Dr. Lori Horan Soule, ND, LAc

Soule Health Care

3526 SW Corbett

Portland OR, 97239


For Appointments Call



Register for Dr. Lori Soule's

Tame Your Sugar & Salt Cravings

Class Starting May 22, 2013


$100 (4 sessions)

Listen to Podcast


Call for more information


Newsletter Archive

How Can We Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu?

September 29, 2011

“Do you have anything I can take to keep my immune system strong?” I often get asked this question this time of year. People are especially concerned about the possibility of an Avian flu pandemic. Let's look at immunity broadly first, and then discuss a more specific naturopathic approach to prevention and treatment.

Colds and the flu are believed to be caused by exposure to a variety of viruses. Yet not everyone “catches” a cold or flu when exposed to such viruses. For this reason, we emphasize preventing colds and flu by strengthening a person's immune system, safeguarding it from susceptibility. Some patients can resist viral attacks while the immune systems in others are weakened and run down to such a degree that they become susceptible to a viral assault. In the case of most epidemics, those people who succumb represent only a fraction of the number of people exposed. This suggests that ebb and flow in immune levels in each individual is dependent on stress, diet, rest and other factors.

Diet: Paying attention to the foods you eat can help you avoid creating the toxicity and imbalances that can suppress immunity. We should avoid foods that inhibit immune function, especially simple sugars and alcohol, which have been shown to reduce the function of white blood cells. Foods that cause difficulties in digestion and all junk foods should also be eliminated. Meats should be organic. Non-food additives such as synthetic colors, synthetic sweeteners and synthetic flavorings, preservatives and hydrogenated oils found in margarine are also toxic to the body and stress mucous membranes and the immune system.

Overeating and improper food combinations can also lead to an accumulation of toxins in the body.

Allergies: Cow's milk, wheat and all their derivatives can be “mucous producing.” Increased congestion of the mucous membranes that these foods can cause correlates with more frequent respiratory infections. Most people who avoid dairy products while recovering from the cold or flu generally have less nasal congestion and throat phlegm. Over-exposure to dust and mold can also cause congestion and susceptibility.

Stress: During times of stress, hormones are released in the body that cause the thymus gland to shrink, reducing immune activity. The more stress one is under, the greater the chance of viral infection.

This effect was demonstrated in a study that evaluated 420 people for occurrences of stress during the previous year. Job loss, divorce, death and relocation were among the events included. Fear, sadness, anger and nervousness were among the emotions monitored. The group was then exposed to one of five cold viruses and tested for antibodies one month later. Of those under the greatest amount of stress, 90% became infected. Another study of 100 people showed that those who experienced particularly high degrees of anger and tension were four times more likely to develop a cold or bacterial infection than those who did not experience such emotions.

Treating Colds And Flu: Proper diet and nutritional supplements lead to enhanced immune function. Caught early, many of the remedies described below can stop the cold or flu in its tracks.

Diet Solutions: Cutting simple sugar intake, and drinking large amounts of herb tea, water, vegetable juices, and broths for a dehydrated respiratory tract will strengthen immune function and enhance detoxification. Drink plenty of green tea. Gyokuro tea contains some of the highest concentration of catechins in any tea, and has been shown to suppress the growth of viruses, including the influenza virus.

Nutritional Supplements: Many nutritional supplements can be valuable aids in dealing with colds and flu due to their ability to stimulate immune functions and protect the body from the effects of stress. For your convenience, CTM has pre-packaged Cold & Flu Prevention and Treatment Kits containing the basic nutritional supplements needed to prevent and treat colds and the flu.

These anti-flu kits contain the following items:

Immucore: Immucore contains the most well-known nutrients for combating colds and the flu: UltraPotent C and zinc enhance natural killer cell activity and support white blood cell activity; Mushroom extracts of reishi and maitake target multiple organ systems to promote healthy immunity.

Elderberry (Sambucus): The immune boosting and anti-inflammatory effects of elderberry are derived from its anthocyanidin constituents. Black elderberry has been proven to be effective against multiple strains of flu, including Type A/ Beijing, A/Shandong, and H3N2. It appears to inhibit several strains of influenza replication in vitro including some avian strains and reduces multiple symptoms of flu and upper respiratory infections. It is most effective when taken within 24 hours of symptom onset.

Oscillococcinum: Proven in placebo-controlled studies, this well-known homeopathic remedy is widely used for the relief of cold and flu symptoms and the prevention of its onset. It could possibly be one of our best resources against avian flu.

Super-Garlic 6000: Garlic is a strong antimicrobial and antiviral plant. Fresh and powdered garlic have been found to have efficient antibiotic effects, even controlling bacteria which are resistant to commonly used antibiotics. It has been shown to protect against flu viruses and enhance antibody production.

Masks And Gloves: One of the best ways to prevent transmission of colds and flu is to prevent the transmission of the germs, be they respiratory droplets or hand-carried germs. In response to many patients' concerns about an Avian flu pandemic, we have included in our kits 2 respiratory masks for when you are in public and the risk of germ communicability is high, such as during air travel. We also recommend that you use an antibacterial hand sanitizing lotion when in public, and gloves when sharing public facilities such as door handles.

If you want to optimize your immunity this season to prevent colds and the flu, consider the dietary and lifestyle suggestions mentioned above, and visit me for a Cold & Flu Prevention and Treatment Kit.

Return to Newsletter Archive Main Page