With all the festivities and outdoor play during the wintertime, we can become run down and more susceptible to catching a cold or flu. External germs can enter our body via our skin, mouth or nose. Staying warm and wearing a scarf while enjoying all that outdoor winter fun are really helpful ways to block these external germs from finding an entry point in our immune armor.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, wind is the spearhead of 100 diseases. Wind frequently changes and varies in intensity. When our bodies cannot respond to these changes, whether they are environmentally induced or from mental, emotional or physical stresses, our bodies become overwhelmed and our immunity is then compromised. This is when a gap appears in that immune armor, and a cold or flu can enter our body.
Cold symptoms consist of head congestion and headache, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, restlessness and an achy body, while flu symptoms have body aches along with intermittent fever and chills, sore throat, coughing, not much appetite and an upset stomach. When you feel under the weather, try to get plenty of bed rest, avoid mucus producing foods such as dairy products and sugary or oily foods, drink soothing herbal teas along with warm vegetable soups, and avoid sudden temperature changes in your environment.
If you do catch a cold or flu, here are some simple, soothing remedies:
Chilly body or scratchy throat:
- Slice 2-3 pieces of fresh ginger root (about the size of your thumb). According to Chinese medicine, fresh ginger can cause sweating and push away the chill and scratchy throat feeling.
- Add one bunch of chopped green onions (scallions) and two cups of water.
- Bring water to a boil. Add ingredients then cover and steep for 10 minutes. Drink the liquid. Bundle up in bed and let your body chase away the cold symptoms.
Sore throat or dry cough:
- Core a pear and add a little honey with a pinch of cinnamon. According to Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon helps the lungs decongest the chest.
- Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in the oven until soft. Eat the soothing mixture.
Go-Away-Cold-or-Flu Joy Juice:
- Juice of one lemon.
- One teaspoon of fresh crushed garlic.
- One teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger.
- One pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Place ingredients in a large mug or cup. Pour boiling water over the ingredients and steep for 10 minutes. Strain if desired. Add honey to taste and drink before going to sleep.
Keep immunologically armored with good food and rest, and keep well-bundled when playing outdoors. But if you do happen to catch a cold or flu, try one of these time-tested remedies to help nurse yourself back to optimal health. And while you're drinking your ginger root tea, or eating your honeyed pear, or sipping your Go-Away-Cold Joy Juice, curl up with the Vitality Fusion Second Edition and discover some new ways of maintaining and increasing your overall wellness.
About the Author: Susan Shane, L.Ac., is creator of Exaircise, a cross-cultural fitness program based on the primacy of breathing in global health traditions. Her book, Vitality Fusion, a Comparative, Interactive Survey of Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, illuminates ancient and modern modalities to help readers create a customized path to optimal health. For more information, visit www.VitalityFusion.com.