Echinacea is an herb that is widely used to fight infections, especially the common cold and other respiratory infections. Some people take echinacea to ward off a cold, and others take it when they are experiencing cold symptoms. It is also effective against other infections including: flu, urinary tract infections, tonsillitis, streptococcus infections and more.
Many Canadians are turning to herbal products to boost their immune systems, so you're in good company. Here are our choices for cold and flu season:
Zinc helps keep the immune system strong, making it a great supplement for cold and flu season. Some studies have found that zinc lozenges may reduce the duration of a cold by a much as 50%. You may be getting enough zinc from your diet already, so it is important to discuss your intake before taking more. However, strict vegetarians, breastfeeding women and people with poor diets are often zinc deficient, so extra support may be helpful.
Vitamin C may reduce the odds of getting a cold in specific groups of people: individuals spending time in extremely cold environments (such as soldiers in this kind of training), skiers and marathon runners. For others, the reviews are mixed as to whether vitamin C offers cold and flu prevention benefits.
Most people take Vitamin C when they are not consistent in maintaining Vitamin C levels through consumption of fruits and vegetables. Vitamin C should be taken as a preventative measure throughout cold and flu season, as it is not as effective once you already have a cold or flu.
Many people are low in Vitamin D, and especially during cold and flu season. Spending time indoors and the weaker rays from the sun make it very difficult to reach the recommended daily dose of vitamin D. Vitamin D contributes to general immune strength, which increases your body's ability to ward off cold and flu symptoms.
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant and plays a key role in building strong immunity. Vitamin E helps protect against cell damage. It is important to take the appropriate amount of Vitamin E, so speak to our nutritionist before making a choice on taking this supplement.
Garlic helps stimulate the immune system and can be used to help fight viruses. There is also evidence that garlic may help lower the risk of catching a cold. Garlic works best consumed raw (either crushed, diced or minced). Just be sure not to over-cook. If you are not cooking with garlic, we do have a supplement form for you.
Another immune-system booster, Ginseng can help prevent or treat cold and flu. A specific type of ginseng is called ColdfX (we do not carry ColdFX it is available at drug stores – We do carry ginseng in capsule and vial form) which, when taken for several months during cold season, seems to lower the risk of contracting the cold or flu.
Elderberry helps boost the production of immune cells, helping to make the body stronger and preventing the easy spread of virus. Elderberry can also reduce flu symptoms, such as fever.