–By Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy
Previously published in the Aquarian newspaper and all rights are reserved.
During cold and flu season people are considering natural alternatives to heal and balance their systems. In my own healing journey and from working with clients in my life-coaching practice, we sugges a variety of self-health methods. My mentor, Dr. George Kroeker always stressed the importance of body balance. Whenever illnessess occur, it is preferable to use whole person healing applications over external symptom relief. system so it can heal itself.
Widespread outbreaks of influenza usually occur from October to March. Colds and flu germs are spread by contact and exposure from by an infected person. Viruses can be a concern but the majority of people who come down with them recover within a week or two. The doctor I see says that although many believe in the efficacy of vaccines, they do not guarantee protection against the flu and sometimes cause more harm than good. This may be especially true this fall as rushed production allows less time for safety testing.
Whenever clients at Fresh Beginnings call us and ask for natural cold and flu options we caution them about self-medicating with over the counter medications. Many of the pills and hot lemon drinks contain the same active ingredients and can overload the system. It is advisable to consult a health practitioner before self-prescribing over-the-counter remedies. Given that there are no known cures for colds and viruses, the first recommendation is to minimize exposure and strengthen your immunity as the best way to stay healthy. Here are some of my “perspectives” on healthy living and flu prevention:
• Sleep as much as needed. The immune system functions much better with seven to nine hours sleep for optimal health. When the body is fatigued, it is less able to ward off viruses and infections.
• Exercise moderately on a regular basis.
• Avoid sugar. Even small amounts of sugar can impair immune function, leaving you more susceptible to the flu.
• During cold weather, indoor heating systems dry out the mucous membranes in the nose and throat. It is important to keep them well hydrated by drinking more water. Using indoor water fountains or other methods to improve humidity, especially in the bedrooms, makes sense.
• Germs and viruses enter through the eyes, nose, mouth and, possibly, ears. Therefore, it is important to avoid exposure and wash hands frequently. It’s also advisable to carry a hand sanitizer and use it after shaking hands or touching handles, payphones and doorknobs. A naturopath told me that coating the inside of the nostrils with sesame oil could help to prevent germs from entering the body.
• If you are sick, stay home to recover and to prevent spread to others. Muffle coughs and sneezes with the crook of the elbow rather than using bare hands or tissues. When tissues are used, dispose of them immediately and thoroughly sanitize the hands.
• Relax and maintain a positive attitude. Too much stress has a negative impact on health and mental well-being. Meditation and creative visualization reduce stress and calm.
• Reduce alcohol consumption. Alcohol depletes B vitamins, impairs liver function and creates greater susceptibility to infections. You might want to add a B-vitamin supplement to your regime.
• Avoid smoking, including second-hand smoke. Cigarette smoke dries out the nasal passages and paralyzes the small hairs in the nose and lungs that help ward off viruses.
•Whenever possible take advantage of infrared or steam saunas. The air in saunas is too hot for viruses to survive; thus steam and infrared saunas cleanse the system and provide immune boosting effects. However, people with heart conditions should consult their health care practitioner before using any form of intense heat therapy.
•Essential oils and aromatherapy support body systems. Clove has antiseptic properties applying it to the feet provides a measure of protection. Lavender is calming and uplifting. For more information on the efficacy of aromatherapy key word them and do an internet search.
During consultations with clients at Fresh Beginnings, we also suggest a variety of flu-fighting, immune-boosting, and nutrient rich foods such as:
• Dark green, red and yellow vegetables and fruits. These are packed with healthful nutrients.
• Fresh, raw or lightly cooked garlic has strong, natural antiviral properties.
• Green tea over black teas.
• Cayenne pepper is filled with vitamin A and acts as a catalyst for herbs and vitamins.
• If the doctor prescribes antibiotics, it is advisable to supplement the diet with yogurt or acidophilus capsules. It will replenish friendly bacteria in the bowel. in the course of treatment. It is particularly important when antibiotics are given for secondary bacterial infections.
• Echinacea is a popular cold and flu remedy especially if taken early, before symptoms worsen.
• Vitamin C and zinc lozenges beneficial, especially zinc gluconate and zinc acetate.
Colds are Another Matter
Although the common cold is usually milder than the flu, it is still worth looking after. If you ignore symptoms and try to keep going as usual, it can turn into a worse illness. If you have underlying medical problems, it’s especially important to pay attention. Here are more ideas for self-care:
• At the first sign of a sore throat, gargle with ½ teaspoon salt in warm water.
• Saline nasal drops as well as steam inhalations with sage, chamomile leaves, menthol and eucalyptus can help clear sinuses.
• Whenever early symptoms of a cold or flu appear, put two tablespoons each of dried sage leaves and whole cloves in a large pot and make a tea. Sipping it can soothe the throat and help fight infections.
• Vapor rubs, hot water bottles and soaks in a warm tub with one to two cups of Epsom salts can provide steam to stuffed nasal passages and relief for sore aching muscles.
• Lozenges with menthol, eucalyptus, honey and lemon may soothe an irritated throat.
• Tissues with moisturizers can help prevent sore skin around the nose. Lip balm soothes chapped lips.
• Traditional Chinese Medicine (herbal remedies and acupuncture) can effectively bring the body back into balance.
• The following is a favorite cold remedy of ours. It provides immune boosting and cleansing properties. If it is too strong, dilute it or reduce ingredient portions in the next round.
4 C. water
2 T. fresh or ground ginger
½ t. cayenne
1 whole head of garlic
2 quartered lemons (wash first, rind on)
Maple syrup or honey to taste
Simmer 20 minutes. Add ½ cup of mixture to ½ cup warm water or to taste.
Coralie Raia Darsey-Malloy is a freelance photojournalist, life coach, group leader and public speaker and can be contacted through the Fresh Beginnings website, www.fresh-beginnings.com or at the website for her book at www.ibtbook.com