Updated: Sep 14, 2018
Guest Blog - Harriette Robinson, Nourishing Insights
The drop in temperature and the return to school always brings with it a variety or bugs, coughs and colds. In addition to eating a rainbow diet and ensuring you get enough sleep here are a variety to remedies from around the world to boost your immune system and prevent winter illness.
1. Echinacea from North America
Let’s take a trip across the pond and have a look at a traditional herbal remedy for cold and flu. Echinacea is a native North American flower and has been used for more than 400 years by the Great Plains Indian tribes. Traditionally used as an immune system stimulant it was held in high esteem by the medical profession until the advent of antibiotics in the 1950’s. That’s not to say we shouldn’t still use it today. A study at the University of Connecticut concluded that Echinacea is extremely good at supporting the immune system and can cut the chances of catching a common cold by 58%. Echinacea has also reduced the duration of the common cold by almost one-and-a-half days.
2. Elderberry from Norway
This herbal remedy has been used almost since the dawn of time with evidence showing prehistoric man cultivated this plant. Ancient Greece’s “father of medicine” Hippocrates himself described this plant as his “medicine chest” because of the number of illnesses it seemed to cure. Thanks to chemical compounds called anthocyanidins, Elderberry is a potent anti-viral making it an excellent treatment for cold and flu symptoms. A Norwegian study found that symptoms of flu were relieved 4 days earlier when compared with a placebo. Elderberry has also been found to be effective in reducing the symptoms and duration of colds in air travellers. A must pack item if you are travelling this winter! Traditionally the berries would be picked throughout autumn of year and made into a syrup to take throughout the winter. We love this one from Pukka which also includes other healing herbs like ginger and thyme.
3. Scottish Honey
Another remedy from long ago, honey was a favourite among Ancient Egyptians who used it for dressing wounds. It’s antibiotic, and antiviral properties are well known. However, it’s important to ensure your honey is raw if you want to reap the rewards. The heat-treating process of pasteurisation kills the beneficial bacteria found in honey which is what makes it so effective. Looking closer to home Struan’s Heather Honey from Ross-shire was found in a study at Glasgow University to be even more effective than manuka and even combated MRSA! So, you don’t need to look as far afield as New Zealand for your honey anymore.
4. Japanese Ginger and Lemon Tea
This soothing drink helps ease congestion and aches and pains due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Ginger can be taken as a supplement and is super easy is easy to make at home as a tea. Simply grate some fresh ginger into a pot with a few slices of lemon. Top up with freshly boiled water and leave to brew for a few minutes. Enjoy with honey if you prefer.
5. Turmeric from India
Turmeric has traditionally been used as an antibiotic in Ayurvedic Medicine. This use is being supported by modern science with more and more studies being commissioned to study turmeric’s anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antimicrobial and even anti-cancer properties. Turmeric has been found to be effective at combating several strains of the flu and continues to be researched for its use as an antiviral in countries where antiviral medication isn’t readily available. Turmeric can be taken in supplement form, eaten in curried foods or made into a tea to sip throughout the day. It is also becoming popular as a ‘golden latte’ which is made with either dairy or non-dairy milk with a teaspoon of turmeric, a dash of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon. Warm in a pan. Very warming and soothing!
Manager, Nourishing Insights
If you have any questions or would like to know more about how you can support yourself this winter please pop in and have a chat with us at Nourishing Insights, 44 St Andrew Street, Aberdeen, AB25 1JA.
Always check with your health professional or with ourselves before taking supplements if you are on medication, pregnant or breastfeeding.
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Do you have any cold or flue remedies that you swear by? Share them below, it might help someone else feel better!