Cold and Flu

What herbs can help fight colds and the flu?

A Answers (2)

  • AStacy Wiegman, PharmD, Pharmacy, answered
    If you're thinking of trying herbs for a cold or the flu, a word of caution: There's not much scientific evidence that they work. Research on herbs and other alternative treatments for cold and flu has offered mixed and inconclusive results.

    Some studies of the herb echinacea have suggested a possible benefit for treating colds in adults, but not for preventing colds or treating colds in children.

    Many people try other natural substances like elderberry, astragalus, green tea, goldenseal, garlic, and ginseng to prevent or treat colds and flu. But the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says that, so far, there is not enough scientific evidence to recommend them.
  • ADaniel Hsu, DAOM, Alternative/complementary Medicine, answered
    There are several herbs that people in China almost universally take to help fight colds and flu. Here are three of the top antiviral/antibacterial herbs used in Chinese Medicine:

    •   Ban Lan Gen (Radix isatidis baphicacanthi). This is a top antiviral and immunostimulatory herb. It also has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, antinociceptive, and antiendotoxic activities.
    •   Huang Qin (Scutellaria baicalensis). Widely known for its anticancer activity, this herb's active ingredient, baicalin, also exhibits anticonvulsive, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial activity.
    •   Da Qing Ye (Isatidis baphicacanthi). Studies indicate that Isatidis has antiendotoxic, antimicrobial, antiviral, and immunostimulatory properties.
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