10 December, 2018 by Life Rituals
Protect Yourself This Winter; Treating Colds and Flus Naturally
Winter is almost upon us and prevalence of colds and flus’ tend to the rise. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), it’s believed we should live harmoniously with our environment and adapt to this change. Winter is inactive, slow, cold and damp. It is the season of slowing down. It seems general expectation is to go to work or school and just “get on with it”, when we have a cold however pushing symptoms to the side can often prolong the illness.
In Chinese medicine ‘wind’ was said to be the bearer of the ten thousand evils, it disrupts our defence barrier allowing pathogens (bacteria or viruses) to enter the body. In Chinese herbal medicine there are volumes dedicated to the treatment of the common cold, or invasion of wind pathogens as it is otherwise known.
The bodies exterior defence can become can be undermined if you are sneezed on, rained on or under a fan or air-conditioning for too long, all of which weaken its protective function. If your general health is compromised eg. times of high stress, or the virus is particularly strong, it is at this point that you are likely to develop cold and flu symptoms.
In Chinese medicine a cold can penetrate through several layers of defence which is related to when we see cold and flu symptoms change very quickly. In all cases prompt treatment brings the most effective results. The longer one waits the longer it takes to clear the virus.
Jo George Acupuncturist and Chinese herbal practitioner at Life Rituals gives some handy tips for some natural treatments for colds and flu to follow to prevent getting sick this winter.
Step by step guide to cold symptoms and how & when to treat them
Early warning signs that your exterior defence is challenged –
- Itchy ears
- Tight/stiff neck
- Dry or scratchy throat
- Dislike of wind and cold
When you feel these these symptoms act quickly and treat accordingly and you will have a very high chance of avoiding an illness all together.
- Drink Life Rituals Protection Tea with honey.
- Eat a nourishing soup, stew made with plenty of chicken broth, fresh ginger, spring onion and garlic
- REST. Get into bed early with socks on to try and induce a light sweat
- Acupuncture. This is the most effective time for a treatment
- Make your own fermented foods like Kimchi/Saukraut and drink Kefir which contain many compounds and nutrients, like biotin and folate, that help kick your immune system into gear and protect your cells and helps modulate the immune system and inhibit many unwanted bacteria growth. Easy to make these probitocs with our kephir & fermented foods. Get inspired with recipes from fermented book.
Early Symptoms of Cold or flu
This is the point that the symptoms start becoming hard to ignore. The virus is still considered to be on the exterior of the body and in Chinese Medicine viewed as easier to treat. If you continue to Ignore the symptoms, the virus may go deeper into the body making it much harder to treat.
- Runny or stuffy nose.
- Sore throat.
- Slight dry, non-productive cough.
- Nasal congestion.
- Body aches or a mild headache.
- Low-grade fever and/or chills.
Jo’s Recommendations At This Point:
- Runny Nose – at the early onset of a runny nose or cold you can take ginger, garlic and some hot tea to prevent it getting worse. A warm bath and getting under the covers with plenty of blankets to sweat it out help.
- Sore throat – if you are suffering from a sore throat, avoid anything spicy and sweet foods. This includes garlic, horseradish, fennel, onions and red meat. We should be eating more cooling foods like fresh green vegetables, lemon, honey, apples, pears, peppermint, fish etc. whilst drinking plenty of fluids, aim for 3L a day.
- Dry cough – avoid anything spicy and sweet in nature. This includes garlic, ginger, onions, chilli, sugar, chocolate etc. This can cause the cough to be worse if we have anything spicy or sweet as well as fried foods. Drink plenty of fluids.
- Get an acupuncture treatment and some herbal medicine with Jo at Life Rituals quickly, if she can catch the virus while it is still in the exterior of the body then there is still a really good chance of avoiding a full blown illness.
- Take the day off work/school and rest.
- Do an old fashioned steam inhalation with a little eucalyptus oil added to hot water
- Drink anti oxidant packed herb tea like Life Rituals Protection Tea with anti inflammatory organic honey and increase adaptogens which help moderate the immune system drink teas with this herb in Energising Ritual; Daytime Calm Ritual or Eight Treasures Vitality Ritual teas.
- Eat a nourishing soup, stew with plenty of chicken broth, fresh ginger, spring onion and garlic.
- Increase Vitamin C is great to help prevent colds and flus and increase our immune system. It reduces acidity in the body, and is an anti-bacterial. Make sure you get enough vitamin C in your diet, you can do this with food and drink – try Protection Ritual; Cleanse and Detox Ritual; or Unwind and Uplift Ritual Teas which are all packed full of high content organic Vit C ingredients. We also recommend taking a Vit C supplement. Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day and drink at least 1.5L of water, preferably warm water.
Chicken Broth – Nourishing soup
Full Symptoms of a Cold or Flu
- Very sore and swollen throat
- Cough becoming heavier and more productive
- Congestion with clear to yellow mucus
As the virus travels deeper into the body symptoms develop quickly and bacterial infection can develop. As the mucus congestion changes colour from clear to white to yellow to green you can see, and feel, the infection setting in.
Jo’s Recommendations at this stage:
- Get an acupuncture treatment and some herbal medicine. You’ll be needing something stronger at this point, but treatment will help you move through the illness much faster.
- If you have phlegm you should be avoiding all dairy, cold and sweet foods including ice cream, milk, cheese, chocolates, sweets, etc. This causes more phlegm and mucus to build up in the nose and throat.
- Jump into bed and stay there.