“Cold” Season

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I recently had to battle the common cold! I felt the cold itself moving around my upper respiratory tract, from my nasal cavities and sinus, to my throat and chest. So many people experience the common cold and during “cold season” this bug circulates around small communities on a daily basis like wildfire.

What do you do when you feel yourself getting sick, or suddenly find yourself completely ill?

So much emphasis in holistic medicine is on prevention. Not prevention in the sense of a flu shot, but prevention in the sense of nutrition building so that your body can be ready to fight when it needs to (ie: the immune system defense). Most of the time when I ‘catch the common cold,’ I am completely stressed out, overworked, and full of stress hormones. Then, there is an emotional component attached to the state of being sick.

Catching a cold provokes blameful thoughts like, “I did everything to prevent this…how did I get sick?!” But this always challenges me to slow down, to listen to what my needs are, and to address them. It’s as if your body is saying, no, I need rest.

In the herbal community, we are encouraged to pay close attention to our body’s responses and symptoms. For example, if you have a cough, know everything about the cough. Is it a dry cough or a cough where you’re expelling mucus? Simple clues are important to help you to choose which remedies will help. Also, knowing these clues will help your care provider in treating you as well, not only with seasonal issues (as those are mostly cured with rest and nutrition) but also with other ailments. I think that this is the root of “being you own doctor.”

My friend shared a healing story where she caught strep throat and healed it through eating only nourishing soup for a number of days. In the soup she put: garlic, bok choy, mushrooms, onion. When I am sick I focus on ingesting high amounts of nutrients: vitamin C, garlic, honey, hot herbal infusions, chicken soup, and miso. I know that we all have our own ways of coping with the common cold, or other seasonal illnesses, please feel free to share some tips!

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