It’s that time of year again when we are all trying to escape irritating sniffles, colds and flu. Fortunately, as every health coach knows, there is an abundance of wonderful herbs and spices you can use to boost your immunity and stay healthy throughout the festive season, and beyond.
Did you know that many of the everyday herbs that you have in your kitchen cupboard have anti-viral properties? They can be highly effective against a number of influenza strains and respiratory viruses, and should be on the top of your shopping list.
- Ginger root is a powerful antiviral and antibacterial herb that can help reduce fevers and relieve colds and inflammation. It’s best used freshly chopped with your hot food or in smoothies, or have it as a tea with half a lemon, and sweetened with a little Manuka honey or a pinch of cinnamon.
- Another herb that’s good to have in your kitchen all year round, is garlic. Always use it freshly chopped to boost your immunity and to help to avoid common colds taking hold.
- Liquorice root, which can easily be bought as teas and is a broad-spectrum anti-viral herb. It is thought to work through multiple mechanisms that prevent viral replication and growth, and that activate your immune cells.
- The Echinacea herb potently enhances your immune system’s first line of defence. Your herbalist can combine it with Siberian Ginseng to build up your strength to fight through immune challenges. Echinacea can also be very useful for deep-seated infections, so should be part of your herbal first aid kit.
Once temperatures drop, spice up your teas and foods with cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cumin, nutmeg, black pepper and cayenne. These spices will heat your body from the core, and support circulation and digestion. They also help improve absorption of nutrients at stressful times when your body is in need of a denser nutrient supply. Remember also the Mediterranean spices such as thyme, white sage, rosemary, basil and oregano. They have long been known for their antimicrobial properties and show a specific affinity for the lung tissues.
It’s now a good time to increase your intake of autumn-coloured berries and vegetables. The rich purple, blue, yellow and red colours of the fruit and veg contain anthocyanins and flavonoids which are important health-promoting antioxidants. As a tip, stew organic Bramley apples and add some mixed berries, cloves, (another powerful antimicrobial spice), some almonds for protein and cinnamon quills to sweeten it all up.
Finally, and to prevent the spread of infections throughout your family home, safely burn some essential oils such as lavender, sage and frankincense. Make sure all the oils you use are pure essential oils (preferably organic) and not synthetic or “fragrance” oils. Add some orange blossom or cinnamon essential oil to make this pleasant practice even more effective, and it will surely add to the festive atmosphere of your home!
Diffuser’s and essential oils are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased at any Neils Yard store. If you are not familiar with essential oils and you wish to use them please ask to speak to the in store therapist where you purchase your oils who is happy to advise.
Genesis 1:29 -31 Song of Solomon 4:14
Happy and Blessed Christmas from the Health Team at CLC