Su B

It’s the season for coughs, colds and chest infections. If you know you’re likely to succumb, there’s plenty you can do to make them as mild as possible, or even avoid them altogether.

Herbs to take as a precaution include well-known ones like Echinacea and Garlic (not the deodorised capsules; lose the smell and you lose some of the magic), and lesser-known ones like Thyme and Elderflowers or Elderberries.

As a general rule, it works best to start a couple of weeks before entering the danger zone – so before the start of term if you’re a teacher, for example. A regular low dose keeps your immune system primed.

Then, if you’re unlucky enough to catch a cold, much larger doses are in order, to help your system blitz the infection quickly and efficiently.

There’s nothing wrong with having a cold in itself. Our immune systems need a good workout from time to time. A ‘good’ cold should be short and sharp. If you pay attention, take it easy for two or three days and let your body deal with it, you should emerge with more vigour than before. Dosing yourself with fever suppressants and decongestants is likely to prolong the process, and leave you feeling washed out and slow to recover. Avoid dairy products and rich foods, and eat lots of vegetables, especially the onion family.

People who are prone to chest infections or sinusitis need to take extra care, and it’s well worth trying to strengthen your system before you get into trouble. It can take some time to change old patterns, especially if they’ve been around for a long time, but there is always something that can be done.

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