7 Must-have Remedies for Cold & Flu Season
1. Gan Mao Ling
Key Uses: Early stage cold w runny nose, sneezing. Use at first sign of cold.
Where to buy: Health food store, my office
Dosage: 4-6 pills every 3 hrs for first 2 days; then 4-6 pills 3x/day for 2-3 days
GML is what’s called a ‘Patent Formula’, meaning a tried and true formula used for millennia in Chinese Medicine. It employs antiviral and antibacterial herbs along with herbs for allergy, runny nose, and congestion. I never travel without it.
2. Fresh Ginger
Key Uses: Indigestion, feeling cold/achy, cold/flu
Where to buy: Any grocery store, fresh ginger is bright yellow inside
Dosage: Rinse and slice 4 oz (a piece as long as your index finger), leaving skin on as skin has ‘warming’ properties. Boil in 4 cu water for 10 minutes until 2 cu remain. Add 4 oz of this spicy liquid to coffee cup and add 4 oz additional boiling water. Add milk (or milk alternative) and honey. Enjoy up to 4 cups per day.
Ginger has been used around the world for it’s spicy, warming properties in food and tea. In Chinese Medicine, this ‘herb’ is used specifically to nourish the middle burner and assist the body in fighting cold and flu. Used in tea, it’s a great way to warm the body from the inside out.
3. Andrographis Complex
Key Uses: Sore throat, infection of any kind, cold/flu
Where to buy: My office. Also look for Chuan Xin Lian patent pills at health food store.
Dosage: 1-2 pills every 3-6hrs depending on specific condition.
MediHerb’s Andrographis Complex is a proprietary blend of several herbs including Andrographis, Echinacea, and Holy Basil. Combined they create an extremely potent formula boosting immunity, clearing toxins, addressing infection. Not as strong as an antibiotic, but used consistently, can prevent the need for antibiotics in the first place.
4. Children’s Echinacea Glycerite
Key Uses: Cold/flu PREVENTION. Immune support.
Where to buy: Health food store or online
Dosage: Give 1 drop per 4 pounds of child’s body weight three to five times per day. (e.g., 10 drops for a 40 pound child) Mix drops in juice or water.
This often misunderstood herb works best an immune modulator prior to getting sick, though it can be used at higher doses at the onset of a cold. Immune modulators help the immune system to better identify and process pathogens. In my office I use a combination of the roots of Ech. Purpurea and Ech. Angustifolia. Only the root has these benefits. NOTE: Most manufacturers under-dose, so I often have my patients take this product up to 4 times a day and at twice the dosage. For kids under 6, it’s best to follow the suggested dose and children’s livers are not fully developed.
5. Sambucus for Kids
Key Uses: Common cold, sore throat
Where to buy: online, health food store
Dosage: As directed
Made from elderberries, this standardized extract has been used for centuries as a traditional winter remedy. Several manufacturers make elderberry extracts, but they should all be of similar strength and efficacy. I sometimes combine this product w Windbreaker (below) for my kids.
Key Uses: Seasonal allergies, Common cold
Where to buy: online, in my office
Dosage: Based on body weight, 1/2tsp-1tsp in water or juice, 3-4x/day
This formula has been a lifesaver in my home. If one of my kids is sick, I give both of them this formula so they don’t both get sick. It has prevented many a cold from going into my son’s chest (he used to cough and wheeze after he got a cold, but no more).
NOTE: I also use Gentle Warriors Chest Relief for coughing associated with phlegm in the chest.
7. KW Botanicals Cold & Flu Wind Heat
Key Uses: For obliterating a cold or flu
Where to buy: My office. Only sold through health care practitioners
Dosage: 1 tsp in 1/4cu warm water 4-6x/day, then 1tsp 3x/day
Nothing is better than herbal extracts for fighting a cold or flu. Extracts already contain the active ingredients from an herb and so need not be digested by the body- they are already bioavailable. This product contains essential oils of Eucalytpus, Oregano, and Mint so it quickly opens up your head.
It also includes four of my favorite herbs: Echinacea, Elder flower, GoldenSeal, and Ginger. Buyer beware: This formula tastes terrible and works great!