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Well and Good: A Natural Medicine Cabinet

It’s a fact of life: Nobody ever gets sick in the middle of the day. No, cold and flu symptoms always show up in the middle of the night, when everything is closed and your thinking is clouded by sleep deprivation.

So, now that the weather is turning cooler, it is time to take stock of your own “Natural Medicine Cabinet” to make sure you are prepared – and don’t have to improvise relief for yourself or a family member when you’re half-asleep.

The following items are some of my favorites that I keep on hand “just in case:”

  • Vitamin C: Certainly not the “new kid on the block,” but a well-proven way to help improve the immune system function and help the body resist infections.  It does not prevent the common cold but may help reduce the severity and length of symptoms. If taking large doses, be sure to use a buffered form.  Vitamin C is water soluble and won’t be retained by the body.  It is better to take several small doses over the course of the day than one really large dose.
  • Beta-glucans: These are made from mushrooms, yeast or oats.  They have immune building polysaccharides that help “prime” key immune cells using a natural mechanism, according to David Walsh, spokesman for Biothera, a biotechnology company that develops products to help immune health.  Beta-glucans are safe to take every day.  This is not a stimulant; think of it as a way for the body to gear up for a fight against the invading virus or infection.
  • Boiron Coldcalm: This is a homeopathic remedy to help relieve multiple cold symptoms including sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion and minor sore throat.  This is easy to take and safe with no negative side effects, artificial dyes, or sweeteners. The pellets quickly dissolve right under the tongue.
  • Nature’s Way Umcka Cold Care or Cold and Flu: In clinical studies, this product helped people suffer from less severe cold symptoms and shorter periods of sickness.  It comes in liquid forms and convenient chewable tablets.  I’ve used this product and it really works!
  • Echinaforce by A. Vogel: This has been around since the early 1970s. Several studies have shown it can help prevent colds and reduce associated symptoms.
  • Bionorica Sinupret Kids Syrup: This is a popular sinus remedy in Germany, and is used to help with sinus and respiratory tract infections in children. An adult formula is also available.
  • Probiotics: Most people have heard of these to help with digestive issues. However, at the same time, probiotics help support the immune system, helping your body repel colds before they take root.
  • Sovereign Silver’s Colloidal Silver:  This product is considered to possess anti-bacterial, anti-viral properties.  Easy to take, with no after taste.  It also comes in a nasal spray.
  • Zand zinc lozenges: These come in many flavors that actually taste good.
  • Vitamin D: A preventative for many kinds of illnesses. Everyone should consider taking a D supplement, especially during winter months when we are exposed to less sunlight, the natural source for much of our Vitamin D.

I may have left off your favorite remedy or treatment, so remember to inventory your own list of go-to treatments and stock up now. And whatever you use, make sure you use it at the first sign of a cold or flu – and don’t wait until you are miserable.