A recently published study confirms that Echinacea can reduce the risk of catching a cold by 58% as well as reducing its duration by 1.4 days. Although the herb Echinacea has traditionally been used to help the body resist the flu and cold viruses until now many doctors have doubted its effectiveness .
Cold weather seems to make us more vulnerable to getting colds and flu. People are indoors more at this time spreading the cold or flu viruses. There are many over the counter medicines to treat the symptoms but many natural health practitioners believe that medicines are suppressive and increase the duration of the illness and they are not without side effects.
First used by Native Americans for many illnesses, white settlers found that Echinacea was very effective for relieving the symptoms of colds and flu. It was also prescribed by doctors before the advent of drugs.
How does Echinacea work?
A number of studies have shown that Echinacea works by improving the immune system in 3 ways. Firstly, it stimulates the production of macrophages, the cells of the immune system that attack the virus as well as helping them work more effectively. Secondly, it increases the natural killer cells that kill infected cells. Thirdly, the immune proteins that regulate the immune system are stimulated.
Is Echinacea safe for anyone to take?
Because it stimulates the immune system it should not be taken by people with an overactive immune system such as auto immune disorders. It is not recommended to be taken by people with TB, AIDS or HIV.
What is the dose?
The most effective dose of Echinacea is 7.5 mg of a mixture of Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea pallida three times a day for people over 12 years of age. If you know you have been exposed to the virus try these doses to prevent catching it.
Detox boosts the immune system.
Autumn is a good time to do a short detox or cleanse and is another good way to help boost the immune system before the cold and flu season.