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KEEP YOUR FAMILY WELL THIS WINTER!

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Keep your family well this Winter!

Our daylight hours decline, we start to feel the change of temperature with the colder mornings. Our lovely Queensland winter sun helps provide us with the additional Vitamin D we all need. This time of year from June to the end of August can also be referred to as the sickness season. The dreaded onset of being surrounded by people sneezing and coughing makes us vulnerable to catch some of the winter bugs. The constant reminder for a flu shot, to prevent the onset of the winter viral influenza, leaves many concerned for what you can do to keep your “winter wellness”.

Traditionally herbs have been a great alternative to supporting your immune system and I would recommend breaking them up into:

1. Prevention,

2. Treatment, and

3. Recovery

A viral infection usually progresses over a 9-day process, 3 days coming down with it, 3 days suffering and 3 days getting over it. Prevention is the key to minimising how likely your body will win the fight over the winter bug.

Using herbs to support the immune system usually results in improving and supporting the body’s natural ability to neutralise the bug before impacting on you. It’s also important to consider your overall health and it’s often when you are tired, stressed or not eating well you a likely to catch a bug as your immune resistance is lowered.

If the foreign invading bacteria does take hold, preventative treatment with Herbal Extracts and Formulations during infection more likely results in the pathogen or virus being less intense and/or minimises the severity.

Likewise, we need to “nurture” our immune system during the recovery process. This often enables us to get back on our feet quicker. Here are some great herbs available to use this Winter Season:

Echinacea – commonly known as ‘purple coneflower’ is a perennial herb native to North America. Echinacea provides immune modulating, stimulating and enhancing effects on the body. It appears to promote the activity of white blood cells known as macrophages which fight infection by engulfing and digesting pathogens that cause colds and flu. Echinacea also boosts the activity of other important white blood cells in the body such as the natural killer cells and the T-lymphocytes as well as increasing the secretion of interleukin-1, (another important component of the immune system).

Traditionally, Echinacea was used as a remedy for infections of the nose and throat as well as to help relieve catarrhal conditions of the bronchial tract. Modern day research confirms the use of Echinacea for the treatment of the common cold, flu and upper respiratory tract infections (URTI’s). Studies show that Echinacea may decrease the duration and severity of symptoms associated with mild upper respiratory tract infections such as bacterial sinusitis, streptococcal throat, the common cold and influenza-like viral infections, particularly if taken during the early stages of infection.

Andrographis – is another important herb and can be found in immune formulas combined with Echinacea and Vitamin C and Zinc. Andrographis is used in traditional Chinese medicine to relieve symptoms of common colds, flu and mild URTI, including cough, sore throat and fever. It is traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine as an antipyretic to relieve mild fever.

The active constituents in Andrographis are diterpene lactones, commonly known as andrographolides, which have anti-inflammatory, antiviral and immune-stimulatory activity. Many studies showing positive benefits on immune health. A 2017 systematic review and meta-analysis that included 33 randomised, controlled trails, with a total of 7175 patients, found that Andrographis, either alone or plus usual care, had a statistically significant effect in improving overall symptoms of acute respiratory tract infections when compared to placebo, usual care and other herbal therapies. The review showed that Andrographis shortened the duration of coughs, sore throat and sick leave/time to resolution when compared to usual care. Additionally, no major adverse events were reported.

A very popular herb to the immune system is our Mediterranean Olive Leaf. The more this herb has been studied the more we learn of its amazing benefits outside of fighting bacteria. Olive leaf has been found to have antimicrobial properties against viruses, bacteria and yeasts in animal and human studies. Olive leaf is used in traditional Western herbal medicine as a febrifuge to relieve mild fevers. Olive leaf is currently emerging as an amazing herb for its cardio protective properties.

Mushroom Extract – The wise traditional Chinese have provided the western world with some amazing insights into medicinal foods. Mushrooms have an extensive list of medicinal properties. Mushroom extracts traditionally used in Chinese medicine for the relief of symptoms of mild upper respiratory tract infections, colds and to strengthen the lungs for the relief of coughs. There are a variety of mushroom extracts such as:

1. Shiitake

2. Reishi

3. Cordyceps

4. Snow fungus

5. Turkey tail

Look for combinations of these 5 where possible. Mushroom extracts are also very useful for deep seated immune conditions. They make great recovery and convalescence supports or for anyone suffering from long standing illness.

To keep your winter wellness, it’s important to eat well and manage your lifestyle. If unsure what herb or herbal formulation is best for you and your family, make sure to discuss with any of our wonderful staff and consider any medication interactions with other medications you may be taking. See in stores for more information.

Enjoy the beautiful winter sun and stay well this season!

Here are our top Fusion Health product choices that will help keep your family well this Winter! Click on each product for more info and to view the special savings!

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Article by Amanda Schultz - Advanced Diploma in Applied Science, Naturopathy