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It’s that time of year again.

The time of year when we tend to spend more time indoors in each other’s company giving more opportunity for bugs to spread, whilst colder weather and the stresses of the season make us more susceptible to these. So rather than reaching for the over the counter medication when those bugs strike do you want to look after your health this winter using a more natural approach? If so read on to find out how.

First let’s start with trying to avoid becoming ill in the first place.

Prevention is always better than a cure. In other words it is better to support your body and boost your immune system to reduce the possibility of becoming unwell, and if you do, to ensure that your system is better able to bounce back quicker.

Diet and lifestyle play a part in protecting your health but supplements and relevant remedies contribute. Try to boost your natural defenses by incorporating the following into your daily routine as much as possible:

1. Multi Vitamins & Minerals
If you’re not already taking a daily multi vitamin & mineral then the Winter months are an ideal time to start. A good multi vitamin & mineral provides a general balanced variety of essential vitamins and minerals to the body without overload, or without overdosing on one and creating a deficiency in another which is so easy to do! Make sure you take a good quality, naturally produced supplement. Independent health food stores, or a known and trusted brand from online are good sources.

2. Vitamin D
Often known as the sunshine vitamin, this supplement is particularly useful at this time of year when the sun is in short supply. Taking a supplement boosts your levels, and many find it especially good if you have a tendency to suffer from SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder). Aches & pains that seem to be made worse by the cold? Try Vitamin D for these too.

3. Probiotics
Boost your digestive with a daily probiotic. Again choose a good quality natural one with many different types of good bacteria (commercially produced probiotic drinks are not effective enough). A word of warning though! Do watch how your body reacts to the probiotics. If your digestive seems to worsen then these aren’t for you. Your digestive is too out of balance and needs treatment.

4. Milk Thistle
Another one from your Day 1 Quick Start. Remember to try a course of Milk Thistle to give your Liver some TLC before the Christmas period!

So now you know how to protect and support your health using remedies and supplements we’ll take a look at some natural remedies when niggling seasonal ailments do occur.

Tackle a cold through diet. Avoid mucus producing foods as much as possible including dairy, eggs, meat and soya – your system is producing enough mucus already without encouraging more!
Increase your Vitamin C intake, especially useful at the onset of a cold, to help your immune system.
If you are suffering with a blocked nose try Eucalyptus essential oil or to fight infection try Tea Tree. Add a few drops to some hot water and breathe in the steam.
And don’t forget Echinacea – take throughout Winter to ward off colds and increase the dose if you feel one coming on.

Ear Ache and Sore Throats
Both of these seem to like the colder weather!
For ear ache try a few drops of Lavender oil on some cotton wool placed in the outer ear (do be careful not to push it into the ear) or try as a compress over the ear. If symptoms have suddenly appeared then the homeopathic remedy Belladonna may be useful or try Silica if the earache is due to an abscess. As with colds avoid mucus producing foods.

For sore throats again Lavender essential oil is good. This time add a few drops to hot water and inhale the stream. Taking the homeopathic remedy Aconite at the start of a sore throat can often stop it in its tracks whilst Echinacea as a throat spray can help if it’s more advanced.

Indigestion & Upset Tummies
If you have over indulged then try Peppermint tea to settle indigestion or Lemon & Ginger for nausea. Chamomile is another good option. To help recover after a bout of sickness try sipping on brown rice water. Simply cook some brown rice in the normal way, save the water and cool, then sip regularly.

Try the homeopathic remedy Nux Vomica for over indulgence or Arsencium Alsum for sickness.

If a headache develops then make sure you eat little and often, and drink plenty of water! Avoid stimulants such as tea, coffee or sugar.
Again Lavender is good (it really is a wonder oil!) – use with a warm or cold compress.
Use Rescue Remedy Bach Flower Remedy at the onset of a headache or if your headache is stress related try Vervain Flower Remedy.

It is always good to treat minor aliments as naturally as possible but remember – if symptoms persist, suddenly worsen or you are concerned in any way then seek medical assistance immediately.

So as the days grow colder use these remedies and tips to help you enjoy all that is good about the Winter season and avoid all that isn’t!

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