As the weather cools and the leaves turn, we brace ourselves for another cold and flu season. This season tends to leave us feeling vulnerable, but there are natural remedies that can help shore up our defences. Among these remedies is the trusted Echinacea, also known as Cone Flowers.
Echinacea: Nature's Defender Against Seasonal Illness
Echinacea is no ordinary flower; it's a native North American flowering plant with a long history of medicinal use. Indigenous peoples and First Nation communities have relied on it for generations to treat injuries, pain, throat infections, coughs, and even snake bites. Echinacea angustifolia, in particular, was a favourite among Eclectic physicians and was even used to combat severe conditions like sepsis and typhoid fever.
Recent research has unveiled even more about Echinacea. There are two key species, Echinacea angustifolia and purpurea, which, when combined, offer a potent defence against colds and flu.
Kerry Bone, a renowned herbalist, discovered that Echinacea purpurea is especially effective against viral infections. However, its immune-boosting compounds, called alkylamides, have a limited duration of activity in the body. Yet, when you combine Echinacea angustifolia with Echinacea purpurea, the alkylamides from purpurea become more readily available in the presence of those from angustifolia. These two species complement each other's therapeutic actions due to their unique active compounds.
Back-to-School Season and the Inevitable Runny Noses
With the return of school and daycare, we anticipate the usual wave of runny noses and germ-sharing among children. Fortunately, St. Francis offers some potent solutions:
- Echinacea Plus - Kids: This blend combines both Echinacea species with distilled water and glycerin, extracted using alcohol. It also includes colostrum to bolster the immune system and anis as an expectorant to ease mucus release. While it may have a tincture-like taste, you can mix it with juice, applesauce, yogurt, or even present it as a magical potion to make it more appealing to young children.
- Echinacea Plus Kids with Elderberry: This alcohol-free version is ideal for picky eaters. Made with black chokeberry, honey, and elderberry, it adds immune-boosting properties to the mix. Elderberry is known for its antiviral, antimicrobial, and immune-modulating effects, and its tart flavour may even appeal to some kids.
But let's not neglect the adults. St. Francis offers the robust EchinaSeal, which combines both Echinacea species (purpurea and angustifolia) with infection-fighting and anti-inflammatory goldenseal. This dynamic duo provides a potent herbal strategy for combating common viruses while soothing sore throats and mouth infections.
Fun Fact: The Allure of Goldenseal
Goldenseal, a perennial plant native to eastern North America and part of the Buttercup family, has a rich history in traditional medicine. Its roots and leaves have been used to address various ailments, particularly infections and inflammation. Goldenseal's popularity as a natural remedy for upper respiratory tract infections, including the common cold, makes it a valuable partner to potent Echinaceas.
Propolis: Nature's Marvel for Inflammation Relief
Lastly, let's not overlook propolis. Produced by bees from the sap of needle-leaved trees or evergreens, propolis boasts antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. These qualities make it an excellent choice for soothing inflammation in the throat, sinuses, and other discomforts brought on by colds and flu.
As the cold and flu season approaches, take proactive steps to bolster your immune system with these natural remedies. Whether you're a concerned parent or an adult striving for a healthy season, Echinacea and its trusted allies, such as goldenseal and propolis, can help you stand strong against seasonal viruses and infections. So, stock up on these natural warriors and gear up to face the season with confidence and resilience.