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Diet and herbal cures for the common cold

Dear Humorous Herbalist,

My adult daughter and her two sons, 11 years and 4 years of age, have had a really difficult winter (flu, pneumonia, tonsillitis, strep, colds, colds and more colds!) It seems as if they never fully recover from one illness before the next one strikes. I’m just wondering if you can make any recommendations which might help boost their immune systems along with age appropriate dosages. Thank you for any information you might be able to share!

Jean (via email)



Dear Jean,

From what you have described, it sounds like we’re dealing with an immune system that is crying “Uncle!” I think there are three clear levels that can lead to solving your problem.



First, incorporate dietary changes that serve to nourish and support rather than contribute to the weakened immune system.

Second, introduce herbs and natural remedies that create an immediate effect on the acute phase of the illness.

And finally, integrate the dietary changes and plant remedies into your daily routine so that over time, the immune system becomes stronger and has greater resistance to transient bacteria and viruses.

Dietary changes: The chronic ailments you describe mainly involve the upper respiratory tract, as opposed to stomach flu, nausea, etc. So, the usual “no brainer” suggestions go up as far as what not to eat.

This includes all dairy products. Dairy creates a breeding ground for excessive mucus. It never ceases to amaze me how many children I see battling chronic upper respiratory problems while feasting on pizza, milkshakes, gallons of milk, etc. You can’t stop the respiratory problem if you keep supplying it with more mucus-producing foods.

Eliminate bread (even whole wheat) while the person is suffering from the respiratory problem. Again, the starch in bread is not your friend.

Then there’s sugar. Sugar simply destroys the body’s ability to fight disease ” everything from the common cold to cancer. The only exception to this rule during the respiratory illness would be minor amounts of unsweetened orange juice (10 ounces a day max) and honey (preferably raw honey from a local farm.).

Of course, people hear these “no-no’s” and immediately scream: “What am I supposed to eat when I’m sick?!” as if dairy, bread and sugar were the cornerstones to good health.

Well, how about good old fashioned chicken soup? As long as the soup is made from free range chickens, this is highly beneficial. Add six to nine cloves of fresh garlic to the soup and a moderate amount of chicken to provide more nourishment. Throw in some carrots, beet greens and onions to the soup as these encourage the release of trapped mucus.

Fresh carrot juice with a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger root is a classic cleanser of the respiratory tract. A child-size portion could be anywhere from six to 12 ounces a day. Leafy greens and steamed vegetables are also excellent nutrients. The whole point is to give the body a break so it can repair itself more efficiently.

Herbal and natural remedies: For the acute stage of respiratory illness (including the flu), I would gargle and ingest one tablespoon of colloidal silver (one teaspoon for children under 12) each day for up to four days and then stop. Colloidal silver is a fantastic anti-viral, antibacterial remedy but it was not intended to be taken every day.

Echinacea combined with bee propolis makes an incredible throat spray that soothes as it repels incoming germs. (HerbPharm puts out a very good echinacea/propolis throat spray). Equal parts of echinacea liquid extract mixed with usnea extract is another powerful ally for you. This combo supports and strengthens the immune system, and allows the body to fight a winning battle.

Olive leaf extract is a “must have” because of its broad range of antibacterial, anti-viral and antifungal properties.

For either the echinacea/usnea combo or the olive leaf extract, the dose for adults is one teaspoon diluted in an ounce of warm water taken every hour during the acute phase of illness. Children under age 12 can take one-half teaspoon diluted in warm water every hour.

Maintenance remedies for everyday use include liquid chlorophyll and cordyceps mushroom capsules. Dilute two tablespoons of unflavored liquid chlorophyll into one pint of water (one quart for children under age 12) and drink daily. This is a wonderful blood cleanser that has proven its might again and again.

Cordyceps capsules are a traditional remedy for the immune system with an emphasis on the lungs. Daily use of cordyceps (1,500 to 2,000 milligrams a day for adults or half the amount for children under age 12) can literally transform the entire system. Cordyceps typically takes three months of daily use before one realizes the full benefits from it.

Hope this helps you and your family and propels you toward better health!

The information in this column is not meant to take the place of your physician, nor is it intended to treat, diagnose or prescribe. Pregnant or nursing women should consult their doctor before using herbal therapy.

E-mail your questions to The Humorous Herbalist at writer8@sopris.net.


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