Whilst it is true that a cure for the common cold does not exist, research during the past twenty years into medicinal plants has shown that herbal medicines offer the potential to help the immune system stave off these bugs, as well as to speed healing, once one of them has laid you low.
I’ve divided the herbs into two groups.
The first group consists of those herbs which have proven their worth as primary cold fighters.
The second group consists of herbs that are mostly, though not always, employed to alleviate the various symptoms associated with colds. Depending on your individual needs, some can be used as primary fighters as well.
In the next unit, I share proven herbal cold formulas you can make.
1. If you want good results treating your cold with herbs it is imperative that you start treatment the moment you notice that you are feeling sick. Do not wait for your symptoms to develop. Select the remedies you want to use before you have a cold, acquire them and keep them handy. Keep remedies like Echinacea in your car, or purse as well.
2. Making herbal infusions can be a bit of a chore. Make one large batch in the morning and store the remainder of the day’s doses in a thermos flask(s). It saves a lot of time.
3. It is not advisable to use a herb(s) on a daily basis, over a prolonged period of time, without expert supervision. This is especially true for herbs such as echinacea. Always take a break in between. Say one week on, one week off, or apply the age-old herbalist’s rule – “Never on Sundays”.
1. Primary cold fighters
Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
This is one of the best remedies to take before a cold strike as it has immense immune-building potential. Scientific studies have shown that it increases nearly every phase of immune system activity.
The recommended dose is 9 to 15 g of dried root taken daily, for about a month in the form of a decoction. Do not use Astragalus to fight a cold, use it as a preventative. Unfortunately, it has become quite difficult to obtain readily in South Africa, but the better health shops do stock it.
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- Make a shortlist of the primary and secondary cold fighters that you’d like to add to your apothecary. Don’t overthink this. Just go with with a handful that resonates the most with you.