickly.
Bon Veggie Appetit!
Gina ‘The Veggie Goddess’ Matthews
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