Typically, I do not plug or advertise specific supplements except for this article. I will give the mothers in my clinic the list of supplements that I have in my household all the time and what my family and I take to prevent and/or treat a cold or flu.
First and foremost, I want to emphasize that my philosophy is prevention. The adage of, “An ounce of prevention is a pound of cure”, is true in our household. So, I will begin with preventative supplementation first.
I personally love colostrum for babies to adults. Colostrum is basically breast milk. As I tell my patients; breast milk contains all 5 of our Ig factors that keep our immune system functioning. IgA (first line of defense/immune in mouth and digestion), IgG (bacteria and viruses), IgE (allergies), IgM (antibody against new infections), IgD (immune response). This right here is why breast feeding is important for the first two years. 1-3 months does not give the child the appropriate Ig Factors to build their immune system.
When a child is not breastfed for a longer period, we recommend Colostrum to be added to their diet. It is so simple to give to babies in their formula, as well as taken orally. I used to open the capsules up and place on my child’s tongue. It has a sweet taste and dissolves easily.
Usually, two weeks before school starts, traveling, or common cold and flu season, I inundate my child and myself with Colostrum. There are certain companies that I prefer based on location, quality, and lab testing. I always recommend my patient search for a New Zealand or Australian based cattle. They are very stringent on their quality and any chemicals on the land. These two areas, especially New Zealand have a stringent quality control and as organic as possible. There is a company that sells a probiotic and colostrum combination. It was started by two pediatricians that recognized the importance of our digestion as the first line of defense. I personally sell ChildLife Colostrum and Probiotic chewable for children. Colostrum and digestion are your best defense against upcoming illnesses, and it seems to be the easiest for children.
One particular supplement I use when we feel like the possible onset of a cold or we have been around sick people is Standard Process Congaplex. I absolutely love this supplement. It is whole food and they have a chewable form for children. My daughter has taken this since she was 3. I don’t even have to say anything to her now, if she feels “under the weather”, she will immediately go to our supplement cabinet and get her Congaplex Chewables. They have a slight raspberry flavor to them and taste good.
For adults I prefer the Congaplex pills. The chewable are really designed for the children and you would have to take a larger dose, yet I find men prefer the larger dose chewable to the pills. I like Standard Process due to the whole foods and most is organic. I find whole food is better than just individual supplements or supplements synthetically made.
My next favorite for preventative and during a cold and flu is our Mediherb “Herbal Throat Spray”. I will tell you my story about my first introduction to Herbal Throat Spray.
I was at a seminar out of the country. My husband got terribly sick and of course there were no drug stores. At this seminar I found Herbal Throat Spray. I went immediately to the room and said, “Take this! Spray it in your mouth every 20 minutes - 1 hour. I’ll be back in about 4 hours and I want you to sleep.” When I came back, he asked what it was I gave him, because he felt 50% better. Now I originally gave him this because of his sore throat, yet I did not realize all the ingredients in it to boost the immune system. From this point on, anytime my husband is afraid of getting sick or feels sick he asks for the miracle elixir “Herbal Throat Spray”. Do you want me to tell you what is in it?
Echinacea (immune primer),
Myrrh, and Sage, Clove. Which we discussed before. We have several bottles at work, home, and in my purse for emergencies. I also love it as a breath freshener.
If you have been dealing with cold or flu symptoms longer than three days, Congaplex is not my recommendation. I found that Standard Process Immuplex it better for that “chronic” cold. I usually recommend Congaplex before or at the acute phase (right when you feel it). Immuplex is also whole food, I have found it knocks out any infection. I keep this in my medicine cabinet when my husband or child waited too long to tell me they were sick. And sometimes, this is my go-to when a patient has said they have been on multiple antibiotics for a condition. I always start with Immuplex first to help with the immune system.
Two child friendly herbs that I recommend for the immune system is Elderberry and Echinacea together. Elderberry is an antiviral and Echinacea is an immune primer. I like Sambuguard Elderberry and Echinacea syrup. Yet, I have found many people are making their own. I find it is great if you can, just make sure your berries have not been sprayed or treated with chemicals, because you now have altered the properties and are inviting chemical toxins into your system.
Pau d’ Arco extract is also my favorite child friendly herb I used this personally for my child who had Scarlet fever, with test results to show the effectiveness. My personal doctor was amazed with the results. Pau d’ Arco is an antiviral, anti-yeast, antibacterial, antifungal herb. I have used it for strep, pneumonia, bacterial infections, yeast infections, thrush, measles, mumps, etc. Based on the patients use I may recommend an extract form or a pill form, but it must come from the inner bark. Not all pau d’ arco supplements are the same. I have a company that I trust and recommend and sale at my office.
Last but not least, Garlic.
Garlic is the best antiviral. I make garlic juice in lemon and honey tea for my family when they are sick. Garlic also contains those sulfur compounds which are antibacterial. Garlic and lemon together have been known to shut down the pump system in a virus that keeps it alive.
I never give a child an antibiotic for ear infections. The WHO (World Health Organization) and even the pediatric association has expressed concerns with the over prescriptions of antibiotics for ear infections and have encouraged pediatricians to stop prescribing this as a remedy. Most ear infections are viral. Through the ears I have had an influx of patients coming in with children for ear infections. The best treatment is garlic oil in the ears. My child had only had two ear infections in her life and we got rid of it in 24 hours with garlic oil and I like to put the oil in the ear canal and then put a wet heat wrap along the back of the ear and down the neck to help the lymph nodes drain. Lymph nodes are there to capture those bugs and get rid of them. There is a wonderful tincture of herbs that we use as well for difficult ear infections, but I find garlic is easier and responds just as quick. By the way, you may need several doses within that 24-hour period. When she was a baby, I would apply about every two hours. If she woke and cried, I would apply. The frequency reduced in crying and by the next morning it was completely gone.
Also, many ear infections are due to children teething. Think about it, your ear canal is near your jaw line. If a tooth is breaking through the gum line, it is going to cause some type of inflammation which will inflame the areas around it. WBC production starts to help stop any infections therefore the lymph nodes around the jaw line and ear can get enlarged. Sometimes “ear infections” are caused by this initial tooth inflammation. I like to rub the baby’s mouth with orange oil for the vitamin C (inflammation and infection). Typically, I used an orange liqueur that contains a touch of alcohol like vodka to numb the mouth. Never use orange oil because it can burn the tissue. The liqueur is processed differently for consumption. Never use artificial flavors. You can also use clove (not the oil). I personally like the “herbal throat spray” to rub on the gums (it contains all the important ingredients that are diluted for internal consumption). Remember, if it is a child, use your finger and rub it on the gum. The brand, Hyland, is a great company to use for teething issues. Yet in the end, you can always rub garlic oil on the gum and put in the ear for this condition.
These are just a few recommendations I have for my patients. All remedies are recommended based on the patient’s diagnosis and different herbal and supplemental products will be suggested. Yet, for general health and wellness, I have found these to be the easiest and most general for supporting the immune system. It is so important to prevent the illness before it gets worse.
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