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Preventing Colds for the Whole Family

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Preventing Colds for the Whole Family

Preventing colds for the whole family

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About the Author

Asti Renaut

Asti Renaut (BHSc. Comp Med, BA, Adv Dip Nat, Adv Dip Herb Med, MNZAMH)

Asti Renaut is a degree-qualified medical herbalist and naturopath with over ten years clinical experience. Asti practices in Christchurch, New Zealand, treating a wide range of health issues. She especially enjoys working with infants and children, and finally has one of her own to practice on! One of the cornerstones of Asti's practice and philosophy is the importance of education and sharing information. She believes that empowering clients to understand their own bodies and health, and giving practical tips and tools to use from the garden and kitchen are just as important for wellness as qualified professional care. 

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As we continue to experience some of the coldest winter weather on record, it’s important to think about how we can keep ourselves and our families well through the winter. As the old adage goes, “prevention is better than cure”, and never was this more true than for coughs and colds!

Supporting your immune system is something that natural medicine excels at. Herbs have been used since the dawn of humanity to keep the bugs at bay, and while we now know (thanks to science) more about how they work on our immune system, the simple fact remains that they worked then and they still work today.

Two of the strongest immune herbs for prevention of illness are Echinacea Root and Olive Leaf

Echinacea Root (Echinacea purpurea, Echinacea angustifolia) – You may already know that you can tell the quality of an Echinacea extract by how much in makes your tongue tingle! The tingling shows that the extract is high in the active constituent, the alkylamides. This special active is concentrated in the root of the plant, and is responsible for enhancing immune activity in the body. Echinacea is suitable for the whole family and very safe to take long-term. 

Olive Leaf (Olea europaea) – Olive leaf has been shown to have direct anti-viral and anti-bacterial activity. It attacks viruses in many ways and stops them replicating.

Other herbs that directly support the tissues in the throat, sinuses and lungs are also of benefit to help resist infection. These include MarshmallowMullein and Liquorice, and are especially indicated for those prone to coughs and chest infections.

In addition to these marvellous plant medicines, there are other simple ways to reduce your vulnerability to bugs. This is the most basic three-step programme we know:

  • Reduce stress. This goes for kids too. Make the most of winter for a bit of cosy hibernation and relaxing home time. Wrap up snuggy and keep the house dry and warm. Be like a bear and get plenty of sleep!
  • Eat a diet rich in brightly coloured vegetables (kumara, pumpkin, beetroot) and fruits, bump up the garlic in your cooking, use fresh culinary herbs prolifically in soups and pestos.
  • Take a high quality preventative herbal tonic every day to support your immune system to keep you robust and vital right through winter. 
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