One of my favorite over-the-counter herbal medicines is Source Natural’s Brand Wellness Formula. It is an excellent medicine when used correctly. It contains a fine mixture of Bitter Cold anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs, along with some important strengthening or tonic herbs, as well as some valuable vitamins, minerals, and other neutraceuticals, like propolis. This makes it very appropriate and useful to take at the very first sign of a cold or flu, especially if there are symptoms of fatigue and feeling run down.

This is because most often, we are susceptible to colds and flus exactly when our immune systems are weakened by fatigue from overwork and stress. At that point, hitting the virus hard, by taking large doses of this product for a couple of days (2 tabs 3x in a day for people with robust digestion), and then stopping or continuing at a lower dose (1tab-2x/day) for a few days if you feel totally normal and no longer run down and symptom free) is the way I use it. If you follow the 2 tabs 3x in a day for 2 days, and get sick anyway, then you can continue at that dose for up to a week or two, maximum.

However, if you have a severe sore throat, or cough of any kind, I always combine this with some Chinese Herbal formulas that better address those symptoms, as the Wellness will be inadequate. It really does almost nothing for cough at all. And sore throat is better treated with other formulas like Yin Qiao San.

Wellness Formula is basically a broad spectrum formula that is all purpose and non-specific. So if you have extreme symptoms of any kind it is always best to tailor you medication to those symptoms.

The problem arises when people follow the directions on the bottle, which well serves the sales mission of the manufacturer, but poorly serves the health needs of its customers. Why do I say this?

Exactly because this formula contains such strong “clear heat and toxins” medicinals, like Echinacea and Goldenseal, which are bitter and cold, and because it contains such high amounts of Vitamin C, which is also cold, long term use of this formula will actually damage the digestive fire, (Agni in Ayurveda) which in turn causes weakened “Zheng Qi” or righteous qi, which is one of the bases of the immune system.

In fact, Echinacea and Goldenseal can have diarrhea as a side effect, which I don’t consider a problem when taken for a couple of days (so long as it is very mild diarrhea and not severe), but is definitely a problem over an extended period.

We know from science that Echinacea does alter the bacteria in the gut, which may explain the above. Perhaps. The other thing about high doses of Vitamin C that I have observed repeatedly, is that do to its acidity, even in ascorbate form, it can damage the digestive fire and cause problems like rectal itching.

I also learned years ago, that long term use of Echinacea renders your body insenitive to its benefits, that is, the body adapts to it. Don’t know if this is actually true, but I learned it from a Native American herbalist, and this is a North American plant I am told. Have not had a chance to verify this last bit.

There is also the issue that some people may experience allergic reactions to echinacea if they are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies. Also, people with asthma may be more likely to have an allergic reaction when taking echinacea.

So, if your immune system is weakened, and you get colds, flus, and bronchitis often, lets say more than 2x a year, this is the wrong product to take. It is much better to get an accurate diagnosis from a licensed herbalist and to take stronger herbs to build the immune system and at the same time clear the dampness that is most often involved in weakened Wei Qi, which is the term we use in Chinese Medicine for the aspect of the immune system that protects against infectious air borne diseases.

This is absolutely the wrong product to take daily for “wellness maintenance.” Daily use of this product over the long term is not beneficial, in my clinical experience, and in the opinion of both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medical theories.

copyright eyton shalom, 2008. san diego california. all rights reserved, use with permission
Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego. San Diego Acupuncturist and Ayurvedic Practitioner

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