I see many people around me right now catching colds so I thought what better subject to focus on this week then how we combat colds here in our home! It’s after the holidays and everyone has loaded up on sugary treats which can really be instrumental in lowering immunity.
I am finishing up my herbalist training right now so naturally I absolutely LOVE herbs and all of their many benefits. This list is not exhaustive by any stretch but they are the major ones we use and have had great results!
Echinacea Augustifolia is one I have personally used for years. The way it works is that it actually stimulates the body’s own immune system. It causes your own body to ramp up and fight the infection itself. It is best to take it at the onset of a cold or an infection. It shouldn’t be something you stay on indefinitely as the immune system will get used to it and it won’t be as effective. We don’t use it for any longer then 8 weeks and usually it is MUCH shorter then that, like a few days. It has been found to reduce the duration and severity of the common cold by at least 30% or more. You can usually find this in tincture or extract form. Because I have had autoimmune issues I tread lightly with it now since it does ramp up your body’s own immune system. I’ve always had wonderful results with it though.
Also known as Sambucus Nigra , it is actually a berry and not necessarily an herb. It can be found in lozenges and syrups and is so simple to make yourself. They are a huge benefit to any natural home medicine chest. It boosts your immune system and has been shown to be effective against upper respiratory infections and the flu. It combines well with other herbs for additional benefits as well. This is one I always have on hand in the winter. For more detailed info about Elderberry check out this post.
Allium sativum or garlic, in my opinion has fantastic properties! It was used as a topical wound healer by soldiers in World War 1 and herbalists today use it for just about every infection that can afflict the human body. It is anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-fungal! One of the things that has always struck me about garlic is that unlike traditional antibiotics it will kill bacteria AND fungus rather then leaving the person with possible candida issues due to its use. It kills it all. Wow!! That is really amazing! It’s also great for your cardiac health and blood pressure. So this one is a must for colds and flu! You can swallow the clove fresh, cook with it, use it in capsule form or even get it in an extract form. It’s even good to make an ear oil to combat ear infections. If I had to pick one herb out of all of them for infection this one would be at the top of the list!
Astragalus membranaceus, is the root of a legume that is native to China. The way astragalus works is by stimulating the body’s own white blood cell activity which helps to activate the immune system. Trials have shown that it can decrease the number and duration of colds that people get when they take astragalus regularly. It is GREAT for winter virus exposures. You can generally find it in tincture form or liquid extracts. I use it in an immune boosting syrup along with elderberries for a great cold fighter.
Herbs are such a wonderful natural means of boosting health and complimenting a good healthy diet. I’m always stocked up on these herbs to help when a cold or flu is attempting to take one of us down. At the first sign of a cold we usually get started on a combination of these and I have noticed a huge difference in our ability to stop or shorten the duration of these viruses. Tomorrow watch for another great cold ally!
This is not intended for medical advice. See full disclaimer.