The change of seasons, while usually most welcomed, can seem to cause a spike in illness — especially in the cooler months. On the other hand, come the warmer weather, you can often experience an increase in seasonal allergies.
“It is often thought that temperature change is the direct cause of more illnesses during a seasonal change,” Shauna Anderson, BSc. Adv Dip Nat., naturopath & Whole Earth & Sea® expert, told The Latch.
“However, a more accurate reason is that some viruses proliferate more because of the temperature shifts during this time. Drops in temperature encourage the rhinovirus or common cold as well as influenza. Warmer temperatures induce more seasonal allergies which can stress the immune system as it overcompensates, leaving a person more vulnerable to viral contagions.”
As a nautropath, Anderson uses nutrient-rich supplements as a way to support the immune system through these changing seasons. When it comes to something like the common cold, which you might be experiencing as we move out of winter and into spring, adding the herb echinacea to your diet can prove helpful.
“Echinacea has proven time and time again to be a go-to herb when it comes to relieving symptoms of the common cold,” said Anderson. “In particular, an organic, fresh, whole-plant extract called Echinamide® has been shown in several clinical trials to be particularly effective in both relieving the symptoms and reducing the duration of the common cold.
“The patented extraction method ensures the bioavailability of the three key plant actives in the herb Echinacea purpurea: alkylamides, cichoric acid, and polysaccharides. It is the only echinacea extract I recommend as a holistic approach to relieving the common cold.”
If you’re prone to seasonal allergies and have already been greeted with watery eyes and sneezing, Anderson recommends marshmallow and horseradish. Both are herbs that can help ease the symptoms associated with sinusitis, which can be pretty bad this time of year.
“Marshmallow is a gentle, soothing plant with a tendency to calm irritated, inflamed tissues,” Anderson said. “It is beneficial in making symptoms more bearable during an infection or allergy attack and is highly underrated as a supportive herb.
“Horseradish is also a great herb to have in your armoury during the change of season. This nutrient-rich herb has been shown to relieve symptoms of sinusitis, the common cold and allergies as it increases blood circulation and helps open up the sinus cavities.
“Horseradish reduces certain pro-inflammatory compounds in the body due to a constituent called sinigrin. This action helps reduce symptoms of colds, flus and allergies, making recovery more comfortable.”
Garlic is also a powerful tool in fighting bacteria. Anderson says: “A herbal extract of garlic contains allicin which targets thiol-containing enzymes in viruses, bacteria and certain yeasts. It is effective against a broad range of microorganisms, including some antibiotic-resistant bacteria.”
“Whole Earth & Sea Respiratory Relief is an all-season formula with a unique complex of powerful botanicals, including horseradish, garlic and vitamin C, that work in harmony to relieve common cold symptoms and soothe irritated airway membranes,” said Anderson.
“It contains the above-mentioned herbs in therapeutic doses with the added benefit of the Farm Fresh FactorsTM blend. Farm Fresh FactorsTM is a blend of organic active vegetables, organic cruciferous vegetables, organic fruits, organic herbals from their certified organic farms, combined with other whole food sources.”
While herbal supplements aren’t for everyone (and that’s totally OK), they can help support your health as the season’s change and can be used as apart of a healthy diet and lifestyle. Herbal supplements might also provide some relief for chronic allergy sufferers who haven’t had much luck with other treatments.
Always seek the guidance of your doctor or other qualified health professional with any questions you may have regarding your health or a medical condition. If you are experiencing any flu-like symptoms, self-isolate immediately and get tested for COVID-19.