Some effective ways to fight colds and flu

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Suzy Cohen

I think I am a real germaphobe because I get very conscious when someone sitting next to me starts coughing, especially when they don’t cover their mouth. I’ll let the first one slide, but if it happens again, I am apt to leave or hand them a Kleenex.

Is it just me or are you that way, too? If you feel like you’re coming down with something, here are five things that may help:

1. Oil of oregano is a super strong germ fighter.  Essential oil of oregano is sold at health food stores and online in a little dropper bottle. Put one or two drops in your own “medicinal herb tea” (wink) and then drink it.

It will not taste pleasant. You will probably curse me. But it’s going to help you. Squeeze some lemon and honey into it, both for flavor and health effects.

The key ingredients in oregano are carvacrol and thymol, both of which inhibit the growth of hundreds of microorganisms.

2. Probiotics should be taken daily for proper immunity, but when you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on, I feel like you should at least double up on the dose. I am not afraid of taking probiotics throughout the day. I’m more afraid of feeling miserable and sick.

High-quality probiotics will improve the quality and count of your healthy disease-fighting bacteria. Some strains will even induce IL-10-producing regulatory T-cells, which is a scientific way of saying they reduce inflammation, and can help improve immune function as well as inflammatory disorders of the gut, like painful Crohn’s.

3. FluNada. This is a natural over-the-counter spray that I typically squirt into my throat. You can also spray this product into your nose, because that is the point of entry for germs.

FluNada contains a homeopathic blend of wintergreen, eucalyptus and elderberry essential oils. It is available at Walgreens and other pharmacies. When you feel like you’re coming down with something, that is the time to use it.

This product was tested by two independent labs and found to be effective against multiple cold and flu strains, including swine, bird and seasonal flu. FluNada provides non-drowsy relief from multiple symptoms, including runny or blocked nose, sore throat, cough, and body aches and pains.

4. Green tea. If you keep rummaging around in my purse, you will find teabags of flavored green tea. It is common for me to ask the waitress at a restaurant for a little cup of hot water “because I have my own medicinal herbs.” Sam affectionately scolded me once saying, “Do you realize we live in Colorado? She thinks your little ‘medicinal herbs’ are a different kind of green tea!” 

The epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) in green tea (its most abundant catechin or antioxidant) was shown in numerous studies, including a 2005 article in Antiviral Research, to have antiviral effects by unraveling the viral membrane.

5. Vitamin D is a strong immune modulator and reduces susceptibility to all sorts of infections. Also, vitamin D controls the expression of more than 900 genes involved in hundreds of physiological functions.

This information is opinion only. It is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose your condition. Consult with your doctor before using any new drug or supplement.

Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist and the author of The 24-Hour Pharmacist and Real Solutions from Head to Toe. To contact her, visit