The Natural Way To Boost Your Health This Autumn
With winter fast approaching, many are concerned about their own susceptibility to infection and have sought help in boosting their own immunity and defence against illness. Cold and flu is just one of a host of infections that anyone can get if the immune system is deficient and is poor at combating infection and disease.
The onset of Autumn is a great time to give the body a proper MOT and to ensure that it is in tip-top condition to fight off the many ailments that are common at this time of year.
Without resorting to radical drugs and fad diets, there are a variety of therapies, treatments and supplements that can help regain the natural balance through alternative methods towards optimum health and vitality. Detoxifying the body is the perfect way to begin in preparing the body for the many stresses and strains of winter. Eliminating the many impurities and toxins that have accumulated in the body throughout the year will ease congestion and can clear the way for improved immune responses. This will increase resistance to infections (eg. coughs, colds, sniffles, chill etc…) at a particularly vulnerable time for all of us.
Herbs such as dandelion and milk thistle are excellent for liver health; the liver being a main organ of detoxification. These herbs can help repair some of the damage done to the liver cells and help protect the organ against further damage. Other herbs such as artichoke will assist with digestion, particularly if a high fat diet is proving difficult to digest.
Improving bowel elimination with herbal laxatives such as rhubarb or senna can help in more advanced cases and will help in the detox process. However, it is not sensible to continue taking herbal laxatives on any long-term basis as it will make the bowel lazy and will lead to a worsening of the problem with added complications. Seek proper advice from a herbalist and a nutritionist before self-medicating as it is always best to improve digestion and go on a detox through making effective changes in poor dietary habits.
Boosting circulation is important in boosting defence against infection; it will help promote good health during the chilly winter months. Circulatory stimulants are also important; they act either near the heart and surrounding blood vessels (such as hawthorn) or near the surface of the skin (such as ginger or ginkgo). Improving blood flow will enable the body to derive the best from the diet with a proper balance of those vital vitamins and minerals. This can enhance weight loss regimes without compromising on essential nutrients as well as maintain energy levels which often lag with a poor diet. These important changes can be made through initial consultations with a medical herbalist or a clinical nutritionist. This process can address a host of nutritional deficiencies as well as medical problems associated with a bad diet.
Improving the quality of the diet will automatically improve the nutritional status and consequently help ward off the many ailments that are common during the winter months. It will also optimise health and well-being. Herbal immune boosters will also be essential particularly if susceptible to infections – herbs such as echinacea is great as a prophylactic (taken as a preventative measure) but others such as ginseng and garlic can also be extremely useful.
The health of the nerves should always take priority if you are prone to stress and easily suffer the ill-effects of it. Enabling the body to cope with stressful demands is one aspect of treatment. Herbs such as Siberian ginseng or Indian ginseng are excellent for treating stress and helping the body cope with the stress response. Equally, chamomile, lemon balm, passion flower or lime flowers are wonderful at combating anxiety and nervousness during times of stress. The popular St. John’s Wort is always a consideration if symptoms of anxiety or panic attacks also accompany mild to moderate depression. Like all herbs, St. John’s Wort needs to be taken with care because of its known interactions with certain medications and other supplements.
For more information about how herbal medicines can help, please visit the College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy (http://phytotherapists.org/) or the National Institute of Medical Herbalists (http://www.nimh.org.uk/). For specific help on nutrition, visit The British Association for Applied Nutrition and Nutritional Therapy (http://bant.org.uk/)
Article courtesy of Yaso Shan; MCPP
Medical Herbalist & Founder of Centella Skincare