Natural Care for Ear, Nose, Throat & Chest
Winter ill & chills are back in full force this year and you’re likely doing all you can to help keep your immune system primed and ready (think Vitamin C, Zinc, Vitamin D, Echinacea etc). But sometimes pesky bugs will take hold and the familiar feeling of a cold begins. Blocked sinus, runny nose, sore throat and a heavy chest. We know the signs. So, what can you do to help ease these symptoms? Below we look at some common (often already in your pantry!) natural remedies that help to support your ears, nose, throat and chest this Winter.
Ear & Nose
The most common symptoms of ears and nose during a winter cold is congestion, caused by excessive mucous production. While the mucous is a necessary and important immune response (helps to trap and isolate the bad bugs), it becomes problematic when there is too much. This leads to blocked sinus passages that can affect hearing and cause pain.
Nasal rinses are a time old remedy that can help to loosen and dissolve mucous while also flushing out any irritating particles or allergens. Water and salt is the most common solution that can be added to a Neti Pot or specialized sinus rinse bottle to be gently flushed into one nostril and drained out the other. For an added therapeutic benefit, add some calendula flowers to the water solution to help with microbial control and soothe inflamed sinus tissue.
Elderflower is an excellent herb for the upper respiratory tract and is a go-to for a runny, sneezy nose. This aromatic botanical can be steeped in hot water and drank as a tea or taken as a liquid extract to help remove excess catarrh (mucous) from the ears and nose.
Scratchy, swollen and sore throats are also frequently experienced symptoms of ills and chills. Such inflammation of the oral mucosa can cause irritation of the vocal cords, leading to a raspy and hoarse voice.
The garden herb Sage is a wonderful home remedy to help soothe a sore throat. Simply add a handful of fresh leaves to a hot cup of water, let steep, then slowly sip.
For extra soothing benefit, add a teaspoon full of high-quality Manuka honey. Many will already know of the therapeutic antibacterial properties of Manuka honey, but it is also excellent at helping assist the healing and repair of damage tissue (in this case, mucosa of the throat). The nutritious benefit of honey is also a great way to help support the body during times of illness.
When infection travels further down from the nose and throat, the airways and lungs are often the next to be affected. Excessive mucous production causes coughing and sometimes a painful heavy chest. The accumulation of phlegm and inflammation of the airways can also contribute to shortness or breath and a feeling of ‘tightness’.
Green Trading’s Organic Black Seed Oil is our first choice to help support and protect the health of our lungs. Used in both traditional and modern natural medicine practices, Black Seed Oil contains a potent antioxidant compound called Thymoquinone. Antioxidants are particularly important for conditions of the respiratory system, as they help to mop-up and neutralize damage to the bronchi and lungs from the pro-inflammatory molecules created by viruses and our immune system. In this way, Black Seed Oil and the presence of Thymoquinone may help to support overall health of our lungs as well as encourage clear, effortless breathing.
For a persistent, dry and tickly cough, talk to a Naturopath or Medicinal Herbalist about herbs such as Thyme and Marshmallow. Common garden thyme fresh or as a herbal tincture is anti-microbial and great for helping to ease consistent coughing. Marshmallow is wonderfully soothing and calming to irritated airways and lung passages.
While plant and natural medicines are often considered well tolerated and safe, please check with your qualified natural health practitioner or doctor before taking anything new.