Supporting our immune system is a priority for winter wellness if we’re to avoid an onslaught of coughs, colds, sore throats, or even the flu. Respiratory Tract Infections (RTIs), commonly known as colds and flu, are the most frequent infectious illnesses and it’s estimated we will spend 1 year in bed, around 5 years with a blocked nose, sore throat, cough and we are likely pick up around 200 infections in an average lifetime.
With these stats in mind, how can we keep ourselves well and protect our immunity as we move into winter ahead?
Diet & Lifestyle
Alison Cullen, A Vogel Nutrition Practitioner and Education Manager says: “Lifestyle really counts! What you eat needs to contain the nutrients that support your immune function, such as bioflavonoids (found in citrus fruits, green peppers, lemons, limes, oranges, cherries, and grapes) plus vitamin C, vitamin D, and zinc. This means eating wholefoods rather than highly processed foods that have had all the nutritional value refined out of them.”
Dr Ross Walton, a leading Immunologist and founder of clinical research company, A-IR says: “The immune system is a hugely intricate network which contributes to a vast number of biological processes in the body and has an underlying basis in all infections and diseases which can affect us. As the weather changes we become more vulnerable to viruses and bacteria, and the key to staying well lies first and foremost with eating a healthy diet and following a balanced lifestyle. In addition, Echinacea is a herb that has been shown to prevent the symptoms of a common cold erupting.”
One of the key remedies being studied by Dr Walton and his team at Imperial College London is echinacea.
“In 2012, 755 participants took part in the longest and largest trial carried out thus far by the Common Cold Centre (Cardiff) on the preventative use of Echinacea (study used A.Vogel Echinaforce) over a 4-month period. The development of recurrent colds reduced by 59 per cent as well as the severity of cold symptoms. The need to use painkillers also fell by over half.
The number of colds reduced as well as the number of days cold symptoms were experienced. Echinacea was particularly beneficial to those most at risk of infection such as those prone to more than two colds per year, those with high stress levels, poor sleepers, and smokers. For optimal results, OTC extracts of Echinacea should contain all parts of the plant, such as Echinaforce Echinacea extract, containing fresh, organic echinacea plant and root.”
Respiratory tract infections and their complications are a major clinical issue leading to a high number of hospitalisations. Research presented by Prof. Sebastian Johnston at the Royal Society of Medicine showed that Echinacea extract in A Vogel Echinaforce Drops (£4.15, 15ml or 50ml at £10.50) significantly reduces recurrent respiratory tract infections and consequently the risk for pneumonia, or bronchitis. The meta-analysis included six clinical trials with 2,458 participants. It found that recurring RTIs were reduced by 35 per cent, while 65 per cent of cases of pneumonia could have been prevented by taking Echinacea. It concluded that the overall risk of developing complications was reduced by approximately half in the Echinacea group. Recommendations are to take Echinaforce Echinacea Drops – the brand used in the trial – in water three times a day for prevention and if you get a cold, increase the dose to five times daily.
Reduces Secondary Infection
Further research showed the herb as effective as Oseltamivir but with less risk of secondary infections and treatment complications.  The study investigated Echinaforce Hot Drink, which combines the well-researched immune boosting benefits of fresh Echinacea extract with black elderberry (Sambucus nigra), rich in vitamin C and antioxidants. A randomised, placebo-controlled clinical trial followed 473 people with influenza diagnosed by their GPs, over 10 days, comparing the outcomes of treatment with Echinaforce Hot Drink against Oseltamivir. A.Vogel Echinaforce Hot Drink (Echinaforce Hot Drink £10.99, 100ml) was as effective as Oseltamivir in terms of shortening the duration of symptoms and preventing complications. The overall rate of complications was very low in the Echinaforce Hot Drink Group at 2.5 per cent, compared to 6.5 per cent in the Oseltamivir group. Gastrointestinal complaints including vomiting, nausea and diarrhoea were five times more frequent in the Oseltamivir group than with Echinaforce Hot Drink.
Dr Ross Walton comments: “Neuraminidase inhibitors such as Oseltamivir are the current ‘gold standard’ for flu treatment. However, limitations regarding necessity for early use, broad ranging side effects and emergence of drug resistant viral strains compels a need for alternative treatments. Despite different modes of action, both Oseltamivir and Echinacea block viral replication and subsequent dissemination. In this study, Echinaforce Hot Drink was as effective as Oseltamivir, in terms of shortening the duration of flu symptoms and reducing respiratory complications. Echinaforce Hot Drink was also associated with a trend for fewer side effects, particularly gastrointestinal.”
Find out more
To find out more about the A.Vogel Echinaforce herbal medicines visit www.avogel.co.uk and the full ranges is available from www.avogel.co.uk or visit Boots, Holland & Barrett, and independent pharmacies and health stores.
*Do not take more than the recommended dose and seek your GP’s advice if you are on any other medication before taking echinacea.
 Jawad M et al. Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes: A randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012; doi: 10.1155/2012/841315
 Schapowal A, Klein P, Johnston SL. Echinacea reduces the risk of recurrent respiratory tract infections and complications: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Adv Ther. 2015;32(3):187-200
 Raus K, Schoop R, Pleschka S, Klein P, Fisher P. Echinaforce Hot Drink versus Oseltamivir in influenza: A randomized, double-blind, double-dummy, multicenter, non-inferiority clinical trial. Curr Ther Res 2015; 77:66-72
Images by Mojca JJ and silviarita from Pixabay
This content is sponsored byLast modified: June 10, 2021