Herbal medicine to combat the cold and flu blues
Supplements and herbs to support immune response-
Vitamin C and Zinc – A 2006 systematic review reported that Vitamin C and zinc supplementation ameliorates symptoms and shortens the duration of upper respiratory infections including the common cold. Vitamin C improves components of the immune system including lymphocytes (those T and B cells) and zinc increases the activity of phagocytic cells (think PACMAN!)
Vitamin D – Vitamin D receptors are expressed on T and B cells and these cells help create the usable form of Vitamin D for the body. Vitamin D deficiency has been directly linked to an increased susceptibility to autoimmune disease and an increased risk of infection
Echinacea – Increases macrophage function and has an antioxidant effect and anti-inflammatory action. Quality COUNTS. Only buy a high-grade Echinacea product (such as Mediherb) as a number of researchers have reached the same conclusion – the root has an positive action on the immune response more so than the whole herb, and that there can be a huge variation in efficacy due to quality. Best used daily to PREVENT infection rather than used at onset of symptoms.
Andrographis – Has an antibacterial action against E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus sp. and Pseudomonas sp.. Used traditionally in the initial stages of infection for common cold and upper respiratory tract infections. Also supports liver function due to bitter taste.
Astragalis – A 2011 research article showed that astragalis was effective in increasing the stimulation of white blood cell activity when exposed the viral infection swine flu in vivo. Traditionally astragalis has been used after the initial stages of infection to help improve energy and vitality. Commonly used after viral infections such as glandular fever.
Olive leaf – Antioxidant, antibacterial and antifungal action. Traditionally used to lower blood pressure acts as an antibiotic.
To support gut function
Probiotics – ‘Good’ bacteria crowd out the bad, provide a protective layer that is a first line of defence at a skin and gut level, support the lymphatic immune response and reduce the inflammatory response = good quality water in the cup!
Glutamine – Has been shown to enhance gut function, prevent loss of gut integrity, and improve patient outcomes. This helps improve gut integrity, improve localised immune response and reduce inflammation = a cup with no holes in it!
To reduce inflammation
Turmeric – Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant action. Shown to be particularly effective at inhibiting the biochemical pathways that are initiated in chronic inflammation. Shown to inhibit inflammageing – improve outcomes with osteoarthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Traditionally also used to improve digestive function and liver disorders.
Fish oil – Compared to NSAIDs (ibuprofen – Neurofen) omega-3 EFA fish oil demonstrate an equivalent effect in reducing pain (when taking 2400mg EPA daily).
To reduce stress response
KSM 66 (Withania extract) – Reduces cortisol production and promotes feelings of calm
 Wintergerst, E. s., Maggini, S., Hornig, D.H. 2006. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94.
 Aranow, C. 2011. Vitamin d and the immune system. J of Investig Med. 59(6): 881-886. doi: 10.231/JIM.0b013e31821b8755
 Rininger, J. A. et al. 2000. Immunopharmacological activity of Echinacea preparations following simulated digestion on murine macrophages and human peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Journal of Lymphocyte Biology. 68(4) 503-510.
 Shalini, V.B, & Narayanan, J. S. 2015. Antibacterial activity of Andrographis paniculata Nees against selective human pathogens. African Journal of Microbiology Research. 9(16) 1122-1127. doi: 10.5897/AJMR2015.7515.
 Zeng-Yu, Z. et al. 2011. Effects of Astragalis polysaccharide on immune response s of porcine PBMC stimulated with PRRSV or CSFV. PLoS ONE. 7(1): e29320. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029320
 Aliabadi, M. A., et al. 2012. Antimicrobial activity of olive leaf aqueous extract. Annals of Biological Research. 3(8):4189-4191.
 Stchmiller, J. K., Treloar, D. &, Allen N. 1997. Am J Crit Care. 6(3) 204-209.
 Sikora, E., et al. 2010. Curcumin, inflammation, ageing and age-related diseases. Immunity and Ageing. 7(1). doi: 10.1186/1742-4933-7-1
 Maroon, J. C. et al. 2006. Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) as an anti-inflammatory: an alternative to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs for discogenic pain. Surg Neurol. 65(4):326-31.