herbal medicine

What to do when the winter lurgie strikes?

Staying healthy in winter

What to do when the winter lurgie strikes?

So you think you are getting sick. You’ve got a raspy, sore throat, congested sinuses, the dreaded body aches, and what is starting to feel like the mother of all headaches. You also have hundreds of things to do at work or home, the kids or grandkids to look after and you can’t afford to be sick!!

An action plan is called for, code-named: ‘operation get me back to 100% – ASAP’ and times like these you need Marta’s Magical Muck!

As you may know I love herbal medicine and give herbs to most of my clients for a variety of conditions. A few years ago one of my regular massage clients was feeling he was coming down with something so I offered him a bottle of immune boosting herbs which I knew would help kill off his virus and get him feeling back to normal quick smart. The next time I saw him he was thrilled to report that the herbs worked fantastically and he was feeling great in no time at all. Even though they tasted terrible he was so happy with how well the formula worked, he called the herbs Martas’ Magical Muck!! It has stuck. My mum swears by it and has an emergency bottle of triple M (as she calls it) at home all the time, my partner swears by it, the Shine Health team swear by it and everyone I’ve ever given it to loves it.

So what is MMM and how does it work?

The classical symptoms of fatigue, chills, runny nose, sneezing, coughing, a sore throat, and head and body aches are mostly due to your own immune response, rather than the harmful effects of the virus itself. Over 200 viruses can cause the common cold, and the most common one, the rhinovirus, enters your body via the nose and mouth. Once in your system, viruses will bind to tissues in these areas and inject their genetic material into your cells. The virus is then able to take control, and instruct the host cell to make viral particles using the cell’s own materials. These are then released from the cell to invade or attack other nearby cells. To sound the distress signal, these infected cells release chemical messengers known as cytokines, which activate the inflammatory processes that fight the virus, but also result in your symptoms.

 

The herbal formulation in MMM is a blend of 4 herbs which boost your immune systems ability to combat the spread of the virus, kill it off, reduce the inflammation it causes and speeds up your recovery. My favourite mix of herbs is Echinacea, Lomatium, Elderflower and Euphrasia, but I also use Thyme, Pelargonium, Andrographis, Ribwort and Ivy leaf as well. Each herb has a slightly different focus but overall they all help your body fight the cold and get you better as soon as possible.

It is important to note that the speed of your recovery has everything to do with how quickly you get onto the herbs. The faster you can start taking the herbs the faster they will help your immune system produce more virus killing cells and reduce the number of viral particles that spread the virus. This way it is less likely that your cold will descend into your lungs and leave you with a persistent cough for weeks. If you do have a cough already we also have herbs to help move and clear the mucus form your lungs, protect your airways and help you breathe better.

While there are several herbal medicines you can beat your cold with you may also want to enlist some other natural medicine troops for assistance, such as Zinc, Vitamin C and medicinal mushrooms.

A review of 13 clinical trials showed that supplementing with zinc within 24 hours of symptom onset reduced the duration and severity of colds. A 30mg dose also shown to boost the production and function of immune cells (called T cells) needed to eliminate pathogens from the body. It has also been found that supplementing zinc for five months, resulted in reduced infection rates, sickness-related absenteeism and reduced the need for antibiotic prescriptions.

Vitamin C studies have shown it can reduce the symptoms, severity and duration of the common cold by an average of 23% and it can also enhance the motility and migration of white blood cells during infection, getting them to where they are needed to fight invaders fast.

Medicinal mushrooms such as cordyceps, coriolus, reishi and shiitake, have been use in Chinese Medicine for thousands of years. Put simply they are amazing defenders of our immunity. Collectively are able to provide symptomatic relief from the common cold, enhance immune strength and function, inhibit viral entry into host cells, stimulate the activity of various white blood cells and promote the production of antibodies. 

While you are sick it is also very important that you get lots of rest or sleep (e.g. cancel all unnecessary meetings, engagements, social events) and consume plenty of fluids – notably water, warming teas, and homemade chicken and vegetable soups and broths. In order to save your family and work colleagues from contracting your virus, practice good hand hygiene by sneezing or coughing into a tissue (or at worst your elbow!), and washing your hands after blowing your nose or handling used tissues. Also, avoid close contact with others during this time – you may need to apologise for not shaking hands, and explain to little ones that you will kiss them good night when you’re feeling better.

When it comes to colds and flus, prevention is obviously better than a cure. For advice and guidance on how to support your body from getting sick in the first place, or if you’re sick right now, nothing beats expert advice on how to defeat the dreaded virus overwhelming your body’s defences so give us a call and speak to our Naturopaths or Chinese Medicine practitioners to get the right treatment for your needs. We can help you or your children before, during or after you get sick to get you back on tract ASAP!

 

References:

  1. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.
  2. Barnett JB, Dao MC, Hamer DH, Kandel R, Brandeis G, Wu D, et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Am J Clin Nut. 2016 Jan 27;103(3):942-51.
  3. Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.
  4. Chu KK, Ho SS, Chow AH. Coriolus versicolor: a medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;42(9):976-84.
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  8. Holliday JC, Cleaver MP. Medicinal value of the caterpillar fungi species of the genus Cordyceps (Fr.) Link (Ascomycetes). A review. International Journal of Medicinal Mushrooms. 2008;10(3).
  9. Hemilä H. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold?-a review of current evidence. Scand J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan 1;26(1):1-6.
  10. Maggini S, Beveridge S, Suter M. A combination of high-dose vitamin C plus zinc for the common cold. J Int Med Res. 2012 Feb;40(1):28-42.
  11. Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Met. 2006;50(2):85-94.
  12. Metagenics practitioner website 

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