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5 sure-fire all-natural ways to reduce cold and flu symptoms

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Feeling down with the cold or flu? Tired of medicines that just mask your symptoms and don't do much to heal? Then try a more holistic and natural approach to healing your cold or flu.

Susan Shane, licensed acupuncturist, author and creator of Exaircise, a cross-cultural fitness program based on the primacy of breathing in global health traditions, gives you her 5 best tips to reduce cold and flu symptoms the natural way.

Here's Susan:

With all the festivities and outdoor play during the wintertime, we can become run down and more susceptible to catching a cold or flu. External germs can enter our body via our skin, mouth or nose. Staying warm and wearing a scarf while enjoying all that outdoor winter fun are really helpful ways to block these external germs from finding an entry point in our immune armor.

According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, wind is the spearhead of 100 diseases. Wind frequently changes and varies in intensity. When our bodies cannot respond to these changes, whether they are environmentally induced or from mental, emotional or physical stresses, our bodies become overwhelmed and our immunity is then compromised. This is when a gap appears in that immune armor, and a cold or flu can enter our body.

Cold symptoms consist of head congestion and headache, sneezing, watery eyes, coughing, restlessness and an achy body, while flu symptoms have body aches along with intermittent fever and chills, sore throat, coughing, not much appetite and an upset stomach.

When you feel under the weather, try to get plenty of bed rest, avoid mucus producing foods such as dairy products and sugary or oily foods, drink soothing herbal teas along with warm vegetable soups, and avoid sudden temperature changes in your environment.

If you do catch a cold or flu, here are some simple, soothing remedies:

1 Beginning stages of a cold:
A refreshing drink mixture of warm lemonade and sliced red onion can push the cold bugs out of your body before they attempt to run their course through your upper respiratory system. Sip the warm lemonade, relax, and feel the beginning symptoms of your cold fly away. You might even come to appreciate the special blessings that life’s little lemons can sometimes bring.

2. Chilly body or scratchy throat:
Slice 2-3 pieces of fresh ginger root (about the size of your thumb). According to Chinese medicine, fresh ginger can cause sweating and push away the chill and scratchy throat feeling.

Add one bunch of chopped green onions (scallions) and two cups of water.
Bring water to a boil. Add ingredients then cover and steep for 10 minutes. Drink the liquid. Bundle up in bed and let your body chase away the cold symptoms.

3. Sore throat or dry cough:
Core a pear and add a little honey with a pinch of cinnamon. According to Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon helps the lungs decongest the chest.

Wrap in aluminum foil and bake in the oven until soft. Eat the soothing mixture.

4. Go-Away-Cold-or-Flu Joy Juice:
Juice of one lemon.
One teaspoon of fresh crushed garlic.
One teaspoon of fresh chopped ginger.
One pinch of cayenne pepper.
Place ingredients in a large mug or cup. Pour boiling water over the ingredients and steep for 10 minutes. Strain if desired. Add honey to taste and drink before going to sleep.

5. Laryngitis:
Find a local Asian market then ask for assistance in finding a seed called Pang Da Hai or Semen Scaphigerae. It looks similar to an acorn with a rough and bumpy exterior. Put this seed into a cup of hot water. The seed will grow approximately 2 times its original size and become gelatinous, looking like a jelly blob. (Bonus: Because of this startling transformation, kids love to watch the seed grow.)

Take the blob out of the water after it has seeped for a few minutes; the water should now be slightly sweet in taste and cool in temperature. This means that the tea will taste mild and feel soothing to your throat.

Sip the entire cup of tea. The laryngitis will decrease and your voice will sound better. This is a special recipe that not only provides relief from most cases of mild laryngitis, but has even been used by opera singers interested in increasing their vocal range.

Keep immunologically armored with good food and rest, and keep well-bundled when playing outdoors. But if you do happen to catch a cold or flu, try one of these time-tested remedies to help nurse yourself back to optimal health.

Susan's book, Vitality Fusion, a Comparative, Interactive Survey of Western, Chinese and Ayurvedic Medicine, illuminates ancient and modern modalities to help readers create a customized path to optimal health. For more information, visit www.VitalityFusion.com.

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