10 TIPS for COLDS and FLU
If you do get a cold or the flu, it is best to take action immediately.
1. Drink lots of fluids, especially water, fresh juices and hot herbal teas. Make a good pot of vegetable soup (with chicken or not) and add ginger and garlic to it.
2. Exercise to sweat if you have enough energy or take a sauna or steam, as the increase in body heat may stimulate your immune activity.
3. Vitamin C – I start with hourly vitamin C of 500-1000 mg.
4. Vitamin A – I take and often suggest increased doses of vitamin A (not beta-carotene) – 25,000-30,000 IUs 3-4 times daily for just 3-4 days and then lower that dosage to 10-25,000 IUs twice daily for a few days and then one cap (10,000 IUs) a day for a week. Then take a break for a few days since vitamin A can be toxic if taken too long in these higher amounts. Although when we are fighting off infections, it doesn’t seem to be problematic and these higher amounts help us fight off germs in our mucous membranes.
5. Garlic – I also use fresh garlic, taking several cloves at a time, dipping them in honey and chewing them. I may repeat this several times for the first day; alternatively, you can press a few cloves into a bowl of hot soup. Garlic is a natural antibiotic and immune defender; you could also use the odorless garlic caps, several capsules 3 times daily, if you do not want the smell, but they are not quite as effective.
6. Echinacea and Goldenseal – an extract (in alcohol) can also be used to support immunity and cleanse the membranes; even the alcohol in them is a disinfectant. Remember not to take these herbs for longer than three weeks at a time.
7. Olive leaf extract is a mild anti-viral herb and can provide some support. Oregano oil in liquid or caps may also help us fight off viruses. Try elderberry (good for fevers), licorice, astragalus and grapefruit seed extract, all of which have some antiviral/antibiotic effects. There are other herbal formulas that may help protect against and/or fight off viral infections.
8. Body heating herbs and spices such as cayenne pepper and ginger root, which facilitate sweating and often help fevers and colds are helpful. Hot ginger root tea (simmer a few slices of root in a cup or two of water for 5-10 minutes) may help with chest congestion and you can also use some of the tea to make a compress and place the soaked cloth over your upper chest. This is warming (which tends to stimulate blood circulation) and helps break up congestion.
9. Zinc lozenges may be helpful for sore throats. For coughs and sore throats, also try slowly savoring and then swallowing a mixture of honey (1 teaspoon) with 1 to 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper.
10. Rest – finally remember that extra rest helps in healing. Often, we get sick when we are out of balance or overdoing it, so we should take this opportunity to rest and sleep. Also, if we are not feeling too sick, this can be a chance to reflect and review our lives, to stay in tune with the more inward spirit of the Winter Season and then start off the new year with a healthy plan.
NOTE on Fever and Aspirin: Children and teenagers with flu symptoms (particularly fever) should avoid taking aspirin during an influenza infection (especially influenza type B), because doing so can lead to Reye’s syndrome. With a fever in general (and with children especially unless it is very high) avoid trying to lower it with medicines as the increased temperature is one way your body fights infections.