Whether you’re talking about a cold or the flu, there are various recommendations for preventing and treating them. If you start early on prevention, you'll likely be among the lucky people who sail through the winter without catching either. By far the best defense is prevention. A strong immune system will prevent a cold or the flu and speed up recovery time if you do in fact get sick.
One of the best preventive measures is medicinal mushrooms, which are well-documented for their ability to enhance immune function and help combat infection, especially on a long-term basis. Medicinal mushrooms are literally immune system coaches, and it is more efficient to train your immune system when you are not already sick. The beauty of medicinal mushrooms is that they are also highly beneficial in times of distress and when your immune system is under an increased risk.
The best way to use medicinal mushrooms is to take them regularly at a maintenance dose and then increase the dosage when you are at greater risk or when you have a cold. At times of distress or if there is an increased risk for colds and flu, doubling the dosage of medicinal mushrooms is extremely beneficial.
Mushrooms naturally contain Beta glucans, which are simple polysaccharides (sugar/carbohydrate molecules) that enhance immune function by boosting macrophage activity. Beta glucans can be cultivated in yeast cells and extracted and added to mushroom products for a booster effect. Thus, when you select a mushroom product, it is important to choose one that contains additional Beta glucans for the best benefit. Additional herbs that are valuable for immune health include Echinacea and Goldenseal. Various Chinese herbal formulas such as Yin Qiao San, Gui Zi Tang, Ge Gen Tang can also be effective, depending on the specific characteristics of the flu or cold. Tonifying and adaptogenic herbs, such as Astragalus, Ginseng, and Eleutherococcus (Siberian ginseng) are also powerful defenses, but consult an herbalist knowledgeable in TCM herbology before taking them.
Finally, when you have a cold or the flu, high dosages of vitamin C and zinc are quite helpful. Daily doses of Vitamin C can boost the immune system, offering potential protection from viruses and colds. Vitamin C is a nutrient that has been demonstrated to have a substantial impact on human health. Taking a dose of up to 1,000 mg of Vitamin C can strengthen your immune system and that, in turn, can help you avoid colds and nasty viruses.
Zinc helps to eliminate already existing free radicals and helps to prevent new ones from forming. Zinc is the most important mineral to the thymus gland, which orchestrates the immune function in the human body. Supplementation with zinc increases the ability of the immune system to fight viral infections and enhances the ability of the immune system to do its job.
Research continues to show how important these vitamins and supplements are for your immune system, and since most of us are deficient in the winter, a daily supplement can boost your immune system even more.
Dr. Isaac Eliaz is a respected author, lecturer, researcher, product formulator, and clinical practitioner. He has been a pioneer in the field of integrative medicine since the early 1980s. Dr. Eliaz is a frequent guest lecturer on integrative medical approaches to health, immune enhancement, and cancer prevention and treatment. For more practical health advice, visit www.dreliaz.org.