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Natural therapies for beating bugs

Winter coughs and colds are frustrating and can linger on and on. The onset of a cold is often met with antibiotics, but there are several natural therapies you can try to keep colds and flu at bay.

Antiobiotics and natural therapies

Common colds, flus, most coughs and sore throats are caused by viral infections, which must be overcome and defeated by your own immune system. Antibiotics do not kill viruses so will not stop your symptoms getting worse or shorten the duration of a cold. Antibiotics should only be used when they’re really needed, or bacteria will become resistant to them.

There is a range of natural therapies to try including herbal medicine, nutritional supplements and homoeopathic tissue salts that can support your immune system and help to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms associated with colds and coughs.

Natural therapies for cold and flu prevention

Even if you have already contracted a cold, there’s a number of ways you can prevent the further spread of infection. Try not to share utensils and cups and remember to wash your hands thoroughly.

Natural therapies that can help include aromatherapy, using a particular blend of essential oils. A blend of peppermint, tea-tree, eucalyptus, lemon and pine can be used as a chest and back rub on children to help prevent infection. As the body heats up, the oils will begin to evaporate, producing a protective “aura” of essential oils.

Herbal medicine for inflammation
The first stage of a cold usually involves a sore throat, stuffy nose, dry cough and fever. In this first stage it’s essential you get as much rest as possible and drink plenty of fluids. Herbal medicine can be used to effectively support your immune system. Echinacea and andrographis, when used in combination, are beneficial. Zinc and vitamin C are two other nutrients vital for an effective immune response.

Herbal medicine for reducing mucus
Herbal medicine can again be used to help dry and reduce mucus production in the nose and sinuses. Ground ivy, golden seal and eyebright are all beneficial herbs. They should be given in conjunction with immune herbs such as echinacea and andrographis.

Food choices and tissue salts are other natural health options for reducing mucus. Garlic can help to thin mucus secretions. Tissue salts recommended for this stage of a cold include kali mur for stuffy sinuses, congestion and thick, white mucus, and nat. mur for profuse, watery or slimy mucus often accompanied by lots of sneezing.

Caring for coughs with herbal remedies
Herbal medicine can be used to treat a cough. Dry, irritated coughs can be soothed by the combination of licorice and marshmallow root. You can also try various herbal remedies to soothe a cough. You can easily make your own soothing cough syrup at home using onion and good-quality raw honey. Simply cut a brown onion in half, drizzle over it a generous tablespoon of honey and set aside for an hour or two. Throw the onion away and stir the onion liquid into the honey to combine. Give a teaspoon of it every few hours as needed.

Natural therapies for wellness
Once you’re well you can continue to take echinacea and andrographis with the addition of astragalus. Herbal medicine can help minimise your chances of getting sick again by supporting and enhancing immune system function. Most coughs and colds can be safely and effectively treated at home using a range of natural therapies including herbs and herbal remedies, supplements and tissue salts easily available from healthfood stores and pharmacies.

Use the WellBeing practitioner directory to find a natural health therapist