It seems incredible that with all of the medical science we have at our disposal we still cannot find a cure from the common cold or flu. The fact of the matter is that the cold virus (Rhinovirus C), causes over 1 billion colds per year in the USA, but size (in terms of incidence rate) isn’t everything, and it’s certainly not enough to find that all elusive cure. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help ourselves. There are plenty of ways that we can boost our immune systems and speed the recovery process, lessening the full impact of colds and flu when we do fall foul of them.
The Most Common Causes
The pesky little virus that causes the common cold is a durable little SOB. It can remain potent for hours, lying in wait on door handles, working surfaces, tools, implements and the like, for many hours. All you have to do is to touch those objects, then innocently lift your hand to your nose, and you’re caught – hook, line, and sinker!
These horrible little viruses are also airborne, so when people around you cough or sneeze, these pesky little devils float around in the air just waiting for you to breathe them in, and all it takes is just 3 tiny viruses (cold or influenza) to unleash their misery.
Is it a Cold or Influenza?
Although many of the symptoms are the same, the common cold and influenza are 2 different diseases. A cold, although very annoying, usually only lasts for a few days after which you feel completely normal again. Influenza on the other hand, although it too only lasts for a few days, can leave your feeling ill for several weeks afterwards. It can easily turn into pneumonia too, requiring hospitalization, and can even cause death, usually in the elderly or frail. Many elderly people take flu jabs in the winter to help to protect them.
Common Cold and Flu Symptom Relief
Most of the symptoms of colds and flu are the same and can therefore be treated in the same way. Whilst the natural treatments we’re going to discuss don’t cure the diseases, they do make coping with them very much easier, and also speed up the recovery process.
# 1 – Lubrication
A lot of people try to dry up their symptoms by taking antihistamines that they buy over the counter at their local drug stores; but this is actually the wrong thing to do. Okay it might can you feel more comfortable in the short term, but drying up the tracts doesn’t help your immune system to eject the viruses.
Colds and flu attack your respiratory system, and it is this system that works overtime to try and expel the invader. To help it to do so, instead of attempting to drive this mucus, you should be making it easier to get rid of. You can do this by adding water to your body system through drinking warm liquids like broths and tea infused with herbs.
If you happen to have a steam shower you can inhale steam to help to lubricate the pathways. If not then simply boil some water, pour into a bowl and put your nose and mouth over the steam, cover your head with a towel, and inhale.
Aroma-therapeutic Enhancements for Steam Treatments To give the steam a little more power and penetration, you can add some anti-microbial oils to the water, and then allow it to steep for 10 to 15 minutes before inhaling. Tea Tree oil works really well and you can supplement this by adding a few drops of Eucalyptus. In addition to being antibacterial, Eucalyptus oil also acts as an anti-inflammatory. It also has analgesic properties.
Some people prefer to add “Fir” oil, which is an essential oil distilled from the twigs and/or needles of various types of conifer, including Spruce and Pines. It provides a pungent, rich fragrance. Many people preferring using Siberian Fir Oil for its particularly beautiful forest-like smell.
# 2 – Echinacea
Echinacea is one of the most researched herbs that many people swear by to enhance their immune systems, to both help protect against contracting respiratory disorders, and to shorten the duration of cold and flu attacks.
Echinacea preparations are made into 2 ways, the first coming from the truth of the part of the plant that grows above the soil, and the second coming from an alcoholic extract of the root. Herbal experts maintain that when taken regularly, at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms, Echinacea can shorten the duration, and minimize the severity, of bouts of cold and/or flu.
The recommended delivery system is via a tincture made by putting two drops of Echinacea (either the above soil or below soil variant), into warm water. This should be repeated every two hours while the symptoms are in evidence.
Hard medical evidence for the effectiveness of Echinacea falls into two camps. You can find out more about the findings of both of these camps by clicking this link to the medicalnewstoday.com.
# 3 – Natural Black Elderberry Extract – Sambucol
A natural product based on the Black Elderberry plant, and called Sambucol, is a recognized treatment for shortening the duration of flu symptoms.
Treatments from the Black Elder Bush have been used in folk medicine to remedy and ease flu symptoms, colds, and sinus conditions, for many years. One particular treatment known as Sambucol has been the subject of studies in recent years, where it has shown an exceptional ability to curtail flu symptoms.
One study involving 16 patients was reported on in the “Journal of International Medical Research” back in 2002. The research concluded that 90% of patients (those infected with the “A” strain of the flu virus) were completely cured within 2 to 3 days without any of the side-effects of drowsiness that many other supposed flu treatments bring about. This was a blind placebo piece of research, and those taking the placebo didn’t recover until at least six days had elapsed.
It is believed that it is the Flavonoids, (the antioxidants that the Black Elder plant contains) that stimulate the immune system, whilst another of the plant ingredients, anthocyanins, bring about an anti-inflammatory effect, which deals with the aches, pains, and fever that are associated with influenza. You can find out more about Sambucol by clicking on this link to the US National library of medicine.
Vitamin C Bonus
The use of the natural treatments discussed above can be used without any harmful side effects (check recommended dosages in the given links) to significantly shorten the misery of cold and flu symptoms. In addition, keeping yourself well dosed up with vitamin C by eating non-gmo papaya, green peppers and oranges or drinking fresh lemon tea, will also help to boost your immune systems thereby helping to minimize the number of colds that you catch. Keeping your levels of vitamin C topped up is good for holistic heath in any event. The fact that it also helps to ward of colds and flu too, is an extra bonus.