Colds & Flu
The American Botanical Council reports that there are several natural options that may help normal, healthy adults protect against colds and flu, diminish symptoms, and shorten the intensity and duration of colds and flu.
When taken at the first sign of symptoms some herbs have demonstrated benefits. According to reports there are a handful of herbs with proven safety that can help improve the body’s immune functions, including echinacea, the increasingly popular immune booster, elderberry, astragulus, and the Chinese herb andrographis.
Clinical studies on echinacea show that it can diminish the symptoms and duration of colds and flu.
[Note] In my personal experience taking echinacea and
vitamin C at the first sign of a cold greatly reduces the
severity and duration.
One Saturday morning I woke up feeling miserable, sneezing, coughing, congested, feverish, and with muscle aches. I immediately began echinacea and vitamin C (Emergen-C, I sipped it slowly through out the day and another at night). The next morning I felt much better, and the third day I felt good enough to go out to eat and meet with friends. The fourth day, I was perfectly fine.
In a recent Canadian clinical trial on an echinacea extract it was shown that the herbal extract lowered respiratory tract symptoms in people with colds.
In a Norwegian study scientists were able to demonstrate that patients receiving elderberry extract recovered from the flu four days earlier than patients in the control group. Symptoms were also made less severe with no significant side effects reported.
Elderberry is noted for its mildness, safety, and wonderful taste. It’s also a good remedy for children. Clinical and laboratory research documents the beneficial immune-stimulating properties of elderberry preparations.
Andrographis is an herb with a good record of being scientifically documented for its safety and benefits, but it hasn’t become popular in the United States. It is available from a few manufacturers. Quite a few published clinical trials show that andrographis is safe and effective in treating upper respiratory tract infections associated with colds and flus.
In addition, a standardized extract of astragalus, a well-known Chinese herb, is helpful to take throughout the flu season.
For more information on the above mentioned herbs, use the following links: