A New Approach to Cold & Flu Season

As what we have deemed ‘cold and flu’ season approaches many can feel that it’s inevitable to get sick and others will try anything and everything not to.  What if it’s okay we get sick? What if we give our body permission no matter what the experience? What if our immune system intelligence is receiving an important upgrade by fighting off a pathogen?  What if we allowed time off to rest and recuperate? What if the pressure to not get sick, which is based on the expectations we put on ourselves or the perceived expectations of others, are impacting our health? Possibly creating an internal environment where we are more likely to become sick and as a result the sickness maybe prolonged or severe due to the additional pressure we put on ourselves?

How about we put these pressures off to the side, even if it’s just for while you read this article.  You can pick them up again if you wish afterwards. 

Now about this article.  We are going to discuss holistic methods of supporting the body throughout cold and flu season.  Then review options that can work in conjunction with our immune system if we do get sick.  

One of the supportive methods is in fact letting go of fears around being sick and what we think that means.  Now this not the same as having a dangerous illness, as absolutely these are to be considered and taken seriously.  What is being referred to is the perceived fear of something that has not yet happened and may not even occur.  Fear, worry and anxiety spikes cortisol levels in the body.  Enough over exertion of the adrenal glands producing this cortisol will result in fatigue and a weaken immune system.   All the effort went into the fear of something not present but perceived as such, nutrients are used up in this fight or flight process, and our good bacteria that are part of our defence system are weakened during times of stress.  Then when contact with a pathogen occurs we have little left on reserve to fight the actual illness.  One way to assist in giving less or none of our resources to the fear is meditation.   Meditation is not that we only think good thoughts.  It’s actually more about the relationship we have with our thoughts.  Can we notice our thoughts without judgement?  And if we can’t, can we notice the judgement? Noticing what ever comes up with awareness and compassion.  Through practice eventually we notice the space between thoughts gets bigger and wider, creating spaciousness, calm and peace in the body.  We begin to feel more like an observer of our thoughts rather than the thoughts themselves.  We feel less need to react to the thoughts.  Mediation also doesn’t mean sitting down in a cross legged position.  There are many ways of mediating that are even active.  The encouragement is to practice the mediation technique that best works for you right now.   

The second support group are medicinal mushrooms.  Taking these supportive super foods internally are a great way to support those adrenal glands mentioned earlier.  Most medicinal mushrooms, for example like Reishi and Chaga, are considered adaptogenic meaning they help to tone the adrenal glands, kinda of like helping friends who come to paint your walls when you’ve done one or two by yourself already.  Wouldn’t be nice to invite them over to help when you first got started?   Medicinal mushrooms make the work load feel lighter.   They also are very high in antioxidants helping the body repair from oxidative damage making you more prepared to naturally fight cold and flu.  

The third means of support is Vitamin D.   This sunshine vitamin is the ‘feel good’ vitamin for a reason.  Since we are in a climate where we will go months without appropriate amounts of sun exposure taking Vitamin D3 supplements, at the correct dosage that is best for us individually, becomes essential.  Vitamin D reduces occurances of viral infections, increases regulation of antimicrobial peptides and there by supporting the clearances of bacteria. (Murray, Pizzorono, 177).

And what happens if we get sick? There are plenty of options which help support our natural immune responses making it possible to fight the infection. Let’s review a few common and not as well known natural allies.  

First looking at herbal medicine it’s found that it works very synergistically with the human body, working with our own natural immune system.   One such herb we can utilize Thyme.   Thyme taste better than oregano oil, is not over harvested as goldenseal, and contains those anti-viral and antimicrobial properties that make herbs so effective.   It can be used in a cough syrup, chest rub, and/or ingested as tincture or capsule.

Second reviewing of not just your average Vitamin C.  Unlike isolated forms of Ascorbic Acid, Vitamin C found within a whole food form, for example Camu Camu, already contains natural bioflavonoids  increasing their effectiveness in the body.  This type of Vitamin C then becomes anti-viral.  (Murray, Pizzorono, 176).

Coming up on the final horizon is another herb, Andrographis.   Known to be used for centuries in Asia, America and Africa continents for such cases as bronchitis, influenza, dysentery, and malaria. Andrographis is highly effective “anti-microbial, anti-protozoan, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, immunostimulant, anti-infective, anti-angiogenic, and hepato-renal protective” herb. (Okhuarobo, Falodun, Langer, 213-222).  With this herb you can finish off a cold or flu and come out strong. 

All in all, you have options this season and there are still many more out there to suit your personal needs.  Come into The Big Carrot to discuss more regarding holistic approaches to health and well being.  

References 

Michael T. Murray, N.C., & Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 3rd addition

A Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.

1230 Avenue of the Americas

New York,1998, 2012. Page 176-177

Agbonlahor Okhuarobo, Joyce Ehizogie Falodun, […], and Peter Langer. Asian Pac J Trop Dis. 2014 Jun; 4(3): 213–222.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4032030/accessed September 16, 2019.

Photo by twinsfisch on Unsplash


Rebecca Hanratty, Holistic Nutritionist at The Big Carrot