The season for colds – from the natural medicine´s point of view

Whilst the autumn temperature hardly had time to drop, a sniffly nose, a scratchy throat, a hoarse voice or a slight cough announces the first cold of the season. This phenomenon is caused by the fact that a cold body can´t resist attacking viruses as well as a warmed up one.

As the lining of the upper airways acts as a filter also against the viruses we breath in, it is hardly surprising that the first signs of infection are a runny nose or a sore throat or a cough. But fortunately nature can help to prevent the symptoms from getting worse.

Natural medicine treats colds with remedies which increase perspiration and phlegm reduction. This supports the filtering function of skin and mucosa and sweating stimulates the immune system to defend us against viruses.

Tip 1: Sweating cure when the first symptoms occur
Linden flower tea (flor de tila) increases perspiration and supports the immune system.
Pour 250ml boiling water over 2 teaspoons of linden flower and let it rest in a covered pot for 10 minutes.

Followed by a hot bath with 8 tablespoons of salt and the infusion of 50g thyme (hierba de tomillo).
You should bath at least for 10 to 15 minutes to ensure that your body absorbs enough warmth.
This is most effective before bedtime.
Make sure that the water is not warmer than 40ºC, because this could cause circulatory problems.

Tip 2: Sage (hojas de salvia) for sore throat
An infusion of sage leaves relieves sore throats and inhibits inflammmation.
Put half a teaspoon of sage leaves into 250ml of boiling water and let it rest again for 10 minutes.

Tip 3: Herbal teas for cough
Linden flower tea is good for tickly coughs.
Pour 250ml boiling water over 2 teaspoons of linden flower and let it rest for 10 minutes.

Thyme is preferable for dry coughs.
Pour 250ml of boiling water over 1 teaspoon of thyme and let it rest in a covered pot for 10 minutes.

Tip 4:  Infusion for a cold
Eucalyptus (eucalipto) acts as a decongestant and supports the reduction of phlegm of the upper airways.
Put 2 teaspoons of eucalyptus leaves into 250ml of boiling water and let it rest for 10 minutes. You should drink 3 cups over the course of the day.

Balm (hojas de melisa) for colds with headache, fatigue and dizziness
Pour a cup of boiling hot water over 1 tablespoon of balm leaves and let it settle for 5 minutes. You should drink up to 2 cups a day.

Ginger (raíz de gingibre) for your immune system and increased phlegm reduction.
Put 7 thin slices of fresh ginger root and 2 pieces of lemon peel into 1 liter of water and let it boil for 10 minutes.
If the linings of your airways are very sensitive use less ginger and let it boil for a shorter period.

Infusions for colds should be consumed as hot as possible. To improve taste you can sweeten the tea with honey or add lemon juice, but caution, the beneficial properties of honey are being destroyed with temperatures higher than 40ºC.

Tip 5: Sage acts as decongestant and antiinflammatory.
Pour 1 ½ liters of boiling water over 3 tabelspoons of sage leaves and let it rest in a closed pot for 10 – 15 minutes.
Then inhale the vapour by putting a towel over head and pot. 

To avoid a severe cold it is important to toughen your body with
– walks and sports in fresh air
– sauna
– healthy eating wit lots of fresh vegetables and fruit
– sleeping in unheated bedrooms (with open window)
– strengthening of the immune system with injections of your own blood

The Chinese medicine also offers prophylactic treatment. In China medics only got paid as long as the patient stayed healthy! Therefore prophylaxis became extremely important in medicine. To avoid colds you can start with prophylactic accupuncture in late summer. Simultaneously the body strenghtens with certain diets and ginger infusion two to three cups a day.

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