Echinacea and the Swine Flu Virus
It's usually at this time of year that we look to provide ourselves and our children with extra protection that will assist in warding off colds and flu. With the present virus flu outbreak many questions are being asked regarding the use of herbal remedies.
Novel H1N1 referred to as "Swine Flu", is a new influenza virus which causes illness in people and spreads from person-to-person, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses can spread.
We have been asked by many people wondering about using Irish Organic Herbs organic Echinacea in this situation. As H1N1 is a new virus, there are presently no clinical studies on the use of Echinacea on the virus responsible for Swine Flu.
However, it is widely accepted that having a strong immune system is the key to keeping infections such as colds and flu at bay.
Echinacea is historically used to treat fevers, colds and flu and well as infections in many parts of the body and is known to support and promote the natural powers of resistance in the body.
Irish Organic Herbs are the first company to have pioneered the organically certified field-scale cultivation of Echinacea in Ireland. The plants of Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) are grown under strict organic conditions on certified organic Irish farms.
The tincture of equivalent of 75 g of fresh whole plant (including 1/4 root) of certified organic Echinacea purpurea in 100ml of 66% organic grain ethanol.
Irish Organic Herbs Echinacea for children
Our Echinacea is suitable for children aged over 2 years and our product label gives clear dosage instructions for children based on age level.
Directions for use
Adults: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 3 times daily with water or fruit juice:
Maintenance 20 drops, therapeuticÂ 35-45 drops.
Acute circumstances: 80 drops every 3 hours for 1-3 days.
Children (over 7): Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 1/3 to 1/2 of adult dosage.
Children age 2-7: Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 2 drops multiplied by years of age, 3 times daily.
e.g. dosage for a 4 year old is 2 drops x 4 = 8 drops, 3 times a day
Acute: 4 drops multiplied by years of age, every 3 hours for 1-3 days.
e.g. dosage for a 4 year old is 4 drops x 4 =16 drops, every 3 hours for 1-3 days
There is still much debate as to whether it is best to use the herb continuously at low dosage or to have intermittent breaks. Traditional use was high dosage for short periods and modern studies are inconclusive on this point.
Anna Maria Keaveney, Medical Herbalist, MIIMH*, who advises Irish Organic Herbs has recommended taking the maintenance dosage for the duration of the winter. It is sensible to begin taking the maintenance dosage two weeks before the school year recommences where exposure to flu viruses will be increased.
At the initial cold/flu symptoms, the high acute dosage is used for 1-3 days, reverting back to our lower therapeutic dosage until symptoms have disappeared at which stage the maintenance dosage is again used.
You should always consult a Medical Herbalist/Doctor if symptoms persist or in case of pregnancy, lactation or autoimmune illnesses like HIV, lupus etc or if on medication or have a medical condition.
Irish Organic Herbs Echinacea is available on line at www.irishorganicherbs.ie
* Anna-Maria Keaveney qualified in 2000 with a Degree in Herbal Medicine from Middlesex University (UK). Anna-Maria already had a Science Degree from Trinity College Dublin. In 2004 Anna-Maria obtained a Masters in Primary Health Care from the College of Surgeons. She currently lectures on a Degree course in Herbal Science at Cork Institute of Technology.