The calendar may say it's Spring, but I know many of you are still suffering from Winter coughs and colds.
If you are still feeling the lingering effects of coughs, colds and flus, here are some tips to get you over the hump and ready to bounce into Spring!
Upper respiratory tract infections can be difficult to get at, but one of the best ways to have a direct anti-microbial effect on the lungs and respiratory passage is with a steam inhalation.
Most herbal essential oils have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties, but some great options include Eucalyptus, Thyme, Tea Tree, and Lemon Balm.
How To Do A Steam Inhalation
Hopefully the sunshine will return soon, and at an angle sufficient for us to produce Vitamin D. But until then, it is still a good idea to be supplementing with Vitamin D to ensure optimal levels for immune health. A recent meta-analysis concluded that Vitamin D supplementation is helpful for preventing upper respiratory tract infections.
For most people, taking 1000-2000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 is sufficient, and best taken with meals as Vit D is fat soluble. Higher doses than this may be helpful for a short duration when fighting a cold or flu.
Vitamin D is generally safe, but is it possible to take too much. If you are taking more than 5000IU/day for an extended period of time, it may be a good idea to have your Vitamin D levels checked.
When we think about supplements for coughs and colds, what comes to mind? Vitamin C, zinc, Vitamin D..? While those are all helpful, probiotics are often overlooked as an immune supporting remedy.
Probiotics have been shown to prevent the occurrence of upper respiratory infections, reduce the duration of colds, and decrease the need for antibiotics.
When choosing a probiotic it is important to focus on quality. Many retail brands have been found to not meet their label claims for number of live organisms, or the proper strains. Our physicians can help you choose from the variety of different professional line probiotic formulas that we carry in our dispensary.
IV Nutrient Therapy
One of the best ways to support your immune system and get over the hump is a direct infusion of nutrients into the blood stream. IV therapy bypasses the digestive tract, so you get 100% absorption of the nutrients.
Vitamin C at a high doses has been shown to be anti-viral, and can be combined with other immune-supportive nutrients such as zinc, magnesium, and B-vitamins.
Herbal medicine utilizes the power of nature to help heal our bodies. One of the benefits of herbal medicine is that it can be individualized based on your symptoms and constitution. They can also be taken in various forms, such as teas, tinctures, or capsules.
For dry coughs, soothing demulcent herbs such as marshmallow root and licorice root are great options.
For irritating, non-productive coughs, consider mullein, tussilago, and plantain.
Lastly, for coughs that need help clearing out mucous, stimulating expectorants such as inula and licorice are indicated.
While herbal remedies are often safe, it is best to consult with a knowledgable physician to determine what is the best combination for your specific needs.
Dr. Tomah Phillips, ND