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Winter Wellness Remedies

Winter is here and so is cold season. Whether your exposure was on public transportation or at a holiday party, you either have had the sniffles or soon will. However this year the flu and even the common cold are more of an ordeal than usual. Instead of running to the doctor for another round of antibiotics (dosing too often can increase drug resistance), why not try some natural remedies that can yield the same effect?

The fields of homeopathy and herbal healing have been given a fair amount of both research and regulation over the past few decades. Also, their methods of working within the body are more gentle and can be treated more frequently than with pharmacy-bought medicines. In fact, medical practitioners are beginning to stand behind these traditional remedies in acute cases (when you have a non-recurring cold or flu).

Elderberry is one of the oldest remedies for a sore throat.

Elderberry is one of the oldest remedies for a sore throat.

A favorite in the world of natural healing is elderberry, known for its immune-boosting properties. Elderberry often comes as a liquid cough syrup (sometimes mixed with honey and propolis) or a lozenge that can include zinc (another immune booster). The key to this herb is flavonoids, a compound studied for its positive effect on wellness, which helps the immune system fight off illness. It is best to begin taking elderberry within the first two days of feeling the symptoms of a cold or flu.

Oscillococcinum (or just “Oscillo” for short) is a homeopathic remedy created by the brand Boiron. Like elderberry, it goes to work on both the flu and common cold treating aches, fever, fatigue and headache. It is a mixture of several single dilutions to create a more holistic effect. The brand also makes a compound called ColdCalm which treats the side effects of the common cold (congestion, sore throat). However, be aware that Boiron products do contain lactose.

*Homeopathic medicines follow the theory that “like treats like” and therefore use an incredibly small amount of an active ingredient  to induce the body to produce countermeasures. For example, the remedy coffea cruda contains a minuscule percentage of coffee beans to make the brain produce chemicals necessary for relaxation; therefore the use of coffea cruda is to treat anxiety and sleeplessness*

For immune boosting in general, echinacea and goldenseal are a naturopath’s go-to. Mainly recommended in response to chest congestion and sore throat, echinacea is the supplement for fighting off general infections. It comes as a tea, liquid and pill and is often paired with goldenseal to enhance its effect on a sore throat and cough. Some studies also state that goldenseal can assist in treating digestive and stomach infections as well.

Blends of these homeopathic and herbal remedies can be found by multiple natural brands and range in price. Also, some lower-end products do not obtain their components from a reliable source, so always check the box for certifications and ask employees about the company. With a little research and correct dosing these natural remedies can ease your woes this cold season.

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