Kitchen Stewardship | A Baby Steps Approach to Balanced Nutrition

Top 5 Herbs for Cold and Flu Season

November 17th, 2011 · 10 Comments · Natural Health

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You all know I know practically nothing about all the natural remedies for illnesses, right?

I’m trying, though. Yet another example of why KS is a place where baby steps are embraced! We’re all just doing what we can.

I’m pleased to partner up with Trilight Health today to give you a tiny smidgen of information about medicinal herbs and how they’ve been used for centuries to boost the immune system and help folks kick all sorts of common ailments.

Trilight has been mixing and selling herb extracts (Is that even the right term??? See what I mean? I know nothing.) for over 20 years, and they’re pretty highly respected in the circles where people do know what they’re talking about. UPDATE: I figured out the right term later in the day: it’s herbal tinctures, right?

This post is sponsored by Trilight Health.

Here are their recommendations for the

Top 5 Herbs for Immunity

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1. Echinacea

Widely used and now scientifically documented for its immune-enhancing, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor properties. Studies show Echinacea fights infection, speeds wound healing, lessens the severity of colds and flu and speeds recovery.

2. Red Root

Used to cleanse the lymph system and in the treatment of tonsil inflammations and sore throats. It has been shown to increase transport of nutrients from the blood across the capillary cells to the lymph.

3. Thyme

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Anti-bacterial; used to reduce bacteria growth, mucous in the lungs, to eliminate hookworms in the intestines and to strengthen the nervous system.

Thyme, aka Thymus vulgaris, is also the active ingredient I see most often in natural hand sanitizers – here I’d been calling them essential oil based a few weeks back when we talked about them, and thyme is an herb. Duh. UPDATE: Oh, wait. The sanitizers say “thymus vulgaris oil.” Aha…

I also put thyme, the regular old dried herb, in my homemade chicken noodle soup, so you see how well connected we are to this week’s Monday Mission on bone broth. (Did you see the awesome gelled chicken stock post?)

4. Oregon Grape Root

Can be used in place of Golden-seal as it also contains berberine which is a powerful anti-microbial for several bacteria. Unlike Goldenseal, however, long term use will not affect blood sugar levels. Caution: Do not use during pregnancy.

In case you are wondering, like I am, here’s what they have to say about Goldenseal:

Immune stimulant, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial; a broad-spectrum herb often used like an anti-biotic44. Contains berberine which is effective against Helobacter pylori (often responsible for recurrent ulcers) and giardia; effective against gram-positive bacteria such as streptococcus and staph45 and gram-negative bacteria such as E. Coli46; also used externally to reduce inflammation of the eyes47 and soothe mucous membranes. Caution: Do not use during pregnancy.

5. Astragalus Root

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An immune stimulant thought to inhibit tumor growth and often used to help reduce the side effects of chemotherapy. Astragalus supports the production of interferons (proteins which cells produce to fight viral infections). May be used daily as a tonic before colds start.

Should I Use Herbs?

Now all that was very fascinating, but I don’t exactly feel ready to rush out to my garden or health foods store, pick up some dried herbs, and keep myself healthy.

And perhaps I shouldn’t.

As much as I wanted to share something about herbs, hitting the “success” button on immunity boosting is as much about knowing how the herbs work together as knowing what they do. This is how the patriarch of Trilight Health explained it to me:

“Formulas are synergetic and often work differently than the individual components.  That being said that is why there is so little of some herbs in the formulas as they are activators for the formula and in small quantities on a short term basis are healing and make the formula far more potent and effective.  Often our competition which are mostly composed of marketers put a lot of the same great sounding herbs together but they just don’t produce healing results even though they do get profit results!   We have decades of success with health and even though we are not the best marketers we do get great results for our moms.”

Some of Trilight’s formulas that make use of some of the immunity-boosting herbs, unlocking their full potential by masterful combining with appropriate amounts of other herbs, include:

If you’re curious, like I was, about why they have so many different formulas for cold and flu support, and oh my goodness how do you figure out what to order!? – then click on one and you’ll find a pretty doggone good answer right there.  (Use the code KITCHEN10 for 10% off your order!)

Our family has used Scout Out, usually just a little dose for the whole family when one of us gets sick and for the duration of the bug. As usual, it’s about impossible to really claim something “works” because who knows if you would have gotten that cold anyway or how bad it would have been without the product, but I can say that I have been pleasantly surprised that none of us have really been knocked down by a cold this fall, even though we’ve had some powerful bugs in the house.

What’s the Difference Between Essential Oils and Herbs?

Since it’s my goal this winter to figure out natural remedies, I realized that I’ve seen (and tried) lots of cold-fighting ideas with essential oils, and Trilight uses herbs. What’s the difference? I asked, and the explanation turned out to be fairly simple: Essential oils are typically external applications, and herbs are usually taken internally. (Now we’ve taken oil of oregano internally and drops of lemon oil in my water, but you don’t ever diffuse herbs into the air, so that’s one simplistic way of thinking about them.)

A few other FAQs I thought were pretty interesting about Trilight’s products include:

Q: What is the difference in Natural and Synthetic Vitamins and Minerals?
A: To the FDA “Natural” means a LOT of things but to us here at TriLight it means coming from a PLANT SOURCE like herbs. Synthetic vitamins and minerals are NOT derived from foods but from scientists in a laboratory and are much less expensive because they are mass-produced without harvesting from real food.  So when you read the ingredients in Sports drinks and they list potassium, you can be sure it’s synthetic.  They are isolated copies of the molecular structure of what is found in food.

