10 nat­u­ral ways to feel bet­ter and give your im­mune sys­tem a boost.

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Joanna Cos­grove

It’s that time of year, when nd an­noy­ing coughs can morph u. nes t come with­out both­er­some, and some­times dan­ger­ous,

— cer­tain herbs, vi­ta­mins, and min­er­als have proven to be e ec­tive al­ter­na­tives to OTC slp s on of some sea­sonal sick­nesses. ere’s some over­lap d

n Is­raelsen, pres­i­dent of the United Nat­u­ral Prod­ucts ar OTC medicines like as­pirin, guaife­n­esin (an ex­pec­to­rant), and even pseu­doephedrine (a de­con­ges­tant) all orig­i­nate

nts. “You can buy many of those al

form—they can’t use the same word­ing be­cause that’s re­served for over the counter prod­ucts, but es­sen­tially they are the same thing,” he says. “ere’s a lot of ce be­hind th­ese nat­u­ral prod­ucts, and the ev­i­dence and the stud­ies sup­port­ing them are de nitely there.”

Just as a u shot tar­gets only cer­tain strains of the virus, there is no one drug to pre­vent or cure the com­mon cold, and no one nat­u­ral rem­edy ei­ther. Joe Grae­don, phar­ma­col­o­gist, au­thor, and co­host of the na­tion­ally syn­di­cated Peo­ple’s Phar­macy pub­lic ra­dio pro­gram with his wife Terry Grae­don, has a hy­poth­e­sis: there are over 200 di er­ent viruses that cause the com­mon cold, and

one rem­edy won’t nec­es­sar­ily

x the en­tire prob­lem. For ex­am­ple, “some­times zinc seems to work like a charm and other times it fails,” he says. “Per­haps the rea­son is not the rem­edy, but rather the na­ture of the in­fec­tion it­self.”

Be pre­pared for what­ever cold and u sea­son brings with one or more of th­ese 10 proven cold and u al­ter­na­tives, com­bined with plenty of rest and hy­dra­tion to help keep the bugs at bay:

VI­TA­MIN C AND ZINC: A po­tent pre­ven­tive combo that also gives ex­ist­ing colds a one-two punch.

When it comes to ward­ing o a cold or the u, an ounce of preven­tion re­ally is worth a pound of cure. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, au­thor, teacher, and for­mer mem­ber of the White House Com­mis­sion on Com­ple­men­tary and Al­ter­na­tive Medicine Pol­icy, rec­om­mends proac­tive, reg­u­lar con­sump­tion of vi­ta­min C and zinc for de­creas­ing the odds of get­ting sick. And if you do catch some­thing, this combo will help you ght it o faster. “In gen­eral, take 200 mg of vi­ta­min C twice daily, and take it more fre­quently if you start to catch a cold,” she says. “Take 15 mg of zinc ev­ery day (the amount in most mul­ti­vi­ta­mins), and if you start to get sick, suck on lozenges con­tain­ing 5–10 mg of zinc ev­ery 3–4 hours for 2–3 days.”

COD-LIVER OIL: is oldiebut-goodie boosts im­mu­nity and re­duces the risk of up­per-res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tions.

Cod-liver oil has tra­di­tion­ally been the go-to home rem­edy for stay­ing healthy in

the cold win­ter months, es­pe­cially in frigid Nordic coun­tries. It can be taken in ei­ther liq­uid or cap­sule form. Peo­ple’s Phar­macy’s Terry Grae­don says cod-liver oil’s long-stand­ing rep­u­ta­tion for ward­ing o win­ter colds has been stud­ied for its par­tic­u­lar e ec­tive­ness in chil­dren, and the re­search con rms that kids who take it su er from fewer up­per-res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions. “Whether that is due to the vi­ta­min D and vi­ta­min A that is found in the oil, or to some other qual­ity isn’t known,” she says.

BLACK ELDER­BERRY: e first line of de­fense against colds and con­ges­tion, and a proven re­ducer of the sever­ity and du­ra­tion of in­fluenza.

Avail­able in syrups, tinc­tures, lozenges, and tablets, avonoidrich black elder­berry is a fa­vorite of Low Dog, who sug­gests tak­ing this im­mune-booster at the rst sign of a scratchy throat or stu y nose. “Elder­berry can be safe and e ec­tive for many of the com­mon res­pi­ra­tory com­plaints peo­ple com­plain of dur­ing the cold and u sea­son,” she says, not­ing its safety for adults and chil­dren. “Stud­ies show that it has po­tent an­tivi­ral ac­tiv­ity, even against the u,” she con­tin­ues. “When the H1N1 u was go­ing around, the Na­tional In­sti­tutes of Health screened a wide range of nat­u­ral prod­ucts to see if they had an­tivi­ral ac­tiv­ity, and black elder­berry ranked very high.”

