As we come to the end of the summer season and school begins with a long awaited excitement of seeing friends again, sharing holiday news and other celebratory moments from the last six weeks, the weather also slowly begins to get colder as the sun changes its location in the sky, and the days become shorter. This is the time when our immune system needs a little boosting to manage the change and avoid falling victim to often circulating colds and flu.
How can you boost your immune naturally to avoid or minimise the impact of the all too familiar seasonal bugs? Immunity is compromised in many ways – poor eating and lifestyle habits, mental/emotional and or physical stress and over exposure to the elements through inappropriate dress for the weather.
Once a cold develops there are several things that can speed up recovery. Starting soon enough you may be able to beat the cold and throw it off quickly. If the virus has already established itself it may take 2-3 days to throw it off completely.
A more effective strategy than dealing with a cold or flu when it hits, is staying healthy to make sure it goes around you, rather than through you! A healthy liver, and thus liver energy is essential to maintaining wellbeing, irrelevant of time of year. There are several therapies that can strengthen an organ system and focus on freeing liver energy, by helping it flow smoothly and evenly. The most obvious is exercise and movement, which frees up liver stagnation by increasing energy, stimulating metabolism, clearing dampness, and thus improving sleep, digestion and elimination.
Movement can be any activity that physically moves the body and is fun, if you want to move liver stagnation and increase energy the fun part is critical in expressing your unique being. When it becomes a chore to dance, swim, hoola-hoop, cycle or walk, movement will no longer release stagnation and stimulate energy, defeating the objective.
Laughter, is the best immune boost of all. It affects the heart, thus improving blood circulation, mental functions, sleep, as well as reducing anxiety and uplifting the spirit. It also dispels anxiety and sadness.
Singing is the other simple, free of charge therapy that is extremely beneficial to the spleen, the main organ of the immune system, in stimulating metabolism and circulation whilst also helping the digestion. To sing you don’t even have to step out of your own front door!
What if the cold or flu has caught you? Natural herbal remedies for colds and flu, work by assisting the body rather than suppressing the symptoms, as in conventional medicine. Natural medicine can make the symptoms worse, or appear to worsen temporarily. The body’s defense mechanisms are responsible for this reaction, for example fever, often considered as detrimental is infact the body’s attempt to bring out the fever, and thus defeat the bug through opening the pores on the skin and eliminating pathogens and toxins via sweating. (Certainly if the fever is higher than 40 degrees C, conventional methods are required to bring the fever down.)
Drinking hot herbal teas that are warming and stimulating diaphoretics for chills and low fevers such as ginger, cinnamon bark, and cardamom will help eliminate the pathogens. On the other hand if the person suffering has little or no chill with a more intense fever, mint, lemon balm and elder teas are cooling, stimulating diaphoretics. Drinking plenty of fluid is essential during a fever and when suffering from a cold, as it is the fluid that helps the body eliminate pathogens through sweating.
Laughing and singing sounds good to me. If you don’t like the way you sing – at least you can laugh at yourself, and who knows if you do it in public, perhaps you will even cause someone else to laugh! Anyone for Karaoke?