Cold Away – with Andrographis

It’s the cold and flu season in the northern hemisphere, so we thought we’d remind everyone about the Health Concerns formula Cold Away, which includes the herb Andrographis. Recently the Mayo Clinic Guide to Alternative Medicine gave one of its “greenlights” of approval to Andrographis, which is a traditional Indian herb. As the Mayo experts say, Andrographis “has become popular as a remedy for upper respiratory infections, including cold and flu.” And, even more intriguing, “because of its immune-stimulating actions, the herb is also being studied as a possible treatment for many diseases, including cancer and HIV.”

Available at NYBC at
Cold Away.


Mayo Clinic’s Guide to Alternative Medicine 2011

This is an easy-to-read, magazine-style guide created by the Mayo Clinic, the world-famous healthcare facility which also happens to have a long-standing receptiveness to alternative and complementary therapies for wellness and prevention. (That’s one of the reasons why it has recently been cited as an example of best practices in American healthcare–the kind of practices that need to be more widely imitated.)

The section on dietary supplements provides capsule reviews of the scientific evidence for the safety and effectiveness of several dozen popular products, from botanicals like ginseng, echinacea and St. John’s Wort, to vitamins C, D, E, B-3 (niacin), and B-9 (folate or folic acid), as well as minerals like selenium, calcium and zinc. Also discussed are fairly well-known categories of supplements, including probiotics and omega-3 fatty acids (these often obtained with fish oil supplements).

The guide rates these supplements with a green, yellow or red light symbol, depending on the strength of the evidence for their use and their safety profile. We weren’t too surprised by most of the ratings. For example, green for niacin, folic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin D, but a yellow caution light for Vitamin E, which has shown no effectiveness in several good studies dealing with cardiovascular health and cancer, leading some researchers to wonder if the standard “alpha-tocopherol” form of the vitamin is a good format for supplementation. Also, a yellow light for St. John’s Wort, not because it isn’t effective for mild/moderate depression, but because it can interact with a lot of other medications.

Other supplements getting the green light from the Mayo Clinic editors: SAMe (for depression); saw palmetto (for enlarged prostate); green tea (for cardiovascular health, possibly for cancer prevention, and apparently–according to a large epidemiological study–for longevity); gamma linolenic acid (for peripheral neuropathy); CoQ10 (for cardiovascular health, for which it’s used by millions in Japan); glucosamine chondroitin (for osteoarthritis).

Also getting the green light, a supplement most have probably never heard of, but which is featured in the Health Concerns formula Cold Away, available from NYBC: the botanical Andrographis (a cold remedy, showing promise where many other products have disappointed).

See the NYBC entries for more details on how best to take supplements:

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season?

What’s in Your Medicine Cabinet for Cold and Flu Season?

As the cold and flu season approaches, don’t forget the supplements! Here are some good choices for preventing colds and flus, or for lessening symptoms:

Vitamin D. According to some recent thinking, the “cold and flu season” may actually be the “Vitamin D deficiency season.” As the days grow shorter, people get less sunshine, leading to a decline in the body’s levels of this vitamin, which is essential to good health in many more ways than we used to think. Supplementing with Vitamin D during the winter may therefore be one of the most effective ways to prevent colds and flu. Many researchers who’ve studied Vitamin D now recommend at least 1000 IU/day, but those with a known deficiency may be advised to supplement at even higher levels. Our #1 recommendation for cold and flu season! See NYBC’s D-3 2500IU or D3 1000IU or D3 400IU.

Cold Away. This Health Concerns blend of Chinese herbs is designed to “clear external heat and alleviate symptoms of the common cold.” A key component of this formula is the herb Andrographis, which has been studied in several US trials in the last decade, and was found to significantly decrease cold symptoms and the duration of a cold. See NYBC’s Cold Away.

Vitamin C. Many good studies have shown a decrease in cold symptom duration, but no benefit for prevention. According to a guide to natural products published by the American Pharmacists’ Association in 2006, taking between 1 and 3 grams of Vitamin C per day may decrease cold symptoms (sore throat, fatigue, runny nose) by 1 – 1 ½ days. See NYBC’s C1000 – Ascorbic Acid with Olea Fruit Extract, or C -Buffered Vitamin C (easier on the stomach), or Super C Powder.

NAC (PharmaNAC). N-acetylcysteine (NAC) supports respiratory and immune system function. It has been studied extensively for chronic bronchitis. NAC is also the antidote for acetaminophen poisoning, now the leading cause of liver disease in the USA. (Acetaminophen’s best-known tradename is Tylenol, but it’s also found in many other meds, and so it’s become all too easy to overdose. We like PharmaNAC for its quality packaging, wildberry flavor & fizz! See NYBC’s PharmaNAC.

Botanicals. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, Astragalus is used for chronic respiratory infections, for colds and flu (both prevention and treatment) and for stress and fatigue. (This herb is a favorite of integrative medicine specialist Dr. Andrew Weil.) An elderberry extract and American ginseng are two other botanicals that have been studied for cold and flu symptoms in recent North American research, with some promising results. The popular Echinacea, however, has generally disappointed in cold prevention studies.