If you see a naturopath regularly, you probably have a list of items that you’ve used in the past during flu and cold season. If not, the fall is a great time of year to make an appointment to see a naturopath for some preventative, as well as first line herbal and nutritional treatments for those pesky colds that tend to circulate during the colder months. Using home remedies, herbal therapies and nutrition as medicine for colds and flus works best if the items needed are readily available at the first onset of symptoms – so, be prepared.
Here’s a list of some tried and true natural remedies that you’ll want to have on hand this season:
- Zinc – Zinc is a mineral that is used in many cellular processes, including immune function. Zinc has been shown in some studies to help shorten the duration of the common cold when taken at the onset of symptoms. Zinc lozenges are a wonderful way to soothe a sore throat and supplement this vital mineral.
- Vitamin C – Vitamin C has been shown to shorten the duration and severity of symptoms when taken prophylactically and upon first signs of symptoms. A handy vitamin to keep on hand, it is a ubiquitous antioxidant and immune system enhancer.
- NAC – N-acetylcysteine is a potent antioxidant and also has been shown to aid in the breakdown of mucus common to colds and sinus infections.
- Echinacea – Echinacea has been shown to stimulate both non-specific cellular and humoral immunity and the complement system of the immune system. Echinacea is well regarded as an immune function supporting herb that is well suited to treating colds and other infections.
- Elderberry – Elderberry is commonly used in herbal throat sprays or sore throat syrups and blends offers both immune stimulating effects as well as antiviral properties.
Use of all herbal and supplement protocols should be advised by your naturopathic physician.
Node Smith, associate editor for NDNR, is a fifth year naturopathic medical student at NUNM, where he has been instrumental in maintaining a firm connection to the philosophy and heritage of naturopathic medicine amongst the next generation of docs. He helped found the first multi-generational experiential retreat, which brings elders, alumni, and students together for a weekend campout where naturopathic medicine and medical philosophy are experienced in nature. Three years ago he helped found the non-profit, Association for Naturopathic ReVitalization (ANR), for which he serves as the board chairman. ANR has a mission to inspire health practitioners to embody the naturopathic principles through experiential education. Node also has a firm belief that the next era of naturopathic medicine will see a resurgence of in-patient facilities which use fasting, earthing, hydrotherapy and homeopathy to bring people back from chronic diseases of modern living; he is involved in numerous conversations and projects to bring about this vision.