Natural Cold and Flu Prevention Using Mother Nature & Lifestyle Hacks
We all live busy lives. None of us have time for a cold or flu. Taking steps to reduce the chances of sickness and getting over it quickly when we succumb is a top priority for all of us.
Thankfully, there are natural ways to arm ourselves against sickness with the help of ancient remedies and modern research.
Why We Get Sick
Although the flu and colds are both relatively common and sometimes used interchangeably, they encompass a wide range of illnesses. The common cold is, in fact, over 200 different viruses. The flu, which is more severe than the common cold, comprises four viruses that mutate from year to year.
Any person can catch the flu or cold at any time, but some of us are more vulnerable to getting sick and having a more severe illness. By boosting our immune systems, we can reduce the risk of catching a cold and reduce the severity of symptoms if we do get sick.
There are many factors that someone might be more vulnerable to sickness:
- Vitamin or mineral deficiencies
- Emotional stress
- Lack of sleep
- Imbalanced microbiome
- Mold exposure
How Herbs and Mushrooms Can Help
For thousands of years, health practitioners have sought to ease the suffering and reduce the risk of illness in their patients. They observed that certain herbs and mushrooms helped lessen the severity of sickness and provide support for vulnerable people. These practitioners handed down their observations to the next generation so that these plants could continue to heal.
Today, scientists have studied these plants and discovered the compounds that make them so powerful. We have gathered many of these ancient plants from the purest sources into two of our immune-boosting formulas, Optimal Immune and LNG-RENEW. These formulas put many of the ingredients ancient practitioners have been using for thousands of years in convenient supplements.
The ingredients in each formula are backed by both ancient use and modern science. The ingredients include:
Most of us have experienced the coughing and wheezing that never seems to end. Ancient practitioners have used the leaf that comes from the beautiful mullein herb to help calm the lungs. Traditionally, it was used to treat bronchitis, cough, and congestion. It was even used during the Victorian era to treat bronchitis.
Researchers have pinpointed many of the potent properties of mullein that enable it to boost lung health. It has numerous antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, including flavonoids, saponins, phenylethanoids, and iridoids, that help increases the immune system and decreases lung inflammation.
Research shows that it helps relax the air pathways, which can grow inflamed and lead to excessive coughing during sickness. It can be a powerful way to help bring relief for those who struggle with a cough during colds.
In addition to bringing relief, mullein also reduces the risk of contracting an illness in the first place. It has antiviral properties that inhibit cold and flu viruses. One study found that mullein was effective in fighting flu viruses. Researchers found in different research that it was especially effective against respiratory infections.
Mullein leaf provides a powerful boost for those who are especially vulnerable to cough and lung complications during sickness.
Elecampane is a plant with beautiful yellow flowers and a well-documented history of providing help during sickness. In the 17th century, people commonly used it in a lozenge to help ease coughs.
Elecampane has potent anti-inflammatory properties, and multiple studies found that it is also a powerful antioxidant.
Researchers found in a 2020 study that elecampane’s anti-inflammatory properties specifically help inhibit respiratory illness.
While most of us don’t think about our gut health when seeking to ward off illness, the microbiome is actually a critical aspect of immune health. In fact, a large part of our immune system resides in the gut. Elecampane improves our immune response by supporting gut health. It is made up of a soluble fiber called inulin. Inulin feeds the healthy bacteria in our gut, which helps to keep the right balance and improve immune health.
In addition, scientists found that elecampane contains immunomodulatory properties. That means that when faced with viruses or illness, it can improve the immune response to help fight against it.
For those vulnerable to or currently fighting the flu or a cold, elecampane provides critical help.
Although we may know English ivy as a beautiful inside plant, it has a long history of immune and lung support. Ancient Greeks used the plant to support lung and airway health.
Colds carry an increased risk of catching bronchitis, which is a viral infection deeper in the lungs. However, English ivy can both help relieve the symptoms of a cold and ease coughing with bronchitis. Studies show that it can help relieve throat irritation and cough and supports the ability to clear out mucus. Researchers found in a different study that it helped reduce mucus, which improved coughs and made breathing easier.
Researchers found that English ivy is particularly useful for easing a cough. A study that included 17,000 participants found that it reduced coughing. It worked as effectively as certain cough medicines on patients with bronchitis in additional research.
There are over 200 types of honeysuckle, but the ancient Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners used one kind, in particular, to boost the immune system and soothe the airways, Japanese honeysuckle.
Today, researchers have found that honeysuckle is particularly potent for reducing the risk of illness. There are over 140 anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can help strengthen the body against infection and stop severe sickness.
In addition, research shows that Japanese honeysuckle can help support immune function. A 2018 study found that honeysuckle berries increased immune function. Researchers in another study found that it boosted white cell count to improve the immune response.
Our immune response is critical for reducing the risk of a cold or flu and speeding healing when we do succumb to it. Honeysuckle can provide valuable help to improve our immune system.
Osha root is a part of the carrot and parsley family and was long used by Indigenous peoples as a potent medicine.
Today, studies show that Osha root is particularly rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. Researchers found in one study that it showed significantly more anti-inflammatory capabilities than all the other plants they tested. In a test-tube study, it reduced inflammation markers.
Inflammation is a driving factor in many of the uncomfortable symptoms of colds and the flu. In particular, it drives inflammation in the airways, which leads to the typical runny nose, itchy throat, and cough. Osha root can provide a boost to help counteract many of these symptoms.
Chaga is a mushroom that cultures have long used for its numerous benefits. Russians, for example, have been taking Chaga in their tea for hundreds of years as a folk remedy.
Researchers found that many of chaga’s benefits stem from its anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties. Immunocompromised people are especially vulnerable to the flu. Cancer patients, autoimmune sufferers, and those with certain conditions are all more likely to get sick and have severe symptoms when they do. Chaga can help.
