The Cure for the Common Cold

Last week I was sick with my 1st head cold in 2 years.  They usually turn into month long sinus infections for me and I was NOT going to go through that again.  I’m not one to down a lot of meds, either — I really have to be hurting to take something.

A friend at work, who has a very holistic view on life, suggested Elderberry syrup (found at a local organic market – Elder berries + honey).  It’s suppose to ward off the H1N1 flu, but it’s a known immune booster to help overcome random virus attacks, like colds.  I don’t buy too much into herbal treatments, but I was desperate and bought some the next day.  She also suggested this tea and gave me a tea bag to try.  I bought some of that too, and I credit this tea with helping me feel better:

I came home that night, curled up next to my favorite general and sipped this amazing caffeine-free tea -I always put a lil bit of sugar in it – so good.  You have to let it brew for at least 15 minutes.  It’s worth the wait!  The next morning I could breathe through my nose!  I was still sick, but I could feel my body returning to it’s normal self.  The worst part of the storm was over. Crazy!  I continued with the tea once a day and a took between 5ml – 15ml of Elderberry syrup (it always works mixed in with real apple juice!)  I was cured.

Now, I’ve taken some serious college courses in cell biology (you know the Lord exists after studying steroid hormone receptors — it’s too perfect of a system to have “evolved”).  I wanted to know on a cellular level what this Echinacea was doing, but I couldn’t find anything.  “Immune boosting” is quite vague to me — there are so many different things that could mean!  I think it has something to do with lymphocytes…..but that’s just my theory.  I could be completely off base.

Despite it being an organic product, the Echinacea tea came with a warning label that worried me quite a bit:

Cautions: Consult a healthcare provider prior to use if you have rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disorder or a progressive systemic disease such tuberculosis, leucosis, collagenosis, multiple sclerosis, AIDS or HIV infections, or if you are taking immunosuppressants. Contraindications: Do not use if you have known allergies to plants of the Asteraceae (daisy) family such as blessed thistle, calendula, chamomile, echinacea, safflower or yarrow. Do not use if pregnant or breast-feeding unless directed otherwise by your doctor.

Okay, I can understand the allergy bit, but auto-immune diseases?!  Pregnancy?!  Whoa!  While I am not pregnant, breast feeding, or currently enduring the wrath of my white blood cells, it still worried me.  Why such a label?  My friend theorized that this is an “immune boosting” product, so if you have a disease where your immune system is attacking your cells it would increase the damage.  That made sense.  Jury is still out on the HIV route.  I googled it, but only found links to “Green tea cures HIV transmission!”  Good grief.  As for pregnancy, there have been studies done with Echinacea on the unborn, and so far the studies have shown no adverse effect; nonetheless, the studies haven’t been large enough to rule it out 100% (just because something is “negative” doesn’t mean it isn’t there — it just means that it is not detected using that mode!  It’s easier to prove something positive than negative.)  It’s a judgement call, basically.  Echinacea isn’t in the same category as cigarettes and alcohol, but the label is probably part of the legal stuff so some crazy pregnant lady can’t sue the company.

As always, and it’s printed on there too — “These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.” While I don’t ever intend to bite my thumb at western medicine, this tea worked for me.  Placebo?  Perhaps.  But something made me better.

God made Echinacea, man made Nyquil.  Which would you trust?

***At night I did take an adult dose of Benedryl so I would sleep.  Maybe it was all in the sleep?***

Sidenote:  Echinacea is pronounced “eck-in-ay-sa” and I was pronouncing it as Escherichia (esh-ree-key-ah) as in the “E” in E. coli!  Oops!  Can’t take me anywhere!