Herbal Cold and Flu Remedies



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Herbal Cold and Flu RemediesAdaptogens: which include Eleuthero (Siberian ginseng), Asian ginseng, Astragalus, and Schizandra, are thought to help keep various body systems – including the immune system – functioning optimally.

Take Siberian ginseng in tincture, herbal granules or in capsules. Capsule doses of 500mg three times a day. Another immune stimulant, Boneset, helps fight off minor viral infections, such as the common cold.

Echinacea: Patients primarily use echinacea to prevent and treat the common cold. The alkylamide, alkaloid, and polyacetylene fractions are thought responsible for stimulating leukocytes and increasing the release of TNF and interleukin 1.

A double-blind, randomized studies for the treatment of the common cold suggest that, if initiated within 24 hours of onset, echinacea may shorten the duration of colds, but may not reduce the severity of symptoms. More research is needed. Fresh pressed juice of the flowers of Echinacea (E. purpurea) preserved with alcohol and tinctures of root of echinacea (E. pallida) have been shown to reduce symptoms of the common cold.

Echinacea (E. angustifolia) root tinctures has been shown to reduce symptoms of the common cold. The minimum effective amount of Echinacea tincture or juice that is necessary to take is 3 ml three times per day. More (3-5 ml every two hours) is generally better and is safe, even for children.

Encapsulated herbs may also be effective, generally 300-600 mg capsules three times per day are used. Recent studies indicate that regular use of Echinacea to prevent colds does not work. Therefore, it is currently recommended to limit use of echinacea to the onset of a cold and to use it for only 7 to 10 days consecutively.

Elderberry: is derived from the dark purple berry or from the white to light-yellow flowers of the black or common elder tree. Elderberry, a relative of the blueberry, has been found to have powerful anti-viral properties. Elderberry extract may be used to treat a cold or flu, or taken as a prophylactic which fortifies the immune system.

Horseradish has antibiotic properties, which may account for its easing of throat and upper respiratory tract infections.

Goldenseal: In traditional herbal medicine, Goldenseal root is often taken with Echinacea. The pharmacological action of goldenseal is attributed to both hydrastine and berberine. Berberine has been shown to have anti-microbial activity against certain pathogens such enterotoxigenic E. coli and V. cholera.

However, due to small amounts in the root, it is unlikely that these effects would occur. Goldenseal soothes irritated mucous membranes in the throat, making it useful for those experiencing a sore throat with their cold.

Goldenseal root extract, capsules, or tablets are typically taken in amounts of 4-6 grams three times per day. Using Goldenseal powder as a tea or tincture may soothe a sore throat. Caution: Goldenseal root should only be used for short periods of time, up to 7 consecutive days.

Garlic: The intact cells of garlic contain an odorless, sulfur-containing amino acid derivative known as alliin. When the cells are crushed, alliin comes into contact with the enzyme alliinase located in neighboring cells and is converted to allicin. Allicin is a potent antibiotic, but it is highly odoriferous and unstable. The ajoenes are apparently responsible for the antithrombotic properties of garlic. Allicin is described as possessing antiplatelet, antibiotic, and antihyperlipidemic activity.

Ginger: An anti-inflammatory. Ginger has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory. Taking 6-50 grams of fresh or powdered ginger per day indicated that ginger might be helpful. Suggested Dosage: 0.5 to 1 mg of powdered ginger daily

Licorice Root is anti viral, anti-inflammatory, soothes gastric mucous membranes. The root cleanses the colon, increases fluidity of mucous in the lungs and bronchial tubes. Licorice is used extensively in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a variety of conditions and ailments.

Almost all clinical studies on licorice have been performed in combination with other herbs. Alone, licorice is used primarily to manage gastric complaints. A number of active chemicals are thought to account for its biologic activity. Due to the adverse reaction profile of licorice, many studies have been performed using the deglycyrrhizinated licorice (DGL) extract, which is free of glycyrrhizin and has had no significant reported adverse effects.

Mucilage herbs, such as Slippery Elm and Marshmallow, are often helpful for symptomatic relief of coughs and irritated throats. Mullein has expectorant and demulcent properties, which accounts for this herb’s historical use as a remedy for the respiratory tract, particularly in cases of irritating coughs with bronchial congestion.

Red Raspberry, Blackberry and Blueberry leaves contain astringent tannins that are helpful for soothing sore throats.

Sage tea can be gargled to soothe a sore throat.

Yarrow has been used for sore throats. All of these remedies are not supported by modern research at this time, but are traditionally used.

Wild Indigo also stimulates the immune system, which might account for its role against the common cold and flu.

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Originally posted 2008-11-12 16:51:22.


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