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Protect Them from Cold and Flu

I hate colds, so I haven’t had one in years.   

I have had a house full of family members with colds and I have had the beginnings of colds many times, but since I know how to stop a cold before it starts, I never actually catch one.  It’s quite simple- pay close attention to your body, and keep a few herbs handy.   Colds start in the nose, usually by germs received from your fingers.  (For body awareness exercise #1, try to notice how often you and others touch your nose). 

Cold virus comes out of other people’s mouth and nose by sneezing or from a runny nose.  (You can kiss someone without catching their cold, as long as your noses don’t touch!) The virus gets on their hands or onto their surroundings. 

You shake hands with them or touch a surface they have recently touched or sneezed on, and then you touch your nose, and then five hours later or two days later you feel “something coming on”.  So if you are around coughing, sneezing cold ridden people- don’t touch your nose!  And wash your hands as soon as you can!  

Body awareness exercise number 2- notice precisely when you start to feel a cold “coming on”.  Since eventually a cold or flu virus will make it into your nose, it usually starts to take an effect on the body in the throat at the back of the mouth. 

There is a certain kind of scratchiness that doesn’t go away, even when you drink water or eat a piece of toast or some crackers.  Now is the time for action!  If you wait a few hours or a day, the cold will go lower down and spread throughout you body, where it will have to run it’s course of 7 days or so.  But if you apply herbal treatment at the “scratchy throat moment”, you can kill off the virus.  How?   Many herbs are anti-viral and anti-biotic.  Think about being a plant out in the wild, surrounded by viruses and bacteria.  You’d better have some defenses!  The miracle of herbs is that since they have shared living space with humans for so long, we often have the same mechanisms.  After all plants have DNA, and cells and veins.  They are our cousins!  

OK enough with the theory- here’s the key information.  Echinacea, an herb native to North America and prized by Native Americans, (and a beautiful and easy to grow flower) is strongly anti-viral and it has become extremely popular- making it easy to find.  The best way to take it is as a tincture.  A tincture is an extract of an herb’s chemical content, made by soaking the herb in alcohol and water. 

It is the same principle as making a cup of tea, except alcohol is also used.  It is then filtered and put into small one-ounce bottles.  Get some.  As soon as you feel the cold put some right on the back of your throat.  It stings. To avoid the sting, put some in water and swish it around your throat.  Get some Echinacea tea and drink a few cups over a few hours, with honey it is delicious.  The cold will go away very quickly, especially if you get some rest.  

Ginger, Thyme, Honey, Lemon.  Boil fresh ginger with some thyme for fifteen minutes,  pour over raw honey and fresh lemon juice for a delicious, soothing cold-killing brew.  Honey is very anti-viral and anti biotic – that’s why you don’t have to refrigerate it.  So is ginger, so is thyme and so is lemon. 

Together they work wonders. Kids will drink this tea!   For added punch, put a little Echinacea in there and trust me- an early cold will go away!  An established cold will go away faster.  

Other strong antimicrobial herbs are those associated with meat dishes- they have been used over the course of human history precisely because they help keep meat microbial free: sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, cloves, cinnamon- all the savory herbs.  The king of them all is garlic.  But if you have to pick one herb for your medicine chest, it should be Echinacea, as a tincture and as a tea.  

By Bob Klein   Bob Klein comes from a family of teachers and healers. He is a songwriter and anti-GMO activist presently studying clinical herbalism and plants in general.  His GMO website is schoolfood.info