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Essential Winter Remedies

A woman sneezing into a handkerchief

Winter is heading in our direction but we at Rude Health are determined to stay healthy throughout the colder months with these great tips

Winter stiffness

“At the start of winter in Ireland comes the return for many of osteoarthritis pain,” says Sally Smith, owner of Open Sesame in Gort, Co Galway. “I always advise exercise – swimming, walking no matter what your age. The number one supplement for this is a good quality fish oil which oils your joints. If you take it with food it won’t repeat. A glucosamine supplement with chondroitin can also help. There are also a host of ant-inflammatory herb combinations that can help.”

Keeping warm

“Circulatory problems cause chilblains and cold hands when the cold sets in, says Sally Smith. “Cinnamon and cayenne pepper in capsules or rutin can help.”

Rutin is found in buckwheat, black tea, citrus fruits and apple peel. “Exercise gets the blood flowing,” says Sally, “but we also find that to stay warm in our climate you do need regular slow release carbohydrates. High fibre porridge really can help warm you for the day – skipping breakfast can be part of the problem. Try to include slow-release carbs like brown basmati rice in your main meal.”

The dreaded lurgy

“For coughs, colds and flu vitamin C and echinacea can help,” says Sally Smith. “Take a whopping dose of vitamin C for a few days – 4000mg should do it.” The root, leaves and flowers of Echinacea all have medicinal properties and can be taken as a tincture or in tea. “An olive leaf and elderberry tincture or elderberry syrup can be really effective for colds too,” says Sally Smith.

Nasal congestion

Ginger tea can really help to clear a stuffy nose due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Eucalyptus has an antibacterial action that can help you to breathe easier. A good way to take eucalyptus is to inhale it – pour hot water into a bowl, add a few drop of eucalyptus oil, drape a towel over your head and the bowl and breathe in the steam.


For some people the onset of winter and reduction in the levels of sunlight can lead to irritability, fatigue and depression, also known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. Vitamin D is your number one help in this case as it is essential for the body. It helps the brain to produce dopamine, a natural mood lifter. Vitamin D is found in oily fish and eggs or if you don’t eat enough of these, and many of us don’t, take a supplement.

According to, a fish oil research library, “In confined environments, germs pass easier and immune-boosting vitamin D from the sun is reduced. Omega-3 fish oil contains naturally occurring vitamin D3, the same form our bodies make from sun exposure. Vitamin D benefits not only calcium absorption and bone health, it helps regulate the immune and neuromuscular systems, as well as mood and sleep.”

Boosting immunity

“A large body of scientific evidence indicates that adequate levels of omega-3s in the body promote a healthy immune response,” according to “The omega-3s we consume are incorporated into our cell membranes. When the immune system is triggered, for example by the flu and cold germs that are so common in the winter months, fatty acids are released from the cell membranes. These fatty acids are converted into molecules as part of the body’s natural healing response. High quality, purified fish oil is the safest, most effective source of omega-3 essential fatty acids.”

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