Good Morning, friends!
Did you stumble upon this blog post today because you woke up feeling like absolute shit?
Great! I’m here to give you some tips that will help treat your cold, and help prevent one in the future (I’m not actually happy that you have a cold 😉).
Two days ago, I woke up with a dry, scratchy throat and generally felt under the weather. At first, I thought that maybe my house was just really dry and I slept with my mouth wide open all night.
I’m an optimist and I rarely conclude that I am sick. For the most part, my immune system is fan-fucking-tastic! Why would I get sick now? I have been extremely healthy, eating great and nourishing my body…
Then I thought to myself: I sure do touch my face a lot. This could be the cause (paired with a compromised immune system). After all, it is cold and flu season and us humans can be pretty repulsive. I think I may have contracted my cold from touching something at the gym or the grocery store and then touched/rubbed my eyes or my face. I am a little disturbed that I am carrying someone else’s germs. Just lovely.
Anyways, you’re here because you want to know some of the ways to naturally treat this cold you now have contracted.
Whether you are in the early stages of your cold and think you have a fighting chance to kick it, or, you have snot dripping down your face as you are reading this (like myself) here are some things you should consider to treat your cold and to help prevent one in the future.
I strongly encourage you to use common sense with your self and always seek care from a health professional. I am not a medical professional, and this is based on my own personal research and practices.
Here are some of my recommendations:
Rest/Relax & Move a little
- Your parasympathetic system takes control over your body during deep sleep, relaxation, and during meditative states. (Common Cold, 2012). From what I have studied, the hormones secreted during sleep and deep relaxation promote function in lymphoid organs.Your lymphatic system houses antigen-attacking lymphocytes which are integral for immune function. (Crash Course, 2015).
What this means is you should take some time off from the gym, get in bed and sleep/rest/relax as much as possible. (Common Cold, 2012). However, it is also important to get that lymph fluid moving in your body as the lymphatic system is stimulated by movement.
I’m not saying get on the treadmill and run 5K, but it is important to do some gentle movements to get that fluid circulating and maybe ask your honey for a lymph-massage. (Google it).
Avoid Honey, Sugar, Fruit Juices
- Yes, I know your grandma used to always put honey in your tea when you had a cold. The fact is, honey or any concentrated sugar for that matter inhibits the ability of white blood cells to kill bacteria.
Other concentrated forms of sugar compete with Vitamin C for transport into white blood cells. Put simply, at this time you want to optimize your body’s immune system – not compromise it further. (Common Cold, 2012). Ditch the sugar!
- As mentioned above, Vitamin C plays a key role in optimizing your immune system. It has been scientifically proven as anti-viral and could possibly reduce the duration of a cold. Vitamin C is also an antioxidant, therefore may also protect cells from free radicals. If you are getting ample Vitamin C in your diet already, you should be okay. Otherwise, consider adding Vitamin C to your daily supplement routine. Rose-hip tea is an excellent way to supplement Vitamin C into your diet and can be collected (check if you require a forest product permit) from forested areas. You can typically find Rose (Rosa acicularis or Rosa woodsii) in dry or disturbed areas of the forest with sandy soils with ample sun exposure.
- Firstly, consult your doctor if you are considering dosing with Zinc. Zinc can have some weird side effects depending on the dosage technique you are using. Extended or improper dosing of Zinc can lead to anemia, nervous system and immune system damage, anemia and Copper deficiency (Mayo Clinic, 2017). So, you’re wondering why would I consider taking this? Here are the Pros: Zinc has been scientifically proven to decrease the duration of a cold and is also anti-viral (much like Vitamin C). The delivery of Zinc is important to consider: Lozenges are the best delivery method but are less effective if citric acid, mannitol or sorbitol is used as a sweetener. Zinc in the form of nasal spray could cause irreversible loss of smell.
Again, I would recommend consulting a health care professional before you decide to supplement with Zinc.
Echinacea purpurea (Echinacea)
This is not pseudo-science. If you haven’t done your research, you may think so. Echinacea is extremely effective when the right delivery method is employed. Drugstore pill forms of Echinacea are not very effective - if at all. Save your money! What is important here is that you are using freshly harvested Echinacea. Out of the hundreds of clinical studies (some of which were randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials) it was proven that freshly harvested Echinacea is effective in treating colds. In numerous trials, echinacea was successful in reducing the duration and symptoms of the common cold. When the active compounds contact the lymphatic tissue in your mouth and throat, this is when it has been speculated that it is most effective (Common Cold, 2012). Be cautious and conduct your own research: some children and adults should not consume Echinacea.
So, where can you get fresh Echinacea?
Well, this Spring I will be growing some in my medicinal garden. Once I launch my small business, this will be available for purchase! You can also grow your very own echinacea by ordering seeds online and planting them in your garden. I will post a blog in the future on how to start your very own medicinal garden.
Overall, your body’s ability to ward-off illness is explicitly linked to your body’s immune system response. If your immune system is compromised from leading a poor lifestyle or other medical reasons, you will simply be at higher risk to getting sick.
Prevention is the best medicine and cannot be over-emphasized. If you are consistently getting colds or flu’s, you should conduct some research on how to boost your immune system.
Your Holistic Human.
Common Cold. (2012). In: The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine, 3rd ed. New York: ATRIA Paperback, pp.435-441.
Crash Course (2015). Parasympathetic Nervous System: Crash Course A&P #15.Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?annotation_id=annotation_2071826611&feature=iv&src_vid=0IDgBlCHVsA&v=qqU-VjqjczE [Accessed 18 Jan. 2018].
Mayo Clinic. (2017). Vitamin C. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements-vitamin-c/art-20363932 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2018].
Mayo Clinic. (2017). Zinc for colds: The final word. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/common-cold/expert-answers/zinc-for-colds/faq-20057769 [Accessed 18 Jan. 2018].