I was recently brushing up on the most recent scientific literature on “Colds and Influenza” and was saddened that some of the alternative treatments do not get the media attention that they deserve. It is unfortunate that many of them are not more commonly known.
Most of us realize that any Structural deficiency can lead to DECREASED function of your body, but I will not be covering anything about how this puts you at a disadvantage from the get go. If you want to discuss this, please call the office and schedule a consultation and I would be happy to go over your case with you. After all, I am a Structural Chiropractor.
Back to the paper that I caught my eye. It was a systematic review of the literature on everything from vaccinating against the flu, antiviral agents, over the counter products to various natural treatments. Since I am the nerd and I don’t expect most people to know that a systematic review is one of the HIGHEST forms of research studies, I will just tell you. It is a big deal when a systematic review shows efficacy. In other words, they carry a LOT of weight in the scientific and clinical community.
While I was intrigued by some of the traditional treatment results (and lack thereof), I wanted to focus on the natural treatments that are effective at keeping you, and your family felling well. Also NOTE that I did not say healthy.
Healthy and feeling well are not the same thing.
Healthy is the ability to adapt to your environment, while feeling well is just a subjective “feeling”. People with cancer often report “feeling good”. Individuals with heart disease “feel good”. People with cavities may “feel good”. As you can see, feeling good and healthy are not always the same thing. I want you all to be healthy AND feel good.
In this article, I want to cover some of the little known natural treatments and not necessarily the most effective for your individual case. As with all of my posts, I ask that you discuss with your healthcare provider BEFORE trying anything as you may or may not be an candidate for all of the treatments. Now that I have that intro out of the way, here are the top 3 “lesser known” ways to reduce symptoms, severity and duration of the common cold and influenza.
1.) Echinacea (Echinacea spp)
As with all of these, the product/ formulation and dosage matter. Do not go and buy just any echinacea. Ask your provider which brand/ product and dosage to take.
The results of studies are mixed on Echinacea, likely due to the different formulations as mentioned above. However, there are enough studies that suggest that it may reduce duration as well as severity of common cold symptoms. Even though there are “mixed” results, there are still enough good studies that suggest echinacea does reduce symptoms. It may be a viable supplement to your treatment.
2.) Elderberry Syrup (Sambucus Nigra)
Now this one may be my favorite. I have PERSONALLY had great results with the syrup both myself and with my son. While I have only been ill twice in the past decade, but the last time being very recent, I can absolutely say that I had great results. It is recommended that you take this one within 48 hours of symptoms as the research suggests that it the most effective time to do so.
Research demonstrates elderberry syrup possess immune-modulating and antioxidant properties. Most people do not realize that Elderberry syrup has antiviral properties that make it ideal for any viral infection. Mumcuoglu (an Israeli virologist) found that elderberry syrup effectively blocks viruses from being able to replicate, which is a really cool finding!
3.) Garlic (Allium sativa)
This one is a fun one. Who doesn’t love garlic? Okay, I know that everyone doesn’t love it, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take it in a supplement form.
In one large study they compared a group of 123 people who took a garlic supplement versus 123 who did not. In this study, the supplement group only had 24 colds, while the non-supplement group had 65. Also, the supplement group reported symptoms lasting 1.5 days on average versus 5 days in the non-supplement group.
You should never take the results of one study and consider it to be definative. This is because it is very rare for researchers to study things that result in little to zero financial gain. In other words, unless the garlic supplement industry were to fund additional research, we aren’t likely to see many more studies completed. While many of us don’t agree with this practice, we must take it into account.
I will leave this data with you to digest (PUN intended), and go about my business. I hope you found this article applicable and helpful to you and your family. At the very least, I hope you continue to investigate on your own. As always, if you have any questions either about this article or structural chiropractic care, feel free contact me.