Ahhh . . . spring is in the air, tantalizing my senses with greenery, buzzing, blooming and freshness. I’m just beginning to relish the splendors of nature, when my eyes begin to water and nose starts to itch. Ugh . . . my love-hate for this Season begins.
We’ve all been there . . . You get that scratchy tickle that starts in the back of your throat. Or maybe the pesky post-nasal drip that isn’t really a runny nose. Or even the sporadic half- cough that’s more like throat clearing than an actual cough. Great! Here we go again!
Is it a cold? Is it just allergies? Should you be worried? What should you do?
As a Clinical Pharmacist, I get all those questions from family, friends and customers. In fact, they’re the same questions I ask myself when the first symptoms sneak up.
While colds and allergies often share some of the same symptoms, they are two very different issues. Knowing which you have will help make treating them more effective.
You Caught A Cold
Your common cold is typically caused by viruses you encounter in your environment. Colds are contagious, can occur year-round and yes, you probably caught it from someone else. Fantastic Right?!
Good News: most colds only last from 3 to 10 days.
Bad News: they can seem like allergies, make you utterly miserable and stretch out as long as 2 weeks.
So how do can you tell if it’s a cold? The combination of symptoms are key to determining if you’re suffering from a cold or allergies. Routine cold symptoms include: body aches, coughing, sneezing, congestion, fatigue, sore throat and a stuffy or runny nose.
Kicking That Cold
Avoid over-the-counter decongestants and antihistamines. Sometimes they can help but more often they result in minimal efficacy and more side effects than benefit. Instead, choose a more natural option and look for these key ingredients: Andrographis, Echinacea or Zinc.
Andrographis – a potent anti-inflammatory, immune system booster with excellent anti-bacteria/viral properties. This power-packing plant works by supporting sinus and upper respiratory health while directly stimulating your own immune system to combat the virus. When selecting this plant, be sure it is standardized to ndrographolides to get the maximum immune benefits.
Echinacea purpurea– an anti-inflammatory and immune activator that supports the respiratory system and fights infection. It works by activating chemicals in the body that decrease inflammation, while also stimulating your white blood cells (WBC). WBC’s are your first line of attack and the sooner they join the fight, the better your outcome will be.
Zinc (any salt form) a powerful antiviral that prevents viruses from replicating by blocking the process by which nucleic acid chains split. Blocking viral replication will limit the spread and duration of your cold.
Your Allergies Are Back
Seasonal allergies are your immune system’s personal responses, triggered by exposure to allergens. Unlike a cold or flu, you cannot “catch” allergies from other people’s coughs or sneezes. Your best strategy to treating your allergies is to avoid exposure to the allergens altogether–impossible unless you live in a plastic bubble.
Good News: Allergies are not contagious and rarely produce body aches and pains, or sore throat. Bad News: They can last several weeks or longer, especially if contact with the allergen is continuous. We all know the symptoms can be a real inconvenience!
Tame Those Allergies
Prescription or over-the-counter decongestants and anti-histamines can help, but many of those products cause drowsiness, fogginess or quit working altogether. For less side effects and better efficacy, look for these natural ingredients:
Natural antihistamines to include: Butterbur, Andrographis or Bromelain.
Andrographis – is quite possibly one of the best natural anti-inflammatory plants when it comes to the upper respiratory tract. This power-packing plant delivers sinus and upper respiratory support while directly stimulating your own immune system to ease the body’s allergy response. Best of all, Andrographis provides fast sinus support within 20-30 minutes.
Butterbur– is most often associated with treating migraines but is equally helpful in treating seasonal allergies. It specifically targets an immune cell call the Mast cell and helps to stabilize it. Mast cells are filled with cytokines, leukotrienes and histamine which are inflammatory mediators that cause a lot of our nasal allergy symptoms. Adding a daily dose of Butterbur will help you enjoy the outdoors more.
Bromelain is helpful in reducing nasal swelling and thinning mucus, making it easier for people to breathe.
Treating Symptoms with Andrographis
Your immune system is critical in treating both colds and allergies. So adding an immune system booster to your treatment plan can optimize relief and speed up the healing process.
A key natural ingredient that can powerfully ignite the immune system is Andrographis. Andrographis is a plant local to South Asian countries such as India and Sri Lanka that promotes antioxidant and inflammation–modulating activities. In addition, Andrographis has been shown to be safe for sinus support, promoting upper respiratory tract health and directly stimulates the body’s own immune system to combat both illness and allergies.
While there are a variety of immune support supplements on the market, our formulation at Hybrid Remedies for HybridCR Rapid Immune Defense specifically features two of the top recommended treatments for immune challenges. Containing a highly standardized version of Andrographis, coupled with the power of Echinacea and Panax Ginseng, the trifecta of these three botanicals, rapidly supercharges the immune system to shorten the severity and duration of seasonal immune challenges.
About the Author:
Dr. Jason DuBois is a registered pharmacist, educator and Founder/COO of Hybrid Remedies, a natural supplement research and development company.
Dr. Jason DuBois’ passion as a pharmacist is about helping people find ways to get better faster. Whether giving talks to healthcare professionals, or advising friends and family, Dr. DuBois enjoys taking complex health subjects and making them relevant and easy to understand. With over 20 years of pharmacy experience, spanning the full spectrum of retail to clinical research, Dr. DuBois uses his understanding of science and nature to help patients find their ideal path to better health and wellness.