Natural Relief for Colds & Other Infections: Your Questions Answered

natural relief older woman with high temperature

Now, more than ever, we need to look after our bodies and keep our immune systems functioning at optimal levels. Unfortunately, viruses spread easily, and even the strongest among us can succumb to infection. If you do fall ill, natural medicines can help you recover by supporting your immune defences, and when taken long-term, can help with supporting a healthy immune system. Before we look into how they do this, let’s examine what happens when we get a viral infection.

What happens during an infection?

Infections (including the common cold & influenza) enter through the nose and mouth, with the goal of multiplying and making your body their new home. These viruses can’t multiply without a human cell, so once they enter your body they start infecting your cells, hijacking them and turning them into virus-replicating factories, continuing the cycle of infection.

Fortunately, when the infected cells signal danger to the body, your immune system is triggered to fight back. It does this by sending white blood cells, which seek out and destroy infected particles. Interestingly, rather than being caused by the virus itself, the symptoms that make you feel terrible, such as a sore throat, chills and aches, are actually a side effect of your immune system fighting off the virus. As you can see, the quicker and more effectively your immune system can get rid of the virus, the fewer days you will spend being sick, and the better you will feel.

So how can natural medicines help?

The major advantage of natural medicines is they reduce uncomfortable cold and flu symptoms while also helping your immune system fight off infections. Taking natural medicines at the first sign of infection means fewer days spent feeling miserable, less time away from your everyday activities, and more time to enjoy the things you love! 


To help you feel better sooner, here are four essential ingredients you can call on to support your immune system:

  • Andrographis: A herb used traditionally in Ayurvedic (Indian) medicine to treat respiratory illnesses, fever and sore throat, research shows that andrographis reduces symptoms of the common cold and other mild upper respiratory tract infections.[1][2] It does this by helping your white blood cells destroy viral particles,[3] fighting off infection. Andrographis is the key ingredient in Immune Defence
  • Zinc: Zinc has been shown to reduce the severity and duration of colds.[4] By boosting the production and function of white blood cells, zinc helps in the fight against infection.[5]Zinc is the key ingredient in Mega Zinc & can also be found in Immune Defence, & Immune Fighter
  • Vitamin C: An important nutrient for the immune system, vitamin C reduces the severity & duration of common cold symptoms by an average of 23%.[6][7] This vitamin helps by enhancing the movement of white blood cells,[8] getting them where they need to go in order to fight the infection.Vitamin C is the key ingredient in Extra C Zingles, & can also be found in Extra C Powder & Extra C Tablets
  • Medicinal mushrooms: Reishi and Shiitake mushrooms reduce common cold symptoms by supporting immune strength and function, stimulating white blood cell activity, and helping your immune system recognise and fight infection.[9][10][11][12]Mushrooms are the key ingredient in Immune Fighter


What else can I do to help?

Fortunately, there is a lot you can do to help your immune system:

  1. Natural Medicine: Start your regime early - whether you’re feeling sick or just looking for extra day to day immune support
  2. Sleep & Wellbeing: Get plenty of sleep & look after your physical & mental wellbeing - practice good sleep hygiene, exercise regularly & ensure adequate amounts of rest & “me time”
  3. Nutrition: Eat nourishing whole foods with plenty of vegetables and easily digested proteins, such as fish or eggs. Consume plenty of fluids such as water and herbal teas
  4. Home Remedies: Try steam inhalations & dehumidifiers to reduce congestion. There are also plenty of products that help to relieve the unpleasant symptoms of infection, such as Sore Throat Relief, Chesty Cough Relief, & Sinus & Hayfever.

 

References:

[1] Poolsup N, Suthisisang C, Prathanturarug S, Asawamekin A, Chanchareon U. Andrographis paniculata in the symptomatic treatment of uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection: systematic review of randomized controlled trials. J Clin Pharm Ther. 2004 Feb;29(1):37-45.

[2] Hu XY, Wu RH, Logue M, Blondel C, Lai LY, Stuart B, et al. Andrographis paniculata (Chuān Xīn Lián) for symptomatic relief of acute respiratory tract infections in adults and children: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PloS one. 2017 Aug 4;12(8):e0181780.

[3] Kumar RA, Sridevi K, Kumar NV, Nanduri S, Rajagopal S. Anticancer and immunostimulatory compounds from Andrographis paniculata. J Ethnopharmacol. 2004 Jun 1;92(2-3):291-5. doi: 10.1016/j.jep.2004.03.004

[4] Singh M, Das RR. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2011 Feb 16;(2):CD001364. doi: 10.1002/14651858.CD001364.pub3.

[5] Barnett JB, Dao MC, Hamer DH, Kandel R, Brandeis G, Wu D, et al. Effect of zinc supplementation on serum zinc concentration and T cell proliferation in nursing home elderly: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. The Am J Clin Nutr. 2016 Jan 27;103(3):942-51. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.115.115188.

[6] Hemilä H. Does vitamin C alleviate the symptoms of the common cold?-a review of current evidence. Scan J Infect Dis. 1994 Jan 1;26(1):1-6. PMID: 8191227.

[7] Maggini S, Beveridge S, Suter M. A combination of high-dose vitamin C plus zinc for the common cold. J Int Med Res. 2012 Feb;40(1):28-42. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2006.09.047

[8] Wintergerst ES, Maggini S, Hornig DH. Immune-enhancing role of vitamin C and zinc and effect on clinical conditions. Ann Nutr Metab. 2006;50(2):85-94. doi: 10.1159/000090495

[9] Chu KK, Ho SS, Chow AH. Coriolus versicolor: a medicinal mushroom with promising immunotherapeutic values. The J Clin Pharmacol. 2002 Sep;42(9):976-84. PMID:12211223.

[10] Lin YL, Liang YC, Lee SS, Chiang BL. Polysaccharide purified from Ganoderma lucidum induced activation and maturation of human monocyte‐derived dendritic cells by the NF‐κB and p38 mitogen‐activated protein kinase pathways. J Leukoc Biol. 2005 Aug;78(2):533-43. doi: 10.1189/jlb.0804481

[11] He XJ, Niu X, Li J, Xu S, Lu A. Immunomodulatory activities of five clinically used Chinese herbal polysaccharides. J Exp Integr Med. 2012 Jan 1;2(1):15-27. doi: 10.5455/jeim.211211.rw.004.

[12] Ramberg JE, Nelson ED, Sinnott RA. Immunomodulatory dietary polysaccharides: a systematic review of the literature. Nutr J. 2010 Dec;9(1):54. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-9-54.