Kelly Pomeroy, M.H.

Autumn has come with its beauty and splendor of colorful leaves, apples to enjoy and pumpkins ready to be carved. I always enjoy the fall. Inevitably as this season comes, so do the coughs and colds. Summer is a season of cleansing. We drink lots of liquids to stay cool, eat watermelon and berries and run and play in the sun. Our bodies are so active and constantly given opportunity to cleanse through our diet and play. As the seasons change so do our foods and activities. Our bodies are preparing for the winter. We need foods and activities that help us stay warm and keep our immune systems strong. Often this transition is not so smooth, especially as Halloween approaches and lots of darling kids will be strolling their neighborhoods in the cold autumn night for sweets. As the night unfolds, so do countless candies out of their wrappers into the bellies of thousands of children. Their immune systems are now very active trying to protect the body from cold and the onslaught of refined sugar. Refined sugar has all enzymes and nutrients removed as it is processed to be made. Consuming refined sugar requires enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and insulinfrom the body in order to process it through the body. Sugar strips the body of nourishment and acts like a drug in the system. It triggers dopamine in the brain and that make us crave more sugar. Consumed in large amounts, sugar also causes fermentation in the intestines and overall weakens the immune system.

One of the key factors in cold care is keeping the immune system strong. Teaching one night to a sweet youth, I compared the immune system to GI Joe guys. We have these amazing soldiers (Leucocytes) inside of us to protect us. However, if we don’t let them sleep good, don’t feed them great nutrition and if we are stressing them out a lot then they won’t be ready for when invaders come. Moreover, if we keep their barracks dirty and full of garbage (their bowels), they will have to fight with that around them. We weaken their capacity to fight back. While this may seem like a crude example of the immune system, I think it helps illustrate the importance of defending the immune system.

Going back to these kids who have just trick or treated, they now have a cold, tired and nutrition deprived immune system. Many of these kids may have dirty “barracks” or in other words, their bowels are compacted or blocked. What can we do to put strong holds back in the body? In the China Study by T. Colin and Thomas Campbell, they say that, “The same nutrition that prevents disease in its early stages can also halt or reverse disease in its later stages.” So the same is with the common cold.

Here are a few tips to consider in caring for your immune system:

            1 Get appropriate amounts of sleep. It is a time of repair and rest for the body.

            2 Drink lots of fluids, especially clean water. Water is vital for the healthy function of our organs, it keeps the river of life (our blood) flowing in our bodies and helps prevent constipation of the bowels.

            3 Eat lots of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Eating these nutrient rich, high fiber foods make them easily and readily available for the body to use. Avoid processed foods and mucus forming foods such as white flour, dairy, sugar, eggs and excess salt. They make for a sluggish bowel and thicken body mucous. Eat meat sparingly as it slows digestion, is not as nutrient rich as produce and is acidic in the body. For more information see Dr. Christopher’s Mucusless Diet.

Diet may be the hardest change many make, but I have learned that it IS the small and simple things that we do each day that make a huge difference in our lives. It does make a difference.

            4 Get those bowels moving. The bowels are our plumbing. If there is a stopper closing it off, the pipe cannot drain and will stay stagnant and build up will happen. You should be going 3 times a day generally. “What comes in must come out.” A few ideas for moving them are prune juice, Dr. Christopher’s Kid-e-Reg formula for children or Dr. Christopher’s Lower Bowel formula. If these are not available to you; I highly recommend the herbs cascara sagrada, Turkey rhubarb or slippery elm. These are mild laxative herbs to help the bowels move. Stronger laxatives would be aloe or senna.

            5 Cut the mucous and strengthen the immune system.  A few wonderful herbs that are antiviral/antimicrobial, excellent expectorants and strengthen the immune system are: licorice root, mullein, garlic, elder (berry or flower), echinacea and thyme. I also like a warm drink of lemon with its rind with honey and a pinch of cayenne.

Before you send your cuties out to trick or treat feed them a healthy meal and keep in mind these tips to keep their immune systems strong and protected. Learning these principles from The School of Natural Healing has made me a wiser and better mother. I have understanding that helps me keep my family healthy. I have learned how to protect, cleanse and nourish the body. I highly recommend their courses to you!

Kelly Pomeroy is a graduated Master Herbalist and Student Adviser from The School of Natural Healing and the mother of four fun kids!