Preventing Colds

Echinacea purpurea 'Maxima'

Echinacea purpurea ‘Maxima’ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s no coincidence that back to school time is also the start of cold season. Your mother probably told you that going outdoors with wet hair would make you sick. Doctors now tell us that being cold does not cause colds. We catch colds from viruses. Between children being back in school, and cooler weather keeping us indoors, we are naturally exposed to more viruses. The low humidity of heated rooms dries out our nasal passages, making us even more susceptible to picking up a cold virus. Sneezing broadcasts the virus, or left on a surface, the germs are later transferred by our hands to our mouth, nose, or eyes.

Children, with their still developing immune systems, will catch six to eight colds per year. The average adult will get two to four colds a year. Therefore, our goal is preventing a cold, or at least shortening the duration, and reducing the intensity of cold symptoms.

WebMd tells us that 80% of infectious diseases are transmitted by touch! Frequent hand washing is one of the most important habits we can teach and practice.

Herbs and Antioxidants

Traditionally some herbs and supplements are used to help prevent colds and shorten their duration. Vitamin C and zinc are important for the maintenance of health. Recently, data was presented from two double-blind, placebo-controlled trials testing a combination of 1000mg of vitamin C plus 10 mg of zinc in patients with the common cold. In both studies relief was faster with vitamin C and zinc than with the placebo.

Echinacea has long been used as a natural herb to help speed healing. A review of 700 studies showed that the herb has a substantial effect in preventing and limiting the duration of a cold.

Astragalus is one of the most researched immune stimulant herbs. It is also antibacterial and anti-inflammatory.

There are two Activate formulas that contain vitamin C, zinc with Oligo, Aronia (black chokeberry) and Astragalus:

1) Activate Immune Complex capsules contain Echinacea and 550 mg of vitamin C.

2) Orange flavored Activate-C Immune Complex comes in individual powder sticks that can be mixed with hot or cold water. It does not contain Echinacea, but contains Astragalus and 1200 mg of vitamin C! It is recommended to take Activate at the first hint of a cold or for up to three weeks at a time.

Reduce Inflammation

Current research tells us that while a cold is caused by a virus, severe cold symptoms are caused by inflammation. Persons enduring chronic stress suffered increased and prolonged cold symptoms brought on by inflammation. Amazingly, researchers found that the immune system can still fight a cold without excessive cold symptoms.

Dr. Oz recently recommended taking a few minutes every day to reduce stress by meditating. By taking only a few minutes to consciously calm down, stress is reduced, thereby reducing disease causing inflammation. You can learn the easy-to-follow instructions in Dr. Oz’s column.

A diet that includes fruits and vegetables along with antioxidant supplements helps maintain good health. Provex-Plus and ProvexCV are powerful antioxidants that help reduce inflammation. Coldwater Omega-3 contains research recommended omega-3 fatty acids to help fight inflammation.


Daily moderate-intensity exercise may reduce the risk of catching a cold. Our immune system contains special disease killing cells that can increase by as much as 50% to 300% with exercise. Some people, when they feel a cold coming on, will gently bounce on a small trampoline or rebounder for a temporary immune system boost.

Cold Remedies

If and when you come down with a cold, The Melaleuca Wellness Guide tells us to act quickly to shorten a cold and possibly avoid a secondary bacterial infection. Because colds are caused by viruses, most doctors no longer prescribe antibiotics for the common cold. T36-C5 is effective against viruses. You can dab one drop of T36-C5 every four hours directly under each nostril. Cool Shot Fresh Breath Spray, which you might be carrying in your purse or pocket, also contains tea tree oil, along with bacteria inhibiting xylitol.

Health Maintaining Practices

We do not have to be at the mercy of the more than 200 viruses that cause colds. We can practice ‘defensive healthy living’ – hand washing, reducing inflammation, eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, taking vitamins and supplements, and practicing daily stress reduction, along with daily exercise.

~ Richard M Barry

One thought on “Preventing Colds

  1. Thanks for giving us this valuable information about the benefits of herbs; such a better option than taking shots or pills for potential ailments:))

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