The "cold season" is here.
Yes, it's getting cold outside, for sure. And this is the time that many people catch colds or struggle with flu symtoms -- especially if they are suffering from having a compromised immune system.
I like keeping my people coming in for psychotherapy – not sick and coughing and miserable at home. And I like keeping my own immune system up and healthy so I can get to work with them. Today I'm making a big pot of chicken soup with a couple of sticks of astragalus root – more about that later –as I get my body ready for winter.
There are many natural and common-sense alternatives to strengthening your immune system. Here’s what I suggest to keep you healthy this winter and what I do for myself.
Traditional Chinese medicine – which is much more than acupuncture – can be very helpful with its herbal remedies.
One great immune-building remedy is Yin Chiao – also sometimes spelled Yinchaio – a powerful and yet inexpensive remedy that comes from the practice of traditional Chinese medicine.
This remedy, which comes in tablet and pill form as well as tea bags, is available at most natural pharmacies and from practitioners of traditional Chinese medicine.
Another Chinese remedy is that astragalus root. It ranks as one of China's most important herbal medicines and stimulates the immune system. Its roots are typically sliced and then added to soups. At the end of the cooking, just remove the root and discard.
In Racine, you can find this remedy at a number of locations; see The Guide for Health Wellness and Creative Living in Southeastern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois for listings of regional practitioners and resources in southeastern Wisconsin.
Yes, by all means, do the regular “stuff” to build your immune system and keep healthy:
- Drink green tea. It helps fortify your immune system.
- Reduce your intake of sugar and sugary foods, which have been proven to significantly suppress your immune system for up to six hours after consuming.
- Reduce your stress in whatever way that means – saying “no” to extra commitments, for instance, and staying away form abusive and demanding people.
- Practice some sort of stress reduction activity, such as meditation, prayer, yoga or tai chi.
- Practice self-care behaviors: getting enough sleep and eating whole foods. Massage, yoga and tai chi help too.
- Wash your hands frequently. Use soap and hot water and take your time.
- Use alcohol wipes to clean door knobs, phones and other places where germs like to live.
Dr. Andrew Weil, one of the leaders in the integrative health movement, suggests using essential oil of thyme in an infuser as an alternative to antibiotics. Be sure to use an essential oil that is labeled “medical grade” or “pharmaceutical grade.”