The shorter daylight hours and cold weather are depressing enough in Winter, without falling ill with coughs, colds and flu, kindly passed onto you via your work colleagues! We all now know the benefits of Zinc on the immune system, Vitamin C etc. But the article below references a few new foods and supplements that can reduce the severity of the cold/flu virus over Winter.
A clinical trial in Singapore in 2009 involving 64 patients with 3 or more flu-like symptoms (fever, headaches, muscle-aches etc) split participants into two groups. 32 patients received an Elderberry lozenge 4 times a day, the other 32 patients received a placebo lozenge. After 48 hrs 28% of patients in the Elderberry group had no flu symptoms and 60% had relief of some symptoms. In contrast, no patients showed improvements over 48 hrs in the placebo group.
Echinacea, Propolis and Vitamin C
A 2009 Israeli randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study involving 328 children aged 1-5yrs took place over the Winter months. The children were split into two groups, once receiving ‘Chizukit’ which is a syrup containing Echinacea, Propolis and Vitamin C, and one group receiving a placebo. After 12 weeks, the total number of illness was significantly lower in the Chizukit than the placebo group. The total number of illness days and duration of illness were also significantly lower in the Chizukit group.
A 2005 randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study used Lactobacillus gasseri, Bifidobacterium longum and B. bifidum over two Winter/Spring periods, with participants taking supplements for 3 months. Symptoms scores, duration of colds and days with fever were fewer in the group treated with the probiotics. Colds were found to be 2 days shorter in the Probiotic group. Key immune cells (specifically CD8+ and CD4+) were also higher in the probiotic group when analysed.
A 2005 Chinese study on fresh and dried ginger on human upper and lower respiratory tracts infected with the human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV). This is a very common virus that gives symptoms similar to the common cold.
Fresh ginger was general more effective than dried ginger, but fresh ginger was very effective when given BEFORE INNOCULATION with the HRSV virus. It worked by preventing the virus from attaching and being internalised by the body. This shows fresh ginger is good to be taken preventatively during the cold and flu season.
Funny how in the northern hemisphere, Cloves are used a lot in Christmas Baking? Obviously ancient people knew that cloves are great for fighting infection and boosting our immune system in the Winter months. In India Clive tea is taken by people with colds and flu due to its anti-microbial effects. Add it to soups and stews to help you reduce the intensity and severity of your cold or flu and add it to your cup of tea during the day.