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The integrative approach to immunity

When cold and flu symptoms start attacking, learn how to fight back. From vitamins to herbal and homeopathic remedies, Pharmaca's integrative approach offers a variety of ways to boost immunity and help keep illness at bay. We spoke with Jessica Marier, naturopathic doctor at Pharmaca - Pacific Palisades, about why these remedies work.

The homeopathic wonder: Oscillococcinum

Even if you don't know how homeopathic remedies work, the clinical and anecdotal evidence for Boiron Oscillococcinum's effectiveness at lessening flu symptoms is pretty convincing. "It works well for flu symptoms," says Jessica, "by stimulating the body's own ability to heal itself." As a homeopathic medicine, Oscillococcinum is even regulated by the FDA.  

The small pellets are best taken at the very first sign of symptoms, which studies have shown can shorten the duration of your illness. The best part? No side effects or interactions with other symptom-relieving remedies, and it's safe enough to give to children 2 and up.     

Symptom fighters: Herbal extracts

Take classic immune-boosting herbs like Echinacea, add a natural antimicrobial like elderflower, and throw in yarrow for quelling fever and muscle aches, and you have the perfect combination for cold and flu relief. Our favorite formula comes from WishGarden Herbs, whose Kick-Ass Immune (for adults) uses this combination. WishGarden also adds in Yerba Santa, which Jessica says is "great for the respiratory tract and coughing," and baptisia that stimulates the lymph system. She recommends three dropperfuls in water every three hours.

WishGarden also carries cold and flu relievers for children and pregnant women, adjusting the formulas and dosages to make them safe for everyone.

The old stand-by: Vitamin C

"Are you taking your vitamin C?" Every sick person in the world has probably been asked that question at some point. And for good reason. Vitamin C is a potent antioxidant that can help protect your cells against free radicals. It promotes healing and is an important component for the health of your skin, bones and connective tissues. 

"Vitamin C and zinc work as a pair to help boost white blood cell production," says Jessica. White blood cells are key to fighting off germs, and vitamin C and zinc "help them work more effectively." She suggests adults take an additional 10 mg of zinc on top of a standard vitamin C regimen. A tasty, easy way to get this important a big dose of vitamin C, Alacer Emergen-C, delicious flavored powders that can easily be mixed into water or juice.  

To learn more about a holistic approach to tackling your cold and flu symptoms, speak with a Pharmaca practitioner today.

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