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Catching a cold, flu or other respiratory illness can be unpleasant and sometimes miserable, not to mention contagious. Inflammation and congestion in the respiratory tract is bound to happen at some point in everyone’s lives. Eating healthy and using homeopathic remedies not only relieves symptoms in a natural way, but keeps our immune system high enough where we are protected from getting respiratory illnesses.

Our immune system is designed to detect and destroy foreign invaders and keep illness away. When working properly, the immune system can prevent sickness when we’re exposed to germs. Washing our hands is one thing we are in control of and – while out of our homes where many people are spreading germs – too many people don’t wash there hands enough and that = exposure.

Keeping our immune system up is optimal to minimize and/or prevent these illnesses.

Things that can affect lowered immunity:

Stress is a main contributor to suppressing our immune system. Keeping our thoughts and emotions positive and taking time to relax, staying active, getting outside everyday and sleeping well are so important to minimize stress. A positive attitude and optimistic outlook help to lower the negative effects of stress. 

Eating well & maintaining a healthy weight is critical for supporting our immune system. Vitamins C, A, E, B6 and B12 and minerals like iron and zinc are important for the maintenance of immune function, all of which can be found in fruits and veggies. According to the CDC, only 1 in 10 adults gets enough fruit/vegetables in their diets. Getting enough superfoods is critical for maintaining health and wellness.

If you are not aware of this, please know, disease starts in the gut. Our gut is home to 70% of our immune system. Our gut has its own balance between good and bad bacteria. When we eat too much junk, we get an overgrowth of bad bacteria. Why? Because bad bacteria thrive on carbs, to include sugar. When this happens, our immune system is compromised. Also, when white blood cells, the defenders of the immune system, are exposed to high levels of sugar, their ability to fight bacteria, infection and disease is depleted.

If you aren’t familiar with the benefits of bone broth, please see my post.

Alcohol impairs our immune system by reducing the function of T & B lymphocytes. Having more than 3 drinks – or more, on a Saturday night and not drinking the rest of the week is not the same as having one drink a day. In fact, binge-drinking is worse for your liver than spreading the drinks out over time. Binge drinking puts you at a high risk of developing Cirrhosis-associated immune dysfunction. It’s a good idea to follow the 1-2-3 rule: one drink a day, no more that 2 at one time, no more than 3 days a week. Ps. red wine is low in sugar and is packed with antioxidants and aid in immune support!

Food – If you have a respiratory illness, it’s best to eat citrus fruit because they are packed with vitamin C, which helps speed recovery, eat raw garlic or make a garlic/ginger tea by adding them to hot water, and if you like mushrooms, eat shiitake mushrooms because they have immune boosting beta-glucans. Stay away from dairy (can be mucus forming), sugar, and refined carbs as they can worsen symptoms.

Homeopathic treatment for a suppressed immune system:

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Essential Oils – These are my favorites for aiding the respiratory system: Peppermint has a cooling effect to help relieve headache and fever, Eucalyptus is an amazing decongestant, Lemongrass is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, Myrtle is antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and decongestant, Oregano is antifungal, antibacterial, cough treatment, and anti-inflammatory painkiller. Tea Trees decongestant and expectorant properties loosening phlegm and mucus in the nose/ throat to facilitate their elimination.

Elderberry syrup , lozenges or gummies (my kids love these) – have antiviral activity to help fight infection and are packed with antioxidants and can help relieve cold and flu-like symptoms.

Echinacea can also help prevent or aid in healing of respiratory illnesses. It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory effects and boost white blood cells. (Avoid this with immunosuppressants.)

Elderflower promotes sweating to lower a fever and is anti-phlegm. Add elderflower in hot water and drink as a tea. If you don’t have a tea pot, you can always get these disposable tea bags. For more on tea and steeping times, please check out my coffee and tea page.

As for supplements, aged garlic extract can reduce the severity and duration of colds and flu. And of course Vitamin C and Zinc (the elderberry above contains both) help speed up recovery of respiratory illnesses.

I hope you find the right remedy for you and well wishes on a quick recovery!