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Four Medicine Cabinet Must-Haves for Cold & Flu Season

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This syrup features a soothing, massively effective trifecta of clinically-backed herbs that have been used to support upper respiratory health for centuries. English Ivy is rich in polyphenols, saponins and flavonoids—potent antioxidant compounds that fight inflammation. It is also a notable source of ‘a-hederin’ which supports surfactant secretion and overall bronchiole function. Polysaccharide-rich Marshmallow root attends mucosal health and comfort by coating the oropharyngeal lining with a cooling mucilage, refreshing and protecting irritated airways in the process. European Elder, high in anthocyanin, is an URTI-focused immune-booster shown to decrease the length and severity of the flu. A five-day study of 60 adults suffering from influenza found that those subjects given elderberry syrup saw symptoms disappear four days sooner than those who received a placebo. Elderberry is also high in vitamin C; and getting more of it can increase blood antioxidant levels by as much as thirty percent! This product will relieve coughs, promote expectoration and may improve respiratory function in patients with chronic bronchitis, too. It is available in a delicious raspberry flavour and suitable for adults and children, albeit in different doses.

NAC, short for N-Acetyl-cysteine, offers superior defence against oxidative stress regardless of its source, be it from over-exercise, adrenal stress, airborne pollutants and/or viral infection. Scores of clinical trials have proven that it reduces both the duration and severity of flu by boosting immunity, reducing respiratory mucus and inhibiting viral replication. However, NAC does have mucolytic properties that relieve bronchial irritation and constriction; and taking it has been shown to improve phlegm consistency in people who suffer from all manner of URTI aggravation, even in cases of severe COPD. Can Prev blends NAC and L-Glycine, which are precursors to glutathione (GSH), a critical intracellular antioxidant for liver and brain; and a master of free-radical scavenge. It reduces inflammation at the cellular-level; protecting mitochondria in tandem. The addition of selenium—a stalwart mineral known to enhance glutathione peroxidase levels and activity—furthers this product’s cause: to quash acute respiratory conditions, ease chronic ones; boost the body’s capacity for detoxification and ensure minimal damage to our cells in the process.

D-Mulsion 2500 supplies 2,500 IU (62.5mcg) of vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) per drop in an emulsified formula for better absorption and utilization. Emulsification makes the uptake of this critical fat-soluble vitamin easier, making it ideal for those with malabsorption issues like Celiac or Crohn’s disease. The vitamin D receptor is present in virtually all human cells, making it vital to most physiological functions. It helps the body absorb and retain calcium and phosphorus which are essential for building bone; but lab studies have proven that it also stifles infection, reduces cancer cell growth and bodywide inflammation. Despite its importance, almost half of Canada’s population has inadequate levels of vitamin D; with deficiencies found in all ethnicities and age groups. Recent studies have directly correlated a dearth in blood-level D3 with compromised immunity: one need only reflect on the timing of flu season! As such, vitamin D is a potent prophylactic for influenza and an important aspect of its treatment, too. D-Mulsion 2500 should be taken sublingually or mixed into drinks; and gives those who struggle to swallow capsules a viable alternative.

This tincture combines two species of Echinacea (Purpurea and Angustifolia), harnessing their singular yet synergistic properties in order to maximize anti-infective power. In a 2022 randomized, double-blind human study, Nicolussi et al. found that purpurea extracts exhibited swift and direct antiviral activity against a broad range of respiratory pathogens, including coronaviruses: extracts modulated inflammatory cytokines and demonstrated effective protection against ‘enveloped viruses in adults and children, including SARS-COV-2.’ This product also contains Goldenseal, an antibiotic herb whose constituent alkaloids act against oral pathogens like Streptococcus; as well as drug-resistant bacterial infections like Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Goldenseal is particularly effective at disabling inter-bacterial quorum sensing, blocking all communication and replication. Several studies have demonstrated its effective inhibition of H. Pylori, a major cause of peptic ulcers; and proven its value as an antifungal. Myrrh and wild indigo are also fungicidal; and propolis has been added to ease sore throats. The addition of cayenne only strengthens this formula, due to its capsaicin–a compound clinically-proven to reduce inflammation and make coughs more productive. A 2016 review found that it effectively relieved stuffy nose and overall congestion when allergies or smoking were not the cause. Individually, these six medicines are incredible at abating cold and flu symptoms; when combined, bugs simply don’t stand a chance! EchinaSeal is ideal for those suffering from a wide range of oral and respiratory complaints, including mucosal ulcers (cankers) and dental infections. EchinaSeal should be administered at the first sign of illness and taken thrice daily on an empty stomach. Bonus: St. Francis Herb Farm is an Ontario-based, family-run organic farm.

by Jessica deMelo, Suntree’s Senior Nutritionist



Adams, C. ‘Goldenseal Proves to be Antibiotic, Antiviral and Antifungal,’ The Journal of Plant Medicines, accessed December 2022. https://plantmedicines.org/goldenseal-stops-h1n1-flu-virus/#goldenseal-references

Egan J. M., et al. (2016). Antimicrobial fungal endophytes from the botanical medicine goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5461979/

Nicolussi S, et al. (2022). Echinacea as a Potential Force against Coronavirus Infections? A Mini-Review of Randomized Controlled Trials in Adults and Children. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-2607/10/2/211

Schapowal A, et al. (2015). Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12325-015-0194-4

Zakay-Rones Z, et al. (2004). Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15080016/

Zhu Z, et al. (2022). Association Between Vitamin D and Influenza: Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/35071300/