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Autumn is here, and so comes cold and flu season

Autumn is here, and it brings us crisp, clear mornings, cooler evenings, changes to the garden and trees, but it also brings us cold and flu bugs.

While this year's cold and flu season might look a little different to those gone by. We are all now well-versed in the need to wash our hands.  The correct protocols for sneezing and coughing and why we need to stay just a little further away from each other, the transmission of these bugs is still inevitable.

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, teddy or blankie), Naturopaths try and be proactive in heading the bugs “off at the pass”. This means as soon as we get that twinge or tickle telling us something is not right we are on to it!

Probiotics are a staple in a naturopath’s repertoire, but when illness strikes their function is vital. Probiotics are healthy bacteria which is used to help crowd out the bad stuff as well as help boost immune function [1].

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.

When it comes to food, it will always be recommended, whether you’re unwell or well to eat whole foods, organic where you can. 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.

Rest is really important when you are sick, not pushing through but actually resting as the body needs. While it isn't always practical especially when we have parental responsibilities or the like that need attending to, not over-committing yourself and cancelling what you can. There is some evidence to show that insufficient rest and “soldiering on” can actually prolong the illness and contribute to post-viral syndromes such as long-covid.

So what about supplements and magic potions I hear you ask. 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-around immune tonic with antiviral and antibacterial properties in Olive leaf extract with studies showing it to be effective in combatting many viruses 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 secret special herbs that will cure all? Unfortunately, there is no magic pill or tonic,

but there are many that can help boost your immune army. Commonly known herbs for immune health include echinacea which helps to stimulate the immune system, and 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 a contributing factor. High dose vitamin C and a good zinc supplement can also provide additional support at this stage.

Looking for additional support for you or your family this winter, book and appointment to discuss your health and wellness needs here:



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