As you may have already experienced, it is officially Cold & Flu season now. There are a few ways that make this time of year the “Cold & Flu season”.
Firstly, as the weather cools down, we spent more time inside and in close proximity to other people: kids are going back to school, people are huddled together on buses and sky trains, and we seek shelter from the rain. Secondly, viruses and bacteria can actually live longer in cooler temperatures. So, not only are we exposed to more of them, they actually stick around longer! Thirdly, our lifestyle and diets start to change. Some of us spend less time exercising outside and are less likely to reach for a salad and more likely to reach for comfort food on a cold day.
Fortunately, nature has our backs and can support and protect us during these changes. There are a number of immune boosting herbs that you can incorporate into your teas and soups to help support your immune system. I have listed the top 5 easy-to-find herbs you can start today:
You may have noticed beautiful shiny-red bulbs growing on your favorite rose bush where the aromatic flowers used to be, these are the rosehips. Rosehips contain a very high content of vitamin C, about 50% more Vitamin C thank oranges! Rosehips also contain high amounts of antioxidants which help to boost your immune system and reduce inflammation. Rosehips must be dried and removed of the inner seeds before use.
Sage is a miracle remedy for a sore throat. Adding a few fresh or dried leaves in a tea with a little honey with help to soothe inflammation of the throat and speed healing. Sage is also considered a natural antibiotic and can help fight off bacterial infections.
Thyme is a wonderful cough remedy. It helps to thin mucus and assists your body in expelling the mucus from the lungs. Thyme also has anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory actions that help to fight off bacteria and viruses and soothe inflamed tissue. Thyme is such a powerful lung remedy that it was traditionally used to treat whooping cough, typhoid and diphtheria!
4. Licorice root
Licorice is a powerful anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial for mucus membranes, this includes your lungs and digestive system, making this root a wonderful remedy for the flu to soothe irritation of the throat and lungs, and ease nausea and diarrhea. Licorice root also supports your adrenal glands, which will provide your body with the energy it needs to recover faster.
I can’t discuss immune boosting herbs without mentioning the all-powerful Echinacea! Echinacea stimulates your natural immune defenses to fight off bacteria, viruses and fungi! It is best used at the first signs of infection – fatigue, sore throat, general malaise – to help eliminate the bugs before they get too comfortable.