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Cold and Flu Prevention

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It is cold and flu sea­son, and people are experiencing 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 régime 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

VITAMIN C

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.

ZINC

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!

COLLOIDAL SIL­VER

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

VITAMIN D

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

ANDROGRAPHIS PAN­ICU­LATA

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....)

ELDERBERRY

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!

GOLDENSEAL

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!

Dr Aoife Earls is a naturopathic doctor whose passion is in improving skin conditions and supporting gastrointestinal conditions like irritable bowel diseases and irritable bowel syndrome.

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