Herbs Help Battle Influenza

Photo Credit-Claudette Rodriguez

Photo Credit-Claudette Rodriguez

Claudette Rodriguez, Reporter

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the use of medicinal herbs is increasing every year.  With the influenza season approaching, several herbs can help battle symptoms.

Dr. Katrina Stage, a naturopathic physician, herbalist, and Professor at Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine provides more insight into which medicinal herbs are best for the upcoming season.

“Echinacea is probably the one I would think of most for the winter,” Stage said.

Dr. Stage also noted Elderberry and Astragalus as medicinal herbs with high immune boosting properties.

“Elderberry can decrease the amount of replication of the flu virus.  Astragalus is an immune modulator and also acts as an antiviral,” Stage said.

While there is scientific research to support the efficacy of some medicinal herbs, there are many herbs that still lack data to support their use.  It is up to the consumer to discern which company has the highest quality product, as the FDA does not regulate medicinal herbs through the same process pharmaceutical medications are regulated.

“You have to look at the quality data report for each company to help decide if their product is of good manufacturing practices,” Stage said.

A June 2018 article in the New York Times discusses the use of medicinal herbs in popular culture.  Krysia Zanjoc, a founder of Moodbeli, which is a plant based wellness company in Santa Cruz, Calif, states that a lack of scientific data proving the efficacy of medicinal herbs does not concern her.

“A six-months-long F.D.A. trial is great, but these (herbs) have been proven remedies in human trials for five thousand years now,” Zanjoc said.

While the CDC recommends getting the flu vaccine and incorporating preventive measures to stop the spread of germs such as hand washing, medicinal herbs can act as an adjunct to these suggestions and provide an overall integrative approach to health.