Build Your Flu Arsenal

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Previously by Margaret Durst: Leaky Gut — Do You Have It?

It is time for me to stock my personal flu season arsenal – I was reminded of that by a child who came home early Sunday morning with a sore throat and a very stuffy nose. I like to have certain things at home (even though the store is 3 minutes from my house) because they come in handy in the middle of the night.

Every cold and flu season is a little bit different – something that worked really well last year may be just so-so this year. My first line of defense is something called Defense Plus – it is grapefruit seed extract combined with echinacea, astragalus, goldenseal, vitamin C, zinc and several immune building mushrooms. I take 2 of these every 3-4 hours. I usually know on the first dose if it is working.

If that isn’t quite taking care of my symptoms so that I can go to work and help all of you, I add oregano oil. Oregano oil kills lots of viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungus. It is really strong stuff – especially the kind that is at least 70 percent carvacrol. I like this in liquid veggie caps because the oil is just awful tasting – with the capsules, you get to swallow it without the nasty taste.

Occasionally, this doesn’t work as well as I would like it to. Then I usually resort to olive leaf. Olive leaf is one of my favorite immune builders – I know several people who take it daily and stay well year after year. Good olive leaf does some great things in addition to building immunity – studies show it lowers cholesterol and blood pressure. Quality is key on olive – it has to be at least 18 percent oleuropin, or it will not work well enough to justify spending your money on it.

These 3 things are in my first aid cabinet during the fall/winter for colds and flus. I then like to add something to help break up coughs and congestion. I have 2 favorites – fenugreek and thyme (in combination so it counts as 1 thing) and a herbal blend with osha in a liquid gel cap that really seems to work well on the pesky middle of the night coughs.

Everything I mentioned above is tablet or capsule form now that my son is old enough to swallow pills. I still recommend liquid forms for those who need them. For the younger set, I have 2 favorites – colloidal silver and elderberry chewables. Both of these interfere with a virus or bacteria’s ability to reproduce and overrun your system. I particularly like silver for stomach viruses because it is very gentle, but usually very effective.

A couple of years ago, we added a really strong tasting liquid called Cold and Sinus Blaster – it does just that. I like it for breaking up congestion and speeding up recovery. There are many other supplements that work. Everyone is a little bit different – one customer uses astragalus and zinc. Another uses echinacea and vitamin C. Others swear by oscillo.

Natural supplements work best when taken at the first symptoms of cold or flu – I go with the early and often theory because it is bad for my business if I get sick.

I also need to mention my favorite immune builders – olive leaf as I described above and Elderberry Defense. I find that taking one of these on a regular basis keeps me from getting sick in the first place. It is when I run out that I get in trouble.

Margaret Durst owns The Green House, a vitamin, herb and health food store in Mason, Texas.

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