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Old 11-16-2005, 06:29 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Today millions of people will use echinacea as their primary therapy for colds & flus for general immune-boosting effects.

This native American herb has an impressive record of laboratory and clinical research. Thousands of doctors currently use echinacea for treating infectious diseases.

Echinacea increases the "non-specific" activity of the immune system. In other words, unlike a vaccine which is active only against a specific disease, echinacea stimulates the overall activity of the cells responsible for fighting all kinds of infection. Unlike antibiotics, which are directly lethal to bacteria, echinacea makes our own immune cells more efficient in attacking bacteria, viruses and abnormal cells, including cancer cells.

Clinical Study: an extract of echinacea showed an increase of 50%-120% in immune function over a 5 day period (Jurcic, et al. 1989).

Clinical Study: an extract of echinacea significantly increased the resistance to flu and reduced the symptoms of lymph gland swelling, inflamed nasal passages and headache (Braunig, et al. 1992).

Clinical Study: Of 4500 patients with inflammatory skin conditions, including psoriasis, 85% were cured with topical applications of echinacea salve (Wacker & Hilbig, 1978).

Laboratory Study: Human white blood cells, stimulated by echinacea extract increased phagocytosis (consumption) of yeast cells by 20-40% compared to controls. (Wagner and Proksch 1985)

Echinacea is not a substitute for medical interventions in rapidly accelerating infections. If the condition persists or worsens, seek medical advice. Many serious medical conditions are not appropriate for self-diagnosis or self-medication and require the supervision of qualified health care providers. Use caution when practicing self-care.

Important Note:

If used beyond 8 weeks, Echinacea could cause hepatotoxicity and therefore should not be used with other known hepatoxic drugs, such as anabolic steroids, amiodarone, methotrexate, and ketoconazole.
- Arch Intern Med 1998 Nov 9;158(20):2200-11 -- Herbal medicinals: selected clinical considerations focusing on known or potential drug-herb interactions. -- Miller LG.

Use of echinacea is discouraged during pregnancy and for people with tuberculosis or autoimmune problems

Do not use echinacea continuously for more than a few weeks.

Do not give echinacea to children younger than two years old; start with minimal doses for older children and older adults.

Should not be used by those who are allergic to plants in the sunflower family.

Incidences of hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity may be augmented by acetaminophen when concomitantly used with the potentially hepatotoxic herbs Echinacea and kava, and with herbs containing salicylate (willow, meadowsweet), respectively.
- J Clin Pharm Ther 2002 Dec;27(6):391-401 -- Herbal medication: potential for adverse interactions with analgesic drugs. -- Abebe W.

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Old 11-16-2005, 07:34 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Zinc:
Zinc lozenges may work in several possible ways to shorten the duration of a cold. For example, zinc might prevent the formation of proteins that are needed by a cold virus to reproduce itself and increase its own numbers. Without duplication of the virus, the cold symptoms will cease. Zinc also may attach to proteins that are located on the edge of a cold virus. This attachment impairs the ability of the virus to enter the body's cells, notably those in the respiratory system (the nose, throat, and lungs). Finally, in an undefined manner, zinc salts may protect and stabilize the lining of the cells, which thereby reduces the chance that the virus will penetrate the cells.

Clinical Study: In a placebo-controlled study involving 100 volunteers, cold symptoms lasted only 4.4 days for people taking 13.3 mg of zinc every two hours, as compared to 7.6 days for those taking placebo (Mossad, et al. 1996)

Clinical Study: Results of this double-blind, placebo-controlled study showed that 86% of 37 people who took zinc tablets reported that their cold symptoms were gone in seven days, compared to only 46% of the 28 people who took placebo. The dosage of zinc was 23 mg every two hours (Eby, et al. 1984).

Clinical Study: In 35 people who began treatment with zinc lozenges one day after cold symptoms began, the duration of symptoms was 4.3 days, as compared to 9.2 days for the 38 who took placebo. Zinc dosage was 23.7 mg taken at two hour intervals (Godfrey, et al. 1992).

