Well it’s that time again - back to school, back to work, back to all those germs and bugs that cause us to get the flu and common cold. Yep, its fall already, the nights are getting cool, some of our summer birds have already gone south and you know winter isn’t that far behind. This was made evident when I received our Sear’s Christmas Wish Book last week during a day that reached 40°C with the humidex. It is ironic picking out Christmas gift ideas when you have the air conditioning working overtime.

I was first introduced to Echinacea back in 1990 where I managed a store in a mall. My retail outlet just happened to be right beside a health food store and fast became my favourite shopping place in the following 20+ years for supplements and health information.

Once of the most popular herbs in North America and has been used by Native Americans for over 400 years as a cure-all. Echinacea, or purple cone flower (like the picture of the one I took from our garden) is an herbal supplement that we personally have called our flu shot for the upcoming winter season.

Echinacea boosts your immune function as it increases your white cells, which helps the body fight and resist illness and disease. It is even helpful for those going through cancer treatment. This powerful herb is our natural antibiotic that is effective in killing off viruses. Taken for a few months, this herb strengthens your immune system by stimulating the production of T-Cells that fight off pathogenic trespassers. Scientific trials found that Echinacea reduced the odds of one developing a cold by 58% and the duration of a cold by one to four days. In fact, by taking this herb you tend to get sick less often and if you do come down with something, it is less severe.

Aside from being your flu shot in a bottle, Echinacea is effective against:

* Sore throat
* Bronchitis
* Ear infections
* Sinusitis
* Upper respiratory infections
* Urinary tract infections
* Enlarges prostate and many more.

Every year, in late September or early October, we begin an Echinacea regimen that we continue until about March. We bought Echinacea in capsule form and took them once daily throughout the “winter” season, leaving them off until the next year. Each person is different, ask your health professional what dose would be right for you and your family.

Please always do your research and consult with your physician, naturopath, or health care provider before taking any home remedies or supplements or following any treatment suggested on this page. Only your health care provider, personal physician, or naturopath can provide you with advice on what is safe and effective for your unique needs or to diagnose your particular medical issue.

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