Posts Tagged ‘echinacea’

Fall Total Health Tip

Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

I, like so many overscheduled parents, appreciate the “respite” that comes when the kids go back to school. However a feeling of trepidation sets in with the onset of cold and flu season. Starting with Halloween and continuing through the holidays, the deluge of sweets and sugary delights, accompanied by a change in the weather, can send our immune system back on vacation. Patients often ask me what I do at home for myself and my family during this season, so I’ll share some of our personal practices with you so that you too can stay as healthy as possible.

The number one preventive action is to eat a clean, as close-to-the-source diet as possible and specifically, cut out any excess sugar. Four teaspoons of sugar (the amount in 1/2 can of soda) significantly decreases the effectiveness of your immune system for up to four hours. So, if you think about the massive sugar increase that typically begins to happen at this time of year (and many people are on a continual “drip” of sweets) the immune system is in a constant state of stress. Throw in a quick exposure to all of the bugs “shared” in the office and the classroom and you’ve got a recipe for the perfect storm.

The second is an addition to the hackneyed ol’ adage “Wash your hands!”  Washing is very important, but what it comes down to, is not putting those little buggies anywhere near your mucous membranes. Try to become aware of how much you actually touch your face and then train yourself out of the habit. Most people do this hundreds if not thousands of time each day giving those viruses a free ride.  Flu viruses are easily picked up on any hard surface and can be introduced to your system when you handle your food, so it’s important to wash and avoid touching your face.

Third, in my family I don’t like to take any chances so we do some active immune building. One of my favorites for prevention is Echinacea. The root is the part of the plant that contains the most concentrated and effective of the active ingredients responsible for modulating the immune system. To see whether the brand you are buying will be effective, place a bit on your tongue. If your tongue is not tingling or feeling partially numb, chances are that it will not be as effective. I carry a brand of Echinacea in the clinic which is tested for pharmaceutical consistency so I know I’m giving my patients and family the product which is going to get the job done.

As a last note, sometimes, in spite of all our efforts to maintain balance, the bugs do actually get in. If this is the case, Andrographis can significantly reduce the severity and duration of many infections by quickly ramping up your immune system. If I start to feel a tickle in my throat or a little sniffle, I’ll start taking Andrographis tablets right away. As with Echinacea, make sure that it has a significant effect on your tongue to ensure that it contains enough of the active ingredients.

I’d love to hear from you about your health concerns.  I may even address them in an upcoming newletter.   Email me at info@sbtotalhealth.

My greatest wishes to you for a healthy and joyous holiday season.   David