NATURAL HOME REMEDIES TO BUILD THE IMMUNE SYSTEM
BY AIYANA HAVIR
With cold and flu season around the corner, families will soon begin lining up for flu shots, over-the-counter medicines, and doctors’ appointments. But what if the perfect remedy could be found in your home?
Though symptoms and remedies can vary depending on the person and the illness, the majority of colds and flus are viral. How the body will react to the infection, and the amount of time it takes to recover, are dependent upon the strength of the immune system. Onset of symptoms generally occurs 3-5 days after exposure, and the person remains contagious for 3-4 days following the last symptom. Common symptoms include fever, aches, chills, tiredness, sore throat, and a dry, non-productive cough.
Build the Immune System
Within 48 hours of contracting a virus, there is a window of opportunity to boost the immune system so a full-on disease process does not manifest. During this time, the most important tool in fighting off colds and flus is fueling the “machine” itself – nourishing the body with raw fruits and vegetables and cutting out extra sugar, which bogs down the immune system. Try these at-home remedies to give your system a healthy boost:
Vitamin C: It’s proven to reduce the duration and severity of viral infection. Vitamin C is especially beneficial when taken on a regular basis, in addition to extra doses during the cold and flu season. If the virus is being stubborn, another option is an intravenous dose of vitamin C, allowing a high dosage to saturate the bloodstream.
Fluids: Fluids are essential. Plenty of water, soups and teas will help drown out the symptoms and flush the body of infection.
Herbs: Elderberry is an extremely antiviral herb that prevents viruses from entering healthy cells and replicating themselves throughout the body. The berries can be eaten raw, but certain types of elderberries are toxic, so caution is necessary. Supplement health food stores sell variations in drops, capsules, gummies, and liquid form. Echinacea is another anti-microbial herb, which reduces the duration and severity of the infection. These herbs can be found at supplement health food stores.
Steam: Take a steam shower, bath, or boil a pot of water with a towel draped overhead to open up the mucous membrane. Eucalyptus oil can be added to the water for an antibacterial effect on the respiratory system.
“Wet-Sock Therapy”: Constitutional hydrotherapy stimulates the immune system and white blood cell activity. Using two pairs of socks – cotton and wool – soak the cotton pair in ice cold water, wring them out, and place them on your feet. Put on the dry wool pair on top of the cold cotton pair. This remedy is recommended for relaxation before bedtime.
Zinc: When taken in supplement form or in foods, zinc can help to boost the immune system. It helps the body maintain healthy immune function, and patients develop fewer colds as a result. Oysters, crab, seeds (pumpkin, squash, or sesame), garlic, peanuts, dark chocolate, and wheat germ are all foods high in zinc. Supplement health stores also sell zinc supplements in tablet form.
Fever: A low-grade temperature is healthy during a cold. It raises the body’s temperature, killing the virus and helping to regain normalcy. If anti-inflammatories are taken to reduce the fever, it may prolong the symptoms. It is important to stay hydrated and monitor the progress of the fever.
COLD & FLU CONQUERING RECIPES
+ 1 quart vegetable broth
+ 1 medium onion chopped
+ 6 cloves of garlic chopped
+ 2-inch piece of ginger, grated
Add ingredients to pot and bring to boil for 20 minutes.
Strain herbs and drink broth throughout the day like a tea.
LEMON THROAT ELIXER
+ 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
+ 2 teaspoons honey
+ 1/4 cup warm water
Stir in glass and spoon down.
Recipes courtesy of Dr. Andrea Purcell