Shielding You From Colds and Flu!
Boost Your Immune System with Echinacea
As important as infectious agents are in disease, the host - that’s you and me - are vital. Louis Pasteur, the man who launched the search for infectious agents, is said to have confirmed this notion on his deathbed saying something to the effect: “The germ is nothing; the terrain [the health of the host] is everything.”
Auditing Your Army
Think of your immune system as an army defending you against outside invaders. Our white blood cell count is important because it tells us how many troops we have in our immune army. But counting the troops doesn’t give us the full story of what our immune system is actually doing. It’s one thing to have hundreds of thousands of soldiers in your army, but if half of them are sleeping or hung over from a night of partying, then immune “activity” is low known as “cytotoxicity.”
Arming your troops
When it comes to commonly available products to combat cold and flu viruses, few can compete for sheer visibility with Echinacea. This is a name that not many people would have been able to pronounce twenty years ago, yet now it’s a favourite for preventing and/or treating colds and flu, right up there with the ginseng compounds and vitamin C. But if you’ve heard of Echinacea, you’ve also heard conflicting stories. Many have reported it to be useless, of no more value than a placebo. So, what’s the story?
The Jury on Echinacea is In
I’d heard a good deal of discussion among professionals about a highly refined Echinacea extract that was now widely available through Jamieson, the vitamin company. Jamieson markets the product – FluShield. In the summer of 2009 I travelled to Verona, Italy – where the raw materials for FluShield are grown - to find out for myself what Jamieson had been doing. The choice of Verona was no accident: soil and growing conditions were determined to be ideal for the cultivation of the species that years of research had determined to hold the greatest potential: Echinacea Angustifolia - the very species that had been widely used by the North American Plains Indians for its general medicinal qualities - and now Polinacea®, the standardized extract from the roots of Echinacea Angustifolia. Of course it would have been easy to select a growing location in the plant’s native North America, but the whole focus of this work was the purity and controllability of the final product. No North American location could be free from the likelihood of cross-pollination by other Echinacea species. For added security, a system of greenhouse micro-propagation at the Verona facility is used to make sure that they’re growing 100 percent Angustifolia.
The immune army boosting polysaccharides that arm the body’s T-cells with the ammo to fight viral and bacterial invaders is one of the medicinally active ingredients of the Echinacea Angustifolia plant. When you buy an Echinacea product, it might be made from any part of the plant, but in fact the active compounds are concentrated in the roots. Other ingredients from the Echinacea plant (i.e. echinacosides and alkylamides) have little desired effect on immunity and can actually act to suppress immune system activity.
FluShield, has been clinically proven to reduce the symptoms of colds and flu when taken in the early stages. A study on the use of a standardized extract from Echinacea Angustifolia (Polinacea®) for the prevention of respiratory tract infections was published in the March 2012 edition of the Alternative Medicine Review. The study and refinement of plant materials to produce effective natural health products is only getting underway. You can’t expect everything on the shelves of your neighbourhood pharmacy to have the benefit of the intense and expensive research and development that has gone into FluShield and related products. But the picture is changing - and improving - every year. This year, here’s to shielding you and your family from the flu!
To watch a mini documentary of Bryce Wylde visiting Verona Italy where the raw materials for FluShield are grown click here jamiesonvitamins.com/flushield_plantation
Dr. Bryce Wylde is one of Canada's leading experts on natural medicine. He is the author of The Antioxidant Prescription and host of Wylde On Health on CP24. wyldeabouthealth.com