As we go through a ferociously hot summer in many parts of the world due to global warming, on top of the Covid pandemic of the last two years, the need to live a sustainable and healthy life has become paramount like never before.
Fortunately, for many of us our connection with nature has increased in these challenging times, enhancing our mental and physical health – a rare positive outcome in the current climate.
Still, we need to look for further ways of boosting our immune system and wading off viruses and bacteria, and what can be better than opting for natural, eco-friendly options?
Here we suggest some simple ways of protecting yourself against common health issues that might bother you at this time of the year, and healing yourself when the need arises.
Anti-oxidants versus viral and bacterial infections
The common cold, flu, herpes, chicken pox, measles, mumps and shingles are examples of viral infections, with symptoms including fatigue, fever, coughs and colds.
Bacterial infections, on the other hand, can affect our largest organ, the skin, and others such as brain, bladder and lungs. Skin eruptions, pain, stiffness, swellings and headaches can be symptoms of bacterial infections.
Anti-oxidants prevent free radicals from damaging cells. They are nutrients that slow down the ageing process and stave off diseases. While our bodies have some native anti-oxidants, we need reinforcements from natural sources to keep us in optimal health. On our skin, anti-oxidants, with their anti-inflammatory properties, help with sun damage, general skin repair, and promote glow and vitality.
Mother nature has provided us with some common plants that combat bacteria and viruses, and enhance our immunity.
A lifestyle that focuses on a healthy diet, exercise and sleep will promote immunity and help prevent chronic ailments. Bouts of dieting or incorporating some healing foods now and then will not compensate for a prolonged unhealthy, undisciplined lifestyle.
Cinnamon: A highly anti-bacterial kitchen staple. Its anti-fungal properties can treat candida. It is a warming spice that can help with digestion, easing diahorrea and nausea.
Clove: Although a popular pain killer, it is also good for intestinal bacteria, helping gut health.
Garlic: Its natural anti-biotic and anti-fungal qualities makes this a powerful protector. Best when consumed raw. It is also a potent immune booster.
Ginger: The root is proven to have anti-viral and anti-bacterial qualities. Ginger tea is excellent for respiratory problems.
Echinacea: A popular go-to in western herbalism. Particularly effective when taken at the onset of infection. This plant stimulates the natural healing processes with its immune boosting and anti-inflammatory properties. Caution: not suitable for auto-immune diseases.
Eucalyptus: The leaves of this fresh smelling tree are antiseptic and antibacterial and help with respiratory ailments.
Nettle: Nettle is a superfood loaded with minerals, vitamins and iron and hence excellent for overall good health. It is a huge skin protector with its repairing and anti-aging properties. It also calms the mind and promotes sleep. It is an anti-inflammatory and a great detoxifier. It is normally consumed as tea but can also be made into soup.
Peppermint: An excellent herb for respiratory problems like coughs and congestion. An immune booster and an anti-oxidant which also soothes and promotes gut health.
Rosemary: Its anti-viral qualities make this common herb useful in herpes and flu.
Sage: With its powerful anti-viral qualities, this is yet another herb that can help combat the first signs of colds, flu and sore throats.
Thyme: Its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties make thyme a good all-rounder. It is a great herb for mouth, throat and chest infections, and protects against some cancers.
Olive leaf: A hero plant since ancient Greece and Egypt, it is known for its strong anti-viral and anti-oxidant properties. Shown to be very effective in shingles, flu and common cold. Its strong anti-oxidant properties protect the tree in hot, dry weather and can do the same for us.
Some other protective plants include Astragalus Root, Cranberry, Elderberry, Holy Basil, Lemon Balm, Oregano, and Turmeric. Include these in your diet in the form of teas, tinctures or in food.
It is said that 70% of the toxins in the body are absorbed through the skin. The simplest way to protect the skin is to replace chemical cleansers and cosmetics with anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-oxidant herbal products.
Absorption of nutrients through the skin can carry them to where they are needed so they can act rapidly in healing. Their gorgeous smells also have an immediate impact. Scent molecules travel through the olfactory nerves to the nervous system where emotions are processed. The oils have an uplifting, holistic effect on body and mind, enhancing wellbeing.
Check out our handmade, eco-friendly, all-round protective soaps with their high nutrition content, excellent not only for their anti-ageing and regenerative properties but also for detoxifying and moisturising, particularly in hot, dry weather.
Some soaps to look at are: Chamomile, Cinammon, Eucalptus, Nettle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Sage and Thyme.