Yeah, it's winter out there! More snow than we've seen in years. As I look out my south window this morning to the flag that waves behind Corpus Cristi Church the wind is due east, the one thing that will truly predict more snow!
Everyone is complaining about the weather and all the snow, but what really has got people complaining is the stiff cold, cough and flu this season has brought us. Nothing is more miserable than all the aches and pains of a bad cold. Is there a cure for the common cold? Probably not, but there's more help than one might imagine.
Many of us will reach for the over-the-counter medications. Potions to help us sleep, ones that will dry up our nose and not make you drowsy throughout the day, cough syrups, rubs, liniments it's big business. Many of these medications only slow or cover up symptoms and do nothing to help the body heal. Wouldn't you just as soon use something that will help the symptoms and heal the body?
Here's what you will need in your herbal medicine chest for the aches, pains and other symptoms of colds & flu.
Zinc lozenges. Zinc taken at the very first signs of a cold or sore throat can stop a full blown infection dead in its tracks. Zinc has the ability to prevent replication of virus and bacteria. It is important that zinc be taken in lozenge form, bathing the throat at the sight of infection. When you find yourself in a crowd and someone's coughing away, or in the doctors' office that's when to use your zinc, don't wait.
Ginger tea. Bring to a boil 2 cups of purified water. Remove from the heat and add two thin, but good size slices of fresh ginger. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes. You may sweeten with honey if desired. Ginger is a warming herb that is excellent in the treatment of all conditions of the mucous membranes. And, when ginger is taken in conjunction with other herbs it increases the effectiveness of those herbs also. Sip ginger tea throughout the day or before bedtime. Add honey and lemon and you've got a combination that will cut the mucous and help stop coughs.
Immune enhancing herbs. Use echinachea, astraligus, cats claw and goldenseal to strengthen your natural immunity. These herbs have undergone extensive study here in the west and have been proven to increase white cell count as well as T-cell count. They also contain natural antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral components. Add cayenne to this mixture, and like ginger will work to deliver or enhance the effectiveness of the other herbs.
Aromatics. Use eucalyptus, tea tree oil or thyme in a bath, or diffuse into the room by dripping a couple of drops on to a light bulb. Eucalyptus is especially good for sinus congestion. Use drop of tea tree oil in your ears. This powerful oil has antifungal, antibiotic and antifungal properties. Use a drop of warmed clove oil for those painful earaches.
If your symptoms persist, if you run a fever over 100, develop a deep or persistent cough you should seek the help of your physician. Home and herbal remedies are wonderful, but never take chances. The very young and the very old are especially vulnerable and may need more care. Stay warm, stay healthy.
Till next time, Rebecca.