With the colder months approaching it’s time to start preparing for the possible onslaught of respiratory infections such as colds and flus. Prevention is possible with herbal medicine and adopting some healthy eating habits.
In winter we are more prone to infections and exposure to them is often difficult to avoid with air conditioning and being in environments where many people gather.
Your immune system is your defence system against the ‘bugs’ that cause illnesses. So it’s important to ensure your immune system is functioning at its optimum. Echinacea, Andrographis and Elderflowers are some of the herbal medicines that enhance the immune system and can help relieve the symptoms of colds and flus. There are other herbal medicines that can relieve specific symptoms such as sore throat, runny nose, cough and the aches and pains of respiratory infections. However, with the use of strategies to support the immune system you will hopefully not develop any illnesses this winter.
Some vitamins and minerals are also very useful in helping to build your defence system such as vitamin C, bioflavonoids and zinc. Studies have shown vitamin C to be stimulating to the immune system but in doses higher than what we can gain from our diet. Bioflavonoids are in cirus fruits and are added to some vitamin C supplements to increase the absorption of vitamin C. Zinc is essential for health and wellbeing and surveys have indicated that inadequate intake is not uncommon. A deficiency in zinc will increase your susceptibility to infections.
Eating a diet rich in whole foods and restricting your intake of processed foods will also aid the function of your immune system. Including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fish, eggs (eating organic foods where possible) and avoiding refined sugars will benefit your overall health as well as helping to prevent infections.
Stress will also deplete your immune system so try to find some ways of relieving or managing your stress. Investigate some stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises, massage, meditation, yoga and/or taking time out for yourself.
Remember to get the most benefit out of herbal and naturopathic medicine you need to consult a qualified, experienced practitioner that can work with you to create an individualised immune boosting plan using specific herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and lifestyle recommendations.