No matter how healthy one's lifestyle, seasonal allergies tend to get the best of all of us from time to time. Many of us dread using over-the-counter allergy medications, because quite frankly, they make you feel awful.
Firstly, they don't always work, and secondly, they're usually accompanied by a range of side effects including drowsiness, headaches, dry mouth and nervousness.
Allergy medicines like Claritin tend to make you not feel like yourself, which for most is reason enough to seek an alternative. Incorporating natural herbs into your battle against wintertime head colds and sinus infections can be an invaluable tool.
Fusing natural herbs with hot tea is one of the best remedies for getting relief fast. The hot steam helps open your nasal cavity, allowing it to absorb the herb's natural benefits.
Overexposure to toxins, seasonal allergens and bacteria all contribute to excess mucus, an unsightly and uncomfortable symptom most want to eliminate as soon as possible. This symptom also puts added stress on the body, particularly the respiratory, central nervous and immune systems, forcing them to work harder to keep you in good health.
By detoxing the nasal and bronchial passages, clearing them of bacterial, viral and microbial properties, you can eliminate excess mucus and start the healing process.
Below are some natural herbs that can help you start feeling better soon.
Goldenseal/echinacea: Goldenseal is one of the most popular herbal products in the U.S., and is often accompanied by echinacea when used for treating upper respiratory infections. Most commonly found in the rich woods of the Ohio River valley, goldenseal is a perennial herb with a single, green-white flower that has no petals. It was used by the Native Americans as an insect repellent, a diuretic, a stimulant and a wash for sore and inflamed eyes. Its ability to suppress mucus makes it a popular antidote for treating colds.
Also used by Native Americans, echinacea is a genus of herbaceous flowering plant in the daisy family Asteraceae. It's available over the counter as a tea, liquid extract, dried herb or in a capsule, and is known for boosting the immune system. Echinacea's antimicrobial properties help to both treat and prevent colds. A study conducted by scientists with the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy found that echinacea reduces a person's chance of catching a cold by 58 percent.
Thyme: Used as an oil or in its dried form, thyme helps reduce coughing by clearing your lungs out fast. A member of the mint family, thyme is known for its antibacterial properties, and is packed with vitamin C and vitamin A. The herb works best in tea, and can be made by brewing 2 teaspoons of fresh thyme in a cup of boiling water.
Oregano: Closely related to the herb marjoram, oregano's antibacterial and anti-viral properties make it great for treating sore throats, congestion and fatigue caused by the common cold.
Lavender: This lovely scented herb is perfect for combating coughs and colds, and can relieve headaches and exhaustion. Try adding a few drops of lavender essential oil to your vaporizer, or even rub directly on the chest, neck or back.
Marshmallow: Derived from an African plant, marshmallow has short, roundish leaves and small pale flowers, and was originally used by the Egyptians. The leaves and roots of this herb have antitussive, mucilaginous and antibacterial properties, making it beneficial for soothing inflamed membranes in the mouth and throat when ingested. Antitussive properties help reduce coughing and prevent further irritation.
In addition to sore throats, marshmallow can help treat gastrointestinal mucosa, indigestion, heartburn and stomach ulcers. You can make a great marshmallow tea by using two to five teaspoons of either powdered root or dried leaves, and boiling them in about 5 ounces of water.
Indian herbs and spices are more than just a delicious way to enhance your favorite curry dishes. They've always been valued in some cultures for their healing properties, and now some of these herbs are being used to develop affordable drugs that can fight cancer with fewer side effects than traditional cancer medications.
Scientists at the BARC laboratory near Chembur are currently working hard on getting these promising solutions to the masses. One such herb is rampatri, which has earned the nickname "false nutmeg." If you're not familiar with the Mangalorean or Goan cuisine, you might not be aware this spice even exists, but studies on mice show it to be a potent remedy against neuroblastoma and lung cancer. The herbal drug that is being developed from the spice reduces tumors while boosting the effectiveness of other chemotherapy drugs that are taken concurrently.
Two of the other drugs in development include a radioprotector and a radiomodifier. The radiomodifier can enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy while protecting the body's tissues, gastrointestinal system, lungs and lymphocytes from radiation injury. The drug shows a lot of promise and is currently awaiting a patent, after which it will undergo clinical trials in Parel.
The radioprotector is something that can be taken before and after exposure to radiation to minimize injuries and death. It could also help the public in the event of accidental exposure like that which affected many people following the nuclear explosion in Fukushima. Radiation exposure can affect a person's reproductive organs, bone marrow, and gastrointestinal system, but just one dose of the radioprotector being developed by BARC was shown to protect mice from all of these problems while boosting their lifespans.
BARC head, Dr. S. Chattopadhyay, said: "The pre-clinical results observed with the new radioprotector are better than any radioprotector discovered so far."
Turmeric another healing herb
This is very exciting news but probably won't come as much of a surprise to longtime Natural News readers. We've been reporting on the many benefits of turmeric, for example, for many years. Its active ingredient, curcumin, has been shown to help prevent various types of cancer such as colon, liver, lung, breast and stomach cancers, thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric can also help prevent strokes and heart attacks because of its ability to thin the blood and prevent clotting. It's also known to reduce LDL cholesterol levels while raising "good" HDL cholesterol levels.
Ginger root helps with a number of ailments
Ginger root is another powerful herb that is often used in Indian cooking. Some people are already aware if its ability to alleviate nausea and vomiting, but did you know that it can also help relieve migraines and protect the brain? In one study, it outperformed all of the currently known high blood pressure herbal remedies, and it can also support cardiovascular health.
If you pay attention, you will discover that nature has provided us with countless remedies to the problems our bodies face. And the best part is that many spices are affordable, easy to obtain, and have few – if any – side effects.
Experiment with spices and herbs to find a combination that is satisfying to your palate and beneficial to your body. Start your day with some black cumin seed oil mixed into honey, add a generous sprinkling of cinnamon to your oatmeal, sip some refreshing ginger tea, make a flavorful curry with turmeric or add some crushed, raw garlic to your salad