First Cold of the Year Averted   Leave a comment

This past Monday I got those first hints of a cold coming on. I hate the whole “treat the symptoms” thing, so I immediately went on the offensive to strengthen my immune system and flush out an invaders. It was a three pronged attack: echinacea and peppermint teas, Neti pot, and a couple days of (marginal) rest. I say marginal because while I didn’t go running, I did dig two 4-foot diameter holes for our new trees, and I may have gotten an extra hour of sleep in the three days.

One thing that cannot be reiterated enough regarding echinacea tea: IT IS NOT A TONIC HERB. I hear about people who take echinacea every day for the entire flu season and then wonder why they get sick. If you take echinacea as a tonic you are actually hurting your immune system in the long run. Echinacea essentially revs up the immune system, so it is effective when taken at the first hint of illness, but taken over a long period of time it will eventually “wear out” the immune system and lead to a crash in your body’s ability to protect itself. So never take echinacea as a preventive measure, that’s what vitamin packed foods and moderate exercise are for.

Previously, I didn’t bother with the Neti pot until the end of a cold in an attempt to help it go away faster. Only recently did I come to understand the preventive nature of the Neti pot in helping to rinse away any viruses in the sinuses to sort of reduce the load on the immune system. Apparently some people do that every day. That seems a little excessive to me, and maybe unhealthy actually. If a healthy immune system is partially developed from successfully fighting off the multitude of invaders that we are exposed to on a daily basis, than wouldn’t using a Neti pot every single day be a crutch? Akin to my father’s admonition not to wear an ankle brace on an uninjured ankle because then the muscle gets weak and is more prone to injury. Using it as a preventive measure at the first sign of a cold does make sense to me, though, and at least in this case it worked. In one day I went from congested to clear, and now I actually feel better than I had in about a week.

Posted November 19, 2010 by mayakey in health

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