Debra Stark (published originally in 2002!)

Don’t you wonder why everyone doesn’t get sick when the cold and flu is going around? It boils down to how healthy your immune system is and whether it has the strength to stop those invading bad bugs.

I rarely get a cold and ‘tis true (for the record!) that I’ve two brothers who do get sick. What do I do when I feel a tickle in the throat or stuffiness of the nose? Short of downing a bottle of brandy (which a college roommate in the 60’s assured me was the cure), I do just about everything below. And I keep “doing” for a few days after the bug seems gone so it won’t come back and say, “Gotcha!”

My short list when I’m fighting something is the following: 4 tablets or capsules of N-Acetyl-L-Cysteine (NAC), which is a terrific amino acid and antioxidant, every night. Gaia, Honey Bee Garden’s or Herb Pharm’s throat spray as often as every 15 minutes when my throat is hurting, fresh ginger to nibble, green tea to sip often, Boiron’s Oscilloccocinum (a homeopathic remedy), Rainbow Light’s Deep Defense, Larix or Elderberry, and Zand zinc lozenges. I take extra vitamin C, stay away from sugar (this means fruit juice too) because sugar depresses the immune system for 6 hours after consumption. In other words, I behave myself when I’m fighting off a cold or the flu. I’ve added Adam’s Immune Dragon Superbrew – worst tasting, best working – which really does work. And I’ll take colloidal silver when things feel dire.

The throat sprays contain anti-cold/flu herbs and they also contain propolis, the resinous substance bees paint on the entrance to their hives to keep germs out.

Elderberry is a known cold/flu fighter, and Larix (from the Western Larch tree), is the same genus as echinacea, but 40 times stronger. Rainbow Light’s Deep Defense adds medicinal mushrooms, astragalus and ligustrum, two Chinese deep immune boosting herbs. Astragalus is especially effective for the person who keeps getting sick.

Why do I sip green tea? Used medicinally in China for over 4,000 years, green tea contains polyphenolic catechins, a powerful antioxidant. (Antioxidants protect our cells from damage.) Green tea supports the body’s immune system, and as an antibacterial, can help stave off that cold and flu. Try gargling with it if you’ve a sore throat. The same goes for red and white teas.

Ginger cures what ails you and is a warming remedy critical to fight colds, mucus, coughs, and bronchial infections. In fact, ginger appears in more than half of Chinese herbal prescriptions, and is used to prevent and treat viral infections. I keep gingerroot in a baggie and nibble as needed.

Enough has been written about vitamin C to know taking extra is smart, and enough has been written about zinc lozenges which says the same. I like zinc lozenges which use rice syrup, a good sweetener, and because they don’t make me feel sick to my stomach like some zinc lozenges I’ve tried.  

Making soup is what grandma would do. Second best? Our Mom’s Chicken Barley or Immune Boosting soups with lots of good stuff.