It is cold and flu season, and my office is bustling with runny noses, sore throats, small and large coughs… and the list goes on. Surprisingly, few people come into the office for the cold or flu but do arrive sick, and they assure me that they already have their cold and flu regime in place. However, as with all natural herbal medications or vitamin support, are you sure that what you are taking for your cold or flu is the right choice?
Excellent and well-known supports
One of the most effective tried and true treatments, both preventative and useful. However, that one vitamin C chewable is not going to be enough in the full swing of a cold or flu, and you will need more to help the body get rid of it in all current research.
Echinacea purpurea and angustifolia
Both species are important for cold and flu prevention (the most common in formulas is purpurea, however angustifolia in herbal literature is actually more powerful). Use should be avoided in any individual self-prescribing on immunosuppressive therapy as echinacea does have the ability to make the immune system more active, which counteracts the purpose of these therapies.
Great before a cold or flu to prevent (as typically seen is cold and flu formulas), but literature reveals that once it hits, zinc does not make things “speed up” and get out of your system any faster. True, bacteria do not like zinc but it is much better as you feel those early tickles as compared to once the nasal monsoon arrives!
This is known to be antibacterial and is even used for surgical wounds to prevent infection. Can be very helpful especially in the oral mucosa, of course, depending on the person and can be used most often during the cold period to relieve symptoms
The wonder vitamin of the last few years, vitamin D does enhance the presence of receptors on immune cells to watch out for any microbes that might be lurking around. Another excellent preventative therapy, but once you have the cold and flu will not actually get rid of your icky feeling faster.
Lesser known but very effective cold and flu supports once you have a cold or flu
Both bacteria and virus-fighting, andrographis is a fantastic cold and flu preventative as well as really helps to improve how you feel once they hit. In the proper dosages, can also be used in children (however does not taste wonderful….)
This is a very common herb used in children (but can be used in taste-sensitive adults) as it does taste slightly sweet, and is commonly mixed with Vitamin C in cold and flu formulas so kids can feel better but moms and dads do not need a huge battle to get it into the system!
Antibacterial and disgusting (as I have been told and experienced personally), an important herb for infections in cold and flu complications (tonsillitis, sinusitis) and can be used safely with medication (with the guidance of your ND please)!
Of course, this list is fairly short and there are many more supports. If you have been taking one of the above and are realizing perhaps that you have not been directing your cold and flu prevention properly, do not be discouraged. Knowledge is power, and now you know!