You’ve probably noticed people coughing and sneezing left, right and centre already. It’s cold and flu season and it’s easy to let fatigue and the winter weather wreck havoc on your immune system. While many reach for the medicine cabinet, there are a lot of natural remedies that can treat a cold and even prevent the onset of winter flu.
Here are few of my tips to avoid nasty chemicals and help protect your body the natural way:
1. Stock up on some germ killing botanicals
Echinacea is a wonderful natural anti-inflamatory. You can buy Echinacea tincture online, and add a little to a juice, smoothie or tea to help your immune system fight against oncoming colds and flu. Similarly, you can add ginger and turmeric to anything you might be sipping. These anti-inflammatory star ingredients help keep your immune system strong and have the added bonus of being delicious.
2. Get probiotic
The more good bacteria you have in your gut, the better protected it is from illness. It’s the most important part of your immune system, so it’s worth looking after.
A simple and tasty way to get more probiotic bacteria is eating anything fermented. This includes delicacies like kefir, tempeh or kimchi, or even humble pickles or kombucha. There’s never been a better excuse to try that little Korean place you’ve been meaning to visit.
3. Work it out
Even though it might be tempting to stay under the duvet with a good book, experts say getting out and doing regular exercise is a great way of keeping your immune system healthy in the winter.
Going for a chilly morning jog or a work-out will help keep your body strong and your immune system fighting fit. 30 minutes of reasonably strenuous activity a day will do it, so get your gloves on and go for a bike ride (or a Tai Chi class). Netflix isn’t doing anything for your immune system, believe me.
4. Make a natural cold balm
There are a lot of cold balms on the market, but most are made with chemical fillers – petroleum is the main offender here.
It’s actually very easy to make your own natural cold balm – and use it all year round. The best ones will contain butters like shea and cocoa, or bees wax, and some really good essential oils like chamomile or niaouli. Replace the petroleum with coconut oil, a really good natural antivirus. You could even mix a little of our natural multiuse balm with coconut oil to make a soothing and delicious cold balm that smells good enough to eat and will help with sore throats, headaches and coughs.
5. Keep calm and carry on
Physical and mental wellbeing are pretty closely connected. At this time of year, it’s a great idea to take some time out for simple meditation and relaxation exercises. A simple ten minutes a day of stretching, aromatherapy or meditation can help you keep yourself balanced and calm, and fight off the kind of mental and physical fatigue that causes illness.
So, if you feel a bit overwhelmed or sniffly this winter, before heading to the pharmacy, treat yourself to an essential oil aromatherapy session with a lovely home made balm, sip something aromatic and chow down on some tangy kimchi. You’ll feel stronger and healthier without resorting to synthetics.
If I’ve overlooked anything major, please, tell me about your tips for avoiding colds and flus in the comments below, and we can update this post with more useful remedies.