With lots of colds and viruses making the rounds it is important to understand how they work so we know what is an appropriate way to treat them. Doctors would have you believe there is no cure for the common cold and that you need to protect yourself from them at all costs. They want you to get a flu vaccine and then suppress any symptoms with drugs and over the counter suppressants. As a natural therapists I look at it differently. Dr. Ben Kim has summed up this approach.
Colds and flus are caused by viruses. So to understand what colds and flus do at a cellular level, you have to understand what viruses do at a cellular level.
Do you remember learning about cellular division in grade seven science class? Each of your cells are called parent cells, and through processes of genetic duplication (mitosis) and cellular division (cytokinesis), each of your parent cells divides into two daughter cells. Each daughter cell is then considered a parent cell that will divide into two more daughter cells, and so on.
Viruses are different from your cells in that they cannot duplicate themselves through mitosis and cytokinesis. Viruses are nothing but microscopic particles of genetic material, each coated by a thin layer of protein.
Due to their design, viruses are not able to reproduce on their own. The only way that viruses can flourish in your body is by using the machinery and metabolism of your cells to produce multiple copies of themselves.
Once a virus has gained access into one of your cells, depending on the type of virus involved, one of two things can happen:
The virus uses your cell’s resources to replicate itself many times over and then breaks open (lyses) the cell so that the newly replicated viruses can leave in search of new cells to infect. Lysis effectively kills your cell.
Here is the key to understanding why colds and flus, when allowed to run their course while you rest, can be good for you:
By and large, the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect mainly your weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that you want to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new, healthy cells.
So in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu is a natural event that can allow your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.
Have you ever been amazed by how much “stuff” you could blow out of your nose while you had a cold or the flu? Embedded within all of that mucous are countless dead cells that your body is saying good bye to, largely due to the lytic effect of viruses.
So you see, there never needs to be a cure for the common cold, since the common cold is nature’s way of keeping you healthy over the long term. And so long as you get plenty of rest and strive to stay hydrated and properly nourished during a cold or flu, there is no need to get vaccinated or to take medications that suppress congested sinuses, a fever, or coughing. All of these uncomfortable symptoms are actually ways in which your body works to eliminate waste products and/or help your body get through a cold or flu.
So, let yourself have some down time and let the cold or flu run its course. Take things to help your immune system maintain healthy cells. Remember it is the damaged cells that get attacked. The 4 Gs for colds: Greens, ginger, garlic, and grapefuit seed extract. Add a box of kleenex and a cup a tea. Let your body cleanse itself of old cells and refresh your system.
Read more: Dr Ben Kim