Winter is coming, and it's time to get informed about what your options are when you catch the cold, flu or any other ailment that cold, dry weather often brings. When you are sick, over-the-counter and prescription drugs are enticing, as they promise a quick fix in one pop. But what are these pills doing to our bodies? While they may be helping in some ways, they could be hurting in others. For those of you who are interested in simple natural home remedies that leave little mystery to the imagination, starting with the ingredients list, these 5 items are exactly where you should start. They are as preventative as they are curing.
A few nights of good rest, warm ginger tea and a light diet are often all it takes to bolster your immune system and nurture you back to health. But when your condition isn't getting much better or even begins to worsen, it's worth popping out a few natural home remedies and watch them perform their tricks.
I grew up drinking cold syrups whenever I got the sniffles and swallowing an antibiotic here and there whenever my condition was particularly trying. But, when I got older, I became interested in preventing illnesses and treating the ones I did get with more natural products - products with fewer side effects and with ingredients I could either visualize or understand through and through.
Please note that it is necessary to talk to your doctor about the following products for serving size guidance as well as consult any literature about them that you can find. Inform yourself beyond the text in the list below and you can better decide what is fit for you.
1. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a colloid that has silver particles suspended in liquid. Its use tapered off when modern antibiotics were introduced in the 1940s. These days, it has emerged as a highly-touted alternative medicine. One study shows colloidal silver to be a broad-spectrum antimicrobial agent against both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria with some activity against fungi. In a 1980s lab testing at Syracuse University and the UCLA School of Medicine revealed that colloidal silver was able to act effectively against bacteria, viruses, and fungal organisms, even those that had become resistance to antibiotics.
Widely used in China, this herbal product exhibits incredible immunity support. Astragalusis a genus of some 3,000 species, including herbs and shrubs. Studies reveal that astragalus is able reduce the pro-inflammatory response induced by infections. Astragalus is even potent enough to protect cells from tumors and promote new tissue growth.
From the Organic Authority Files
You may have heard of echinacea as a natural remedy to the common cold, and studies support this claim! Echinacea is a plant in the daisy family and bloom from early to late summer. It was commonly used by North American Plains Indians for medicinal purposes and later in the U.S. and Europe for the same reasons. It has also been used for coughs, sore throats, headaches and as an analgesic.
4. Oil of Oregano
This is one natural remedy I use on a daily basis for preventative reasons. Oil of oregano is antiviral and effective in treating respiratory problems, including sore throat and hoarseness from cough. It is quite potent, so a little goes a long way. I put a drop of it under my tongue every morning and, without fail, wince by its strong flavor. However, the results are well worth it, as oil of oregano is incredibly cleansing for the body and helps to stave off unwanted illnesses.
Don't be fooled by the unattractive name - wormwood is a desirable product! It is often used as an ornamental plant and is even used as an ingredient in the purported hallucinogenic spirit absinthe. But, I digress - the real benefit can be found in your home apothecary. Wormwood is native to Eurasia and Northern Africa. Medicinally, it has been used since ancient times, exhibiting the ability, both through experience and clinical trials, to suppress tumors and heal patients with Crohn's disease. However, like most things, too much wormwood can be toxic. Consult a doctor for more information.
Related on Organic Authority
20 Unusual Uses for Everyday Herbs