A herb to prevent colds and sniffles
Q. I get colds through the winter and wonder if taking the Chinese herb astragalus might help. Also can you please recommend a good liquid multivitamin supplement? A. According to herbalist and acupuncturist Michael McIntyre, astragalus membranaceus has been used for centuries in Traditional Chinese Medicine to boost the immune systems of people who are run-down, or preventatively as you suggest. The US National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine reports that there is preliminary evidence from Western research that astragalus may benefit the immune system.
To help your immune system ward off cold and flu viruses, McIntyre (www.michael-mcintyre.com) recommends a daily dose of 5ml astragalus tincture in a glass of water, with a few drops of ginger tincture. Or simmer two slices of fresh ginger in water, then add the astragalus. Try Nature’s Answer Astragalus Root alcohol-free tincture (£8.49, from www.victoriahealth.com).
Alternatively, make a tea with 10g dried astragalus and four mugs of water for two days’ supply; boil this for 20 minutes, then add two or three slices of fresh ginger. Heat and drink a cup morning and evening. (G. Baldwin & Co supplies dried astragalus, from £2.79, www.baldwins.co.uk.)
The herb echinacea can be taken at the first sign of a cold. McIntyre suggests a dose of half a teaspoon of tincture in water, three or four times daily, until the symptoms have gone. Try AVogel Echinaforce Tincture (£9.15, from www.victoriahealth.com).
If you want a multivitamin, Shabir Daya recommends Nature’s Plus Ultra Source of Life Liquid (£12.45, from www.victoriahealth.com), which contains a blend of vitamins, minerals, green foods, plant nutrients and whole-food concentrates.
If you are on medication, always check with your doctor before taking herbal medicines.
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