Echinacea, Vitamin C and Other Proven Flu Fighters

Echinacea – This popular herb can cut your chances of catching a cold by up to 60 percent. When taken with vitamin C, it can reduce the number of colds even further- by 85 percent. Not only that, but for those already sick, Echinacea shortens the duration of the cold by one and a half days on average, according to a report in the journal The Lancet Infections Diseases.  “Echinacea is credited with stimulating the production of white blood cells and improving the lymph glands to boost your resistance to colds, flu and infection,” says Brad Jacobs, MD. He recommends 250 to 500 mg of Echinacea three times a day at the first signs of a cold, during a cold, or when you think you’ve been exposed to a bug.

Vitamin C- If you’re worn down or are exercising strenuously (think marathon runners), taking vitamin C, as a preventive can cut your risk of getting a cold up to 50 percent, according to a recent study conducted]at the Australian National University that examined 60 years worth of research on the vitamin. Shoot for 500 to 1,000 mg a day. “If your stomach in sensitive to acid, then ester-C works better than regular vitamin C,” says Mark Moyad, MD.

Astragalus -(Astragalus membranaceus) Native to China and a popular Eastern remedy, astragalus helps fight colds, particularly respiratory infections, and strengthens the immune system. It’s often taken as a liquid extract and added to soups or teas. Fifteen to 30 drops up to three times daily during cold season (use the upper range if you already have a cold should do the trick).

Garlic- “Although garlic hasn’t definitively been proven as an anticold remedy, traditionally, it is used to fight colds,” says Jacobs. Eating one clove of raw garlic or taking garlic supplements daily at the first sign of a cold or the flu can also shorten the time Echinacea, Vitamin C and Other Proven Flu Fighters you’re sick.” And if you do catch a cold, brew a bedtime elixir of four smashed garlic cloves steeped in 8 ounces of hot water and flavored with the juice of half a lemon to help your immune system recharge overnight.

White Tea- According to studies conducted at Pace University, white tea destroys pathogenic bacteria in your body more effectively than green tea. Drinking one cup in the morning and one before bed helps defend against sore throats and sniffles. When you’re already ill, teas made with lemongrass, ginger, lemon balm, sage, or lemon verbena serve as antiviral sorethroat soothers. Aconite. Elizabeth Yarnell, a certified nutritional consultant in Denver, says this homeopathic herb halts colds that develop without warning. “Take four pellets under you tongue at least 10 minutes before and after meals, up to three times a day,” she says. (From Alternative Medicine, by Gina Roberts-Grey)