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Herbal cures

Herb Officially Recognized In England as A Cure for Colds

Friday, October 17, 2008 by: Sherry Baker, Health Sciences Editor
Tags: herbal cures, health news, Natural News

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(NewsTarget) There is no cure for the common cold, right? Wrong. The Zulus of Africa have insisted for centuries that there's a remedy created from geraniums that zaps colds and flu, halting sniffles and coughs almost immediately. Now 21st century research has backed up these claims -- just in time for the beginning of cold and flu season.

In fact, the British government's department of health just announced the same kind of herbal remedy used by the Zulus for centuries has been granted an official license and can now be marketed and sold as a cold and flu medicine in England. The treatment carries the brand name Kaloba and comes in both oral drops and tablets. It is one of the first herbal remedies to be officially recognized in the UK as an effective, non-drug therapy for treating common ailments.

Umckaloabo, the technical name for the substance derived from the colorful geranium plant, has been found "effective in resolving all symptoms including headaches and nasal discharge" of colds and flu, according to research recently published in the Cochrane Review.

British health advocates have suggested the approval may help stop the over-prescribing of antibiotics. According to the British clinical organization NICE (National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence), £200million (the equivalent of about $357 million) are needlessly prescribed each year for antibiotics to treat cold and flu.

Those drugs are not only useless for the viral infections that cause colds and flu, but they can contribute to the rise of "super bugs" which are resistant to antibiotics. "In the light of inappropriate antibiotic use and increasing drug resistance rates worldwide, the need for an alternative, effective remedy for these medical conditions is crucial," concluded the Cochrane Review geranium research article.

Kaloba is derived from a species of geranium called Pelargonium sidoides and is made specifically from the plant's flowers. The medicine has been available in Germany for over 25 years, but has only just been licensed by Britain's Medicines and Health Products Regulatory Agency.

Although it isn't sold as a medicine in the US, the geranium therapy is not the only natural treatment known to help fight colds and flu. Here are some more non-drug health boosters that can help you stay sniffle and cough-free this winter:

Garlic has been shown to be potent against several kinds of bacteria and viruses. It's also an immune system booster.

Vitamin C has become a favorite in the fight against colds and flu. Linus Pauling,Ph.D.,the two-time Nobel laureate, was the pioneering researcher into the benefits of vitamin C . He showed it spurs the immune system to fight infections by boosting interferon, which is a natural anti-viral substance.

Zinc has been found in several studies, including research conducted at Dartmouth and Cleveland Clinic, to shorten the length of time a cold lasts. Look for zinc gluconate lozenges or get your fill of the virus-fighting mineral from whole grains, beans, pumpkin seeds and nuts.

Be Happy isn't just the title of an old song, it's another way to boost your immunity and keep colds and flu at bay. A mounting body of research suggets colds and flu are most likely to strike if you are under excess work or psychological stress. Not getting enough sleep can also leave you more vulnerable to infection. Meditation, relaxation techniques like yoga and exercise can help you de-stress and also fight insomnia -- which, in turn, can lessen your chances of coming down with colds and flu.

Astragalus is one of several herbs long purported to have a powerful impact on fighting infections, including colds and flu. Now scientists at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center have published research in the medical journal Vaccine stating they found the botanical therapy "surprisingly active" as a consistent immune enhancer.

About the author

Sherry Baker is a widely published writer whose work has appeared in Newsweek, Health, the Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Yoga Journal, Optometry, Atlanta, Arthritis Today, Natural Healing Newsletter, OMNI, UCLA’s "Healthy Years" newsletter, Mount Sinai School of Medicine’s "Focus on Health Aging" newsletter, the Cleveland Clinic’s "Men’s Health Advisor" newsletter and many others.

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