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erbal Medicine
Herbal & Nutritional Programs for the Cold Season

© Janet Zand LAc, OMD

Herbal and nutritional supplements have a long tradition of use in treating and preventing illness during the cold season. Colds and flus, coughs, sore throats and congestion all can respond favorably to natural medicine. There is, however, confusion as to which remedy to take, when to take it, and the length of time it should be used. This question is often asked: How do you combine an herbal remedy with other nutritional supplements for maximum effectiveness?

Although all natural medicine prescriptions should be individualized for optimal results, there are many effective programs to try. A program that utilizes a series of herbs and nutrients in a specific sequence is most effective. Rotating and alternating remedies creates a synergistic effect which enhances the body's ability to maintain optimal health. This is especially true during the winter when the body's resistance may be compromised. Furthermore, by using natural remedies in specific cycles, the body remains more sensitive and responsive.

The following programs are for the cold season. They are divided into three categories: the acute phase, the recovery phase, and the maintenance phase. These easy-to-follow programs should give you enhanced results for winter health care.

Acute Phase

This program is for the body that is under acute, physical stress. This is the acute infectious stage we see so often during the cold season, whether it is viral or bacterial. Symptoms include cold, flu, fever, sore throat, aches and pains, etc.. Note that the dosage during this phase is rather large.

  • Step 1

    Echinacea & Goldenseal Combination
    A combination of these two herbs possesses anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and is the foundation for acute cold and flu treatment.
    Dosage: Every 2 hours

  • Step 2

    Blood Cleansers
    The blood cleansers include Red Clover, Sage, and Burdock. When the body is under stress of an acute infection, there are many toxic metabolites that result. The blood cleansing herbs assist the body in "cleaning up" this condition, as they are effective in draining the lymph system. Using Chinese medical terminology, Echinacea and Goldenseal are considered the "generals", while the blood cleansers are the "soldiers". We find that the blood cleansers, by reducing tissue stress in the body, make the immune-enhancing properties of Echinacea and Goldenseal more effective.
    Dosage: Every 2 hours

  • Step 3

    Zinc (preferably as a lozenge)
    Clinical findings, as well as documented research, show that Zinc reduces the intensity and duration of cold and flu symptoms.
    Dosage: At least 5 mg every 2 to 4 hours.

  • Step 4

    Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Selenium work synergistically with the blood cleansers in reducing tissue and blood toxicity and are therefore useful during the acute phase.
    Dosage: 2 to 3 times daily

  • Step 5

    Herbal Decongestant
    Numerous herbal decongestants are available that can effectively reduce nasal and sinus congestion which accompany many viral and bacterial infections. They use Chinese Ephedra as the active ingredient. Ephedra contains ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine, which are vaso-constrictors of the nasal sinuses. This means that fluids causing the congestion are forced out of the sinus cavity and back into the blood stream, thus reducing congestion. This type of supplement should only be used on a short-term basis to relieve symptoms.
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About The Author
JANET ZAND, O.M.D., L.Ac. is a nationally respected author, lecturer, practitioner and herbal products formulator whose work has helped thousands of people achieve better health....more
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