Every year, millions of Americans fight colds and flus. While it’s popular to say that there’s “no cure for the common cold,” I’d like to differ. You can stop seasonal illnesses without resorting to over-the-counter medicines that make you feel tired or jittery and only mask the symptoms.
Two time-honored and clinically studied herbs, andrographis and umckaloabo, get to the roots of colds and flus, reduce their symptoms, shorten their duration, and help you feel like yourself again. Working together, these botanicals:
- Relieve coughs
- Clear sinuses and lungs
- Stop runny noses
- Reduce duration of colds and flus
- Fight bacterial and viral infections
- Bolster overall immune defenses
- Reduce aches and pains and other cold and flu symptoms
Effective Botanical Cold and Flu Fighters
When cold and flu season comes around, everyone starts looking for an effective medicine to reduce symptoms and speed up recovery. Two of my favorite herbs— proven to do just that—are andrographis and umckaloabo. Together, these botanicals make an outstanding combination for treating colds, flu, and upper respiratory infections.
Andrographis—King of Immune Defense
Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times and is now a favorite worldwide. Andrographis is probably best known in the West for its ability to defend against viruses and harmful bacteria, and stop colds, flus, and other infections. Clinical and scientific research results have confirmed its effectiveness for these traditional uses.
Shortens Cold Duration, Relieves Symptoms in Two Days
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, andrographis relieved cold symptom intensity in just two days. That means it reduced fatigue, sore throat, runny nose, and the achy sleeplessness that often accompanies a cold. By the fourth day, all symptoms, including headache, earache, phlegm production, and coughing, were significantly reduced.
Relieves Cough, Sore Throat, and Upper Respiratory Congestion
In another clinical study, individuals with upper respiratory tract infection (URTI) experienced similar fast-acting relief. In this case, 223 patients received either andrographis or a placebo. In just three days, the andrographis group reported a significant reduction in cough, headache, sore throat, runny nose, and disturbed sleep. People in the placebo group, on the other hand, didn’t improve at all, and for some, symptoms got even worse while those in the andrographis group continued to recover. By the fifth day, andrographis was over twice as effective as the placebo.
Bolsters Overall Immune Defenses Against Viral Invaders
One of the reasons that andrographis is so effective is that it enhances the activity of our own virus fighters, including T-cells and natural killer cells. These cells are part of the body’s natural defense and help stop viruses from invading cells and replicating.
For example, scientific research has found that andrographolide, a key compound from andrographis, interferes with enzyme activity that the H1N1 virus would use to replicate. Strains of H1N1 are responsible for many seasonal flus, so you may want to consider andrographis as a valuable preventative if you tend to catch the latest ‘bug’ every year.
Andrographis Defeats Dangerous Bacteria
In addition to stopping seasonal colds and flus, and a multitude of viruses, andrographis can stop the growth of dangerous bacteria, including Staphylococcus aureus (staph infection). Scientific study shows that it prevents the bacteria from enlisting its own antioxidant defenses that would otherwise allow it to keep replicating. Considering how overly prescribed antibiotics have become in the past twenty years or so–and how much stronger bacterial infections have become as a result–this botanical could be a much more effective form of treatment.
Umckaloabo—A Superstar that Fights Colds and Viruses
The root of umckaloabo (Pelargonium sidoides) has been used as a traditional medicine in South Africa for hundreds of years to treat coughs, colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and gastrointestinal complaints. Now, it is one of the most popular over-the-counter medications in Germany and has become well known around the world.
Clinical studies show that umckaloabo effectively and safely reduces symptoms, severity and duration of colds, upper respiratory tract infections and acute bronchitis, and may stop other potentially deadly bacterial and viral infections.
Shortens Cold Intensity, Relieves Runny Nose, Sore Throat, Muscle Aches, and More
In one clinical study, 103 people with the common cold were given either umckaloabo or a placebo. The researchers and participants tallied the results using the Cold Intensity Score. This scale consists of ten cold symptoms including: runny nose, sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing, scratchy throat, cough, hoarseness, headache, muscle aches, and fever. By this measure, in only five days, the reduction of symptoms was almost double in the umckaloabo group.
Other clinical research with umckaloabo has shown comparable results, with symptom scores dropping by 50 percent in just five days. By the end of the 10-day trial period, over 80 percent of the study participants in the umckaloabo group were either close to recovery or completely recovered. Conversely, only 31% of the placebo group had these results in the same time period.
And scientific research shows that umckaloabo stops common influenza viruses, including seasonal and resistant H1N1 from replicating, so it is definitely the right botanical to have in your regimen going into any cold and flu season.
Reduces Acute Bronchitis Symptoms and Duration of Illness
In a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical study comparing different dosages of umckaloabo and a placebo, umckaloabo at its highest dosage reduced bronchitis symptoms by over twice that of a placebo, although improvements in bronchitis symptoms by day seven were notable with any dose of umckaloabo compared to placebo.
Another clinical trial of adults suffering from acute bronchitis showed a similar pattern. Umckaloabo clipped two whole days from the duration of the illness, and only 16 percent of the umckaloabo group were unable to return to work by day seven versus 43 percent of the placebo group.
Umckaloabo Stops Bacterial Invaders
Umckaloabo contains an array of polyphenols that strengthen the immune response. But one of the plant’s most beneficial compounds is umckalin, and I prefer extracts that are standardized for it, so there’s consistency in its bacterial fighting effects. The science of how umckaloabo stops bacteria is complex, but study results are encouraging.
Research has found that the botanical stops Streptococcus pyogenes (strep bacteria) from invading host cells by as much as 46 percent. Umckaloabo can also help cells trap strep bacteria and shuttle it out of the body, so it can protect you from recurrent infections that would slip past your own natural defenses or antibiotic medications.
Treating Colds and Flus is Critical
While a cold may seem more inconvenient than dangerous, it can lead to potentially life-threatening conditions, including pneumonia and bronchitis. That’s why I think that andrographis and umckaloabo are two botanicals you should have on hand whenever you’re slightly fatigued, dragged down, or have that telltale ‘under the weather’ feeling. By adding this cold and flu-fighting duo to your regimen, you’ll be feeling like yourself again in no time at all.