It’s Cold and Flu Season!
Everyone around you at the office or your kid’s school are dropping like flies, and you may be wondering, “How do I skip getting sick this season?” Prevention is always best! Getting 8+ hours of sleep per night, eating a healthy diet, and stopping the spread of germs by washing hands often are the basics of preventing the cold and flu. But did you know that there is more that you can do to help prevent yourself from getting sick and help shorten the length of time once you are sick?
Echinacea and Elderberry Fight the Flu
Many herbs are superstars at combating common colds and flues.
Did you know Echinacea and Black Elderberry together work as effectively as Tamiflu (Oseltamivir) to shorten the duration and severity of flu symptoms, without the unpleasant side-effects of increased nausea and vomiting (1), and no one wants to have more nausea and vomiting when already sick with the flu!
In a study conducted in 2015, researchers recruited 473 patients who had exhibited flu symptoms for less than 48 hours from 29 primary care practices in the Czech Republic. The patients were randomly assigned to take Echinaforce® Hotdrink syrup, a beverage containing an alcoholic extract or tincture prepared from freshly harvested Echinacea purpurea herb and root, supplemented with European elderberry, Sambucus nigra, for 10 days, or oseltamivir (Tamiflu) for five days followed by placebo for five days. Results showed that after 10 days recovery was similar in both groups, with duration and severity of symptoms decreased compared to no treatment at all. Incidence of side-effects was low in both groups, although those taking Tamiflu were more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and vomiting (1).
Vitamin C Kicks Viruses to the Curb
Vitamin C is also one of our most important anti-viral agents for not only the flu but also cold viruses. It helps our own body’s immune system by assisting in the activation of interferon alpha and beta; essential components of our immune response that fight off the early stages of a virus, thus shortening the duration of being sick (2).
People cannot easily ingest more than 2,000mg of vitamin C orally because it causes diarrhea and digestive upset. We know that the higher dose of vitamin C, the better you will be able to stave off the cold and flu virus. The only way to get a higher dose of vitamin C is through Intravenous (IV) methods. IV’s allow you to bypass the digestive tract, and allows all of the nutrients to go straight to your blood stream where they can be most effective at doing their job. With an IV you can get 10X the vitamins – say good-bye to the cold and flu!
The Take Home Message
Whether you want to prevent the cold and flu by getting your vitamin C levels up, or help combat the flu once you have it, there are many natural remedies that are effective at getting you back on your feet. And don’t forget, the easiest ways to combat those pesky viruses are by stopping the spread of germs and keeping yourself healthy by supporting your immune system so it can do its job!
1. Rauš K, Pleschka S, Klein P, Schoop R, Fisher P. Echinaforce Hotdrink versus oseltamivir in influenza: a randomized, double-blind, double dummy, multicenter, non-inferiority clinical trial. Curr Ther Res. 2015; [epub ahead of print]. doi: 10.1016/j.curtheres.2015.04.001.
2. Kim, Y, Kim, H, Seyon, B, Et. Al. Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor on the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza A Virus (H3N2) Infection. Immune Netw. 2013 Apr; 13(2): 70–74. Published online 2013 Apr 30. doi: 10.4110/in.2013.13.2.70