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I am interested in natural remedies to help prepare for winter. I eat a healthy diet, but I work long hours, so I tend to succumb to coughs and colds when I am run down. Anything that can help me would be appreciated. >> It is great to hear you are already taking great care of yourself by making sure that your diet is healthy and balanced. As you know, stress certainly impacts digestive, immune, and respiratory health, among other bodily systems.
There are two Ayurvedic remedies that might suit you well to protect against winter ailments. The first is Amla (Emblica officinalis), a powerful antioxidant and immune system remedy, largely due to having such a high vitamin C content. Amla berries have been clinically proven to boost immune function when taken as a longterm remedy. They also support heart and liver health. A healthy liver is important not only for processing toxins and hormones, but also for cortisol production, and therefore modulating stress response.
The other Ayurvedic remedy I suggest is a blend of three spices. Trikatu is a combination of ginger, long pepper (pippali), and black pepper — three pungent spices. This formulation is used primarily for its hot, digestive properties, which allow it to help clear mucous, coughs, and breathing issues.
Ginger supports the circulatory system, digestion, and is a wonderful expectorant for the lungs. Pippali helps to support the respiratory system, stimulates metabolism, supports the liver, and aids digestion. Black pepper is commonly used to help activate other ingredients in Ayurvedic remedies, as it enhances bioavailability, promotes free flow of oxygen to the brain, and has cleansing and antioxidant benefits.
You can use Amla to help build and support your immune system, to help prevent winter coughs and colds. Take Trikatu at the first sign of any mucous or phlegm, and then continue with the Amla by itself once any congestion or illness has cleared. I am interested in hangover remedies since we have several pre-Christmas functions to attend from next month, and I find myself very sensitive to the effects of alcohol. It is not that I drink much, and I enjoy having a drink or two, but I seem to suffer from a hangover completely out of proportion to the amount of alcohol I consume. >> One of the most commonly touted hangover remedies is strong black coffee — however since caffeine is such a strong diuretic, and dehydration is one of the main issues when it comes to a hangover, I suggest you cross this ‘remedy’ from your list. Instead try preparing for party season by applying essential oils to the soles of your feet. Fennel, juniper, and geranium essential oils will stimulate the pressure points for the kidney area, helping to speed up the elimination of toxins from the body. You can either apply the oils neat to your shoes, or massage them in at a ratio of five drops per 10ml of base oil directly to the soles of your feet.
Essential oils can also help to settle a queasy stomach after a night out. Lemongrass, tangerine, and mandarin are all good choices — simply inhale the oils on a handkerchief or pop a few drops in a diffuser with water.
Kudzu, a coarse, high-climbing perennial vine from China, contains the active constituents daidzein and daidzin, which help to minimise the negative effects of alcohol. It is also used to help with binge drinking and alcohol cravings, but in your situation, this is obviously not the problem.
You will need to take 1000mg (1g) of Kudzu with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the same again the day after drinking. Make sure you drink hydrating non-alcoholic beverages throughout the evening to stay hydrated. Still or sparkling water with a citrus twist is a good choice — you can even add a pinch of salt to help keep your electrolytes up.
The fact your body has trouble processing alcohol means you would likely also benefit from liversupportive and regenerative herbs such as dandelion and milk thistle (St Mary’s thistle).