I’m Sick…cough, sniffle, moan, cough!
Try as we may sickness befalls the best of us. A combination of life circumstances and environmental factors can mix together to cause the “perfect storm” seeing us fall victim to the multitudes viruses and bugs out in the big bad world.
So what do Naturopaths do when they get sick? Apart from feeling sorry for themselves and curling up with our favourite snuggle (be feline, canine or teddy), I generally try and be proactive in heading the bugs “off at the pass”. This means as soon as I get that twinge or tickle telling me something is not right, I’m on to it.
Rest forms an important part of recuperating from any illness. By resting our bodies we give ourselves maximum chances for an optimum and speedy recovery. When we push-past and ignore the internal screams from our body we often find that illness is prolonged dragging out the agony for ourselves and those around us.
Probiotics are a staple in a Naturopath’s repertoire, but when illness strikes their function is vital. Probiotics are the healthy bacteria which is used to help crowd out the bad stuff as well as helping boost immune function .
Maximising fluid intake is also important. When we are sick our lymphatic system is in overdrive as the body rids itself of cellular debris caused by the immune system destroying the invading germs. Increasing fluid intake helps ensure that detoxification can occur effectively, with the body able to flush this through waste. When we are feeling ill we often will turn away from food but we need to stave off dehydration which can complicate matters. As my mother always tells me “it doesn’t matter if you don’t eat but you need to drink – lots”. So what should you be drinking? Stay away from surgery drinks such as juices, soft drinks and alcohol as these can compromise the immune system further, opt for herbal teas, bone broths or soups and of course good old fashioned H2O.
Food wise it will always be our recommendation, whether you’re infirmed or well, to eat whole foods, organic where possible. This helps ensure that you are getting the maximum amount of nutrients and minimal nasties, providing a solid base for your body to conquer the invading germ army. Look at it this way you wouldn’t expect an army to be fit and healthy, ready to mount an attack if they were only fed junk and highly processed foods.
Usually, when I start to get that familiar feeling that a nasty bug or germ is trying to invade my system I grab the Olive Leaf extract. This is a great all round immune tonic with antiviral and antibacterial properties is Olive leaf extract with studies showing it to be effective in combating many bugs and germs including the common cold and flu bug and retroviruses. I have been even known to give this to the kids as “cough medicine”, but don’t tell them that.
So what about other special, secret herbs that will cure all? Unfortunately, there are no magic pills or tonics, but there are several that can help boost your immune army battle the invasion. Commonly known herbs for immune health include Echinacea which helps to stimulate the immune system, Garlic which is like nature’s antibiotic. Less commonly known herbs include Astragalus which is widely used for prolonged illness and where stress may be contributing factors.Many herbs can have interactions with prescriptive medications hence it is always advised to speak to your Naturopath or other health care professional to ensure that you are taking the correct supplements for you.
Allison Faulkner is a qualified and accredited Naturopath, also holding qualifications in Nutritional and Herbal Medicine.She runs a Naturopathy and Wellness clinic in Albion Park, NSW.