The winter season may be a time of comfort: a slower pace, inner focus, and reflection, but it is also the time of year that many people will battle against cold and flu season. The viruses that cause cold and flu symptoms, technically respiratory infections, reliably spring to life between November and March in the Northern Hemisphere, with most American adults getting an average of between two to four colds per year. While being exposed to cold winter weather won’t necessarily mean you’ll “catch a cold,” transmission rates are highest in cold, dry air. Cold and flu viruses thrive when the temperatures plunge. Research suggests that these viruses are most virulent at temperatures near 40 degrees Fahrenheit or colder, and they do not transmit at all at temperatures around 85 degrees. This may be due to the virus’ outer lipid membrane, which is fortified by cold weather, forming a rubbery gel-like consistency that enables the virus to survive longer outside a host. Once the virus enters the respiratory tract, the outer membrane melts, and the virus is able to infect host cells and replicate.
However, in warmer temperatures, that membrane is more likely to have a liquidly consistency, effectively weakening the virus so that it loses the ability to spread readily between hosts.
Luckily, there are many ways to reduce the risk for the common cold and flu, as well as strategies to shorten the duration and lessen the severity of any cold or flu infection that does take hold. Time-honored lifestyle strategies that help keep the immune system robust and resilient include: Eating a healthful diet that includes a wide variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices to help bolster the immune system, getting adequate sleep, exercising daily, managing stress, maintaining healthy vitamin D levels, washing hands often and supplementing with appropriate vitamins, herbs, and other medicinal plants.
Aside from maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle and following practical advice to stay healthy during the winter months, herbs, specific vitamins, and other medicinal plants offer an enormous opportunity to fortify one’s health and bounce back quickly if exposed to cold and flu viruses. While there are endless botanical possibilities, the following is a “Master List” of natural remedies to be familiar with and keep handy during the winter months:
Fermentation Metabolites (Whole Food Fermentate)
I would add vitamin B12 in the form of methylcobalamin to this list. In fact, my simplified recommendation is to take Echinacea, vitamin B12 and vitamin D as preventative. You might throw in variable doses of vitamin C as well. Then pick from any of the remaining herbs to treat an active infection.
Using herbs as a preventive measure can easily reduce the frequently of colds to less than one per year. Treating an acute infection with herbs will typically shorten the recovery time while avoiding the use of antibiotics most of the time.
Source: January 24, 2019 Wholistic Matters