Why Doesn't Echinacea Work for Me?

by Dr. David Williams
Filed Under: Colds and Flu, Immune Health
Last Reviewed 02/06/2014

You've recommended the herb Echinacea for fighting flu and colds. While it seems to work great for others, it never does anything for me. Why?

 

Echinacea helps accentuate the actions of your immune system. When it doesn't work, it is often an indication that other problems are present. These can include:

  • Decreased thyroid function (hypothyroidism)
  • Low potassium levels
  • Heavy metal toxicity

Of these three problems, underactive thyroid function is the most common, and it has a direct impact on your immune system.

When your thyroid is underactive (and also when your potassium levels are low), it's harder for your body to maintain its normal temperature and create a fever. Higher body temperatures increase metabolism and circulation, which in turn enables your body's defenses to fight off pathogenic bacteria and viruses like colds and flu and other infections.

How to Make Echinacea Work for You

In your particular case, I would start by performing a simple at-home test to measure your thyroid function. If your thyroid is underactive, you can improve your situation by using iodine and glandular supplements. Start by taking four drops of Iosol liquid iodine in water every day. After two weeks, go down to two drops daily. If your problem is more severe, I recommend three tablets a day of Thytrophin, a thyroid glandular made by Standard Process Labs, along with just one drop of Iosol a day.

If your thyroid checks out normal and raising your potassium levels with more fruit and vegetables didn’t do the trick, try taking one capsule of cayenne pepper (capsaicin) three times a day. Cayenne pepper capsules will help raise body temperature.

Once you get your body temperature back up, I'd suggest trying the Echinacea again next time you're fighting an infection.

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