Skip to main content

Natural Awakenings Boston

Preparing for Cold and Flu Season

Oct 31, 2014 12:29AM ● By Gary Kracoff

The immune system is challenged by thousands of offending invaders every day. Fortunately, there are proven ways to boost immunity and fortify the body in time for winter’s challenges, beginning with adequate rest and good nutrition. Medical researchers have drawn a clear correlation between rest and illness prevention, and a lack of adequate sleep has been tied to scores of diseases and a lowered immune system.

A diet rich in probiotics, nutrients and enzymes is also crucial. Unfortunately the current food supply does not contain enough of these “good” bacteria and enzymes. On top of that, many people take food that is already nutritionally deficient and either over-cook or microwave it, destroying more of these valuable ingredients. We can supplement with immunity-supporting enzymes such as Virastop, which needs to be taken on an empty stomach in order to be absorbed into the bloodstream. Immunity-supporting enzymes can be used daily for maintenance or a few times a day for therapeutic use.

For those that may catch a cold or flu this winter, here are a few herbal, nutritional and homeopathic suggestions:

- Andrographis extract (300mg/3 to 4 times a day) is an excellent adaptogen that supports the immune system and lessens cold and flu symptoms without drowsiness or stimulation. A blend of andrographis, black elderberry, echinacea, l-lysine, acerola, zinc and vitamin A can be used daily to support health or, in the proper formulation, can be taken every hour for six doses at the onset of symptoms.

- Beta-glucan is very helpful for people who get sick often and it can help to restore the immune system to its optimal status. It is best taken in an extract that contains 75 percent beta-glucan with a dosage of 250mg per day.

- A well-formulated probiotic is very important, containing 10 to 14 different live strains of lactobacilli, bifidobacterium and soil-based organisms. Each strain has a specific purpose in the intestinal tract, such as supporting the immune system, making vitamins, balancing hormones, combatting yeast and aiding digestion, elimination and detoxification.

- To help clear sinuses, a blend of N-acetyl cysteine, andrographis, Eleuthero Root, bromelain and berberine sulfate can help to thin mucus and balance inflammation.

- For the flu, Anas barbariae (Oscillococcinum) is a homeopathic remedy specifically for body aches, headache, fever, chills and fatigue. Safe for children and adults, it helps reduce the duration and severity of flu symptoms.

Other homeopathic remedies include:

- Aconitum Napellus 30C is very effective at the onset of symptoms, before the cold is established. Dissolve five pellets under the tongue every 30 minutes until symptoms resolve.

- Allium Cepa 12C is helpful for a watery nasal discharge that irritates the upper lip, while Eupharasia 6C helps with a non-irritating watery nasal discharge and a watery, irritating discharge from the eyes.

- Gelsemium 12C benefits those with an irritating nasal discharge, fever, shivering, headache and lack of energy.

- Hydrastis Canadensis 12C is used when there is a sticky, viscous, yellowish discharge from the nose with dripping down into the throat.

Washing hands thoroughly, eating well, getting a good night’s sleep and decreasing stress are the best ways to prevent colds and flu. Now is a good time to get ourselves in shape for a healthy winter, and these additional supports can help to reduce both the symptoms and the duration of these illnesses.

Dr. Gary Kracoff is a naturopath and registered pharmacist at Johnson Compounding and Wellness Center, 577 Main St., in Waltham. For more information, call 781-893-3870, ext. 2 or visit

Upcoming Events Near You
Current Digital Issue
2019 Healthy Living Profiles


Get to Know Groton Wellness
Health Brief Video
Global Brief Video