Health

Cold, Flu, and Congestion

As the holidays come around year after year, so does the cold and flu season. Whether it is the stress we place upon ourselves, the unlimited gatherings we attend, the crowded shopping, or the chilly weather, our body’s immune system can take a hit if we don’t maintain protection and resistance. One of the longest parts of a cold is the congestion that comes either before or after or even during the worst days. The annoying reddish nose from too many tissues and watery eyes can get rather frustrating after a while. Here are some tips to help speed up the process for breaking up congestion.

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Oil of Oregano

Carvacol and thymol, two phytochemicals in oregano, have powerful antiviral and antifungal properties. Carvacol has been shown to help break through the outer cell membranes that help protect bacteria from the immune system. Research suggests that oxygen molecules in it react with water in your body to create heat that kills germs by dehydrating them. It is best when taken with food. However, since this volatile oil is quickly absorbed and associated with inducing heartburn, some may require them to be taken in coated capsules, so they do not break down in the stomach but instead are delivered to the small and large intestine. This also delivers the oil further down in the GI tract, where its killing action may be needed. You can take it internally for infections/colds/flu. Depending on the age, chronicity, and severity of the respiratory infection, you should speak with your experienced nutritionist on how much to take per day. For maintenance, a 150 lb adult can take 2-3 drops or capsules per day.


Ginger

Ginger has been used to loosen and break up congestion for years. As a natural decongestant and antihistamine, it is often included in herbal remedies and teas that are designed for people recovering from colds, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Ginger can improve the circulation helping the body to excrete toxins more efficiently. One of the constituents of ginger is shogaol. The chemical structure of shogaol has a very strong anti-cough effect. Ginger can also help alleviate nausea, reduce a fever, soothe the digestive system, and may even have an effect to help lower your blood pressure [1]. A safe dosage of ginger to take daily would be 250 mg ginger 4 times daily [2].

Ginger Tea: Shred or cut 1-2 tbsp of the fresh root or 1 tsp of ginger powder, steep in hot water and drink. You can add organic lemon juice or 1 slice lemon and 1 tbsp honey as well.


Turmeric

As a natural decongestant, this herb also has strong anti-inflammatory responses. Although you need some level of inflammation in the body to protect you from foreign invaders like bacteria and viruses, the inflammatory response can get out of control and actually slow the healing process. Diet also plays a key role in your body’s inflammatory levels.  A diet free from processed foods, toxic chemicals, and artificial additives is desired.


Eliminate dairy

Did you know that we are the only adult mammals on Earth that drinks another mammal’s milk? There are numerous side effects of the Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) and antibiotics given to cattle which we ingest when drinking milk. rBGH milk is contaminated by abnormally high pus levels, due to the mastitis commonly induced by rBGH, and antibiotics used to treat the mastitis. rBGH milk is chemically and nutritionally different than natural milk.  Dr. Mark Hyman, New York Times best-selling author and seen on the Dr. Oz Show states that up to 60% of the population could be affected by hidden sensitivities to foods such as dairy [3].


Drink more fluids

One quart of water per 50 lbs of body weight is recommended daily. You can also drink decaffeinated herbal teas as well. Add honey to your tea to help coat the throat if it is sore.  Avoid caffeinated beverages, which can cause dehydration and aggravate your symptoms.



Use a humidifier

Humidifiers help break up congestion by adding moisture to the air, which helps to thin the mucus in your nose advises Scott P. Stringer, MD, professor of otolaryngology at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. “When the nose is stimulated by any irritant, the nervous system is also stimulated, causing valves to open, which results in more blood entering the nose. This causes swelling in your nasal passages, which makes it difficult to breathe [4].”

Other supplemental compounds and vitamins to consider for prevention and breaking up congestion would be:

  • Vitamin C: 3000 mg to 8000 mg daily

  • Lauricidin: 2-3 scoops daily

  • Vitamin D: 5000 IU per day

  • Fish Oil: 500mg per day

  • Vitamin E: 400 mg per day

  • Don’t forget to wash your hands throughout the day and get plenty of rest.


Do you find yourself getting sick more often?  Is it taking a very long time to get over colds, flu, and sinus?  There may be key factors in your body’s chemistry that you are missing.  By doing a comprehensive blood panel and tissue mineral analysis, you will be able to see exactly what your body is missing. Although supplements do not replace a healthy diet, it is nearly impossible to get all of the required nutrients in daily.  Build your body’s immune system this winter by making sure its foundation is strong.  


References:

  1. Ghayur MN, Gilani AH. Ginger lowers blood pressure through blockade of voltage-dependent calcium channels. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol 2005;45:74-80. 

  2. Wood CD, Manno JE, Wood MJ, and et al. Comparison of efficacy of ginger with various antimotion sickness drugs. Clin Research Practices & Drug Reg Affairs 1988;6(2):129-136.

  3. Dr. Hyman, Mark.  The Anti-Allergy Diet.  1/27/12 http://www.doctoroz.com/article/anti-allergy-diet  Accessed on 10/31/14

  4. Patino, Erica.  7 Natural Remedies for Congestion Relief.  http://www.everydayhealth.com/congestion-relief/natural-congestion-remedies-pictures.aspx#01