Posts Tagged ‘immune system’

Fight a Cold Naturally and Win!

Ambersweet oranges, a new cold-resistant orang...

USDA photo. Image Number K3644-12. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Exposure to cold germs is inevitable and most people get at least one or two colds per year.  My husband and I recently felt the symptoms of the common cold coming on – scratchy throat, sneezing, slight headache, runny nose – and we stopped it dead in its tracks!   Besides following a healthy diet rich in fruits and vegetables to maintain a strong immune system, the key is to attack it with natural remedies the minute you feel those initial symptoms.  The first thing I do is take Coldcalm, a homeopathic medicine you can buy at CVS.  Follow the directions exactly.  I also take extra Vitamin C (from supplements and Vitamin C rich foods) and Echinacea to boost my immune system.  American Indians chewed Echinacea root for centuries to treat colds and flu.  I drink several cups of hot water with a couple of tablespoons of fresh ginger (or powdered), cinnamon, lemon, and honey, which helps wash the virus right out.  Ginger contains nearly a dozen anti-viral compounds and has several chemicals that are particularly effective against common cold viruses.  The lemon is rich in Vitamin C and the cinnamon and honey add healthy flavor.  Adequate rest is important too.

Sometimes however, your body just succumbs to a cold and the symptoms worsen.  To the above remedies, add the tried and true cure of chicken soup with lots of garlic and onion, which contain several helpful anti-viral compounds including allicin, a potent, broad-spectrum natural antibiotic.  If you don’t mind the taste and smell of garlic, a soup made only with garlic, broth and parsley  is especially effective in lessening the duration of a cold.  Elderberry contains compounds that are active against flu viruses and offers relief from fever and muscle aches.  You can find elderberry syrup in the wellness section at Whole Foods and natural food stores.  Slippery elm is a safe and effective throat soother and cough suppressant.  It has actually been used for over 150 years and the FDA has now declared it to be effective in fighting throat and respiratory symptoms related to colds.  I also take Coldeze, a zinc product sold at CVS, which seems to shorten the length of a cold.

The above remedies are only suggestions that have worked for my family and me.  If you take medication and/or have severe or persistent symptoms, always consult a doctor.

One of my readers sent me some information about Shaklee’s Defend & Resist Product. It contains Echinacea, Elderberry Extract and Elderberry juice concentrate, Zinc and Larch Tree and works best if you start it just when you feel that first tickle and continue for 7 days.  You can chew it, dissolve and sip like a tea, or swallow. Sounds like an effective cold fighter to me!

Some information compiled from The Green Pharmacy by James A. Duke, Ph.D.



Proper Disposal of Cat Waste

English: Female grey tabby and white cat resti...

English: Female grey tabby and white cat resting on a box of cat litter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of my readers, a true cat lady, asked about the proper disposal of cat waste. With pet populations on the rise, this is an important issue.  According to, “Composting Cat Litter and Waste”, “approximately 34% of the United States population owns a cat, 90% of which uses at least one litter box.”

Some publications say it is okay to flush cat waste, minus the litter, down the toilet, but research is showing otherwise.  The eggs of the parasite Toxoplasma Gondi found in cat poop may not be killed during the sewage treatment process and could therefore contaminate waterways.  Though this parasite rarely affects healthy people, it can affect those with compromised immune systems and can cause birth defects and brain damage in babies whose mothers were exposed during pregnancy.  It has also been shown to harm sea otters and other wildlife.  Burying or composting cat waste is not an option either since the Toxo eggs can last up to a year in soil.

The solution unfortunately is to dispose of cat waste in the trash sealed in a plastic bag.  While this may not seem like a “green” solution, it is the safest.  There are other green things you can do to lower your cat’s “carbon paw print”.

  • Use one of the greener litters made of recycled wood shavings, wheat, recycled paper or corn.  Clumping and scoopable cat litters are clay-based and not the by-product of the manufacture of something else, but instead produced by strip mining.  Cats can ingest the clay, known as bentonite, by licking their paws; it is especially dangerous for kittens or dogs that eat cat poop.
  • Clean your cat box daily—it takes about 24 hours for the Toxo eggs in cat poop to be able to infect people. Wear gloves when you clean your cat box and make sure to wash your hands with warm, soapy water afterwards.
  • Keep your cat indoors to stop it from hunting birds and other small animals.
  • Remove cat poop from your yard since the Toxo eggs last for months in soil as previously said, and can move into rivers and oceans.


Information compiled from,,,,



Fresh vegetables are important components of a...

Image via Wikipedia

I’m a firm believer in learning from other people’s expertise, experiences, wisdom and even well founded opinions.  This weekend I attended Be Healthy Boston, a 2-day urban wellness retreat with keynote sessions and workshops.   It was fabulous! Renowned doctors, naturopaths, nutritionists, physical therapists, psychologists, architects, designers, chefs, musicians, yoga instructors and green living experts, shared their knowledge with eager people who wanted a healthier lifestyle. I’d like to share some of this knowledge with you.

One main message was empowerment.  The resources to manage your own health and well-being are plentiful – we are lucky in the Boston area to have access to so many health care professionals of all levels – and there is no lack of information on the Internet.

One session that I especially enjoyed was “Food as Medicine” given by Dr. Mark Mincolla, a nutritional and natural health therapist who has transformed the lives of thousands of patients over the past 30 years.  He spoke extensively about inflammation, the root of many diseases including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, allergies, autoimmune diseases, arthritis, and others, and how we can control chronic inflammation through diet, exercise and stress reduction.   Dr. Mincolla suggests trying an anti-inflammatory diet for three weeks (give yourself a break on the weekends if it seems impossible) just to see if you feel any difference, which consists of:  fatty fish like salmon, vegetables, fruits, legumes, brown rice (whole grains), olive oil, soy, tofu, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and yeast-free bread.  Eliminate inflammatory foods such as dairy, wheat, egg yolks, fatty red meats, sugar and alcohol. The anti-inflammatory foods, high in Omega-3 essential fatty acids, are an extremely important part of disease prevention and overall health. I urge you to read more about inflammation or visit his website to better understand the inflammation/disease connection.  Check out his NECN program called “You Are What You Eat”.

I have long been an advocate of prevention and maintaining a healthy immune system through diet, especially in this time of virulent and unusual germs and viruses.  It’s exciting the medical community, the media and programs such as Be Healthy Boston focus on taking charge of your own life and embracing wellness.  As Dr. Mincolla says, “the best medicine is the medicine you will never need to take.”

An irony of all ironies – I picked up a flu bug from the Be Healthy Boston retreat!  Life is funny….

Some information compile from “Food is Medicine” by Dr. Mark Mincolla.