Oh (cold) Snap!

**cough**

**sneeze**

**sniffle**

No doubt you’ve been hearing those gloriously disgusting sounds in your classes/jobs/homes the last few weeks.

It’s that time of year when colds are running rampant. And it’s that time of year when we all start reaching for the tissues, the hand sanitizer, and the home remedies we learned from our mothers that have been passed down through the generations.

Throughout the cold season I’ll be sharing some of my family’s traditions for home cold care, some of my own go-to remedies, and a little background as to why they work.

#1. Herbal Tea – this is absolutely the first thing I reach for at the slightest signs of a cold (runny nose, headache, scratchy/itchy throat, chills). When I was a kid I got sick a lot and my mom would always make me loads and loads of hot, soothing tea. Now, whenever I feel something coming on, I guzzle mugs and mugs of steamy herbal tea.

Why I like it: It warms me up from the inside out and since I use honey to sweeten my tea it also coats and soothes my throat. There are many great options out there but my very favorite tea is Celestial Seasonings’ Echinacea Complete Care. The hint of cooling eucalyptus and mint are super comforting and relieve any annoying throat scratchiness. Plus, there are many supposed benefits of echinacea.

Why it works:

Drinking warm fluids when you are feeling ill increases your body temperature ever so slightly.  This increase in temperature encourages your body to cool itself down. It does this through sweating which can help rid the body of toxins. An added benefit of drinking hot fluids is that vapor from the steamy tea helps break up mucous and aids in decongestion.

Drinking decaffeinated tea increases your fluid intake which flushes toxins out of organs and aids in digestion (absorption of nutrients). Drinking enough fluids provides a moist environment in your throat, nose and ears, and also helps to balance sodium levels in the body. Dehydration can contribute to a feeling of low energy and tiredness, so hydrating properly will promote energy when you feel ill by allowing your body to function properly and carry out normal functions.

Many cultures have long believed in the mysterious power of herbs to cure many ailments. Echinacea, derived from the purple cone flower, has been believed to stimulate the immune system and enhance the body’s defenses, specifically to decrease the duration and intensity of the common cold. There is conflicting evidence as to whether or not it is actually effective. A study published in The Lancet: Infectious Diseases found that echinacea cuts the chances of catching a cold by 58%. This directly contrasts studies published in the Archives of Internal Medicine and New England Journal of Medicine disputing any benefits of echinacea. So while the documented evidence is inconclusive, many people swear that echinacea benefits them and helps them fight colds. I’ll let you decide. Do note that if you have asthma or any allergies to ragweed or other flowers in the daisy family you may have similar reactions to echinacea.

So put on the kettle, brew some tea, and drink up!

Cheers to you and your health!

**Note** I am not your doc. All material on this blog is provided for your information only and is not to be taken as medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken solely on the content of this blog. Please consult appropriate health professionals with any questions related to your health and well-being.

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