Support and Preparation for the Flu and other Viral and Respiratory Infections

We’re currently in the midst of sickness season: COVID, colds, the flu, and other viruses. We can all take measures to prevent illness, but they’re never guaranteed. Below, we’ve compiled a few preventative tips, as well as supplements and herbal support for treating the symptoms of viral infections, including respiratory issues. 

Preventative measures and herbal support

First things first, wash your hands! We know that washing hands is important to prevent the spread of illness, but did you know studies show washing your hands can prefent 1 in 5 respiratory viruses such as a cold or the flu?

Herbal and nutritional supplement viral support

There are many supplements to strengthen your immune system and enhance the body’s ability to fight viral infections. One of these is Agarikon, a rare mushroom that is excellent as an anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral option that has been in use for millennia. In fact, the famed ancient Greek physician Dioscorides who wrote the Materia Medica (a preeminent herbal medical manual for thousands of years) referred to it as “the elixir of long life.” in 65 A.D. in Materia Medica. Since ancient times, Agarikon has been used to treat “respiratory illnesses, night sweats, and consumption — later termed tuberculosis.” We carry Agarikon capsules, as well as Mycommunity mushroom blend capsules with Agarikon for deep immune support and Mycoshield oral sprays which include Agarikon and are best for those who struggle to swallow pills. 

Respiratory support

Another effective option we carry for viral and respiratory support is Umcka (Umckaloabo), which comes from the root of the South African Geranium. Studies and NHS Evidence show that the Umckaloabo herbal remedy effectively treats acute respiratory infections. The studies found “that Umckaloabo was effective in relieving all symptoms in adults with acute bronchitis and in particular with cough and sputum production. A third study showed that it was only effective for treating sputum production. The final word with these studies is that the Umcka herbal preparation may be effective in relieving symptoms in acute bronchitis in adults and children, and sinusitis in adults.” Umcka is one of our most popular immune supplements and comes in different flavors of chewable, powdered, or syrup formulations and is most helpful when taken at the first sign of illness. 

Elderberry has also been shown to ease viral and respiratory symptoms. Elderberry is also an all-around great option for supporting the body through illness as it contains flavonoids and many vitamins that support the body and promote antiviral activity.  Another great option for fighting any upper respiratory infection is Andrographis, commonly known as kalmegh (meaning ‘king of bitters’). Andrographis’ powers have been attributed to its andrographolide, flavonoids, and other powerful phytochemical constituents that give it antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory and other powers. We carry Andrographis by itself in tablets or tincture (watch out-it’s very bitter!) or in combination with other beneficial immune supplements in formulations like Rainbow Light Counter Attack. Finally, behold our good friends Probiotics, which never cease to amaze us in their ability to support the human body. Did you know that probiotics have also been shown to support the respiratory system? Yet another reason to try one of the many brands of probiotics we carry.  We have probiotic formulations right for you. Seventy percent of the immune system is in your gut so taking care of your gut health supports your overall immunity. 

Flu and immune support

Other ways to strengthen the immune system include Vitamin D3, which has been proven to boost the immune system and effectively reduce your chances of getting the flu. This major global study shows how those with low Vitamin D are far more susceptible to respiratory infections. Get your vitamin D, folks!

Oregano oil is another great ally for the season. It contains carvacrol, which has shown anti-disease potential in preclinical trials. Oregano oil’s antimicrobial, antioxidant, and anticancer properties have been documented by researchers.

Another excellent all-around immune booster for both this harrowing season and your day to day is Vitamin C. We carry it in many forms and supplements. Vitamin C has been shown over and over to help boost immunity, click here to read about a compelling study.

And of course, zinc lozenges are the supplement of the hour. For the common cold, zinc lozenges — 4 mg to 23 mg daily — are supposed to be started within 48 hours of the onset. Always take zinc on a full stomach or you will most likely experience stomach distress.  If you take more than 30mg a day of zinc make sure your multi has copper in it so that it does not get thrown out of balance. 

NAC, an amino acid that is often taken for support during colds or allergy season for its help with mucus has some great research for helping with the cytokine storm in influenza. Here’s a quote that’s fascinating: “As reactive oxygen species (ROS) play a central role in inflammatory responses and viral replication, antioxidants that exert antiviral and anti-inflammatory effects may also be effective for the treatment of cytokine storm induced by severe influenza.38 N-acetylcysteine (NAC), a modified form of the amino acid cysteine, was shown to inhibit both H5N1 replication and H5N1-induced production of pro-inflammatory molecules (e.g., IL6, CCL5, CXCL8, and CXCL10) in lung epithelial cells.”  

We hope this has been helpful and that your families all stay healthy! As always, we’re here to discuss whatever you concerns you may have. Come see us at Rebecca’s for your natural viral support needs!