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Cold and Flu

The common cold is a general inflammation of the mucous membranes of the respiratory passages, caused by a variety of viruses. Colds are highly contagious. Poor nutrition, resulting in a poorly functioning immune system, is one of the most prevalent causes of colds.

Prevention of a cold includes adequate sleep and a well balanced diet that reinforces the immune system. A low fat, high fibre diet, full of fresh fruit and vegetables is recommended. Supplementation may help reduce severity and length of infection.

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Treatment of cold and flu includes...

Adequate fluids (hot kinds, except for milk, are best) help to sustain the losses that occur with a fever and evaporation from breathing through your mouth. Liquids may include drinks such as Chicory or Dandelion coffee (start with a very weak cup 1st and gradually increase the strength of this and the frequency of the drinks), Immuni-tea, Red Raspberry tea, Chamomile and other tonic teas. Tepid to warm water with or without lemon juice added is also a good choice.

Consume only simple foods. Avoid sugar, breads, tea, coffee, meat or junk food. The best things to have would be vegetable broths or soups (carrots, onion, parsley, potato etc), vegetable juices (carrots, parsley, celery), steamed vegetables, or a baked potato. Fruit is acceptable, but not citrus, except for lemons.

You can have small quantifies of fruit juice; two 150ml servings per day maximum (no citrus juices, except lemon). This needs to be diluted 50/50 with water.

Natural medicine works fantastically for colds and flu...

Echinacea acts as a natural antibiotic and immune system stimulant. It is ideal for upper respiratory problems and problems relating to the glands, such as tonsillitis and laryngitis. 

If you have a cough or bronchial infection, take Mullein. Mullein is particularly good for coughing at night time and is a central nervous system relaxant. 

Vitamin C - 500mg every hour till bowel motions become looser. Do this except in cases where a lot of mucous exists, as it may exacerbate mucous production.

If you suffer with repetitive colds and flu you should take a course of Myco Defence. This is a deep immune tonic that helps rebuild the immune system. It is best not taken while sick but as an ideal tonic for a pre-winter immune system boost.

For the relief of sore throats...

Use the intensive dosage of Relief, take White Willow Bark capsules or gargle with Sage tea. Allow Relief liquid to trickle down your throat. Alternatively you can use ManukaGuard Honey Lozenge's. For a cough we recommend Relief cough syrup. This is an effective cough mixture and this comes in both an adult and child formula.

Other nutrients which may help colds and flu include...

Zinc, which if taken at the first sign of infection will avoid or shorten the duration of a cold.

Unsaturated fatty acids reduce the incidence and duration of colds.

Vitamin B6 helps in the production of antibodies that defend the body against infection. However you should not take any single B vitamin on its own, as this can cause a depletion in the other B vitamins. So take a B complex.

Vitamin A is necessary to maintain the health of mucous membranes of the respiratory passages.

Some people have found that taking vitamin D has helped in the prevention of colds.

Nutritional and Herbal support includes...

Advanced Antioxidant Formula - Supplies all the antioxidants for immune modulation.

Vir-Defence - A potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial herbal formula, containing olive leaf and garlic.

Superior Olive Leaf - A potent anti-viral, anti-bacterial herbal formula, containing olive leaf, elderberry, Zinc and Selenium

Thyme Lemon Syrup -  soothing winter drink that is superb for clearing the chest, airways and supports relaxed breathing. Exceptionally beneficial for children.

Sambucol Immune - Elderberry extract. An excellent viral herb. Great for tonsillitis.

Zinc - An important mineral needed for correct immune functioning.

Some interesting points on the Common Cold...

Keep the body heated by using hot pungent herbs, like ginger, horseradish, and fenugreek. These warm the body, increase digestion, reduce congestion (breeding ground for infections) and enhance the nutrient absorption of foods.

Children with frequent colds or flu may need to be checked for thyroid problems.

Maintain intake of fluids, sip hot liquids such as chicken soup or vegetables broths.

At the first sign of a cold, use an Echinacea liquid extract (Ideal Health stocks a full range) to boost your immune system and keep the virus from multiplying. Take your multivitamin twice a day.

Remain as active as possible. Moving around helps to loosen mucus and stimulates the lymphatic system which is responsible for some of your immunity. This does not mean strenuous exercise such as running - this would further weaken your body.

It is unlikely that a vaccine will ever be developed to prevent the common cold because the viruses responsible have the ability to change in size and shape, and have hundreds of different forms.

Antibiotics are ineffective against viruses, but are effective against bacteria. Viruses and bacteria may produce similar symptoms, but they are different kinds of microbes and do not respond to the same treatment.

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The Naturopathic Team
Ideal Health

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered and is intended to be used for educational and general information purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or as a means to diagnose, treat, cure or prescribe for any particular condition or disease. You assume all responsibility for the treatment which may be undertaken as a result of the information on this site, or treatment recommended by any other party. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


If you need help or advice, please email our naturopathic team with your health question.  Please allow 48 hours for a response.

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