How common is the "common" cold? On average, adults come down with two or three cold or flu infections per year, and children may have six to eight. Naturally, anything that can make those familiar symptoms—runny nose, sore throat, fatigue, achiness, often coughs, and sometimes fevers—less frequent, less intense, and shorter, will be welcome for most of us!
Mostly they annoy us, interrupt our activities for a few to several days, or just slow us down. Now and then a flu infection may turn into a dangerous or even deadly pneumonia.
We can count on being exposed to cold and flu viruses! We can also prepare for the season, and help our immune systems cope with what’s going around.
Our language for coping with the challenge of infections often involves fighting. Yet cold and flu symptoms actually have much more to do with our ramped up immune responses to infections—messy fights!—than the direct effects of a virus.
Dealing effectively with the microbes that thrive all around us, so we can avoid the discomforts of “fighting an infection,” is the key to getting through the season unhindered. Rather than thinking in terms of combat, imagine immunity in terms of *intelligent communication within a complex system*.
So, what helps keep our bodies working *intelligently* during the cold season?
• Regular, moderate exercise
• Avoiding chills
• Hydration (drinking enough liquids, and maintaining adequate indoor humidity)
• Good nutrition
• Vitamins C and D, and zinc supplements
• Emotional balance
And of course, herbs can help! The oldest approach to maintaining and restoring health meets the most common type of human illness. There are so many plants that people use to stay well and to recover from colds and flus.
The summary below only highlights some of the best-known uses of these healing plants. Herbs used for prevention and treatment overlap quite a bit, and many offer multiple benefits: activating immunity, killing viruses directly, relieving symptoms.
Tea is a perfect way to take herbs for colds and flus, since drinking more fluids is always recommended! Don't forget Em's Winter Defense Tea, an excellent and tasty blend that can help to both prevent colds and flus, and treat them after they show up!
• Elderberry & Elderflower
• Eucalyptus essential oil
• Mullein Leaf
• Oregano essential oil capsules
• Licorice Root
• Marshmallow Root
Soothing for night cough
• California Poppy
• Wild Lettuce
• Birch Bud
• Blessed Thistle
Essential oils can also support immunity to and recovery from winter illness. Oils such as Basil, Clove, Ginger, Lavender, Lemon, Lemongrass, Oregano, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood, Tea Tree, or Thyme can be added to baths, steam vaporizers or diffusers, mixed into massage oils, or applied to pillows, hot or cold compresses, or tissues.
No need to feel overwhelmed by *all these different herbs*… Get to know a few of them well, to begin with, and explore them further as your interest develops, or as your needs require. The makings of an effective toolbox for staying well and speeding recovery this winter are right at your fingertips, at EmsHerbals.com!