Change of Seasons Cold and Illness Prevention
by Ryan Kurczak
Autumn is here, a little over 2 weeks in. Colds, flu, illness, allergies and all kinds of little nasty health problems can manifest during this time of year. I’d like to share a few perspectives with which I am familiar, and then some basic kitchen ingredients and activities I’ve found to be wildly helpful to prevent illness before it gets a foothold in our life.
From an Ayurvedic perspective this is said to be caused by our bodies inability to process change correctly. Through poor nutrition, lack of proper rest and activity, and a stressed out mind, the change in weather patterns is the straw that breaks the camel’s back. We are able to hold our self in a marginal state of health, until that one final stressor sends all our efforts of holding it together, health-wise, tumbling down. From this perspective, many of these problems can be prevented by taking better care of our self, and listening to our bodies, rather than willfully charging through life with the sole intention of sense gratification.
From a Chinese Energetic Medicine perspective, colds, allergies, flu symptoms, etc, are caused by unresolved emotional issues. These are usually in regards to repressed and undigested anger and sadness. We can have our own emotional traumas that we refuse to express and deal with consciously, and so our bodies make us deal with them unconsciously, and we can also be sensitive to traumas of those around us, or even collective consciousness. From this perspective, its best to deal with issues as they arrive and not get your self entangled in issues that are not any of our business.
Of course there is always the practical modern medical germ theory, that you inhaled a bacteria or a virus, and so it goes. From this perspective, avoid people who are sick. Wash your hands often and don’t stick your fingers up your nose, in your mouth, or around your eyes, unless you know your hands are very clean. I’ve found this to be a very useful word of advice. Although, it does take vigilance, as rubbing our face or picking our nose is often an unconscious act.
Now as to the tips and tricks to prevent illness before it starts…
I have found the proper use of the following substances and actions to go a long way in preventing an illness before it starts.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Raw Honey
- Grapefruit Seed Extract
- Hot baths
- Plenty of rest and appropriate levels of activity
Keep in mind, that these are most useful if utilized before you begin to develop symptoms, of if you find your self surrounded by people that already have symptoms you wish to avoid. Also, I’ve found these to work wonders at the first onset of a symptom. Many a cold has disappeared the next day by my regular consumption of raw garlic and a nice hot bath before going to bed.
Apple Cider Vinegar
This remedy I have used for a long time. It is said that it helps keep your pH balanced so that pathogens cannot effect you. I’ve found that drinking a teaspoon a day, mixed with distilled or purified water is an excellent tonic. When I began to develop cold symptoms, I would increase that to three times a day, and most illness would pass unnoticed. Just google “apple cider vinegar” and you will find a large list of benefits and how to utilize it for your particular condition.
Raw honey is said to have healing properties for allergies, digestive ulcers, bronchitis, rhinitis, and even cancer prevention. I mainly just use it to strengthen the immune system. It’s tasty on bread, on almonds, in tea and even straight out of the jar. I use this brand. http://www.reallyrawhoney.com/
Also, since we are talking about Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Honey, google “Honegar”. This is another excellent tonic I’ve used and seen to be extremely effective with friends and associates.
Now this used to be my favorite cure. Not an easy one to swallow, but very effective. I would take a raw clove of garlic, mash it with a butter knife, and spread it on toast. Then I would top that with some tasty butter. Of course, you can eat it raw, straight up, but I once saw someone almost puke attempting that maneuver. No puking necessary.
Whenever I would feel a cold coming on, or I had to be around ill people I would eat a couple cloves a day, and move through the autumn and winter free of illness.
Now if you are a regular meditator, this does have the potential to make you a bit more lethargic and can cause your meditations to be dull. That’s why I don’t use it so much any more. But if you just want to be healthy, garlic is great!
Grapefruit Seed Extract
This bitter, and foul tasting item, is said to have anti bacterial, anti viral, anti fungal, anti cancer, etc, properties. Mostly I’ve seen this work really well in Urinary Tract Infections. Cranberry Juice or Cranberry concentrated supplements, plus Grapefruit Seed Extract, has knocked out many a UTI. It also works great as a gargle for sore throats. But this is another item to google, as you will find a wealth of information about its uses.
I used to get a lot of colds, before I changed my diet and got more rest. When they would start to manifest, I would take a very hot and relaxing bath. Then I would wrap myself in a wool blanket, cover my self up with more blankets, get in bed for the night and sweat it out. I rate this remedy up there with regular raw garlic intake. In fact, I would usually eat a lot of garlic, and follow it up with one of these baths.
Rest and Activity
Now aside from the above preventive measures, the utmost best remedial measure for colds, is to make sure you move your body regularly and get the blood, bowels and lymphatic system pumping as these are some of the first line of defense. Second, making sure you do your best to arrange your life, so you can take a nap when you are tired. This may involve cutting out unnecessary and useless activities that waste your time. Believe me, there are a lot of these.
All of this together helps your immune system have the best foundation it can to stay healthy. Let me know your thoughts and experiences. I’m an experimentalist and like feedback. What I’ve shared above are ideas that I have used and seen others use to great effect.
PS- You may also want to google “neti pot”. This is an excellent nasal cleansing device that works to clean out congested nasal passages, and also cleans out problem causing germs before they get a chance to dig in.