Health column: Jenny Logan - The dreaded cold

Having a cold
Having a cold

Jenny Logan talks about herbal remedies for a cold.

The children are back at school, routines are back in place,

autumn is on its way and so we begin the unstoppable trek towards Christmas.

But, people using that ‘C’ word earlier than most of us would like is not the only thing we need to worry about at this time of year.

Every year, since she started school, my daughter has had a nasty cold by late September, which she then passes on to all of those around her – me, my husband, my parents, and ultimately, all the people we work with every day, especially my work colleagues.

I work in an office most days, the perfect breeding ground for winter bugs – warm, closed windows, desks close to each other. Office workers are not the only people at risk, either. Teachers are shut into rooms with children who are happily passing germs around, nurses, pharmacy workers, parents – we are all being exposed. So, what can we do to try to stay well and stop these bugs from attacking us?

My favourite, for day-to-day use is Nature’s Aid Beta Glucan Immune Support plus. This is a specialist multi nutrient designed specifically to support and strengthen the immune response. It combines key nutrients known to be important in immune health – zinc, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin D and vitamin A, with beta glucans, garlic and elderberry. The nutrients used in this formula, especially zinc, vitamin D and selenium, are ones that many of us in the UK are known to be short of, so topping up will help our health in many ways, as well as boosting the ability of our immune systems to fight off all the bugs which are flying around. The other ingredients have all be researched for their ability to fight infections.

Beta glucans, for example, have more than 600 clinical studies published highlighting their action in the immune system. Beta glucans are found in mushrooms, and are one of the reasons why mushrooms are often hailed as a ‘superfood’. Scientists have found that people who take beta glucans every day suffer 25 per cent fewer infections than those who do not.

Garlic powder, most of us know, is a natural anti-bacterial, helping to fight off infections. While elderberry has been shown to be a natural anti-viral product, with some reports stating that elderberry can actually bind to the flu virus and carry it out of the body!

I have much evidence, both personally, and from my clients, that using this supplement every day can help prevent people from coming down with every infection flying around schools and work places at this time of the year.

For those people, for whom the infection has already hit, the good news is that natural medicine also has something to offer you – echinacea. My favourite echinacea product is made by a company called A. Vogel, and it is an echinacea hot drink. It combines echinacea and elderberry in a delicious tasting product, which makes a comforting hot drink. Echinacea itself is a well known and popular herbal remedy which helps to fight the symptoms of colds and flu, by helping to boost the immune system, and helping it to fight off the infections.

It could be quite safely and effectively used alongside your standard cold and flu relief products. Many people ask why they would take echinacea alongside over the counter cold and flu remedies and my answer is this: Standard cold and flu remedies are simply designed to offer temporary relief from the symptoms. They do nothing to help fight the infection, nor will they shorten the duration of the infection. Taking echinacea alongside these medications will help to reduce the duration of the infection, and may also help to reduce its severity.

Additionally, because it works by boosting the immune system, echinacea will also make it less likely that you will come down with another infection just after you have managed to clear the first.

How many people, especially those ‘at risk’ people I mentioned earlier in this article, take time off, and clear one cold, only to find themselves coming down with another just a couple of weeks later? Using echinacea during an infection will reduce this risk. Adding in a daily Beta Glucan Immune Support plus after this should then add an extra insurance policy on top.

So, my plan is to try to secure myself, and hopefully many others as well, a healthy, bug free winter season this year. Fingers crossed – now, I am just off to give my daughter her immune support supplement, because if I can keep her healthy, it stops the whole cycle!