Afraid to go out in flu season, or worse yet to have to catch a plane where you sit next to an infected passenger? Nobody wants to get sick, but maybe there is no reason to fear after all! Typically patients are given Tamiflu or Oseltamivir, prescription medication to treat influenza in people who have flu symptoms under a couple of days. But I wanted to know, was there anything we could do to Fight the Flu BEFORE it hits?
Echinacea has been used by the Native Americans regularly for centuries, and this herb was particularly popular during the 18th and 19th centuries in North America. However, its use declined in the United States after the introduction of antibiotics.
Fast forward to today…There have been multiple studies involving echinacea, or purple coneflowers native to North America and their effect on flu viruses over the years. In fact, this particular study speaks to the anti-viral properties of Standarized Echinacea purpurea extract against highly pathogenic avian influenza viruses (H5N1, H7N7) and the swine version H1N1. Their conclusion read, “As a result of these investigations, we believe that this standard Echinacea preparation, used at the recommended dose for oral consumption, could be a useful, readily available and affordable addition to existing control options for IV replication and dissemination.”
Science Direct published a study where they concluded, “Echinaforce Hotdrink is as effective as Oseltamivir in the early treatment of clinically diagnosed and virologically confirmed influenza virus infections with a reduced risk of complications and adverse events. It appears to be an attractive treatment option, particularly suitable for self-care.”
What is interesting is that in these studies, they found that after repeated treatment with echinacea, there was no resistance build up against it, unlike what they observed with Tamiflu. In other words, echinacea did not lose its effectiveness with use.
Echinacea has been used for centuries for everything from treating infections and wounds, scarlet fever, syphilis, malaria, blood poisoning, and diphtheria. University of Maryland also had this to add, ” Echinacea boosts immune function, relieves pain, reduces inflammation, and has hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. For this reason, professional herbalists may recommend echinacea to treat urinary tract infections, vaginal yeast (candida) infections, ear infections (also known as otitis media), athlete’s foot, sinusitis, hay fever (also called allergic rhinitis), as well as slow-healing wounds. Preliminary studies in the lab suggest echinacea may help inhibit colon tumors when combined with cichoric acid. One study even suggests that echinacea extract exerted an antiviral action on the development of recurrent cold sores triggered by the herpes simplex virus (HSVI) when taken prior to infection.” Wow! Sounds like it can do just about everything ;).
Anyways….Echinaforce is one market choice to help fight the flu. It comes in liquid or tablet form and even tea. Why not be proactive and take it daily during cold and flu season or maybe use it right before you hop on that cross-country flight? And load up on that vitamin C too for super duper defense while you’re at it, good luck!!