Upper respiratory tract infections (URTI) are, no doubt, one human’s most frequent illnesses (1). By extension, they are can very disturbing, frustrating, and highly inconveniencing as well. In precise terms, I am referring to mild and chronic dry coughs, sore throat, sneezing as well as thick mucus-filled nasal congestion (2). Natural medicine is becoming go-to support, both as a single therapy and as an integrative ingredient in the pharmaceutical formulations. The reoccurring nature and familiarity attached to respiratory tract infections, such as common cold, quickly make it seem like a public nuisance than a health threat. However, these infections are sometimes responsible for death among elderly and immunocompromised individuals (3).
While children averagely experience four to six symptomatic colds per year, their adult counterparts record two to three symptomatic colds per annum (4).More so, susceptibility to upper respiratory tract infection varies from person to person depending on their immune system and other numerous factors. Suffice it to say that a virus or bacteria mostly cause most URTIs. Only in few instances are infections fungal causative or of a helminthic origin (5). Typical symptoms of URTIs include cough, sore throat, runny nose, nasal congestion, headache, low-grade fever, and sneezing. In cases of some infection like common cold, the patient may experience coughing and nasal discharge for up to 14 days, even after the halt of other symptoms.
It is worthy of note to opine that immunization is not practicable in the curb of URTIs simply because there exist hundreds of strains of these viruses. In the end, the only solutions are one:
A. turning to treatments preferably, natural medicine with symptom-reducing benefit, and potent effect on lung health. B. engaging in prevention, behavioral strategies in response to the contagious and environmentally-prone nature of these infections (6). Consequently, it is advisable to imbibe a culture of regular hand washing, frequent exercise, and avoidance of spew dirt, soot, or any form of indoor/outdoor compromised air quality (6).
Natural medicines emaciate from beneficial botanical, which have been utilized age long and evaluated by randomized controlled trials (RCT) as “tried and true.” With the clinical effectiveness of these traditional remedies, they can be selected over or complemented with conventional therapies, such as antihistamines, decongestants, for URTI medications. Few of these ancient botanicals include:
The Echinacea plant is a native of North America. It has been scientifically noticed due to its roots recording high bioavailability and immunoactivity. Today a lot of clinical studies and randomized trials have been conducted into its biological plausibility. With most of the results coming out green, echinacea extracts are now widely used in America, Europe, for the immune boost for the prevention and treatment of the common cold. Notable among these studies is a-24 randomized trials involving more than 3000 participants (7).
These trials aver that echinacea can palate the hash symptoms of common colds and other upper respiratory infections (URIs). Although some of these studies recorded specific allergic reactions; however, the use of echinacea suggests no dose-dependent adverse effects or major drug interaction concerns (7). Echinacea is also available in tablets, tinctures, capsules, extracts, and tea forms. Needful to say that echinacea enhanced ointments are also effective for tropical treatment.
Astragalus manifests crucial antioxidant function and provides a healthy inflammatory response for the lungs (8). The Astragalus plant also signifies as a pivotal herb in traditional Chinese medicine (9). It is regularly mixed with other herbs, to formulate a treatment of varying degrees of ailments, ranging from heart and liver conditions to kidney diseases.
Today, in the treatment and prevention of common colds, Astragalus has had dozens or even hundreds of recovery records. As a healthy anti-inflammatory drug, Astragalus can help respiratory tissues to protect against dry air and air pollutants (10). Such asSwisse – Natural Herbal Cleansing Lung TabletsSupplements like Astragalus use Astragalus as a comprehensive ingredient and are used with other vitamins and herbal extracts.
Propolis, Also known as "bee propolis", has natural antibacterial properties and antibacterial activity, helping to relieve mild cough and sore throat. The material extracted from the honeycomb consists of a mixture of beeswax, resin, tree sap, plant compounds and bee saliva. Propolis also has immunity-enhancing and anti-cancer properties (11). Its plant ingredients contain up to 10% essential oils and 5% bee pollen as well as hundreds of other beneficial natural compounds. Children may often find that propolis is a good choice for treating throat and oral infections.
Spirulina is a non-toxic variety of Arthrospira bacteria. It is also a blue looking algae that is often used as a vegan source of protein and vitamin B12. Spirulina exhibits potent anti-oxidative and anti-inflammatory effects for lung health (12). A 2015 research conducted on the impact of spirulina in bronchial asthma verified that long-term supplementation of spirulina facilitates improvement in the treatment of bronchial asthma (13). The study also noted that faster recovery was observed when medication and spirulina were administered together (13). This research and other related results explain why spirulina is utilized in a growing number of supplements that reduce allergic rhinitis symptoms, such as sneezing, stuffy nose.
REFERENCES AND FURTHER READING
- Campbell, H. Acute respiratory infection: a global challenge. [book auth.] pp. 281-283. 73 (4). sl: Arch Dis Child, (1995),.
- R. Eccles, O. Weber. Common cold. Basel, Switzerland: Birkhauser Verlag,, 2009.
- LC Jennings, TP Anderson, KA Beynon, A. Chua, RT Laing, AM Werno. Incidence and characteristics of viral community-acquired pneumonia in adults. pp. 42-48: Thorax, (2008),. 63.
- GM Allan, B. Arroll. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. pp. 190-199: CMAJ,, 2014. 186 (3).
- Heymann, David. Control of communicable diseases manual: an official report of the American Public Health Association. the American Public Health Association.: APHA Press, 2015. ISBN 9780875530185..
- Carter, JM Hand washing decreases the risk of colds and flu. p. A11: J Natl Med Asso, 2002. c, 94 (2).
- M. Karsch-Volk, B. Barrett, D. Kiefer, R. Bauer, K. Ardjomand-Woelkart, K. Linde. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. p. CD000530: Cochrane Database Syst Rev, 2014.2.
- herbs, Sinclair S. Chinese. A clinical review of Astragalus, Ligusticum, and Schizandrae. sl: Altern Med Rev, 1998. 338-44..
- Upton, R. Astragalus Root: analytical, quality control, and therapeutic monograph. Santa Cruz, CA: American Herbal Pharmacopoeia,, 1999. pp. 1-25.
- D. McKenna, K. Hughes, K. Jones. Astragalus. Altern Ther Health Med,: 8 (6), 2002. pp. 34-40.
- KATIE WELLS. Bee Propolis Benefits to Fight Everything From Colds to Cancer. wellnessmama. [Online] 05 04, 2018. [Cited: 06 28, 2020.] https://wellnessmama.com/366380/propolis/.
- Examine. [Online] https://examine.com/supplements/spirulina/.
- R. U. Labhe, U. V. Mani, U. M. Iyer, M. Mishra, K. Jani &A. Bhattacharya. The Effect of Spirulina in the Treatment of Bronchial Asthma. Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional & Medical Foods . [Online] 07 06, 2015. [Cited: 06 28, 2020.] https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1300/J133v03n04_06#:~:text=Significant%20improvement%20in%20lung%20function,treating%20mild%20to%20moderate%20asthma..