Beating the Cold and Flu - Naturally!
As Naturopathic physicians, we have many options when it comes to treating a cold or flu. There are herbs, nutrients, homeopathic remedies, essential oils, IV’s and immune boosting shots. The goal is to provide your body with some help to fight the cold or flu virus more quickly. Suppressing the symptoms, like taking cough suppressant or a daytime cold/flu over the counter medication, just temporarily relieves the symptoms of the cold or flu. Once the medication wears off we feel just as bad, because it is not helping our immune system fight off the virus. By suppressing the symptoms, most of us will continue on with our normal routine (going to work or school) and spread our germs to the people we come into contact with, and the best way to treat a cold or flu is by prevention.
Stop the spread of germs
Wash your hands frequently, especially if you are blowing your nose, sneezing or coughing.
Wash your children’s hands frequently, especially when they get home from school, day care or playing with friends.
Wash your children’s toys. You can use a gentle soap like BioKleen or essential oil infused disinfecting wipes.
Do not share cups, utensils, lip balms, or toothbrushes.
Keep your hands away from your face; i.e. rubbing your eyes, biting your nails.
Keep your gut healthy.
Probiotics/Orthobiotic/Therbiotic Complete: The good bacteria live in our noses, throats, lungs and digestive tract and this is our first line of defense. Plenty of good bacteria allows our body to fight more cold and flu viruses.
Keep your immune system healthy.
Take your multivitamin daily.
Consider increasing Vitamin D intake, check with you doctor before increasing your dose.
Take Vitamin C daily.
Limit your sugar intake. Sugar intake reduces immune system function for several hours after consuming.
There are herbs to treat almost any cold or flu symptom you may be experiencing. There are immune boosting herbs like; garlic which has anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties, and elderberry extract, echinacea and astragalus which all have anti-viral properties. Wild cherry bark, marshmallow, yerba santa, elecampane, and osha root can all help treat a cough. Eucalyptus, peppermint and lavender essential oils all help relieve chest and nasal congestion. There are also many immune boosting nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin D and zinc. N-Acetyl Cysteine (NAC) is a very helpful nutrient for nasal or chest congestion. Many companies will combine some of the herbs and nutrients into one product which cuts down on the number of capsules you need to take. We usually recommend ViraCon or Herbal Biotic depending on the patient’s symptoms, it has a nice combination of herbs and nutrients.
Homeopathic remedies are very effective at shortening the length of a cold or flu. These need to be chosen carefully as each remedy will only treat very specific symptoms. It is best to schedule an appointment with your Naturopathic physician for treatment of a cold or flu with a homeopathic remedy, as they have been trained to prescribe the best remedy for your specific cold and flu symptoms. There is even a homeopathic remedy that can be used to help prevent the flu. This homeopathic flu remedy, Influenzinum, changes every year to keep up with the changes in flu virus strains. You can call this office to pick up your bottle of the 2016/2017 Influenzinum.