Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Winterise your Body – A little herbal health insurance – Echinacea and Australian Flu update

health column final

In the last two posts I have looked at Influenza, how to avoid and how to recover from a viral infection.  This time I would like to look at an alternative way to boost your immune system ready for the winter virus opportunists.

But first an update on the Australian Flu which is causing concern for health services across the world as air travel spreads the virus.

Australia is having a worse flu season than usual this year, with 93,711 laboratory-confirmed cases reported to its National Notifiable Diseases Surveillance System as of August 18, government data show.

That’s almost 2½ times more infections than in the same period last year. According to a surveillance system report, adults over the age of 80 and children between 5 and 9 years old have been most affected.

Does Australia’s bad flu season bode ill for Northern Hemisphere nations, including the US, Canada and across Europe?

“In general, we get in our season what the Southern Hemisphere got in the season immediately preceding us,” Fauci said. An “intelligent guess,” therefore, is that the north will probably have a bad flu season.

Read the whole article here:

At this time of year I have a few drops of the good stuff every day.. and no I am not referring to the medicinal brandy in the sideboard in the dining-room. I am talking about Echinacea in the form of a tincture. From October I have 15 drops in a little water daily and touch wood…..I had not had a cold for many years or the flu until this year. I stopped taking taking my Echinacea at the beginning of May and then went over to London for the Blogger’s Bash. I live a fairly isolated existence here on the coast in Wexford and apart from competing in a trolley dash twice a week we rarely have contact with others except close neighbours.

My immune system obviously was not up for two planes full of people coughing and sneezing, or packed London public transport.  Sure enough three days after arriving back I got a stinker…..

Just goes to show, that the care I take the rest of the year, to provide my immune system with a varied and fresh food diet, sunshine and moderate exercise, needs extra help at certain times, especially if I am going to be confined with many others in an enclosed space at 30,000 feet!

Unfortunately, if you have not been following a varied and healthy diet and providing your body with the nutrients it needs to maintain a healthy immune system, taking 15 drops of echinacea is not going to be much help.


Echinacea is an herb that is very widely used to boost the immune system and help to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu, naturally.

The Latin name for this herb is Echinacea Purpurea (Purple coneflower). It is considered to be the primary herbal remedy for the immune system and was first used in a healing capacity by the Native American Indians. They used it primarily for boils, abscesses and snakebites. They also chewed the roots for toothaches, colds, sore throats and coughs. The herb itself actually has no direct effect on bacteria or viruses but instead it is its effect on our own immune system that aids treatment of an infection.

The herbal tincture that you will see in health food shops and pharmacies is made from the roots, flowers and seeds of the plant. You can now buy capsules but I still prefer to use the tincture as I feel it is easier for the body to absorb and faster acting.

When choosing an herbal tincture it is important to buy a high quality product that is holistically standardised. This means that the chemical constituents of the plant are not tampered with in any way and the end product includes the whole spectrum of healing benefits. It is believed that the active ingredients in a plant work together to provide the overall effect. Some processing practices remove or reduce some of the elements of the plant making them less effective. Do make a point to check your labels, or the details of the product, before you buy.

With all alternative medicines you need to regard them with respect. They do not necessarily mix with your own chemical make-up or the chemical elements in your prescription medication. If you are taking other medications, always ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are any contra-indications relating to taking the two together.

One of the other things that I have to mention is that we are not allowed to claim that any diet, remedy or therapeutic therapy can cure you of anything. Please consider that said.

Echinacea acts as an immune stimulant that mobilises our defence system by activating and stimulating the release of white blood cells (leukocytes) which fight infection. The function of our T-cells is enhanced and there is an increase in the number of macrophages, the cells that consume and destroy foreign bodies such as bacteria.

One of the plant’s components is Echinacin, which promotes the growth of new tissue, activating fibroblasts, which are the cells that are responsible for encouraging wound healing.

Echinacea can be taken when an infection begins and it can reduce the symptoms and speed recovery by enhancing the immune system’s own abilities. It can also be taken over a longer period to increase the body’s resistance to infection and I usually recommend that a person start taking 15 drops once a day in the middle of October through to the middle of March if they are prone to colds. Children can take 7 drops of the herb for the same time span if they are under 12 years old.

If you start a cold or the flu you can take 15 drops, two or three times a day in a little water and children can take 7 drops two or three times a day. It is recommended that you do not stay at this dosage for longer than a couple of months but the usual time is the duration of the infection plus a week, then reduce down to the long term daily dose.

You will find that there are a number of products available that contain Echinacea and two of the most effective, in my book, are the toothpaste which helps prevent bacterial build-up in the form of plaque and skin cream which works well on dry and infected skin.

You can buy Echinacea tea in health food shops and with the addition of a slice of fresh lemon and a teaspoon of honey this can be very soothing in the early stages of a cold and also may help you reduce the symptoms.

Echinacea can also be used for pets but there are specific guidelines that need to be followed.

N.B Herbal remedies do not always work well with prescribed medications as their actions can dilute the effectiveness of treatment such as for cancer, or can intensify which may result in side effects.  Always check with your doctor or a qualified herbalist before taking any herbal medicine with prescribed drugs or over the counter pain-killers or medication.

The previous posts on this subject.

Look forward to your feedback thanks for dropping by.  Sally


10 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Health 2017 – Winterise your Body – A little herbal health insurance – Echinacea and Australian Flu update

  1. Timely post Sal as I think I’m having the flu today, barely took all my strength just to read a few blogs, lol. Great tips here. I’ve been winterizing with remedies and don’t get out much to catch stuff, but one outing last week with my cousin gave me whatever she had most of last week. And I’m afraid of that flu shot because I had the first one last year and it constricted my breathing for hours. Scary stuff. 😦 ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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  4. My daughter is a cancer survivor for some 15 years, when she was having her treatment her oncologist recommended she take echinacea and although her blood count dropped pretty low it didn’t drop that low that it prevented her having her treatment. Was it the Echinacea we don’t know for sure 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • I have seen some pretty interesting results over the years Carol.. we are not allowed of course to say that anything works, but that doctor was pretty enlightened.. good for him. Another interesting one to keep an eye on for confirmed diagnosis is cannabis oil (not the one that makes you high). I am so pleased for your daughter.. I hope she still takes – three or four times a year for about four weeks. hugs xx


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