We all know that when it comes to flu or cold season that it can be very daunting especially we lack the ammunition in our medicine cabinets that can get us feeling like ourselves again.
And if you have a chronic condition then it makes it much more difficult for your body to regain its strength once the influenza virus has invaded the immune system.
Common colds are usually viral infections that affect the upper respiratory tract. Viral infections usually cause some of these common symptoms:
- Runny nose
- Sore throat
- Congestion of the nose and sinus cavity or chest
The flu usually occurs without you being aware of it. When it occurs it is usually out of nowhere. Basically, the symptoms of the flu has symptoms much more drastic than a common cold. Some of the symptoms of a flu includes:
- Fatigue and muscle weakness
- Nasal congestion
- Sore throat
- Fever above 100.4 Fahrenheit
- Persistent cough
- Chills and sweats
- Muscle aches
The difference between a cold and the flu is that a common cold is much milder, the symptoms are less drastic and are not treated with antibiotics.
What people generally tend to forget is that immune strengthening l herbs are designed to give the body exactly what it needs to bring it back to balance. Many natural herbs contain minerals and vitamins that can boost the immune system during the winter season.
Remember a flu may cause symptoms of rapid heartbeat, extreme fatigue, respiratory problems or other severe complications. Therefore it is essential to make an appointment with your physician if your symptoms have gotten worse after a few weeks.
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus): is an ancient herb derived from Chinese medicine (Huang Qi) that is a perennial coming from the flowering plant of the family Fabaceae. It is commonly used to treat seasonal allergic rhinitis. However, it is mainly used to help boost the body’s immune system. It can also be used for conditions to strengthen the cardiovascular system. This herb is considered an adaptogen which helps the body adapt to the environment and to the body stress responses. It is high in antioxidants to help protect body cells from free radical damage.
Lemon balm (Melissa Officnialis): This herb is part of the mint family. It is a perennial and is part of the Lamiaceae family. It is native to central Asia, the Mediterranean Basin, South Central Europe and Iran. Lemon Balm is commonly grown in America today. It can be taken by mouth, tinctures, capsule form, and as a dry herb. Not only can it be used to strengthen the immune system during cold or flu season it can also help with stress, anxiety, stomach discomfort, lack of sleep and colic in infants. Lemon balm can optimize the immune health by promoting the health of the cell wall.
Cowslip (Primula veris): This herb is a flowering plant that is high in vitamin C and beta-carotene. It can strengthen the immune system by improving a cough and common cold and flu symptoms. Cowslip can be infused using an herb called primrose flowers that you can buy at your local herb store. Both herbs can be infused in 1 cup of boiling water and steeped for 5 to 10 minutes. Adding a sweetener like honey to this tea can help alleviate many of the common flu and cold symptoms.
Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis): This herb is excellent for fighting c cold and flu symptoms and other respiratory infections. It is known as a holy herb for cleansing the body. Hyssop is an evergreen that can grow up to 2-3 feet high. It grows flowers that bloom in springtime. This herb has a mint taste to it since it is derived from the mint family Lamiaceae. It is often used in salads, and other foods for extra flavor or boiled in warm soup.
Hyssop can be taken in capsule form, an essential oil, or liquid tincture (fluid extract). Some of the medicinal uses of hyssop includes: Expectorant, as a diaphoretic, stimulant, carminative for gas, bloating and as a pectoral for the chest in asthma or respiratory conditions.
You can benefit from immune strengthening herbs especially if you have an autoimmune or chronic condition where you are on many other medications that can really reduce your immune response including stressors in the environment, in the foods you may consume and other factors that can risk your health during the winter season.
Camille McClellan, MD, DNM, MBS
McClellan Natural Health, Wellness & Nutrition
Free Naturopathic/Homeopathic Consults Available