Have you tried various herbs and supplements to boost your immune system during the cold and flu season only for the results to be disappointing? There are hundreds of products advertised for the cold and flu often with basic vitamins and cheap ingredients. Before you waste any more of your money, let’s shift gears a bit and discuss what’s truly an effective solution that concentrates more on lifestyle and less on supplements and incorporates one of my favorite immune-boosting herbs, Echinacea.
A holistic approach to illness prevention is way more effective than just relying on a handful of supplements to get you through the germy season. Plus it will do more than just prevent you from getting sick; it will support your general health and wellbeing too. With a little more awareness and self-care this season, you can have a better chance of staying healthy. And even if you do catch something, your body will overcome it quickly. Support your immune system with what I like to call the core fundamentals to health with an extra layer of protection.
Echinacea as the Herbal Holy Grail
Although there has been a great deal of research done on Echinacea, the results are conflicting. Some show a significant reduction in cold symptoms as well as cold prevention while others do not. It is for this reason I wanted to review what I look for in a high-quality Echinacea supplement because they are not all created equal.
Echinacea, also called purple coneflower, has been commonly used for the prevention of colds and flu for hundreds of years. However, most consumers are not aware that Echinacea products vary considerably in their phytochemical makeup due to the plant material used, method of extraction, time of harvest, and overall quality of plant and seed (1). It’s definitely worth your time, money, and health to know what to look out for when purchasing Echinacea. If you’re not getting the results you had hoped for with your Echinacea, then it may be the brand. It’s also best to take Echinacea throughout the cold and flu season rather than at the first sign of symptoms or one to two weeks before travel. Here are some key characteristics to look for when purchasing Echinacea and my go-to brand:
I get it; we’re all busy! Convenience seems to be the going theme these days if you’re human, but often what is compromised is our health. And that goes for supplements. I always tell my clients that you cannot supplement an unhealthy lifestyle. If you have a toxic body and all you do is supplement hoping for a quick fix, then the results won’t be ideal. Instead, spend your money and time on what works.
And last, even though this is not part of the core fundamentals of health, frequent hand washing with plain soap is one of the top ways to prevent the cold and flu. According to the FDA, plain soap is just as effective as antibacterial soap at eliminating germs. Also, in 2016 the FDA banned 19 antibacterial additives in over-the-counter wash products including the most commonly known ones, triclosan and triclocarban. This is because manufacturers could not prove that these ingredients are safe for long-term use (7). So it’s best to skip antibacterial soaps altogether as they are likely doing more harm than good.
I'm Meagan Reynolds- a registered dietitian and certified functional medicine practitioner in Nashville, TN who teaches people how to reclaim their health so they can be the brightest version of themselves. My specialty is in thyroid disease and the many symptoms associated with it. I'm passionate about helping my clients find the root cause of their symptoms and supporting them on their healing journey.