Clinical study: Results of two studies involving a total of 77 people showed that zinc gluconate lozenges were ineffective in reducing the duration or severity of cold symptoms (Farr, et al. 1987).

Human studies: Significantly reduces the duration of symptoms of the common cold. Anecdotal reports as well as the results of one study suggest that the sooner the zinc treatment is started, the sooner cold symptoms improve.

Laboratory Study: Inhibits the reproduction of viruses known to cause colds.
At recommended dosages, zinc is generally well tolerated by most people. The most common side effects reported in the clinical trials using zinc lozenges for colds were unpleasant taste, minor mouth irritation, and gastrointestinal upset such as nausea and/or vomiting.

Taking more than 100 mg a day of zinc for extended periods of time could result in problems such as depressed immune function and imbalances in levels of copper. The use of high doses of zinc for longer than seven days at a time is not recommended.

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Old 12-05-2005, 08:16 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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Re: cold & flu season

Alpha Lipoic acid & ester C in combo really help boost the immune system. Since i started taking them i haven't had even a sniffle. Added bonus: Incredible for skin health !
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Old 12-05-2005, 08:26 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: cold & flu season

made a sticky good info!!
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:35 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: cold & flu season

Thanks for the info...
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Old 12-06-2005, 11:48 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: cold & flu season

Vitamin C

When shopping for vitamin C, don't waste money on specialized products—esterified C, time-released C, vitamin C with rose hips. There's no evidence that these are more efficiently absorbed than simple ascorbic acid. However Bioflavonoids have shown to work synergistically with vitamin C (Bioflavonoids are compounds which accompany vitamin C in foods)

In general, regular vitamin C supplementation at levels at or slightly above 1000 mg/day has reduced the incidence and duration of colds (although the degree of benefit has varied significantly). For example, in some of the larger studies, duration of infection was reduced only by about 5%, but smaller reports were reduced by nearly 20%. At least 3 controlled studies have shown an 80% reduction in the incidence of pneumonia among vitamin C users. In one large study (over 700 students), vitamin C (1000 mg per hour for the first 6 hours followed by 3000 mg per day), reduced cold and flu symptoms by 85%.

In most cases, it appears that while the most important and dramatic precautionary effects of vitamin C supplementation will be experienced by individuals with low vitamin C intakes, those with average daily consumption from foods may also benefit from supplemental levels. In support of an elevated vitamin C intake, a team of experts recommended increasing the current RDA for vitamin C from 60mg to at least 100-200mg per day. The same team also cautioned that taking more than 1000mg of vitamin C daily could have adverse effects. The report of this expert team was published in the April 21 (1999) issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).


As a dietary supplement, vitamin C is the most popular single nutrient supplement. It is typically included in all multivitamin blends, but at widely varying levels from less than 30mg to over 1000mg – so check your labels. As a single nutrient supplement, typical doses range from 100-500mg per tablet. The body, however, can only absorb and retain about 200mg of vitamin C at one time – the rest is simply washed out in the urine. This means that the most effective approach to supplementing with vitamin C is to take it in divided doses throughout the day

Vitamin C is one of the least expensive dietary supplements available – so don’t worry about paying more than a few dollars for a one-month supply. Also, beware of expensive forms such as rose hips or acerola of ascorbic acid, as there is no reliable evidence to show that these forms are any better absorbed or utilized by the body compared to synthetic vitamin C (but this is not the case with vitamin E, where the natural form is clearly superior to the synthetic form).



A word of Caution:

Large doses of vitamin C may cause a false positive result for glucose in the urine.

If you have hemochromatosis, (a genetic tendency to store excess iron) vitamin C enhances iron absorption, don't take more than 500 mg of vitamin C a day.

Vitamin C can distort the accuracy of medical tests for colon cancer and hemoglobin levels. Let your doctor know if you're taking vitamin C supplements.
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