Winter’s chill brings the warmth of the holidays – but it also brings the aches, pains, and other discomforts of cold and flu season. Herbal and organic healing experts point to these three natural treatments as some of the body’s best defenses against seasonal discomfort.
- GOLDENSEAL – This bitter-tasting member of the buttercup family is probably best known for its anti-microbial benefits, both taken as a tablet and when used as natural sanitizer. Its active ingredient, berberine, is regarded as a natural enemy of bacteria and fungi. The goldenseal berry is also prized for its anti-catarrhal benefits such as alleviating mucus and sinus congestion. It can also help reduce hay fever and soothe runny noses.
- It is also used as as a laxative, a digestive aid, and to ease menstrual pain and to treat urinary tract infections. Goldenseal is usually taken in tablet form.
- ELDERBERRY – Sometimes called sambucus or elder, this fruit of the perennial elder plant is used to treat common allergies. Studies show it’s also effective in combating a range of flu symptoms including headache, sore muscles, and coughing. One report shows that consistent use cuts the flu’s lifespan in half. Additional evidence inidcates that the berry might be useful in fighting both the swine flu (H1N1) and more severe respiratory illnesses such as bronchitis.
- Though taken safely as a syrup or lozenge, elderberries should never be consumed raw as serious health risks can occur. Elderberry tablets are often taken in conjunction with zinc supplements for added immune system support.
- ECHINACEA – The coneflower daisy that grows throughout America is probably also its most famous illness-fighting herb – and probably the most misunderstood. Though millions of patients take it to prevent common cold symptoms, research demonstrates its active ingredients work to help the body treat the effects of a cold more than prevent them.
- Besides colds, Echinacea is commonly used to treat similar issues such as the flu and streptococcus infections. It’s sold as a tablet and found in teas and juices.
By Michael Kabel