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Cold and Flu Fighters

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It's cold and flu season again, and you want the best possible protectio.

It's cold and flu season again, and you want the best possible protection. Over-the-counter medications abound once you have a cold or flu, but with more than 200 viruses capable of causing the common cold, conventional medicine hasn't been able to offer us a cure or effective preventive strategy.

While the medical profession continues to decry any possibility of getting the flu from a flu shot, for many of us the jury is still out. Some people dutifully line up for their flu shots only to find themselves with the worst case of the flu they've ever experienced. And for those of us who choose to work with our bodies towards wellness, the very idea of any kind of vaccination is simply out of the question.

Enter echinacea, nature's answer to skating through the cold and flu season without incident. The introduction of echinacea to the modern market has been credited to Swiss doctor Albert Vogel. Few people are aware that it was through his friendship with a Lakota Sioux medicine man, Black Eagle, that Dr. Vogel became aware of the remarkable benefits of this herb.

There are three main species of echinacea widely available on the market today, but here we'll deal just with angustifolia. This is the species Dr. Vogel was shown by Black Eagle. After centuries of trial with many herbs, the elders and medicine men of the Lakota Sioux tribe made Echinacea angustifolia their species of choice. It also became evident to them that, of the entire plant, the most benefits were received from the root.

Modern science has now shown that echinacea enhances the production of white blood cells, which fight infection and other invaders intent on sneaking past the body's defence mechanisms. Current research has revealed that echinacea works best when taken for a few weeks, then off for a few weeks, then back on again and so on throughout the year the idea being that the breaks between dosages allow the immune system to harmonize and increase naturally in strength.

Another powerful weapon in the fight against cold and flu is larch tree extract, a lesser know herb the Lakota Sioux blended with Echinacea angustifolia. Of the pine tree family, larch possesses an inner bark with astringent and gently stimulating qualities. Traditionally, it has been used to treat metabolic dysfunction, inflammation, diarrhea, rheumatism, bronchitis and asthma. In the herbal classic Back to Eden (Back to Eden Publishing Co., 1939), J. Kloss recommended the weak tea as an eyewash and the warm tea dropped in the ears to relieve earache.

So, no need to fret this cold and flu season when you find yourself surrounded by sniffling, sneezing, coughing crowds. Taken together, Echinacea angustifolia and larch tree extract can be your most powerful allies to prevent those microscopic invaders from sneaking past your defences.

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