How to Treat Respiratory Tract Infections with Everyday Foods and Spices

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It is almost the peak of the winter season here in the Northern Hemisphere, which means coughs, colds, influenza, and various other respiratory ailments are on the rise. Such conditions are typically the result of poor diet, low immunity, and lack of natural sunlight exposure, among other things, but developing them does not have to be inevitable, especially if you take the proper preventive steps now to avoid them. Here are eight foods and spices to help keep you free of respiratory tract infections during these cold, winter months:

1) Echinacea. This flowering herb has been a staple in natural medicine for hundreds of years, as it possesses unique, immune-boosting compounds that work almost immediately at the first sign of infection to quell it quickly. Commonly referred to throughout history as a "cure-all" herb, echinacea helps naturally boost the body's own natural levels of properdin, a chemical substance that activates the part of the immune system responsible for warding off bacteria and viruses. Echinacea can also help reduce the severity of existing cold and flu symptoms, and help quickly eliminate such conditions (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/echinacea-000239.htm).

2) Garlic. A powerful immune booster, garlic has also been used for many centuries as a natural remedy for respiratory illness. Long before synthetic antibiotics were invented, in fact, garlic was the medicine of choice for treating infections, as it contains powerful medicinal compounds such as allicin, sulfhydryl and various other sulfur-containing compounds that ward off disease. Adding more fresh garlic to your diet or taking garlic supplements is a great way to fortify your immune system to avoid disease (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/garlic-000245.htm).

For a great healing tea recipe using garlic, check out The Nourishing Gourmet's "Garlic, Honey, and Lemon Tea:" http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com

3) Green onion (scallion). A close relative of garlic, the green...
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