But we have power in being human. Our bodies are remarkable machines that are always at the ready to provide an attack on nasty bugs and invaders. The trouble is that these bodies of ours can fall short sometimes and just not quite make the cut, in which case we get sick.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, we call this winter sickness a “wind-cold.” One of the ancient Chinese doctors coined the phrase, “The wind is the chief of the one hundred diseases,” which turns out to be quite a literal statement in fact. A big way bugs and viruses travel to our mucus membranes and tissues is via the air, and the wind certainly doesn’t help that fact. One of the most important things we can do to defend ourselves against invading pathogens is to stay warm and as underexposed as possible. Scarves are essential (yes, even light ones in the warmer months) to keeping us protected.
While the body is working to restore that temperature, instead of our clothes and actions lending a hand, it cannot devote time and energy to defending against pathogenic factors and so infection gets the best of us and a cold ensues. So one of the first things we can do to protect ourselves is to always wear a scarf, especially in the wind. But there are also many other things we can do.
Another food that is extremely helpful is Astragalus. This is actually an herb and can be purchased in tea form or made up into a congee (a medicinal food based porridge). Astragalus has the power to increase white blood cell production as well as prolong the life of these important bug blasting cells. When combined with other herbs in a congee like pearl barley, goji berries, and cinnamon, we can give ourselves a delicious beginning to our day that is packed with immune support. Pearl barley is known for toting properties that can strengthen and regulate digestion and sugar metabolism, goji berries can build red blood cells and support kidney function, and cinnamon is a great way to keep our circulation up and running at it’s strongest so we can get those white blood cells where they need to go at a break neck pace. Top it off with some organic raw honey and you have added a tasty powerhouse of enzymes and healthy bacteria, both of which support healthy immune function.
Exercise, while difficult to get around to in the winter, is a good way to keep circulation moving and sweat out superficial toxins that may be lingering in your body but that aren’t quite apparent yet. Make sure that you exercise responsibly and always change out of sweaty clothing when you exit the gym into the cold air. Your open pores are open doors to a plethora of germs floating in the air.
And, of course, acupuncture is such an important part of the immune support arsenal! There are indeed specific points to strengthen immunity but the simple act of having a foreign item in the body (the needle) actually STIMULATES more white blood cell production, so after a treatment you’ll leave with a higher number of those little guys ready to go into battle for you.
So keep warm, eat up, take care, and stay healthy this season. We look forward to seeing you in the office for any and all that ails you. Happy New Year!