Into Well Being, PC

Noel John M. Carrasco, M.D., FAAP

Pat Murphy Carrasco, BSN, MFA, CMHT

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Nurturing Yourself Through a Cold

28 March 2007

We may still have to grapple with an occasional cold. The following symptoms may be helpful in distinguishing between a Cold and the Flu.

You may find yourself wishing for relief from runny noses, coughs, sinus headaches, and other cold symptoms. Here is what I do to ease many symptoms and speed recovery.

Rest. This is of prime importance when you feel a cold is developing. The aim is to get plenty of rest and sleep, with at least eight hours of deep slumber a night. When your body is sleep deprived, it supplies fewer of the natural protector cells that destroy virus-infected cells. Deep sleep is the healing mode needed for the body and mind.

Garlic. Naturally occurring compounds (allin, ajoene, and allicin ) in garlic are believed to have some immune-stimulating properties, and influence mucous flow, and possibly help reduce congestion caused by the common cold. At the first sign of a cold, I like to ingest the garlic mashed or finely chopped, and mix it with food. If you can, eat two cloves of raw garlic. When cooking with it (which I like anyhow), add it late in the process to preserve as much as possible its antibiotic properties. You can always add it easily to soups.

Top Foods. To help reduce the harshness of a cold, the best foods to eat are ones loaded with beta-carotene, Vitamin C and zinc (zinc may weaken the hold of a cold virus, by processing the essential fatty acids that encourage healing). Eating nourishing foods are always supportive of health. Be sensitive to your needs, if eating more food makes you feel better, good, others prefer to eat less when they are sick. When I have a cold, I tend to eat less and drink more fluids. Avoid dairy products and bread which tends to worsen the congestion often associated with colds, until the congestion is cleared. Its fun to mention that soups/broths have been recommended for ages. Studies have shown that various aromatic compounds, the amino acid cysteine and other substances in chicken soup are immune-boosting. Vegetarian broths show similar effects.

Other Natural Remedies.

Even though there is not much evidence that vitamin C treats or prevents a cold, the antioxidant properties of Vitamin C maybe helpful. As an immunity booster, it may keep the cold from blossoming fully and help speed recovery.

The herb with immune boosting properties andrographis [4% andrographolides 4x/day] has been shown to reduce the duration (by 2 to 4 days), severity and complications of a cold.

Another helpful, Chinese herb is astragulus [500mg 3-4x/day] tends with its antiviral and immune-enhancer properties to avert colds.

Lomatium tincture has been noted to be used in the Pacific Northwest for inflamed sinuses and viral infections of the lungs.

Teas: Sage tea maybe helpful for sore throats and a cough. For speed healing sore throats try gargling with a warm goldenseal/salt-water solution for a few minutes at a time [4x or more/day].

I like ginger root tea which helps relieve head and chest congestion and I also find it calming to the stomach. Grate one inch piece of peeled ginger in boiling water and simmer for five minutes , add a tablespoon or two of fresh lemon juice and honey to taste. Peppermint tea is stomach-soothing and it can lower a fever by encouraging sweating and naturally releasing toxins. Add Elder flowers for an additional boost. For a cough a calming tea is made from mixing equal parts of licorice root, anise seed, mullein leaves and wild cherry bark. The tea is pepared by adding and steeping for five minutes 1 Tbs. of the mix to about 8 ounces of boiling water. May drink this several times throughout the day. IMPORTANT to note if you have high blood pressure leave out the licorice root as it may interfere with blood pressure medications and it can raise your blood pressure.

At the first sign of the flu, there are two natural remedies worth trying: an extract of European elderberry (Sambucol, by Nature’s way) and the homeopathic remedy commonly sold in health food stores as Oscillococcium. Oscillococcium appears to cut the duration and severity of flu symptoms. Take either remedy per package instructions.

Wishing you health and wellness.

Dr. C

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