With the cold season, we all have to deal with the spread of viruses and bacteria responsible for the classic cooling diseases that put adults and children KO. Let's see what are the typical ailments of winter and what are the arrows that nature puts to our bow to fight them.
Why do we get sick so often in winter?
Seasonal ailments are mainly caused by sudden changes in temperature and the consequent tendency to regroup in closed environments, at the expense of open air. In winter we not only have a greater tendency to get sick: our immune system can also tend to be weaker and less reactive due to various factors, including:
- psychophysical stress,
- improper lifestyle,
- unbalanced feeding,
- lack of sleep and rest.
Acting in advance with the use of natural remedies with recognized beneficial reinforcing activity for the immune system can help not to get infected by flu, sore throat and respiratory tract diseases such as colds, coughs, bronchitis.
Natural remedies for seasonal diseases
Nature provides us with herbal remedies that are now widely recognized and validated also by modern scientific research for their role in strengthening the immune system, both as a preventive and contrasting weapon, promoting faster and more efficient healing.
Among the most popular phytoextracts, elderberry is traditionally used throughout Europe for its antibacterial and antiviral properties, the subject of scientific research that demonstrates its value as support against seasonal flu evils.
Elderberry, thanks also to the abundant presence of bioflavonoids and antioxidants, has phytotherapeutic qualities recognized as "active and effective" (Health DM 27/03/14) that help improve the fluidity of bronchial secretions, the functionality of the upper respiratory tract, support for the body's natural defenses.
The rosehip is a thorny shrub belonging to the Rosaceae family, which grows spontaneously throughout Italy and in many parts of Europe. Its therapeutic qualities have been known since the ancient Romans and throughout the Middle Ages. Rosehip is known for its very high concentration of vitamin C (100 grams of its these berries have the same content of vitamin C that can have a kilo of oranges!).
Rosehip berries contain other vitamins such as vitamins A, E, K and some of group B. It is also rich in folic acid, precious flavonoids, tannins, carotenoids and fatty acids (including oleic, palmitic, oleanolic, stearic and linoleic). Rosehip is also a good source of mineral salts, especially iron, zinc, copper, calcium, manganese, boron, sodium, phosphorus, potassium, and magnesium.
The synergy between vitamin C and flavonoids, which favor the absorption of the same vitamin, is very precious.
Rosehip boasts anti-inflammatory properties, especially in case of problems in the respiratory system such as coughs and colds, but also pharyngitis and tonsillitis, helping to flare the mucous membranes. This plant also supports the proper functioning of the immune system, strengthening and stimulating it both in preventing seasonal ailments and in restoring health in the healing phase, avoiding relapses.
The anti-inflammatory action of rosehip also expands at the level of the intestine, making it useful in case of diarrhea thanks to the astringent and antibiotic action of tannins.
Among the most effective and used natural remedies, there is certainly echinacea, a herbaceous plant of the Asteraceae family which includes nine species, all with officinal characteristics: Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida in primis.
Native to North America, its use among native local populations is very ancient and dates back to the Cheyenne tribe, which used the chewed echinacea root to treat colds, decoction for joint problems, rheumatic and as an external application in case of fever.
Today, its immunostimulating, antiviral and antibacterial properties are recognized by modern medicine and its use is widespread among adults and children against colds, sore throats and various flu diseases, making it - also at a preventive level - a shield against cooling diseases. The therapeutic qualities of echinacea derive from the density of active ingredients that stimulate the immune defenses, such as flavonoids, caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid and echinacoside, polysaccharides, polyphenols, glycoproteins with immunostimulating activity and essential oil.
It is easy to understand how echinacea can represent a real elixir for our immune defenses!
Astragalus is certainly one of the phytotherapeutic elements of oriental tradition that has found more space and application among modern supplements that act on the immune system. Astragalus is a plant belonging to legumes, originally from northern China where, in traditional medicine, it has been used for millennia as a tonic to reduce weakness and increase resistance to diseases.
Astragalus contains triterpene saponins, flavonoids, biogenic amines, and polysaccharides, as well as amino acids, iron, zinc, copper, chromium, coumarins, choline, betaine, sitosterol, triterpene glycosides and numerous acids which make it a "multifunctional" remedy capable of acting on various levels on many organic systems on which it boasts numerous beneficial support qualities, for example for the liver.
Astragalus is considered today an excellent supplement for the immune system thanks to the wealth of powerful bioactive elements, mainly used in synergy with echinacea.