Integrative Medicine Cold Remedies


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The cold and flu season

It is that time of year again- cold and flu season! Everyone I know, including yours truly, is fighting a cold.  It starts with the sneezing, then come the sniffles, fatigue and sinus pressure. While I tell myself it could be worse, aka the dreaded stomach bug, it still makes for a pretty miserable week. Luckily, I am prepared this year with a host of integrative medicine cold remedies to help prevent, manage and shorten the life of my cold.

Supportive measures and cold remedies

Since I am already suffering with full blown cold symptoms, let’s start with the supportive measures. These are simple and soothing things to do to help alleviate cold symptoms. A humidifier or steam tent are great ways to help open up the nasal passages and relieve some congestion. I like adding 1 or 2 drops of an antimicrobial essential oil like peppermint to my steams. Nasal saline rinses are a wonderful tool to help clear out congestion. You can find saline sprays or neti pot kits pretty much everywhere these days. Lastly, drinking more water is key in fighting symptoms. Our bodies need that extra hydration to combat all the mucus production. Speaking of mucus, it has currently limited my sense of smell and therefore my appetite. While it is easy to not eat much when you are ill, it is important to get quality nutrition. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, good fats and lean protein is key. Increasing garlic, ginger, citrus and mushroom intake helps to support our immune system and even have some antimicrobial properties. Honey is my secret weapon- it has been shown to be a holistic therapy that is more effective than over the counter cough suppressants in children. I find adding local honey to my herbal tea with some lemon incredibly soothing. Finally, old wives tales ring true when it comes to chicken soup, it really does help fight cold and flu viruses!

Steam, nasal saline rinses and eating antioxidant rich food

While steams, nasal saline rinses and eating antioxidant rich food all help my cold symptoms, I also incorporate supplements that have been shown to help shorten the life of your virus. Vitamin C in ester form and Zinc Glycinate have the most positive integrative research backing their usage. Vitamin D 5000-10,000 IU until well and Elderberry syrup have good literature as well. Taking a daily probiotic has been shown to strengthen your immune system and may help you ward off the cold and flu virus this winter all together. I hope you found this information helpful. Click on the handout below to learn more about integrative medicine cold remedies. Stay warm and healthy this winter!

Integrative Medicine Cold Remedies Handout