I've been feeling a little like summer hasn't quite left us yet, which is why I think many of us have been caught by surprise with these terrible colds and flu which seem to have recently hit with a vengeance. Concerningly, there are suggestions we may be in for a bad flu season, which is why now is the time to begin taking our immune herbs. Even if we do have the flu shot, I would still suggest taking immune herbs throughout winter.
Sometimes it can be confusing to understand which supplements are best used as a preventative, which supplements should be taken when we 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 take a combination of herbs. My favourite combination contains several herbs - Olive Leaf, Andrographis, Echinacea, Sacred Basis plus Vitamin C, Selenium and Zinc. When looking for a formula to help avoid the dreaded colds and flu, I find this formula works well for me.
Olive Leaf contains antiviral and antibacterial properties which means it may be helpful in avoiding and/or treating colds, flu and viruses.
Andrographis is an amazing herb which is thought to be beneficial to take as a preventative as well as we you feel like we 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. 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.
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 may work well as immune boosters and aid in fighting bacteria.
There has been a lot of talk recently about Elderberry for treatment of colds and flu. I find Elderberry is helpful when in the acute stage of a cold or flu as it may help reduce the severity and relieve the symptoms of colds and flu, including a mild fever. It may also help relieve the symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections. I like an Elderberry formula which also contains Echinacea and Olive Leaf because of the benefits I've listed above.
I would therefore suggest taking the immune formula I've suggested as a preventative, however if you do unfortunately come down with a cold or flu, it would be beneficial to then change over to the Elderberry formula whilst in the acute stage of your illness. Once those severe symptoms have subsided, then switch back to your immune formula. It would be extremely beneficial to continue taking this immune formula right throughout the winter cold and flu season.
Another tip - if you're being kept awake at night with congestion, bouts of coughing and all those symptoms which go hand in hand with colds and flu, I suggest setting up an aromatherapy diffuser in your bedroom and diffusing a combination of peppermint, eucalyptus, tea tree and lavender oil. I was amazed at how helpful this was for me last year when I suffered from a terrible cold.
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. Don't forget to tune into Bev and Marianne on 2EC every Wednesday at 12.30 pm on Go Get Healthy