At this time of the year we are often asked our advice on the best supplements to prevent and treat colds, flu and viruses. Of course, there are many products on the market and sometimes it can be confusing to understand which supplements are best used as a preventative, which supplements should be taken when you are in the throes of the cold or flu and which supplements are beneficial to help recovery. To get the best results I believe it’s best to have a combination of herbs. My favourite combination contains several herbs plus Vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc.
To my mind, as a preventative you really can’t go past Olive Leaf extract. Unlike some immune boosting herbs Olive Leaf is a fantastic tonic which can be taken all year round. It’s antiviral and antibacterial properties are perfect to help avoid and/or treat colds, flu and viruses. Over the past 12 years since Olive Leaf came onto the market, Olive Leaf continues to be one of our highest selling products which is always an indicator of a product which works well. If you are looking to take a product to help avoid the dreaded colds and flu already infiltrating our community, I would suggest Olive Leaf Extract.
Then we come to what should be taken when you feel like you are coming down with the dreaded lurgy. Andrographis is an amazing herb which is perfect to take when you feel like you are on the verge of a cold or flu. Andrographis is a traditional Chinese, South East Asian and Indian herb which has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine. Because of its powerful immune strengthening benefits it has been used as a preventative for many diseases. In fact during the global flu epidemic in 1919 where millions of people died worldwide, deaths in India seem to have been avoided. Some believe the therapeutic benefits of Andrographis helped to stop the deadly virus spreading throughout India. Now there’s a good reason to take Andrographis!
Echinacea is another great herb which has been promoted as an immune booster for many years. Echinacea has traditionally been used to treat or prevent colds, flu and other infections plus stimulate the immune system to help fight infections. This is another herb I would suggest taking if you feel like you are coming down with an illness.
Sacred Basil is not a well-known herb, however it is also known to boost the body’s ability to resist viral and bacterial infections. It is wonderful for treating the symptoms of cold and flu. Sacred Basil has been found to help reduce fevers as well as help with coughs. By mobilizing the mucous it works as an expectorant when suffering from bronchitis. So once again Sacred Basil is great to take when you actually have the cold or flu.
Another important ingredient in my favourite immune formula is Calcium Ascorbate (Vitamin C). We’re often asked what is the difference between Calcium Ascorbate and Ascorbic Acid also known as Vitamin C. By adding calcium salts to ascorbic acid a buffer to the ascorbic acid is created which enables far easier digestion and absorption. It is obviously far less acidic minimizing gastrointestinal discomfort. The remaining ingredients, Zinc and Selenium also work well as immune boosters and aid in fighting bacteria.
This formula is great to be used as a preventative, taking one tablet a day. If you are in the throes of a cold or flu you may take up to 4 tablets a day. I believe this is one of the best immune formulas on the market, not only because of the excellent selection of herbs in the formula but also because of the strength of those herbs.
When you’re in the midst of a cold, it’s always helpful to add herbs which can help those symptoms such as mucous congestion. Horseradish helps thin the mucous which makes it much easier to cough up. In the beginning the mucous may increase, however that’s good because it means the body is cleansing and within a couple of days the cough and mucous congestion should improve. Adding Marshmallow Root and Fenugreek to the mix will increase mucosal fluids easing inflamed tissues such as a sore throat and sore nasal passages. Another not so well-known herb is the Japanese Herb, Perilla which can help ease stuffy noses and bronchial coughs.
For further information on cold and flu remedies call to see Bev and the team at Go Vita, Your Health Shop at 5 North St, Batemans Bay or phone on 44729737.