How to prevent a cold or flu Vitamin C. Paul recommends 3,000 mg. per day for prevention. "Try to feed your b ody in advance by taking extra vitamin C during cold and flu season," she says. "This way, when you're exposed to an onslaught of germs, you won't be as likely to come down with it." Stock up on probiotics. Acidophilus and bifidophilus are friendly bacteria that help your gastrointestinal tract function and keep invading bacteria at bay. Pro biotics also counteract problems caused by taking antibiotics, which kill the fr iendly flora, wreaking havoc on your digestive and immune systems. "If you keep the flora in balance, you're less likely to get respiratory and other infections ," says Paul. Go for the garlic. This antiviral, antibiotic herb is available in a number of h igh-potency preparations, including odor-free tablets. Supplement with 15 mg. per day of zinc, which is necessary for proper immune fun ction. If you get a cold or flu
Stop eating sugar, which impairs the immune system. "There are plenty of studies that show that even a teaspoon of sugar will reduce [the immune system's] kille r cell activity in your body for three hours after you eat it," says Paul. Increase your intake of vitamin C to 6,000-8,000 mg. a day. Reduce this amount i f you develop diarrhea. Vitamin C shortens the duration of colds and reduces sev erity of symptoms. Drink plenty of water, herbal tea and vegetable juice to hydrate the respiratory tract. Sleep with a humidifier. Minimize or dilute fruit juices, which contain natural sugars that cripple immune function. Take echinacea and goldenseal. Cut colds or flu down to size by using the antibi otic herbs echinacea and goldenseal. Take them at the first sign of symptoms, an d use them only while you're ill. Eat warming, nourishing foods such as chicken soup. According to traditional Chi nese medicine, colds and flu are yin in nature, meaning they possess cold and da mp qualities, even if you have fever, Paul explains. To chase away the cold, dam p qualities, stay warm, eat hot foods and get plenty of rest. Eat soups seasoned with garlic, ginger and cayenne, all warming herbs that incre ase circulation and can ward off colds. Avoid mucus-forming foods. Dairy products and red meat can worsen clogged sinuse s. Boost amounts of supplemental zinc to about 100 to 150 mg. for a few days. Cauti on: High doses of zinc taken for more than a week can actually suppress immune f unction. Get a natural antibiotic effect by taking colloidal silver for infection. Eliminate coffee, alcohol and cigarettes, which make it hard for the immune syst
em to function, especially when the body should focus on getting well. Take 15,000-25,000 IU of vitamin A to enhance immunity. Caution: Vitamin A can b e dangerous for pregnant women. Destroy viruses and prevent cold sores around the mouth by taking an amino acids complex. One of those aminos, L-lysine, works against cold sores. Make an herbal footbath to reduce fever and fight infections. Pour a few drops o f eucalyptus, pine, sage or rosemary into hot water and soak your feet ? the ski n absorbs the oils' medicinal properties. You can also use this method for a bab y with a cold, says Paul. Simmer a clove of garlic in olive oil until it's infus ed with garlic. When the oil cools, dip in a cotton ball, wipe the garlic oil on the baby's toes, cover with socks and wrap feet in plastic bags. Nip the flu in the bud with homeopathic Anas barberai, usually found under the b rand name Oscillococcinum. Take this homeopathic at the very first sign of sympt oms. Zap viruses by taking an extract of rosemary, an excellent antiviral. Take Chinese patent medicines such as Shen mai or the herbal blend, Cold Snap, w hich strengthen the body's natural defenses and drive out unwanted invaders. Cleanse your system of pathogens with herbal blood cleansers such as pau d'arco or red clover, which allow your liver to clear out toxins. Rebuild your body's defenses by taking a daily multivitamin/mineral. Sore throat soothers Soothe and heal a sore throat faster by sucking on zinc lozenges every few hours . Spritz your sore throat with an echinacea spray to fight infection. Drink tea made of mucilaginous herbs such as marshmallow or slippery elm, which coat and soothe the throat. Gargle with tea tree oil, a natural antiseptic. Add three to six drops of pure t ea tree oil to warm water and gargle for a minute. Repeat three times a day. Cau tion: Do not swallow tea tree oil, which can kill the friendly flora in your dig estive tract. Alleviate the pain of swallowing by trying a homeopathic combination sore throat remedy that may include the remedies Lachesis, Hepar sulph, Belladonna, Mercuri us or Lycopodium. Gargle with warm salt water three times a day. Sip ginger tea, which relieves throat pain. Cut the cough
Take one or more of the expectorant herbs ? lobelia, licorice, wild cherry bark, horehound or guaifenesin ? for a cough or bronchitis. Buzz away sore throats and cough by taking bee pollen or propolis. Caution: Not
recommended if you're allergic to bee stings. Ease a cough with the natural cough suppressant, bromelain, an enzyme from pinea pple. It can also soften and loosen hard, sticky mucus, according to Encyclopedi a of Natural Medicine (Prima) by Michael Murray, N.D., and Joseph Pizzorno, N.D. Sip hot ginger tea. Ginger stimulates circulation and helps clear sinuses and lu ngs of mucus. Alleviate a loose, rattling cough when bronchial tubes are full of mucus with th e homeopathic remedy Antimonium tartaricum. Sleep better by taking homeopathic remedy Rumex if coughing starts from a tickle in your throat and worsens when you lie down. Expel phlegm by taking an herbal mixture of fenugreek and thyme. Help for sinus congestion
Steam open swollen sinus and bronchial passages by adding eucalyptus to vaporize r steam. Drain sinus congestion with a Honey Sinus Pack. Massage 1/2 teaspoon of honey ov er the sinus areas on your face to stimulate drainage. Use the herbs marshmallow and fenugreek to break up mucus and clear phlegm from sinuses or bronchial passages. Relieve sinus congestion with the bronchodilator herb ephedra, also called ma hu ang. Because this herb has serious side effects, use it only under doctor's supe rvision. Caution: People with high blood pressure or hypertension should not tak e ephedra. Help nasal congestion in which there's thick, yellow-green nasal discharge, sinu s pressure and postnasal drip by taking homeopathic remedy Kali bichromicum. Thi s remedy is best for a cold that might develop into a sinus infection. Stop a constantly dripping nose with homeopathic Allium cepa. Look for a combination homeopathic cold or sinus formula with a number of remedi es that address various nasal symptoms. If you have a fever
Sweat out a fever with a hot tea made from feverfew, yarrow, catnip, ginger or p eppermint. These herbs help the fever run its course and do its job, which is to burn off invaders. Caution: High fever for a prolonged period of time can be da ngerous. Soak in a warm bath, then wrap up in lots of blankets and sweat. Continually drink fluids to avoid dehydration. Deal with the pain of achy muscles and bones from fever/flu by taking homeopathi c Eupatorium perfoliatum or Gelsemium. Calm a fever that's intermittent and accompanied by chills, weakness, drenching sweats and exhaustion with homeopathic China.
Bring down a fever with the herb boneset, which promotes sweating. Caution: Taki ng large doses could damage the liver. Reduce fever and aches with willow bark, which contains an aspirin-like substanc e. Next time you feel a tickle in your throat or notice a slight cough, reach for t he herbal remedies and plenty of vitamin C. Then, go to bed and get your rest.