Manage Colds & Flus With Herbs and Mushrooms
It has become automatic for us to think of echinacea as the herb of choice when dealing with colds and flus. It is a great herb to use, but there are a number of other herbs and even mushrooms that serve the immune system well when battling infections.
These other important players include:
- Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum)
- Codonopsis (Codonopsis pilosula)
- Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
- Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
Let’s start with the magical mushrooms. No, not magic mushrooms – magical mushrooms! These little guys aren’t psychedelics, but their immune system effect is definitely out-of-this-world. The inside cell walls of mushrooms contain polysaccharides that are immunologically active to kill off pathogens. They also modulate immune system components to stimulate immunity. Hot-water extracted mushrooms in high doses have the ultimate effect. Codonopsis is extremely useful for viruses and also boosts energy to help you feel better faster. Reishi mushroom is another antimicrobial infection-fighting option that reduces inflammation by inhibiting histamine release.
Next up is super-herb astragalus with amazing immune system benefits. From deep immune activation, immune enhancement, and immunomodulation, it helps you avoid getting sick. It is also an adaptogen that modulates stress levels, and we all know stress is an immune-system zapper. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, astragalus is specifically indicated for “Change of Season” times of year when we are most likely to get sick.
Now, sometimes the inevitable happens, and we get sick! When a cold or flu hits, andrographis and goldenseal are heavy hitters! Andrographis is an herb that provides relief of cold and flu symptoms – fast! Goldenseal is another useful herb known as the mucus evaporator. Runny noses and phlegmy coughs don’t stand a chance! It also acts as a “spasmolytic” meaning it breaks up hacking coughs.
I’ll finish off with a short word on echinacea, since it is still a powerful player. Take note that a good-quality supplement will contain both species (Echinacea augustifolium and Echinacea purpurea) in order to have the synergistic benefit of their individual properties. You’ll know you’ve got a good one if it makes your tongue tingle. Also, remember that it is best used before an infection, but is also effective at the first sign of a cold.
In closing, harnessing the powers of herbs and mushrooms for preventative and restorative reasons gives you a step up during cold and flu season.