How Herbs can Help Fight the Winter Coughs and Colds

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We are currently about half-way through the winter months and those coughs and colds just keep on coming. Whether it be a runny nose, a sore throat or a cough that just won’t quit, we all experience some part of the dreaded cold each year and it’s generally not just you who is suffering.

 

How herbs can help

Herbs can help you fight off your infection through a variety of properties. They can help to boost your immune system, fight of bacterial and viral infections, promote the bodies own healing pathways and treat the symptoms you’re experiencing including a blocked nose and a cough. The difference between taking a cold and flu tablet and using herbs is that the herbs don’t stop the progression of your cold or flu, they help support your body fight the virus off and lessen the severity of the symptoms you’re experiencing. Taking a cold and flu tablet can cause the opposite affect and while they stop the symptoms, they can make a cold last longer than it should be.

 

Below are some common herbs used to help improve your immunity and fight off those pesky colds.

 

Echinacea

One of the most common herbs used for immunity. It aids in the process of making antibodies and stimulates the production of white blood cells. It helps to inhibit the spread of infection and helps the body fight off viral infections. It is great for acute infections, the common cold, sinus infections, influenza, ear infections and bronchitis. When taking Echinacea, you can experience a tingling or numbing sensation in your mouth as well as increase the production of saliva.

 

Elderberry

Research has shown Elderberry reduces the duration and symptoms in the common cold. It is a great decongestant and helps to sooth mucus membranes. Used for influenza and the common cold. Elderberry has a vibrant colour and is quite sweet. It is great for compliance with kids as they like the sweet taste.

 

Peppermint

This herb helps settle the stomach as well as help with colds, fevers and headaches. Can be used both internally and topically. Peppermint can have a comforting affect as well, if you like the smell.

 

Licorice

This herb is a strong mucosal anti-inflammatory. It helps to relieve dry coughs and sore throats when used as a tea or syrup. It has a very strong aniseed taste and is quite thick in herbal form.

 

Other herbs that can be used

Astragalus, Marshmallow, Eyebright, Elecampane, Elder Flower, Garlic, Ginger, Pelargonium, Lemon Balm, Horseradish and Thyme.

 

We all see the herbal teas on the shelves of your local supermarkets or health foods shops and they are a great substitute for black tea or coffee as well as having some fabulous healing properties. But what is the difference between a herbal tea and a herbal liquid made just for you by your Naturopath. An herbal tea is dried herbs in water. You can make it as strong or as week as you like. However, they are in extremely low ratios and therefore have less of the healing properties found in the herb. A homemade tincture is purer dose of the same herb. It therefore has stronger healing properties. Best of all, I can tailor make them for you. I look at all your symptoms and find the right herbs to treat what you are experiencing with your cold.

 

It’s important to note at this point that herbs are like any other medicine you take. They can have side effects and react with certain medications or conditions. When seeking help from herbs please see a professional and have a conversation to make sure you are getting the benefits you need.

If you would like some help fighting off those coughs and colds, book in with me today for an acute consult.