WINTER BUG BUSTERS
by Dee Atkinson MNIMH
Inevitably, many of us are already suffering from the ubiquitous winter cold and flu bugs and some people's immunity will become increasingly low as winter continues. Ninety per cent of all colds and influenza are viral infections - antibiotics are only effective against bacteria and the flu jab only covers you against one of two strains of the flu virus. So, antibiotics are not the solution to treating colds and flu but there's lots we can do to prevent their spread in the first place: handwashing being our best frontline defence. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines recommend that teachers demonstrate to children how to use soap and water correctly. However, many soaps contain harsh chemicals so we have a great range of natural soaps and handwashes available in our online shop and at our shop on Bristo Place, Edinburgh.
We could do worse than look to our friends in Japan for ideas on how to stay germ free. In that part of the world, it's commonplace to don a facemask when in the company of others during flu season - either to prevent them catching your cold or you catching theirs! It may not be the hottest fashion statement but it's certainly an effective preventative.
Herbal medicine has a long tradition of treating colds and flu and can also be used as a way to boost your immune system and to try and help prevent a cold developing. Our immune system tackles most bacteria and viruses, it even deals on a daily basis with abnormal cells that could develop into a cancer. It is when our immune system is challenged that we start to find problems developing. Cold weather, poor nutrition, too many late nights, too much alcohol, long term medication for other health problems all affect your immunity.
Let's take a look at some gentle, natural ways to help beat cold and flu bugs:
One of our favourite helpmates, especially at this time of year, is D. Atkinson Composition Essence. This traditional combination of herbs and spices is blended together into an old time pick me up which you can take hot for a warming hot toddy or cold for a daily boost to the immune system. Made with a warming mixture of Cinnamon, Cayenne, Cloves, bay berry, Pimento and Pine, this mixture of herbs improves the circulation and helps to sweat out a cold as well as supporting the digestive and elimination system.
Vitamin C increases resistance to bacterial and viral infections. Take a 1000mg a day as a preventative and if you think you might be coming down with something increase this to 1000mg every 2 hours over a 6 hour period.
Echinacea is a herb that has been shown to increase your resistance to cold and flu. The root extract has specific anti viral activity against the flu virus, and it can be taken throughout the winter. Try our range of D. Atkinson Echinacea products, including:
Elderberry & Honey Spray - containing echinacea, this is a soothing spray to relieve sore throats and prevent infections.
Echinacea Tincture - boosts your immune system and fights cold and flu.
Echinacea Super Plus - extra strong for when you really need to hit a cold virus into the long grass!
Echinacea & Wild Cherry Syrup - great for kids (2 yrs +)
We also have Napiers Elixir of Echinacea in stock.
Garlic is one of my favourite winter herbs, and I simply use a clove of organic garlic, chopped up and mixed with some yogurt and swallowed as if it were a tablet. Or swallow it down with plenty of cold water. This is a great way of reducing mucus and catarrh and can almost stop a winter cold in its tracks.
One fantastic winter influenza mix dates back to the early 1900’s. Used by Dr Valnet, it has become a popular self help remedy in my practice.
- ½ stick cinnamon
- 8 cloves
- 1 tea spoon of rosemary herb
- Juice of half a lemon
- Honey to taste.
Simmer the cloves and cinnamon in a good cup of water for 3 to four minutes in a covered saucepan. Turn off the heat and add the rosemary. Allow to cool for a few minutes then add lemon and honey. Drink warm.