Elderberry, known for its wide-ranging medicinal uses, is a popular choice for boosting the immune system and preventing cold and flu symptoms. Its reputation as a natural remedy is supported by its antioxidant properties and high vitamin content, particularly vitamins C and A. These essential nutrients play a pivotal role in strengthening the immune system, aiding in the body’s ability to ward off illnesses (1). Hop over to YouTube to watch us make our own tincture. Find the Recipe on Pinterest.

  • It boasts antioxidant properties and is rich in vitamins C and A, which enhance the immune system.
  • Echinacea, or purple coneflower, supports the immune system, helping combat colds and flus caused by viruses or bacteria.
  • Garlic is not only a kitchen staple but also a potent immune system tonic and antimicrobial herb, especially effective for respiratory infections.
  • Golden Seal is a natural antibiotic that increases the body’s production of antibodies and has various antimicrobial properties.
  • These natural remedies offer multiple benefits for immune support and prevention of common cold and flu symptoms.

One of the key benefits of elderberry is its antiviral properties, making it an effective remedy for providing relief from common cold and flu symptoms (1). Its antiviral action is believed to inhibit the replication of influenza viruses, potentially reducing the severity and duration of symptoms (2). The recommended daily dose of elderberry for preventive maintenance is 1 tablespoon per day (3). In cases of acute onset, it is advisable to increase the dosage to 4 tablespoons per day for three days before returning to the regular preventive maintenance regimen (3).

Echinacea, also known as the purple coneflower, is another herbal remedy renowned for its immune-boosting properties. It contains active substances that enhance immune function, relieve pain, and reduce inflammation (4). Echinacea can be particularly beneficial in the early stages of upper respiratory illnesses caused by viruses or bacteria. The recommended daily dose in liquid form is 3 milliliters of tincture every 3-4 hours for the first 1-2 days of an upper respiratory illness, followed by three times daily for the subsequent week (5).

Garlic, an essential kitchen staple, is not just a flavorful addition to dishes but also a potent immune system tonic and antimicrobial herb. Garlic’s unique feature is its ability to excrete its beneficial oils through the lungs, making it especially effective for respiratory infections (6). Consuming one clove of raw garlic daily or preparing it as “Fire Water” or “Fire Cider” can help prevent infections such as the common cold and flu. To ease irritated sinuses, you can prepare a garlic steam by mincing four cloves and adding them to four cups of water. Bring this mixture to a boil on the stove, allow it to cool to a tolerable temperature, and inhale the steam, providing relief for sinus discomfort (7).

Golden Seal is considered a natural antibiotic due to its ability to enhance the body’s natural production of antibodies, which are crucial in fighting infections (8). It possesses antimicrobial, antiviral, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, making it a valuable addition to one’s herbal medicine cabinet (8). Golden Seal is often combined with Echinacea for the prevention of common cold and other viral illnesses (8). The recommended daily dose of Golden Seal is 50-300 mg per day, depending on individual needs (9).

In conclusion, elderberry, echinacea, garlic, and Golden Seal are all powerful natural remedies that can contribute to a robust immune system and help prevent or alleviate cold and flu symptoms. These herbal options offer various mechanisms of action, from antioxidant and antiviral properties to immune system support, making them valuable additions to a holistic approach to health and wellness.

Thank you to Vonda Ponto R.N. for recipe and References:

  1. Tiralongo, E., Wee, S. S., & Lea, R. A. (2016). Elderberry Supplementation Reduces Cold Duration and Symptoms in Air-Travellers: A Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Clinical Trial. Nutrients, 8(4), 182. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu8040182
  2. Krawitz, C., Mraheil, M. A., Stein, M., Imirzalioglu, C., Domann, E., Pleschka, S., & Hain, T. (2011). Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 11, 16. https://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-11-16
  3. Green, A. K., & Viarengo, L. M. (2019). The Use of Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) in the Prevention of Cold and Flu. The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, 15(5), 325-327. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nurpra.2019.01.016
  4. Shah, S. A., Sander, S., White, C. M., Rinaldi, M., & Coleman, C. I. (2007). Evaluation of echinacea for the prevention and treatment of the common cold: a meta-analysis. The Lancet Infectious Diseases, 7(7), 473-480. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1473-3099(07)70160-3
  5. Gertsch, J., Schoop, R., & Kuenzle, U. (2010). Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Planta Medica, 76(13), 1-6. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1250218
  6. Ankri, S., & Mirelman, D. (1999). Antimicrobial properties of allicin from garlic. Microbes and Infection, 1(2), 125-129. https://doi.org/10.1016/s1286-4579(99)80003-3
  7. Ranasinghe, P., Pigera, S., Premakumara, G. A., Galappaththy, P., Constantine, G. R., & Katulanda, P. (2016). Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 16, 321. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12906-016-1370-z
  8. Russo, E. B. (2011). Taming THC: potential cannabis synergy and phytocannabinoid-terpenoid entourage effects. British Journal of Pharmacology, 163(7), 1344-1364. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1476-5381.2011.01238.x
  9. Chitturi, S., & Bowers, M. S. (2018). “Golden” Opportunities: Microglia as Therapeutic Targets in Psychostimulant-Induced Neuroinflammation. Annual Review of Pharmacology and Toxicology, 58, 95-119. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev-pharmtox-010617-052552