Researchers found that Chaga helps boost white blood cells and support the immune system against viruses. A study on immunosuppressed mice found that it improved their immune response. A test-tube study showed that it enhanced immunomodulation to ensure that the immune system worked properly.
In a different study, mice underwent chemotherapy and took chaga. They found that chaga both reduced inflammation and improved their immune response. Researchers also studied the effect of chaga on mice with colitis, which is an autoimmune condition. They found that it also helped to lower inflammation. This is both powerful in reducing symptoms of colitis and potentially aiding in illness.
Although more human studies need to be conducted to verify its immune-stimulating benefits, the current research on Chaga is promising.
Ancient Japanese and Chinese health practitioners have long used maitake mushroom, also called Hen of the Woods, for its many health benefits. Today, researchers have found that it is a powerful adaptogen to aid the immune system.
Stress plays a critical role in illness. It temporarily lowers the immune response to deal with an immediate threat. In the case of chronic stress, which is more common in modern life, this can seriously hamper the ability to fight off colds.
Research shows that maitake helps combat everyday stress to improve immune response. One study found that when combined with ashwagandha (which we talk about below), it not only reduced inflammation but also increased immune function.
Researchers found that maitake is full of a component called beta-glucan. Studies show beta-glucan enhances the immune response, including boosting natural killer cells. This can help the body quickly bring an end to any virus.
Studies have found that maitake has strong antiviral properties to help combat illness as well. A 2020 study found that it has antiviral properties. Another 2017 study done in Japan found that it inhibited certain types of the flu and the common cold.
For those who need a little extra help during cold and flu season, maitake could be a powerful boost.
Turkey tail is a common mushroom found in forests all around the world. From Chinese to Japanese to Indigenous American tribes, various cultures have revered the mushroom for its many health benefits.
Researchers have found that turkey tail is especially useful for helping the immune system mount a defense against sicknesses. A 2019 study found that it could activate the immune system, while a 2020 study demonstrated its immunomodulatory effects.
For those who need additional immune support, turkey tail is a great natural boost to help reduce the risk of coming down with a cold.
Researchers have found that reishi’s virus-fighting benefits come from its ability to boost white blood cells. Because it changes inflammation pathways, it can help make the immune system more effective.
Reishi can be beneficial for cancer patients who are more vulnerable to colds and the flu. One study found it boosted natural killer cells in cancer patients that helped them fight viruses. Another study on cancer patients also found it increased white blood cells.
For those under stress are with compromised immune systems, reishi could provide vital help.
One of the most widely used herbs in Ayurveda, health practitioners have long used ashwagandha to improve stress response, energy and improve concentration.
Researchers found that ashwagandha has strong anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce the inflammatory response in illness. One study on rats with a diet full of sugar (known to increase inflammation and sickness) found ashwagandha helped protect them from inflammation. Another study on rats with arthritis found it also helps reduce inflammation.
In addition to reducing inflammation, ashwagandha can help improve the immune response. One study found that participants who took the herb for 96 hours experienced a boost in Natural Killer and T-cells. Both cells are critical for the immune system. In a different study with 32 volunteers, those who took it also saw an increase in their Natural Killer cells.
Both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda practitioners have long used the flowering herb astragalus to stimulate the immune system.
Studies show that the power of astragalus to aid the immune response is because of one compound, in particular, Astragalus polysaccharide (APS). Research indicates that APS is potentially effective in fighting against the common cold. A study from 2019 showed that APS had antiviral activity and could help against the avian flu.
Astragalus can also help counteract the immunosuppression of stress. A recent 2021 study found that astragalus helped severely strained athletes maintain their immune response.
For those under stress, astragalus could help boost the immune system and counteract the negative immune response of stress.
Related to sunflowers and daisies, burdock can be found all over Europe and Northern Asia. Ancient practitioners have long known burdock’s health benefits and taken it for centuries.
Today, studies have uncovered the potent properties of burdock that make it a powerful boost for the immune system.
In particular, a recent 2020 health review found that burdock contains multiple antimicrobial compounds. Burdock’s ability to fight viruses makes it a powerful ally in the fight against viruses.
In addition, burdock is full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. One study found that it reduced inflammation in patients who had arthritis. In particular, burdock has antioxidants that help protect the immune system from stress and other negative factors.
Cold and Flu Hacks for Relief
While herbs and mushrooms can provide the immune system with a potent boost, there are other ways to reduce the chance of catching the flu and speeding healing:
- Sunshine. Full of vitamin D and other immune-boosting properties, daily sunlight is critical for fighting illness.
- Sleep. Sleep is when the body renews and rejuvenates. Aim for 7-9 hours each night to help boost the immune system and keep sickness at bay.
- Exercise. Find some type of movement you enjoy. While overexercising can exhaust the body, getting some activity every day can improve the immune system.
- Cold exposure. One study showed that cold showers resulted in a 29% reduction in sick days at work. In addition to many benefits, cold baths and showers can be incredible for the immune system.
- Deep breathing. Deep breathing exercises, like those used by Wim Hof, can help stimulate the immune response. In one study, those who did these breathing methods and cold baths were able to control their immune response.
- Colorful diet. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can hurt the immune response. Eat a diet rich in fruit, healthy fats, and high-quality protein.
Boost Your Health During Cold and Flu Season
There are a number of factors that affect whether we get sick or not. However, herbs and mushrooms can provide the immune system the boost it needs to reduce the risk of getting an illness and speeding recovery.
We’ve compiled the most potent plants from the purest sources for two of our most popular formulas, Optimal Immune and LNG-RENEW. Each herb and mushroom has significant historical use as well as modern research to help you stay strong and healthy during cold and flu season.
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