The body knows how to break down and utilize plant based minerals but synthetic?  The assimilation rate is only about 6% for synthetic and about 98% for plant based minerals.  Yes, they are more expensive but your body can absorb and use them!

Q:  Why glycerine vs. alcohol? (for extraction)
A
:  If done correctly glycerine pulls out more water soluble constituents than grain alcohol and more than just water and allows for a very stable shelf life. We do not add flavors or sweetners to our extracts like found in many other brands. We use Kosher vegetable glycerine from palm kernel oils and/or coconuts. Unlike alcohol it doesn’t have ill effects on diabetics, alcoholics and the liver, making it a great product for adults and children.

Phew! Katie has a lot to learn, but I’m working on it! I’m now turning to the task of figuring out what to order next. Since we’re almost out of Scout Out, I was thinking of replacing the bottle, but now maybe I should get a variety and switch them up, since it sounds like that’s part of the magic. Hmmm…

Be sure to use the code KITCHEN10 for 10% off your Trilight order, and if you want some DIY herbal remedies, Frugal Granola’s eBooks, including Herbal Nurturing, are on sale for 25% off with the code THANKS25.

I’m off to make chicken stock!

What do you rely upon to strengthen your immune system during cold and flu season? Please, teach me!

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UPDATE: You can win $100 worth of products from Trilight through November 29th – click HERE to enter.

UPDATE: If you need to know how to get rid of warts naturally, I’ve since written a post on it HERE.

My sources: Trilight Health shared their herbal glossary and this with me. Thanks!

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Kitchen Stewardship is dedicated to balancing God’s gifts of time, health, earth and money.  If you feel called to such a mission, read more at Mission, Method, and Mary and Martha Moments.

Disclosure: Trilight Health sponsored this post, but it’s all true and my opinions remain my own. I am an affiliate of Frugal Granola and earn commission from her ebooks, but I also have her recipes printed for when I have time for DIY again! Winking smile  See my full disclosure statement here.

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I’m linked into Monday Mania at the Healthy Home Economist today.

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10 Comments so far ↓

  • Brady Cavaness

    Hi Katie! I have been doing a bunch of research about Apple Cider Vinegar and all it’s healing powers! I like the trilight products but they are pretty pricey, and go quick! I do think they work though, but I am going to try using ACV as a first line of defense, then maybe scout out or sinus minus if that’s not working. I do thing Cough away is great though!

    I do have to say that trilights Be-Dry formula seems to have cured my son’s bedwetting after on small bottle , believe it or not! He had been on rx meds for it, and I decided to try the Be-Dry, so I ordered the small bottle. Well it lasted less than a week, but my son hasn’t had the rx meds since and has been 4 weeks dry. Like you said, it is hard to know if it was the Br-Dry, but seems to be!

    Brady Cavaness Reply:

    gee whiz! please excuse the typos! I must remember to read before hitting enter :)

  • Brady Cavaness

    We love he Lymph rub also!! :)

  • Deb

    I make colidial silver, when we start feeling like we are getting sick (or a cold) and it really helps. Sometimes I don’t end up getting sick, others it helps knock it out faster than it would have. Either way it’s a winner for us! :)

    Brady Cavaness Reply:

    What? You can make it? How? We use silver also, and pay a ton for it. That’s why I was looking into ACV, its way cheaper!

    Deb Reply:

    We try to do ACV too, it’s so good for you, if you get the raw stuff. But we’ve had a machine for years now, to make our own colidial silver. You get silver wire (which isn’t real cheap…but lasts quite a while) and hook it up to the machine, put it in water, and it does it’s thing. If you google you should find several different kinds of colidial silver makers (they are NOT cheep anywhere, I think tools for healing has some) and I know if you are handy at that kinda thing, you could probably even make a small portable one that uses a 9 v. batt as the power source. Not sure where you can find plans, so just google and see what you come up with. :) I’m sure in the long run, it’s lots cheaper than buying it ready made…even though it’s kinda a big chunk all at once to buy the machine and a few silver wires.

  • Sweetums

    6. Goldenseal

  • Kate @ Modern Alternative Mama

    http://www.modernalternativemama.com/blog/2011/10/24/monday-health-wellness-homemade-cough-and-cold-syrup.html That, seriously. It appears to have cured every cold it’s come up against in the last month. With that plus FCLO and kombucha (or other fermented foods), bugs stand no chance here!

  • Anabolic Cooking

    Our family finds the best cold remedies are parthenium and mullein

  • Misty

    We drink Monavie. We haven’t been sick in years. we drink it everyday. but if we ever feel like somethings coming on, we chug it. Then, we also drink ginger tea for stomach issues and use a neti pot for sinusy things.

    Great, informative post. I’m gonna check them out. Plus, after reading the comments, I’m excited about making colloidal silver!!

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Welcome!  Meet Katie.

I embrace butter. I make homemade yogurt. I eat traditional real food – plants and animals that God created, not products of plants where food scientists work. Here at Kitchen Stewardship, I share how I strive to be a good steward of my family's nutrition, the environment, and our budget, all without spending every second in the kitchen. Learn more about the mission of KS here.

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