It's that time of year - lots of sweets and lots of sickness. Sugar immobilizes your white blood cells. They are your internal army; the guys that attack and kill the invaders, build better immunity and keep you healthy. We are exposed to germs and bacterias every day. If there is no defense in place to keep fighting them off, or a weakened defense, then the invaders over-take us.
To me, Christmas just isn't completely Christmas without the holiday treats that we only eat at this time of year! But we can still give our bodies all the help possible. Eat the sweets sparingly. Sugar on an empty stomach is never a good idea. Sugar and alcohol absorb into your system directly from the stomach. That's why they affect us so quickly. Everything else we eat has to go through the entire process of digestion, then absorption through the intestinal walls into millions of little capillaries until they are all channeled into the large renal artery that goes into the liver where the blood is purified before it carries the nutrients out the other side and distributes them throughout the body. (Whew!) So sugar hits your system hard and fast and literally paralyzes your immune system for as long as 24 hours. With all the new viruses and flues going around in addition to the common ones, that's pretty risky.
The good Lord has also provided us with many natural and healthy aids to strengthen and help our bodies in their fight for health. Echinacea is one of the most common and most easily accessible. Echinacea is a perennial with flowers that range in yellow, orange, pink or purple. It is also known as the Purple Cone Flower. Echinacea is native to North America and is easy to grow. I had some growing in my flower garden for several years and didn't know what it was. Medicinally, the entire plant is used. You can find it in just about any form: encapsulated, tincture, tablet, or bulk in either powdered or cut and sifted form. I keep capsules and tinctures on hand, but my preferred method of use is as a tea. I buy it in bulk (cut) and steep it in hot water. Add a little honey and you have a soothing tea that is absorbed quickly.
Many studies and laboratory tests have been done on the use of Echinacea. It is often referred to as an immune builder or a natural antibiotic. It helps to break up and expell mucous, which removes the best place for unwanted microbes to live, proliferate and spread. It's effectiveness can be increased when used with other herbs, also, depending on what kind of illness you are dealing with. I came across a study years ago that said the combination of Echinacea, Licorice Root and Thyme made a potent immune builder. I made a glycerite of the combination and gave a little daily to my children during cold and flu season. We got far less sickness than friends and neighbors around us and when someone did catch a cold or flu, it seemed to be mild and short-lived. It is a wonderful herb to decorate your flower garden with and learn to use. The day may come when we have only our own knowledge and resources to rely on in times of need.
We have used Echinacea for many years and reaped the benefit of this wonderful plant. When we first feel something "coming on", we take some Echinacea with a couple of capsules of Myrrh, and 9 times out of 10, we feel fine by morning. It helps our body to fight off the invader before it goes wild and we avoid the sickness. My 3 teenagers have never been to a doctor for any illness. Being self-reliant with your health saves a lot of money! I hope you all keep some Echinacea on hand, eat wisely, sleep well, and enjoy this wonderful season in good health!