Enjoy Winter Wellness
by Kirian Taylor
What we all wish for as the nights draw in is a healthy passage through to the other side of winter, for both mind and body.
Avoid the miseries
Not for us, we hope, the constantly streaming nose, the irritating cough disturbing our nights, the head full of cement… Unfortunately, the bugs have a number of factors on their side.
Viruses aren’t just airborne. They can live for up to 3 days on things like escalator handrails, door handles, coffee cups, drinking glasses and plastic surfaces.1 No wonder they can be so hard to avoid. The virus will then dock on epithelial cells in the nasal cavity and replicate, sparking the unpleasant cold/flu symptoms we know so well.
10% of colds are caused by bacteria2, so even if we escape the viral infection route, there are bacteria out there seeking a landing site on our hapless mucous membranes.
On the plus side, we have Echinacea to relieve the symptoms of colds and flu, as well as upper respiratory tract infections.
But even if you manage to stay cold free, the long dark days have to be faced.
Longing for the sun, plagued by dreary thoughts, and sick of damp greyness, we must wade our way through mounds of misery to the spring. For some, this tortuous journey through the woeful winter calendar is conducive to low mood on a level that can’t be shaken off with a cosy cuppa or a brisk walk. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) Syndrome is thankfully better recognised these days, and there are natural ways of dealing with it.
Firstly, some easy lifestyle adjustments:
Avoid caffeine and alcohol, which depress the nervous system. It is ironic that many people turn increasingly to these products when under strain, not realising that they can increase rather than alleviate the problem.
Get outside at least once a day, preferably in daylight. Even if it’s grey daylight, it will help boost your brain chemistry to fight the misery.
Make sure that you don’t turn to junk food and sugar in your lowness of spirit. They don’t contain the nutrients needed by your nervous system, and thus worsen the issues.
Secondly, some supplements to support you through to sunnier days:
Vitamin B complex and the mineral magnesium are both excellent for your nervous system, and are often lacking when misery (and its concomitant disinclination to eat well) strikes because they aren’t present in junk foods or highly processed foods.
Hypericum perforatum (St John’s Wort), is well known and researched for its positive effect on mood.
Hypericum tincture is an excellent way to take this herb, as it absorbs easily into the bloodstream without having to be broken down in the gut (an important point for people who have less than ideal digestion). An interesting point proven by recent research is that Hypericum not only boosts the mood but also alleviates seemingly disparate symptoms that often accompany low mood, such as fatigue, nervous anxiety and tension, headache and insomnia.