Top Flu Fighters

| January/February 2005

This fall, the shortage of flu vaccine made headlines nationwide. Even the most at-risk populations — such as the elderly — faced long lines or were unable to receive the flu shot.

But none of us has to take the threat of illness as a certainty. Keeping our immune systems strong is the single best way to avoid the flu, its potentially serious complications, and a host of other illnesses. Here are some of our favorite herbs, recommended by many of our most trusted contributors. Used preventively or, with plenty of rest and fluids at the first sign of illness, they’ll help you stay well all winter long.

• Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) is well-known for its immune-boosting effects. It stimulates the immune system and prevents viruses from replicating. Start taking echinacea at the first sign of symptoms; take up to nine 300- to 400-mg capsules daily or 60 drops of tincture three times daily. Take as needed for cold or flu; for prevention, take echinacea continuously for two weeks, then discontinue the herb for one week.

• Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) extract is a great-tasting remedy that’s a rich source of anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants that help protect the body against disease. For elderberry extract, follow manufacturer’s directions. If you’d prefer capsules, take up to six 500-mg caps daily.

• Garlic (Allium sati-vum) has potent anti- oxidant properties and is a good source of immune-boosting selenium. The best way to get garlic’s benefits is to eat one raw clove a day for prevention; if that’s difficult for you to digest, try lightly sautéing two or more cloves.

• Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis), astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea) and ashwaganda (Withania somnifera) are adaptogenic herbs, which help the body adapt to stress and balance the body’s systems. Taken long term, these safe herbs gently boost the immune system. Follow manufacturer’s directions for these herbs; it’s also wise to consult a qualified herbalist for help choosing the right herb for your particular situation.

7/29/2016 3:43:35 AM

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