Our immune system plays a wonderful role in protecting us from harmful substances and diseases. If the immune system is compromised due to stress, poor lifestyle choice, or a low nutrient rich diet we can become more susceptible to allergies and disease.
Keep winter bugs at bay this flu season with these top 5 natural remedy suggestions.
1. Oil of Oregano
This medicinal oil has been used since ancient greek times for its potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiparasitic healing properties. Oil of oregano is extracted from the oregano plant and contains powerful antioxidant, anti inflammatory and antibacterial compounds. Research shows that Carvicol, the main active compound in oil of oregano is thought to assist the breakdown of the outer cell membranes that help protect bacteria from the immune system.
Studies have shown that oil of oregano is effective at killing bacteria, and could also help the immune system take action against viruses, fungi and parasites. Oil of oregano can be used in a variety of ways, as an internal supplement to help ward off cold and flu, as a gargle for sore throats, in vapourisers for sinus congestion and chest infections, or it can even be applied topically to treat skin breakouts, cold sores and skin infections. Oil of oregano can be purchased from health food stores and pharmacies.
Important: always follow manufactures instructions prior to use as the oil may need to be diluted prior to use.
2. Cayenne Pepper
This spicy red pepper contains a compound called Capsaicin, a powerful antioxidant that protects your cells from harm. Capsaicin contains vitamin C and bioflavonoids which may help to reduce the severity of colds and flu. Cayenne pepper also contains the important immune strengthening nutrient beta carotene which helps to keep the mucous membranes healthy and protected against harmful pathogens.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays an important role in keeping our immune system strong and healthy and helps to stimulate the production of potent anti-microbial peptides keeping bugs at bay. Some foods such as butter, cheese and mushrooms contain small amounts of vitamin D but we really need daily exposure to sunlight to produce adequate amounts of vitamin D.
Taking a daily walk in the sunshine during the winter months is the best way to top up vitamin D levels and keep the winter blues at bay.
If you thought garlic was just good for keeping Dracula at bay, think again. Garlic has been used for centuries as a natural remedy to fight viruses, parasites and bacteria.
Raw garlic contains the compound Allicin which is released when the garlic is chopped or crushed. Allicin contains antimicrobial properties and may assist the immune system to fight colds and flu.
Onions may alleviate symptoms of sinus congestion and assist with strengthening the immune system. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds Quercetin and Allicin found in raw onions help fight off bacteria and viruses. Onions are at their most potent and powerful when consumed raw so try adding raw onion to winter salads or cut up raw onion and add to soup just before serving.
Anti-Viral Flu Fighter Shot
This is a fabulous anti-viral toddy that helps to alleviate the symptoms and duration of colds, flu and sinus congestion.
1 cup of boiled filtered water
1 thumbnail piece of peeled ginger, grated
1 clove of raw garlic, crushed
Juice of half a fresh lemon
½ small white onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of Manuka honey
Pinch cayenne pepper
Place all the ingredients in a large heat proof cup and add the boiled water. Leave to steep for 10 mins.
Strain the liquid then add the honey prior to drinking.
For a more intense remedy for severe symptoms of colds or flu, blend all the ingredients together in a blender and drink 1 – 3 times per day or until symptoms subside.
Important: If you have any medical conditions or are taking any prescription medications check with your GP prior to consuming. Do not take with anti-viral or blood thinning medications, if you have a stomach ulcer, extreme stomach discomfort or prior to any form of surgery.