Winter health

As we look forward to the coming year, we can consider the changes in the world and in ourselves. All of the growth and abundance of Spring and Summer are taken back into the earth in Autumn and Winter. The change in the outer world helps us to look within – to gather with family and friends and to strengthen ourselves.

It’s a great time to start a detox, or to boost the immune system to help with cold and flu season.

The cold and flu season runs from as early as October, to as late as May. The peak is often around February, depending on the weather. This year, we’ve had a very mild November and December, but it has been predicted that the mild spell will end in January, with a bitterly cold February to look forward to. The cooler temperatures, changes in humidity, tendency of people to stay indoors and lesser exposure to sunlight are all thought of as contributing to the spread of cold and flu viruses.

Weleda’s Sea Buckthorn Elixir is an ideal tonic for this time of year. It’s a natural source of Vitamins C, E and pro-vitamin A, and is a great tonic for those already suffering. It’s best given in the daytime, before meals. In anthroposophical thinking, the taste of the elixir helps ground one more in their body, and in so doing, resist the tendency of Winter ailments to push the person “out” and lose interest in what’s happening round them.

Blackthorn Elixir is often given to those getting over colds, flus and other illnesses, but it is also prized for its invigorating and strengthening qualities the whole way through the cold season. The blackthorn berries, from which the elixir is made, develop slowly over the Summer. They have the ability to conserve the vitality of their warm growing season very well indeed, which is evident in the rich, jam-like taste of the elixir. It’s best taken in the evening, when our metabolism begins to switch over into its up-building, “rest and digest” mode.

Birch Juice helps along the elimination of toxins accumulated over the winter. The silver birch tree as a remedy is associated strongly with the skin and the function of elimination, and in the juice, the leaves are used. It can be taken with meals as part of a detox diet plan, or diluted out with mineral water and made into a drink. A course of four to six weeks of Birch Juice is advised. Weleda also makes use of the properties of silver birch in its Birch Cellulite Oil and Birch Body Scrub. One study into a detox regime including twice-daily massage with Birch Cellulite Oil for 28 days, coupled with Birch Juice for three weeks, improved skin firmness and appearance.

Many find that the change in weather, and the use of heating and air-conditioning in the home and at work, leaves their skin chapped and dry. Skin food has a consistency and composition that helps restore and repair the natural barrier function of the skin, and I recommend liberally applying it before and after going out in the cold, and through the day. It’s especially good on drier problem areas, such as the hands. Healing calendula and sunflower oils nourish and moisturize the skin, while beeswax provides breathable protection from the weather. In general, the thicker the consistency of the moisturizer, the better it is for the skin – and Skin food not only has this, but is also drawn into the skin remarkably quickly. It doesn’t leave a greasy film, just well hydrated skin and a cheerful, natural citrus scent.

Also helpful for those whose lips are affected by the Winter weather, is Everon Lip Balm. Shea butter and jojoba seed oil soften and hydrate the skin, while the beeswax helps protect the area from the environment.

Get your winter must-haves!