Best Herbs for the Common Cold: Herbal Combination Cold Products

| September/October 1998

It’s popular for manufacturers to combine two or more herbal remedies into one cold product. Perhaps the combination ­enhances the remedy’s effect. Research shows that some ingredients are effective when combined, whereas some combinations are formulated based on a history of use in traditional herbal medicine.

Germ-fighting herbs often included in commercial herbal cold formulas include burdock, lemon balm, pau d’arco, usnea, cayenne, cloves, osha, echinacea, garlic, Oregon grape, and goldenseal, plus vitamins C and A (an antioxidant that may help reduce infection rate).

Other herbs are included to ease congestion and coughs and soothe irritated membranes, such as white horehound, cleavers, barberry, bayberry, thyme, myrrh, licorice, slippery elm and white willow bark.

Herbs that help digestion and provide flavor include peppermint, ginger, cloves, chamomile, horseradish, and parsley. ­Immune-boosters include astragalus, reishi, schisandra, shiitake, echinacea, vitamin B6, propolis, and zinc.

Linda B. White, M.D., is a freelance editor and writer with a focus on herbal healing.

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