Category Archives: Sore Throat & Colds

Ear Infection Tea?

Certain herbs can help take the edge off an ear infection. The following herbs can be combined in a tea to help relieve and heal this painful condition:

  • Chamomile
    • Actions: antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory (reduces pain), vulnerary (encourages healing), calms the nervous system
  • Echinacea
    • Actions: antimicrobial, enhances immune function, anti-inflammatory, anti-catarrhal (loosens mucus – think eustachian tube), vulnerary
  • Marshmallow
    • Actions: demulcent (protects mucosal tissues and helps thin thickened mucus), anti-inflammatory, expectorant
  • Slippery Elm
    • Actions: demulcent, astringent, anti-inflammatory, nutritive
  • Sambucus (Black Elder)
    • Actions: expectorant, diaphoretic (enhances sweating – aids fever), vulnerary, anti-catarrhal

Do not consume if allergic to Asteraceae (Asters) or Chrysanthemum family herbs/plants.

Consult your naturopathic doctor or registered herbalist to see if this tea is indicated for you.

 

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Antitussive Prescription Food: Honey

When it comes to coughing, honey is just as or more effective than over-the-counter medications.

Do not give honey to children under 2 years of age.

Hey Doc, I’ve got a cold but I want to keep working out at the gym. Can I take anything?

Yes, you can prevent a cold from impacting your performance by taking an amino acid called glutamine. The theory is that it will prevent your body from breaking down skeletal muscle to fuel the fight.

Hey Doc, What Can I Do For My Sore Throat?

Recently I had a mild sore throat that persisted for 21 straight days with no change in intensity. So I tried an herbal throat spray by St. Francis Herb Farm called “Stop it Cold.” I was going to buy another brand that was cheaper until I read the ingredients. I chose the St. Francis brand, as it included a different species of Echinacea – Echinacea angustifolia, which is the powerhouse of Echinaceas. My sore throat was about 60% better in one day, and gone in 48 hours. A noteworthy product.

Nature’s Sore Throat Lozenge?

It ain’t tasty, and it ain’t fun. It’s garlic (Allium sativum)!

Take one small garlic clove. Peel it, cut off the ends, and then pop it in your mouth. Gently crush it with your teeth from time to time. The volatile oils released are very powerful bug killers that will search and destroy the enemies of your oral pharynx (and other places).

May also be used to keep people away when you need some alone time.

Feel a Cold or Sore Throat Coming On?

I am a big fan of using tinctures to conquer colds and sore throats, especially at their immediate onset. I tend to use Astragalus tinctures the most, which often include a combination of additional immune botanicals. Aside from that, you can easily find Ban Lan Gen tea at any store that sells Chinese herbs (more powerful if you can get it in tincture). I take these at the slightest sign of a cold or sore throat, or when surrounded by ill schoolmates, and nine times out of ten kicks the bug within a day. If you are already knee-deep into a cold, these will help get over it faster; however, do not expect the same miraculous result . Check out my other posts on warming socks and contrast showers for additional cold tips.

Ear Infection? Here’s Onion.

Believe it or not, ear infections are RARELY due to infection, which is why antibiotics do nothing for them. So, what then is the issue? For kids typically under eight years of age, the Eustachian tubes that connect the ear with the throat lay more horizontal than vertical in nature. As a result, fluid that needs to drain through the tube becomes backed up causing serious #$%*!!! ear pain. For adults, ear infections are usually the result of having a cold or allergy that congests the tube causing the fore mentioned profanity. So, what to do?

  1. Grab a medium to large sized onion.
  2. Cut in half (don’t worry about peeling).
  3. Steam for 5-10 min (or microwave for 50 sec). It should be firm (not fully cooked), but soft to touch.
  4. Wrap in clean tea towel so that only 1 towel layer covers sliced area.
  5. Cup ear with onion and hold until pain subsides. Careful, it’s hot!

Ok, so what’s the magic? The moist heat from the onion draws fluid from the ear, and warms up the mucus (onion sulfur compounds may help break up the mucus), therefore making the Eustachian tube easier to drain. Viola!

Secondary Option:I had chronic ear aches as a child, and would be taken to hospital. The MDs would pour cod liver oil in my ear followed by a cotton ball, and prescribe an over-the-counter pain killer. Seemed to help.

Luis Guzman Has Pretty Feet.

Warming Socks are a historic home remedy for colds, tired feet, and insomnia:

  1. Take a pair of cotton socks and soak them in water of room temperature.
  2. Wring out so they do not drip, but remain saturated.
  3. Put socks on.
  4. Put on dry wool socks over top of wet socks.
  5. Go to sleep.
  6. Wake up with toasty feet and feeling better.

To get the joke in the title you would have had to watch a lot of television in 1994.

Take a Contrast Shower To Kick a Cold In the Butt!

Whether you feel a sore throat or cold coming on, or have been fighting one for weeks, try taking contrast showers to boost your immune system. Here’s what to do: shower hot for 3-5 minutes and then switch to 30 seconds cold. Then repeat 5-7 times. The heat will dilate all vessels, sending your immune fighters out closer to the surface. The cold water will then contract vessels and bring the fighters in. This acts as a natural pump causing lots of fighters to be circulated around the body quickly, thus increasing the chance of more specific fighters hitting the target areas. Always finish with cold, but never allow yourself to get a chill. Contrast showers also boost metabolism if you are looking to lose weight,¬† can help clear the skin, and dump toxins.

Quick tip: cold water is less of a shock to the body if it hits your head first. Each cold repetition will become easier as you go along.

Honey: One of nature’s antimicrobials?

Worried about infection? To kill microscopic bugs, try spreading organic, unpasteurized honey on a wound or eating it to treat a sore throat. It will also help reduce inflammation and will speed up healing.

Do not give honey to a child under 2 years of age.