6 Tips To Quickly Get Over The Cold

6 Tips To Quickly Get Over The Common Cold

     The days are getting shorter and colder. Most of us are spending more time indoors as opposed to outdoors. This is the time of year where most people come down with a cold because seasons are changing. Which means NOW is the time to take action and support the immune system. The first blog post in this two part series provided 8 tips to strengthen the immune system so that it is strong enough to protect us from getting sick. If you get sick often and your colds last quite long, take a read through Part I of the immunity series and learn how to strengthen the immune system. 
Sometimes, things don’t always go as planned ie. not getting enough sleep, stressful weeks at work. These types of things can take a toll on the immune system which can cause both internal and external immune system defences to fail and now a cold/flu can prevail! Today’s post is Part II of an immunity series where we will focus on what to do when illness does manage to strike! 
Getting sick from time to time is part of immune education in your body, so it is not always a bad thing. But for most of us we want to nib the cold in the butt right away so it doesn’t go full blown or we want to make sure the cold will not last too long.  Keep in mind that in people with healthy immune systems, a cold should not last for more than 3-4 days. An interesting fact is that most colds and flus are viral in origin so antibiotics are not an effective treatment option in most cases. Natural medicines are one of the best options to try first. 
It is very important to pay attention and listen to your body. We all know when we are about to come down with something. We start feeling the scratchy throat, unusual fatigue, cough and runny nose. Do not wait for these symptoms to get full blown, take action RIGHT AWAY!

Here Are 6 Natural Tips For The Common Cold Season 

1. Immune Herbs - Immunostimulant herbs allow for immediate immune activation/stimulation at the surface level so the immune cells are readily available to deal with the pathogen at hand. Immunostimulants work by boosting immunity in the short term for acute situations. Its goal is to make the immune system work faster and better than it was already doing. Immunostimulant herbs are also considered to be antimicrobial in nature. Here are some examples of immunostimulant herbs:
  • Echinacea - Is an herb that is warming and is best to take at the onset of a cold to reduce the symptoms and duration. It works to stimulate acute activation of the white blood cells. It is best used for active infections at the 1st sign of an infection, like influenza, and upper respiratory tract infections and continue for 10 days. Echinacea works well with vitamin C in combination.
  • Licorice - This herb is a great anti-inflammatory, demulcent and expectorant. This means it is very useful for bronchitis, asthma and sore throats. It helps to release any excess mucus and coat the respiratory tract. 
  • Andrographis - This herb can stimulate the activity of immune cells. It is a bitter herb that can help to support immune function quickly! 
  • Raw Garlic - This is an overall health-boosting powerhouse herb! It is considered to be a natural antibacterial and natural antifungal. It contains sulphur compounds called allicin and allian that have direct antiviral properties. It is also great to help break up mucus. Most people will always have this one around in their kitchen so it's quite easy to use and accessible. Mince 1-2 cloves of garlic in water and drink OR mix crushed garlic into salad dressing and enjoy!


2. Immune Nutrients 

  • Vitamin D - We mentioned Vitamin D in Part I of this series. Optimizing Vitamin D levels can help prevent an illness in the first place. However, taking a higher dose while sick can help to speed up recovery! Again, make sure to get tested first before supplementing!
  • Vitamin C - Vitamin C in higher doses can help to speed up recovery and lessen the severity of colds while also reducing inflammation in the body. Aim to up Vitamin C dosage to about 3000 mg/day.


3. Oregano Oil - This is one of my secret weapons for the fall and winter months! Oregano oil contains powerful compounds like: carvacrol, thymol and rosmarinic acid that all contribute to overall health and immune support. These have powerful anti-viral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Oil of Oregano can help to shorten the duration of a cold. It does have an extremely pungent taste so make sure to dilute a couple drops (3-6 drops depending on the brand) in water before drinking. 


4.  Facial Steam – Mix a pot of boiling water with some essential oils. Place a large pot of water along with a few drops of eucalyptus, lavender, thyme until boiling. Remove from heat, remove lid and place your face over the pot with a towel over the head for 15 mins of inhaling the steam. Take a few deep breaths with your eyes closed so they don’t burn. This really helps to loosen congestion and kill microbes throughout the respiratory tract.


5. Herbal Teas - Teas like Chamomile, Ginger, Peppermint and/or Turmeric are great for the common cold and helps with coughs, sore throats and headaches. Hot Lemon water with fresh grated ginger and raw honey can also be very helpful for soothing a sore throat. (Lemon is also a great source of Vitamin C!)


6. Hydrate & Rest - The best support you can provide your body during times of illness, especially if there is a fever is to stay well hydrated. Viruses are less likely to survive in moist environments. So when the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract and gastrointestinal tract are dehydrated it provides an environment that viruses can thrive in. Ensure to drink plenty of liquids (broths, teas, plain old water!). Most importantly, the body needs a couple extra hours of sleep when it is battling a cold. SO ensure to get enough rest!

The immune system is the body’s defence against outside infectious invaders. Overall, it does a great job protecting you. However, sometimes it can fail and germs can invade the body and eventually make you sick!  If after using the recommendations in Part I of this immunity series still results in you getting sick, not all hope is lost!  The right combination of nutrients and immune herbs mentioned in this post can really help to support the immune system and shorten the duration of the cold if action is taken right away! Colds can make you feel miserable, but the best thing you can do is take care of yourself from the beginning stages with some of the suggestions in this post! 
The advice in this article is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the care of a Naturopathic physician.