It’s that time of year when we start to think about arming ourselves for the dreaded cold & flu season. There are many natural over the counter products that are very effective at preventing and shortening the course of a cold or flu. However, I like to caution my patients with autoimmune disease to think twice before grabbing the Echinacea or Cold FX off the shelf.
In a person not suffering from autoimmune disease, we would want to boost the immune system so that it fights off the bacteria or virus. However, in autoimmune disease, the immune system is already over-reacting and is triggered to attack its own tissues.
Some compounds used in nutritional supplements are known to stimulate the immune system, and can cause additional symptoms for those with autoimmune disease.
Here’s a list of herbs known to stimulate the immune system:
• Aloe vera (aloe barbadensis)
• Ashwagandha (withania somnifera)
• Astragalus (astragalus propinquus)
• Chlorella and other algae
• Echinacea (echinacea angustifolia)
• Elderberry (sambucus nigra)
• Ginseng (panax ginseng)
• Goldenseal (hydrastis canadensis)
• Grape seed extract (citrus paridisi)
• Green Tea Extract (camellia sinensis)
• Holy Basil (optimum tenuiflorum)
• Lemon Balm (melissa officinalis)
• Licorice Root (glycyrrhiza glabra)
• Maca Root (lepidium meyenii)
• Marshmallow Root (althaea)
• Medicinal Mushrooms (shiitake, maitake, etc.)
• Slippery Elm (ulmus rubra)
• White Willow Bark (salix alba)
Not every person will react to all these herbs and if someone is in remission, they can use these herbs, but monitoring symptoms will be important.
There are other ways to help prevent colds and flu for people with autoimmune disease. To learn more, book today!
~ Danika Sicard ND, MS.Ac.
• Naturopathic Doctor • Masters in Acupuncture • Certified AIP Coach