More and more we are realizing that the flu shot is not all it is cracked up to be, and its true effectiveness is being brought to light. While there are certain high-risk groups* that benefit from it, the vast majority of us would do much better by eating more whole foods and if necessary supplement with Echinacea.
What is it?
Echinacea is a Native American plant which is categorized as an immunostimulant, known to boost a body’s immune system.
How does it work?
First, a brief introduction to how the immune system works. A key component of the immune system is the white blood cells which are the body’s first line of defense. If a flu virus enters the body and begins to multiple, the white blood cells require help from the T-lymphocytes, and also from lymphocytes. All these working together allow the body to destroy the viruses that have invaded it.
Echinacea stimulates the body into producing more white blood cells. It also stimulates the release of interferons – the body’s fighting weapons. Echinacea also helps to prevent bacteria from producing an enzyme called hyaluronidase, which works through the membrane, and invades tissue.
Together with the immune system, Echinacea is a powerful 1,2 punch against flu and colds.
When should you take Echinacea?
Some adults take Echinacea on a daily basis to prevent colds and flues from developing. Others people will begin to take it once they feel a cold coming on.
Remember, food intake and quality sleep are the best defenses against cold and flu – so always ensure your whole foods intake is at a maximum before you take supplementation for your immunity.
Who should take it?
Please consult with your holistic practitioner and/or doctor before taking any supplements as they may interact with any medication or supplements you are currently taking.
Echinacea is not recommended for children under the age of 6 as they have not yet bolstered their own immune system’s resistance.
How many times have you found yourself sitting quietly on January 1st, laptop, ipad, paper and pen in hand – with the words: New Year’s Resolutions staring you in the face? Break with tradition, and make December the month for reflection, re-alignment, and refocus. Here is the first in a series on this subject. We present a group of excellent resources to get your fires burning:
Deepak Chopra: How Am I Doing
Cheryl Richardson: The De-Clutter Plan
Martha Beck: 10 Life Lessons You Should Unlearn
Dr Wayne Dyer: Time to Take a Chance
Bill Phillips: Prepare Your Health for Life
15 Power Tips for Self Motivation