Don’t Let a Summer Bug Spoil Your Fun
We usually associate stuffy noses, sneezing, and other signs of a “bug” with winter. But you can get sick just as easily in the summer. And this year you may be especially at risk.
You see, people seem to get sick more often in the winter because they spend more time indoors, in close quarters with other people who are sick. Bugs get passed around by coughs and sneezes and by touching surfaces exposed to people who are already sick.
This year’s hot weather has created a similar situation. People are spending more time indoors to avoid the scorching heat. And being closed up inside means bugs are more likely to spread.
Fortunately, you can cut your chances of coming down with the summer bugs that are going around.
Many people swear by Echinacea and vitamin C. But studies on both are mixed. If you’ve used them successfully in the past, I don’t see any reason not to continue. But if these two natural remedies don’t do the trick for you, zinc might.
The evidence for zinc helping you body fight off bugs – or shorten them when they hit – is convincing.
Finnish researchers recently reviewed zinc studies in three major medical databases. They found that studies using 75 mg or more of zinc acetate reported that bugs cleared up 42% faster. Other forms of zinc resulted in an average of 20% fewer days of suffering. 1
In a Turkish study, children taking 15 mg of zinc daily came down with almost 30% fewer bugs than children who didn’t.2
So zinc looks to be effective for helping keep summer bugs at bay. But there may be a tastier way to do the trick.
British researches gave 146 volunteers either an herb or a placebo for 12 weeks. The herb group came down with only about a third as many bugs as the placebo group. And got rid of their bugs 3-1/2 days sooner.3
The herb? Garlic.
Garlic is well known for its heart-health benefits. But this study appears to show it may boost your health in other ways, too. Just one word of caution… If you’re taking blood thinner, talk to your doctor before you start taking a garlic supplement.
Several studies show that North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) may have similar properties.
A recent review of medical literature found that North American ginseng promoted fewer (by 25%) and shorter (by 6 days) bugs.4 But don’t confuse this herb with Panax ginseng, which is a completely different plant.
Now let’s look at a plant that may be new to you. It’s called Pelargonium sidoides – or umcka.
Umcka is an herb that grows wild in coastal South Africa, and it’s been used there for centuries for respiratory problems.
In 1897, an Englishman named Charles Stevens was traveling in South Africa. Stevens had respiratory problems, and a native herbalist gave him umcka root. It worked so well, that Stevens began to market the herb back in England.
An umcka preparation was a popular homeopathic remedy in the early 1920’s, but it was largely forgotten until recently. Today, umcka is a popular over-the-counter remedy in Germany. And studies show why.
Doctors in the Ukraine gave umcka or a placebo to patients with bugs in 8 different hospital outpatient programs. After 5 days, the groups taking umcka showed almost double the rate of improvement. And more than twice as many were well within 10 days as in the placebo group.5
But there’s a simple trick that may be even more effective than any of these herbs at keeping the bugs away – winter or summer. And that’s frequent hand washing. Just 15 – 20 seconds using plain old soap and water is your best defense against bugs.
Best Life Herbals Wellness Team
Best Life Herbals
1 Hemilä, H., “Zinc lozenges may shorten the duration of colds: a systematic review,” Open Respir Med J. 2011;5:51-8.
2Kurugöl, Z., et al, “The prophylactic and therapeutic effectiveness of zinc sulphate on common cold in children,” Acta Paediatr. Oct 2006;95(10):1175-81.
3 Josling, P., “Preventing the common cold with a garlic supplement: a double-blind, placebo-controlled survey,” Adv Ther. Jul-Aug 2001;18(4):189-93.
4 Seida, J.K., et al, “North American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) Preparations for Prevention of the Common Cold in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review,” Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Jul 10. [Epub ahead of print]
5 Lizogub, V.G. , et al, “Efficacy of a pelargonium sidoides preparation in patients with the common cold: a randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial,” Explore (NY). Nov-Dec 2007;3(6):573-84.