As we are deeply in Autumn, we should all consider boosting our immune system and prevent cold and flu.
It’s always a good choice to go natural by using Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine, to make changes in our diet and lifestyle, along with the change of the seasons.
That’s why we want to have a little bit of different and mindful approach today, as it is one step further in our efforts to prevent cold.
Well, by including some immune-boosting roots and mushrooms, you can keep your health at the safer side.
The Fall season has a variety of traditional botanicals.
They not only tend to be harvested at this time of year, but they also supply us with the right nutrients and healing compounds we all need in order to fight the health issues we encounter during this time of the year.
Which Herbs Can Prevent Cold
Here are some of our favorite Fall seasonal herbs to include in your tea, food and as medicines, in case you wonder how to prevent and oncoming cold.
Burdock root comes from burdock, a genus of weeds that are related to sunflowers and part of the daisy family. It is available as a tea in various tinctures, with manufacturers promising a wide range of benefits.
In traditional medicine, it is the dark roots(not the plant itself)that offer many health benefits.
It is rich in vitamins and minerals, and its inulin content is being studied for its beneficial effects on the immune system, especially in the area of the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT).
- Burdock is a large weed covered in spurs that can grow over 4 feet tall
- It may help to lower blood sugar levels as well provide other health benefits
- As with all herbal supplements, burdock can be dangerous for some people
- More research is necessary to verify the claims about burdock root’s health benefits
Cut it into matchstick-size pieces in stir-fries, seaweed dishes, and sushi, and you can even include it in a pickled vegetable recipe.
Mushrooms have a reputation for being kind of magical, since they’ve long been used for nutritional, medicinal, and psychedelic purposes.
Unlike many purported super-foods out there, there’s plenty of growing research to back up a lot of the claims behind the effectiveness of ingredients found in many species of mushrooms.
Shiitakes demonstrate antiviral activity to prevent cold.
Our other mushroom picks include reishi and chaga, which can be taken in powder, capsule, or a tincture form.
You can also include mushroom powders in your coffee or smoothies, or use capsules.
The Health Benefits of Shiitake Mushrooms
Having no roots, leaves, blossoms, or seeds, shiitake mushrooms fall into a special category: fungus.
Famous for their rich texture and smoky flavor, they’re the second most commonly cultivated edible mushrooms, readily available on market shelves worldwide being used to prevent cold and many other health issues.
- anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties
- lower the cancer risk
- prevention of chronic diseases
- regulates blood sugar
The Health Benefits of Reischi Mushrooms
Reishi mushroom is used for:
- boosting the immune system
- viral infections such as the flu, swine flu, avian flu
- asthma and bronchitis
- heart disease
- contributing conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol
- kidney disease
- liver disease
- It is also used for HIV/AIDS, altitude sickness
- chronic fatigue syndrome
- stomach ulcers
- herpes pain
The Health Benefits of Chaga Mushrooms
Chaga mushrooms grow wild in places like Siberia, northern Canada, Alaska, and some northern areas of the continental United States.
This mushroom is used for:
- prevention and treatment of cancer
- stimulation of the immune system
- fights viruses
- reduce inflammation
- improve physical endurance
It’s been shown to reduce both the severity and the duration of colds. Studies suggest echinacea contains active substances that support immune function.
You can find many different echinacea products on the market.
They may contain different species of plants or different parts of the plant, be manufactured in different ways, and have other ingredients in addition to echinacea.
Most of these products have not been tested in people.
For most people, short-term oral (by mouth) use of echinacea is probably safe.The safety of long-term use is uncertain.
The most common side effects of echinacea are digestive tract symptoms, such as nausea or stomach pain.
Some people have allergic reactions to echinacea, which may be severe.
Also, some children participating in a clinical trial of echinacea developed rashes, which may have been caused by an allergic reaction.
People with a genetic tendency toward allergic reactions may be more likely to have an allergic reaction when taking echinacea.
Current evidence indicates that the risk of interactions between echinacea supplements and most medications is low.
However, consider using it if you’re someone who gets sick every flu season, but see if you’ll get any of the side effects.
If you do, stop the use immediately!
This is a staple of traditional Chinese medicine.Astragalus is a warming immunogenic herb well-suited to Fall season.
You can use it in powder form, tincture, or added to soups and stews.
Its main use has been to boost the body’s immune system,but it also has been used to treat other conditions, including heart disease.
Other uses include:
- common cold
- upper respiratory infections
Word of Caution
When used appropriately, astragalus appears to be very safe and to have few side effects.
Very high doses may suppress the immune system, therefore, you should avoid using astragalus if you are taking immune-suppressing drugs.
Garlic is the original super-immunity herb since ancient times. Compounds in garlic boost the disease-fighting response of white blood cells when faced with viruses in the body.
Garlic helps prevent:
- lowers total duration of cold and flu
- diminishes the severity of symptoms like headaches, fever, and sore throat
- improves cholesterol levels
- prevents symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia
- detoxify from heavy metals in body
- improves bone health
Always use fresh and organic garlic. Try to add it to your recipes in the last few minutes of cooking to preserve allicin, one of its active compounds.
The best way to use it is to include two to three cloves of garlic in your diet each day(in soups or fresh) pressed into salad dressings.
Don’t worry about the smell.
Essential oils are often added to alcohol-based mouthwashes. In addition to freshening breath, some also have antibacterial properties.
You can also make your own homemade mouthwash with essential oils and a carrier oil such as coconut, sweet almond, or olive.
Essential oils with proven benefits for eliminating bad breath include:
Pour 1 teaspoon of carrier oil with a drop of peppermint oil in your mouth to help get rid of food particles, bacteria, and odor.
Always purchase food-grade peppermint oil in your local grocery store or online, and be sure to watch out for added sugars.
This is a warming herb that can be found in the form of elderberry syrup.
And you know what?
This is always go-to herb for early signs of flu.
Studies have shown that elderberry extract can significantly shorten the duration of influenza while lowering the need for medication, when compared with placebo.
The best way to use elderberry is in tincture or syrup form.
Some people take elderberry by mouth for the common cold, “the flu” , and H1N1 “swine” flu.
It is also taken by mouth for HIV/AIDS and boosting the immune system.
Elderberry is also taken by mouth for:
- sinus pain
- back and leg pain (sciatica)
- nerve pain (neuralgia)
- and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)
- hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
- as a laxative for constipation
- to increase urine flow
- and to cause sweating
- heart disease
- high cholesterol
- weight loss
- gum inflammation
Not to forget to mention that Elderberry fruit is also used for making wine and is used as a food flavoring.
And of course, if you think you have the flu, also seek appropriate medical care first!
The unique fragrance and flavor of ginger come from its natural oils, the most important of which is gingerol.
While ginger itself is actually a tropical plant, the root of the ginger plant has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years to warm the body.
- it beat chills
- reduce muscle pain and soreness
- ease digestive symptoms
- cure accompanying colds
- morning sickness
- can help with osteoarthritis
- may lower blood sugar
- prevent heart conditions
- can reduce menstrual pain
- lower cholesterol levels
- may help in cancer prevention
- may improve brain function
Organic ginger can be used fresh or powdered, and you can juice it raw, add to smoothies or other recipes.
However you want to put it, ginger is one of the very few “super-foods” actually worthy of that term.
As you can see, you can prepare yourself for the Fall and prevent cold issues quite successfully.
Nature has given us everything we need for life and health.
We just need to use it!
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