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Echinacea and other immune boosters

I'm curious if people have had experience taking this in any form. I am trying to boost my immune system for the cold and flu season- my young child brings home lots of bugs- and I have started taking some tea.

I've also started eating lowfat Stonyfield plain yogurt, taking vitamins and increasing my garlic intake.



Mon. Dec 12, 10:41am

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A word of warning based on new studies

I used to be a huge fan of Echinacea and immune system boosters but I've got a few reasons to avoid them now. I recently come across some articles AGAINST them. The studies looked at "recent" flu epidemics and noticed that the highest mortality rate was actually among those with a strong immune system. They further pursued this and found that, if you use immune system boosters you run a risk of pushing your immune system into a zone where it hits "hyperdrive" if you get really sick and actually does damage. I can't remember the magazines that covered it but I know that The Toronto Star did a story on it too.

Also, on a more personal note, I had a boyfriend who developed a condition called Miller-Fisher Syndrome 3 years ago. It's super rare but basically the same thing as above...his immune system fought off an infection but was so "revved up" it continue to attack whatever it could find...and that turned out to be his nervous system. It is something that can be stopped but it took time for the effects (in his case, paralysis and blindness) to reverse themselves.

His immunologist (sp?) and neurologist both said the same thing to us: If you take care of yourself physically and mentally and take proper precautions (frequently washing hands, keeping living areas sanitary, etc.) you shouldn't need antibacterial soap/doodads or immune boosters.

Yeah, so I'm a bit of an alarmist but before Colin ended up in hospital he kept popping Echinacea hoping to get better...the Dr. said it only made things worse so I'm staying away from now on. I'm sorry if I scared you, it just that so few studies have really proven that immune boosters do help and now with this info coming out...eek!

Monday, December 12, 2005, 11:59 AM

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Echinacea is ok if you need to boost your immune system. It works really well. I'd agree that it might make sense not to use it if you are already healthy. I think that is true for anything that makes you better. You never take Ny Quil when you are well for example. (unless you are into that kind of thing of course, wouldn't want to offend anyone)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005, 11:55 AM

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I'm not sure about the effects of echinacea but this is what I do in the winter to prevent colds...

1) Take a multivitamin religiously every day (a good one for women is GNC's Women's Ultra Mega)

2) Take EnergyC or Airborne when I start to feel a cold coming on. These are vitamin boosters that help yur system fight.

3) Make sure to get more rest when feeling down. And eat lots of veggies and fruit. For some reason this is easier in the summer than winter.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005, 6:39 PM

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Actually recent studies show that Echinacea doesn't really do anything for your system, and this coming from an ND study. I am not surprised. My brother in law takes all kinds of "natural" stuff and he is forever sick. The minute I start feeling anything coming on I take E-mergen-C and I believe it works really well.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005, 8:40 PM

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I think I am getting my first cold of the season. arrgh.

Thursday, October 05, 2006, 9:23 AM

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