The Dreaded Lurgy
As the colder weather is beginning to slowly set in and we are all uttering our first “brrrrssss” for the year, my mind turns to runny noses and those coughs and colds that can begin to appear. With the changes in weather comes a need for our body to change and adjust to new outside pressures. Sometimes, for a diversity of different reasons this transition doesn’t go so smoothly and we find ourselves literally feeling a little under the weather. So what can we do to support ourselves so we can all stay healthy and happy this winter?
The first and very un-Australian is to actually acknowledge that it is winter and dress accordingly. Warm clothes and shoes prevent cold from seeping inand draining needed vitality. This drop in vitality manifests in reduced immunity and more susceptibility to colds and flues. There is some thought to suggest that small periods of intense exposure to cold can actually help to stimulate the immune system, however long periods of being not quite warm enough are slowly but surely draining.
Winter months typically lead to a more sedentary and indoors lifestyle. Its just that bit trickier to get out of bed and outdoors on those chilli days leaving us a bit damp, cold and stagnant. Exercise, even in small amounts, has been shown to have a great impact on helping increase circulation, improve immune function and reduce stagnation in our body.
The foods we eat are also important. Ice cream, milk straight from the fridge, most raw fruits and hard to digest and mucus forming foods such as dairy and added sugars can reduce runny noses and sticky coughs. Adding warming spices like cinnamon, cloves, star anise, cardamon and ginger to meals can help increase internal warmth and make cold foods warmer and easier to digest.
Herbs can help to prevent and treat coughs, colds and flues. One of the easiest and tastiest ways is as a warm cup of tea. The warm water alone can help to soothe cold and contracted lungs while helping to break up mucus. Depending on the symptoms, elderflower, thyme, echinacea, licorice and yarrow can help both in prevention and in acute cases. Manuka honey can do wonders for a sore throat and essential oil inhalations using a drop or two in steamy water, can help to clear blocked sinuses and ease lung complaints.
Last but not least, often a cold comes at a very opportune time when we are pushing too hard, are under a lot of stress and need some time out or are simply just not coping. Taking time to be aware of our own needs and acting accordingly may mean a few days off or some down time without having to spend it feeling unwell, rugged up in bed.
Article by Damian Harrison, Naturopath from Chamomile Naturopathy, Bellingen.