Hi everyone!

My name is Rebecca Cook and I am the resident Herbalist on the Supercharged Food web site. Each month I will be bringing to you information about herbal medicine and answering any questions you may have.

You can email me here: bexjc@yahoo.com.au
Just a little bit about me. I am a fully qualified Herbalist and have previously worked as a Massage Therapist for 8 years. I have treated a diverse range of ailments with various techniques ranging from remedial massage to hot stones, relaxation and energetic healing with reiki.

Massage therapy is incredibly beneficial, however after treating people for many years I observed that there is much more going on with people than just the physical complaints that have manifested themselves.


About Herbal Medicine

Most of the re-occurring complaints were related to ‘stress’ and the body’s ability to manage the acute and chronic stress response on a mental, emotional and eventually physical level. I wanted to offer more to my clients and that is where my passion turned to herbal medicine.

I believe the best results can be achieved when a treatment can be individualised; this is one of the major benefits of herbal medicine. I am committed to assisting clients achieve their goals by enhancing their knowledge and responsibility for their health. This involves supporting and motivating compliance of treatment programs and offering guidance in preventative diet and lifestyle.

Herbal medicine supports the body systems to function in synergy with each other, addressing the underlying cause of ‘dis-ease’ which in turn supports the body to restore to its intended state of balance without doing any further harm.

I will be keeping you up to date seasonally with conditions that may rear their ugly head and the benefits of using herbal medicine when treating these conditions.

Cold and flu season is upon us and for those of you who have been lucky enough not to come into contact with any nasty bugs.. well done!

It is difficult in highly populated areas to avoid catching something as we are constantly exposed to many bugs (bacteria, microbes, parasites, viruses) that spread from person to person and are highly contagious. Coughing, sneezing, or hand to hand contact will easily pass the bugs on.

So what can we do? Support our immune and adrenal systems!

Colds and flus are generally due to a bacterial or viral infection, which are more often than not accompanied by stress, fatigue, excess cold or heat. Indications of cold and flu are fever, sore throat, coughs, runny nose or stuffiness, muscle aches and low energy.

How to prepare and support the immune system?

The best way to treat a cold is when you don’t have one. Prevention is always better then cure.  Here is my advice;

  1. Cleanse the intestinal tract; there is a great percentage of immune function that is found in the intestinal tract. If parasites, ‘bad’ bacteria and fungal over growth are present they will compromise immune function by using nutrients and over loading the system with toxins, leaving the body depleted, weakened and susceptible to infectious disease.
  2. Manage acute and chronic stress levels.
  3. Maintain a healthy balanced diet; the body needs adequate amounts of vitamins, minerals, proteins, carbohydrates and fats to rebuild cells, produce energy, support vital organ function and maintain an optimum immune response.
  4. Avoid contaminated or chlorinated water by using a water filter.
  5. Increase intake of antioxidants when exposed to radiation.
  6. Sleep; the immune system is rejuvenated and strengthened by a hormone melatonin, which is a strong antioxidant that is released when it becomes dark. Getting adequate amounts of sleep daily (8 hours) gives your body the opportunity to restore and heal while you sleep.
  7. Exercise; maintaining a balanced exercise routine will help boost your immune system, by increasing production of macrophages, the cell that attacks bacteria.


How do I support my immune system with herbal medicine?

Prevention is better than cure, however the same herbs that will strengthen immune function prior to getting a bug, will also help support the immune system if you are currently fighting off a cold or flu.

Herbs you can use in cooking and that are also found in a herbal dispensary:
Garlic; anti-microbial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-biotic, assists in killing or expelling intestinal worms and parasites, anti-oxidant an excellent herb for fighting a wide range of infection and boosting the immune system
Ginger; anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, reduces the feeling of nausea, promotes sweating during fever, mild pain relief.
Thyme; antiseptic, anti-microbial, reduces spasm of muscles in the respiratory tract, suppresses cough reflex, facilitates the removal of excess mucous
Peppermint; antibacterial, antiseptic to the gut, assists in killing or expelling intestinal worms and parasites, cooling, facilitates the removal of excess mucous, promotes sweating during fever
Lemon balm; anti-viral (system and topically), anti-microbial, promotes sweating during fever
Sage; anti-septic to the gut and respiratory system, cooling
Elderberry/ elder flower; reduces to formation of mucous, promotes sweating during fever, cooling
Blackberry; rich in vitamin C
Lemons: rich source of vitamin C


Other herbs found in the dispensary:

Echinacea; an effective anti-bacterial and blood cleanser that gives this herb its wonderful reputation when treating the common cold and flu, it is most effective before the full onset. Echinacea increases the level of a chemical which activates the part of the immune system responsible for increasing defence mechanisms against virus and bacteria.
Andrographis; stimulates one or more aspects of the immune reaction, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, reduces fever, increases the resistance to physical, emotional or biological stressors, restores balance to the body
Astragalus; stimulates one or more aspects of the immune reaction in time of chronic infection, debility or auto-immune disease, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, increases the resistance to physical, emotional or biological stressors, restores balance to the body
Liquorice; increases the resistance to physical, emotional or biological stressors, restores balance to the body, reduces spasm of respiratory tract, reduces to formation of mucous, soothes inflamed mucous membranes of the respiratory tract
Boneset; promotes sweating during fever, alleviates body aches that feel they are ‘through to the bone’
Cinnamon; anti-microbial, reduces the feeling of nausea
Golden rod; reduces the formation of mucous in the upper respiratory tract, normalises the function and secretions of mucous membranes, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, adrenal tonic
Yarrow; promotes sweating during fever, anti-inflammatory


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