Now that flu season is here, it’s time to start reinforcing your immune system. You’ll want to make sure you’re getting lots of vitamin C in the fruits and vegetables you eat. You’ll also want to get some exercise and keep up with the clinically proven cold and flu prevention tactic of washing your hands throughout the day.
If you follow all this health advice, hopefully you’ll fight off any cold and flu bugs that you happen to come in contact with. But, if you do come down with a cold and symptoms settle into your lungs and chest, there’s a herb that can come to the rescue.
Echinacea is heavily recommended during flu season by many naturopathic doctors — and for good reason.
Echinacea Health Benefits
Echinacea has special nutrients that fight bacterial and viral infections. Echinacea also stimulates white blood cells, helping them to do their job of protecting you against foreign invaders. In one clinical trial performed at the University of Indonesia, researchers tested echinacea’s performance in treating a difficult and pervasive illness: upper respiratory tract infections in patients suffering from chronic-obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).
The study was designed to determine whether echinacea, along with micronutrients, could alleviate COPD caused by acute respiratory infection. One hundred and eight COPD patients were given a prescription medication for seven days, along with one tablet per day of echinacea, or the herb combined with zinc, selenium and vitamin C. One group of patients acted as placebo.
The research team found that echinacea, supplemented with the three vitamins resulted in significantly less severe and shorter symptoms following respiratory infections compared with echinacea alone or placebo. The researchers concluded that there was a significant synergistic effect of echinacea and micronutrients together in alleviating upper respiratory tract infections.
If you use echinacea this winter, try taking some zinc, selenium and vitamin C at the same time. The four together should make an excellent alternative remedy to clear lung and chest infections. Just remember to read the safety information and instructions that come with your supplements.
For more information on the powers of echinacea, read the article, The Secret to Battling Cold Sores and Canker Sores.