Kids’ Colds

These three botan­i­cals strengthen im­mu­nity and ease symp­toms nat­u­rally

Amazing Wellness - - CONTENTS - By Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, DN-C, RH

These drug-free botan­i­cal for­mu­las can al­le­vi­ate kids’ cold symp­toms and pro­mote heal­ing.

The com­mon cold is an up­per-res­pi­ra­tory tract in­fec­tion that is caused by a wide va­ri­ety of viruses. A child with a cold will com­plain of gen­eral malaise, fa­tigue, fever, body ache, headache, sore throat, and con­ges­tion in the nasal pas­sages. Sneez­ing and runny nose are usu­ally the first symp­toms. The throat may be red, sore, and dry.

If your child has a healthy, func­tion­ing im­mune sys­tem, a cold should not last more than three or four days. And if you uti­lize cer­tain nat­u­ral reme­dies, once a cold is un­der­way, although you should not nec­es­sar­ily ex­pect im­me­di­ate re­lief of the symp­toms, a cold may re­solve in as lit­tle as a cou­ple of days.

ASTRAGALUS

Long used in tra­di­tional Chi­nese medicine, astragalus root ( Astragalus mem­branaceus) is cat­e­go­rized as a “su­pe­rior herb” in The Yel­low Em­peror’s Clas­sic, a 2,000-year-old text of herbal reme­dies, and it has al­most cer­tainly been used in that cul­ture even longer. Called Huang Qi (“yel­low en­ergy builder”), it’s a mas­ter im­mune booster. “Qi” is usu­ally trans­lated in the West as “life force” or “vi­tal en­ergy.”

Astragalus root is re­cently get­ting more re­spect in the West be­cause re­searchers have found that it con­tains sub­stances that stim­u­late the im­mune sys­tem. Although pre­ferred for long-term pre­ven­tion, the herb can be used for acute cold and flu symp­toms. It’s is a pop­u­lar im­mune tonic for chil­dren who fre­quently suc­cumb to in­fec­tions. Ac­cord­ing to Chi­nese medicine, the herb also strength­ens the lungs, so it forms the back­bone of a pro­gram to pre­vent and treat res­pi­ra­tory in­fec­tion.

Astragalus’ abil­ity to in­crease im­mune func­tion in­cludes ac­tiv­ity against the Cox­sackie virus, a flu-like virus that mainly af­fects chil­dren. In a re­cent, ran­dom­ized clin­i­cal trial in China, 115 pa­tients who took astragalus for eight weeks showed sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in white blood cell counts. Mod­ern re­search has iden­ti­fied the con­stituents in astragalus thought to be re­spon­si­ble for its heal­ing pow­ers, in­clud­ing polysac­cha­rides sim­i­lar to those in echi­nacea and shi­itake mush­room, and hor­mone-like com­pounds called saponins.

Chi­nese cooks reg­u­larly add astragalus to the fam­ily stew­pot dur­ing the cold sea­son, so that every­one can get a daily im­mune boost. And un­like most Chi­nese herbs, astragalus ac­tu­ally tastes sur­pris­ingly good as a tea, with a vel­vety tex­ture and a sweet, but­tery taste. For chil­dren who have dif­fi­culty swal­low­ing tablets, a tea may be a good op­tion. Astragalus tinc­tures are also avail­able, and the herb can be found in nat­u­ral cold for­mu­las. Fol­low dosage in­struc­tions on la­bels.

ELDERBERRY

Elderberry ( Sam­bu­cus ni­gra) ex­tracts are used pri­mar­ily as an­tivi­ral agents for colds and in­fluenza. Re­search demon­strates elderberry pos­sesses im­mune-mod­u­lat­ing and an­tiox­i­dant properties. Elderberry ex­tracts can shorten the du­ra­tion or lessen the sever­ity of the com­mon cold. Con­stituents of the berries in­clude the flavonoids quercetin and rutin, and the syrup made from the berries is sweet and tasty, so kids re­spond well to this rem­edy.

Ger­man Com­mis­sion E, a govern­ment reg­u­la­tory agency com­posed of sci­en­tists, physi­cians, and phar­ma­cists, states that con­stituents of elderberry (Sam­bu­cus) pro­vide ef­fec­tive re­lief for colds, fevers, and res­pi­ra­tory mu­cus. A re­cent 2016 study found that elderberry pro­duced a sig­nif­i­cant re­duc­tion of cold du­ra­tion and sever­ity in air trav­el­ers.

Look for elderberry in lozenges, tinc­tures, cap­sules, and syrups. As dosages of prod­ucts vary, fol­low la­bel in­struc­tions.

ECHI­NACEA

Echi­nacea ( Echi­nacea pur­purea) has been shown to ex­ert sig­nif­i­cant ef­fects on im­mune func­tion in more than 300 clin­i­cal stud­ies. Re­search pub­lished in The Lancet In­fec­tious Dis­eases found it re­duces the chances of get­ting a cold. It was also found to cut du­ra­tion of a cold by an aver­age of 1.4 days in 14 sep­a­rate stud­ies.

Study re­sults have been mixed, most likely stem­ming from vari­able quan­tity of the herb’s ac­tive com­pounds; there is tremen­dous vari­a­tion in these lev­els across prod­ucts and prepa­ra­tions. Echi­nacea must be grown prop­erly, har­vested at the cor­rect time, and pre­pared prop­erly for max­i­mum lev­els of all ac­tive com­pounds. Stick with es­tab­lished brands that have a good rep­u­ta­tion, and rely on high-qual­ity prepa­ra­tions. Echi­nacea is avail­able in tinc­tures, cap­sules, chew­ables, and teas. Fol­low la­bel in­struc­tions for use.

who spe­cial­izes in Ayurveda and herbal­ism, has more than 40 years of ex­pe­ri­ence in holis­tic medicine. His web­site is kp­khalsa.com.

Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, DN-C, RH,

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