I often see illness as an indicator that we aren't taking care of ourselves. If we slowed down, ate better, exercised more, and reduced our stress, we wouldn't be sick as often or as long. It seems our approach to illness in this culture is counterproductive, and we strive to medicate ourselves to get back to working order. We either bombard it with excessive amounts of vitamins (bad idea) immune-stimulating Herbs (it's already stimulated) or suppress our natural responses to illness.
But by doing this, we only prolong illness and fight our body's natural defense mechanisms. By reducing a fever, you shut down the body's attempt to destroy a pathogen, and allow it to thrive. By suppressing a productive cough, you prevent your lungs from cleaning themselves out, and allow the illness to remain in your system.
What if we understood and respected our body's cues, and worked with them instead of against them? We would reduce the severity of our symptoms, reduce the length of illness, and emerge more healthy.
Instead of taking a fever reducer, why not encourage the body to sweat and break the fever, aiding it in destroying a pathogen? Why not aid a productive cough with an expectorant, and help it rid the body of mucus filled with germs? Why don't we take the day off work, breathe over a steaming mug of soup, tea, or herbs to clear congestion and soothe our tired, aching body? Why not get some sleep, fill up on nourishing food, and give our body what it needs?
You'd be surprised at how well the body responds, given what it needs.