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The Alternative Medicine Chest: So You Feel You Might Be Coming Down With Something…


a new blogumn about herbal wellness by Elise Rodriguez

Photo Credit: mcfarlandmo

When you get that scratchy feeling in your throat or that tired, achy feeling and you think to yourself, “I hope I’m not coming down with something,”that’s usually the time you wish there was a magic pill to stop it from happening. But, you either just push on through or go to bed early and hope the rest is enough to stave off the inevitable. Well, there are actually many natural remedies available, herbal, homeopathic and nutritional, to help you either not get full-blown sick or lessen the severity and/or duration of a cold or flu. Because many of them are most effective right when you think you’re getting sick, it’s good to get them ahead of time so you can have them on hand. Here are the ones I like to use:

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin. It exists in almost every tissue of the body. There’s been a lot of research into it lately and it’s effect on the immune system. Essentially the common wisdom is that we tend to get sick in the winter when there’s less sun. The sun is a huge source for Vitamin D, so the less Vitamin D available, the more vulnerable our immune system. The amount suggested to me by a naturopathic doctor to take when you think you’re getting sick or exposed to sick people is about 30 iu per lb of body weight. So that’s basically 5000 iu for a 150 lb adult. This amount is only recommended for a short duration of about a week. Recently I felt weak and had that slight swollen lymph gland feeling. I took 5000 iu of vitamin D and never got sick.

Wellness Formula by Source Naturals

This is an herbal defense compound containing everything but the kitchen sink to boost your immune system including garlic. Its label suggests to start taking it at the first signs of imbalance. I also take it when I’ve been exposed to sick people or am going on a trip, especially flying.

SystemWell Ultimate Immunity by Nature’s Way

This is another immune defense compound that’s just as comprehensive as Wellness Formula and works just as great.

Umcka by Nature’s Way

This is a preparation of an African herb, Pelargonium sidoides. It’s taken to shorten the duration and reduce severity of symptoms from throat, sinus and bronchial irritations. This stuff works great. It’s most effective when you take it the moment you think you’ve got something coming on, especially a cough. You continue taking it for 48 hours after the onset of symptoms. If you take it right at the beginning of feeling bad but you still get sick, it helps you to not get that sick.


Elderberry’s botanical name is Sambucus. The use of this plant goes back to Hippocrates, Galen and others. It’s an age-old remedy for coughs as well as many other ailments and is well known to have anti-viral properties. It has even played a part in research for treating HIV. There are two ways to use elderberry with colds and flu. To stave off the viral infection, I take the herbal tincture, 2-5 drops under the tongue two to four times a day either right when I’ve been exposed or while sick. For a cough, there are several products on the market. One of them is called Sambucol. Just look in the section for colds and coughs in your local health food store and follow the manufacturer’s directions.

Aconitum Napellus 3X or 6X

This is a homeopathic remedy made from the plant Monkshood. It is especially effective in acute, sudden inflammations, i.e. coming down with a virus. Another key time to use it is right after being in cold or very hot weather. It is a premiere remedy for fever as well as pneumonia. It is highly effective at preventing illness at that moment when you suspect you could be catching something. It can also lessen the duration of an illness. Definitely a remedy to use if you have a fever. Take as directed on the label.

Gelsemium 200C

This is another homeopathic remedy, applicable to all infections of influenza but particularly when tiredness, dullness or chills are present. It’s a good remedy to take when you’ve been exposed to sick people before you get sick and definitely one to take when you have the flu. It is remarkably good at helping you sleep if taken before bed when you have the flu. Take it as directed on the label.

A note about homeopathic remedies: They are special dilutions of various products and come in potencies which indicate how they have been diluted. An X means it was diluted in gradations of 10, a C in gradations of 100. I have indicated the potency I prefer for the use indicated. In the case of the Aconitum, the 3X is best but 6X is sufficient.


Where to find these products: The nutritional and herbal remedies can easily be found at most health food stores. The homeopathic remedies in the potencies recommended can be found, in the Los Angeles area, at Nature Mart (they only have Aconitum in 6X), Capitol Drugs and Santa Monica Homeopathic Pharmacy. Some homeopathic suppliers online:


Friendly Legal Note: This blogum is for informational purposes only. The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read here.