HONEY: A sweet soother of coughs and sore throats.

A spoon­ful of sugar may help the medicine go down, but a spoon­ful of raw honey, ei­ther taken alone or melted into a mug of warm wa­ter or a cup of fresh gin­ger tea, has been hailed as an e ec­tive, short-term cough buster, es­pe­cially at night among young chil­dren. Note: Never give honey to chil­dren un­der the age of 1.

ECHI­NACEA: e herb that eases colds, sore throats, and res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions.

e e ec­tive­ness of echi­nacea (also known as pur­ple cone ower) has been hotly de­bated for decades, but a 2014 study ac­knowl­edged that the peren­nial gar­den plant does in­deed de­liver bene ts for cold su er­ers. Low Dog uses echi­nacea to quell colds, sore throats, and res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions. “I have used the tinc­ture for both my fam­ily and pa­tients for more than 35 years,” she says. “As a mat­ter of fact, many pa­tients told me it was the rst her­bal medicine that they had ever used that made them re­ally be­lieve that ‘this stu works.’”

HYS­SOP: Na­ture’s ex­pec­to­rant.

Th is aro­matic mem­ber of the mint fam­ily can help to re­duce phlegm. It is usu­ally taken in tea form with honey (a bonus cough soother). “Hys­sop pos­sesses an­tivi­ral prop­er­ties and pro­motes the ex­pul­sion of mu­cus from the res­pi­ra­tory sys­tem,” says Low Dog. She adds that hys­sop

fl ower tea has long been used to ease colds, coughs, and con­ges­tion. “Th e tea is quite pleas­ant, and I have found it to be a very good ex­pec­to­rant when taken in small doses through­out the day.”

EU­CA­LYP­TUS OIL: A beloved clearer of stu y si­nuses.

A fea­tured in­gre­di­ent in lozenges, salves, and nasal in­halers, eu­ca­lyp­tus oil con­tains a com­po­nent that’s proven to be an ef­fec­tive treat­ment for si­nusi­tis. Most eas­ily used in a dif­fuser or via steam in­hala­tion, eu­ca­lyp­tus oil has been lauded by the Na­tional As­so­ci­a­tion for Holis­tic Aro­mather­apy for its abil­ity to de­con­gest si­nuses and act as a nat­u­ral cough sup­pres­sant, while help­ing cleanse the air of bac­te­ria and other icky mi­crobes. You can also blend a few drops into a neu­tral car­rier (like co­conut oil) and ap­ply to the chest to help re­duce con­ges­tion.

PEP­PER­MINT OIL: A re­fresh­ing way to soothe headaches.

Th e cool­ing zing of pep­per­mint does more than just freshen breath; it’s also a po­tent way to ease headaches. “A drop [of pep­per­mint oil] mas­saged into the tem­ples en­cour­ages ir­ri­tated blood ves­sels to re­turn to a more bal­anced state, evening out blood fl ow and dulling sharp pain,” says Low Dog. “A drop or two will work magic on any ten­sion and tight­ness around the tem­ples and neck.” Be care­ful to wash your hands af­ter ap­pli­ca­tion, as pep­per­mint oil will sting mu­cous mem­branes in the eyes and nose.

MAITAKE: A mush­room your im­mune sys­tem loves.

Maitake mush­room has been found to be a po­tent and ef­fec­tive im­mune en­hancer. An ex­tract from maitake known as maitake D-frac­tion has been shown to in­crease num­bers of key im­mune cells, en­hance their ac­tiv­ity, and im­prove func­tion of im­mune sys­tem over­all. Th is means it can bet­ter your odds of not catch­ing that cold in the fi rst place, and help to knock out one more quickly if you do. Stud­ies show maitake D-frac­tion is ef­fec­tive in stim­u­lat­ing macrophages, T cells, and nat­u­ral killer (NK) cells in the im­mune sys­tem, giv­ing your body a fi ght­ing chance against in­vaders and even cancer.

BETA GLUCANS: A proven way to re­duce to­tal sick days.

Beta glucans are nat­u­rally oc­cur­ring polysac­cha­rides found in the cell walls of yeasts, bac­te­ria, fungi, yeasts, al­gae, and plants. Th ey work by ac­ti­vat­ing im­mune cells known as macrophages. In turn, macrophages con­sume for­eign sub­stances in the body, help­ing the im­mune sys­tem to work more ef­fec­tively. A UK study found that beta glucans nat­u­rally de­rived from the yeast Sac­cha­romyces cere­visiae (Well­mune WGP) re­sulted in an 18% re­duc­tion of the to­tal num­ber of days with symp­toms of up­per-res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tions.

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