back to school – back off common cold

One of the main back to school ailments is The Common Cold (assorted rhinoviruses) but there are plenty of things you can do to keep it at bay or rid it quick if it catches.

A cold is really an immune system reaction to an airborne viral infection of the nose and throat – hence its medical definition as a rhinovirus, rhino for nose and not for the sensation/experience sometimes accompanying – that you have been hit by a charging rhino. Hence the listlessness in affected kids. Sneezing, runny nose, coughing and a sore throat are symptomatic. It can also occasion congestion of the chest.

To prevent – plenty of hand washing and stepping out of the way of sneezing and coughing classmates. As the song says “put your hand over your mouth when you cough – that will help the solution”. Hand sanitizers are good to carry in the school bag too. Alcohol based ones actual rupture the envelope of viruses so its not just clean hands but destroyed virus. That said it is part of the development of the immune system to catch a variety of illnesses in order to make antibodies. So the 6-8 occasions of childhood illness a year is just building that immunity. Exposure to germs is part of the process.

While there is no cure there are plenty of options for alleviation of symptoms. Rest, hydration and immune support is the best course of treatment to tackle the causative factor of a rhino virus. Colds typically last from 3 to 10 days, with an incubation period of two to three days prior to that first sniffle or scratchy throat.

There are treatments growing in the garden: Homemade Peppermint tea is stimulating and also pain relieving and works to alleviate many of the ancillary symptoms too. Meadowsweet tea can address pains and fevers. Elderberry is particularly effective against respiratory viral infections and will boost overall immunity system, it is also loaded with vitamin c. Common garden Thyme actual stimulates the production of infection destroying white blood cells.

In terms of a little garden aromatherapy – inhaling of thyme, sage, peppermint, rosemary, lavender and eucalyptus can help clear some congestion but also will address tiredness and poor concentration.

In terms of some Kitchen support: Consume more citrus fruits for their vitamin c and its infection busting potential. Zinc in nuts and pumpkin seeds acts similarly. Ginger, honey, garlic and black pepper can all help fight off infections and soothe symptoms. Barley water is tonic. Best of all is green tea which apart from being antioxidant and rejuvenating actually stimulates the liver to secrete interferon – a most potent anti-infection agent. for kids it is a great idea to turn herbal teas into iced tea, granita, slush puppies or even sorbet.

To make an Immuno-catalyst Honey and lemon syrup – Simply mix equal parts by volume of honey and lemon. You can take it from a soon or use it to fold into yoghurt or as the base of a cordial or hot beverage (simply add sparkling water or hot water).

Or as the evenings get colder why not try Roasted tomato and thyme Soup – Beyond vitamin C, tomato soup also supplies vitamins A, E, K and the disease fighting goodness of lycopene. The thyme is a natural flavour companion to tomato but also an immunity booster.

1lb ripe tomatoes (any variety but the redder the more lycopene)
1 glove of garlic
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon of olive oil
½ cup of water or vegetable stock
Salt and pepper to season

Method: Preheat oven to 190C (375F /Gas Mark 5). Roughly chop the tomatoes and add into a roasting tin – drizzle over the olive oil, swirl to coat. Place in oven for 30mins at 190c. Meantime boil the thyme in water or veg stock and remove from heat. Pour thyme infused liquid and cooked tomatoes into blender, deskin and chop a clove of garlic add it too. Blitz to a pleasant texture. Salt and pepper to taste, serve and enjoy. Reheats well. If making larger servings it keeps in fridge for 3 days.

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About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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