How Gig Workers Can Use Herbal Supplements for Cold Symptoms

How Gig Workers Can Use Herbal Supplements for Cold Symptoms

One of the most obvious distinctions between Eastern herbalism and Western biomedicine is the treatment of colds. In the West, we tend to favor a wait-it-out approach - plus some drugs to mask the symptoms. In the East, colds are given a bit more respect and attention. In fact, herbal traditions have developed incredibly effective formulas for nipping colds in the bud. Within these traditions we can uncover the most effective herbal supplements for cold symptoms.

Why staying healthy at work is essential for gig workers

If you’re a gig worker, you might not have the luxury of paid sick leave. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. We all know that time is money, but perhaps no one feels the truth of that saying as much as gig workers do.

For many gig workers, it’s not just about “getting through” the work day. Depending on your profession, you may have to be at peak performance. You may have to be face-to-face with clients who don’t want you coughing and sneezing all over them. If you’re a singer or otherwise need your vocal cords at full capacity, a sore throat is more than just a nuisance. You might have other physical demands on your body, as well. The body aches and generalized fatigue that accompany a minor cold can be incredibly problematic.

So how can gig workers harness the knowledge of traditional medicines to battle colds and support quick recovery? Stay tuned, because we’re about to share our best herbal cold remedies.

Traditional herbal remedies for colds

Have you heard of commercialized formulas for preventing colds, such as Airborne, or similar products? Many of these products are actually a modified version of an ancient herbal remedy from traditional Chinese medicine. The commercialized formula uses a half dosage of a formula called Yin Qiao San, along with vitamins like zinc to give the immune system an extra boost.

Yin Qiao San is a very famous formula in Chinese medicine, traditionally used for the common cold with a sore throat and fever. The English name for the formula is “Honeysuckle and Forsythia Flower.” Although there are ten herbs in total, the formula gets its name from the two “chief” or most important herbs. Those are honeysuckle and forsythia fruit. 

You might recognize some of the other herbs in the formula as well. For example, the formula also contains Chinese peppermint, licorice, and soy bean.

However, Yin Qiao San is not a one-size-fits-all formula. The classical formulas in herbal traditions like Chinese medicine are very specific to the presentation of the patient. They require an understanding of traditional diagnostics and herbal interactions.

A more practical, universal approach is to use safe but powerful individual herbs. We know how important worker health is. That’s why in this article, we’re sharing the best supplements for colds, which you can safely use to help you recover quickly and get back to work. 

Some of our favorite herbal supplements for colds include licorice root, turmeric rhizome, and dandelion root. All of these herbs have hundreds of years of clinical testing, but they also have modern scientific research proving why they work.

Licorice Root

Licorice root has been used for hundreds of years in traditional herbal medicine. In Chinese Medicine, it is considered a “qi tonifying” herb, which means it can give you a boost when you are a bit depleted. Because of this and its ability to harmonize the properties of other herbs, it appears frequently in classical formulas.

In modern bioscientific terms, “qi tonifying” means that licorice has immunostimulatory effects. For example, in scientific research studies, licorice has been shown to activate essential immune system cells, like macrophages and lymphocytes. Macrophages are a type of leukocyte, or white blood cell, which are responsible for presenting the antigen to T-cells to activate acquired immunity. Lymphocytes include T-cells and B-cells, which are responsible for acquired immunity.

Turmeric Rhizome

Turmeric is another herb that has a long history of use in traditional herbal medicine – for at least 2500 years. Today, we know that the primary compound responsible for the turmeric’s medicinal properties is curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenolic compound shown to have potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, antimicrobial, and even anti-cancer properties. These properties can help you stay healthy, as well as ease your symptoms and shorten your recovery time if you do get sick.

You might find turmeric extract especially helpful if you have allergy-like symptoms. Turmeric has historically been used for allergies and asthma, and now we also have the science to explain why it works. Research has shown that turmeric soothes allergies by suppressing histamine release, and broadening the air passageways so that it’s easier to breath freely.

Dandelion Root 

Dandelion root is yet another traditional herb with both a long history of clinical evidence as well as modern scientific research to support its effectiveness. Not only is dandelion incredibly nutrient dense, full of amino acids, vitamins, minerals, and fiber, but it also contains a plethora of biologically active compounds

For example, sesquiterpene lactones in dandelion are thought to have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. Phenylpropanoids are able to mitigate the inflammatory response. Flavones are shown to have antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Compounds such as terpenoids and polysaccharides are thought to have immunomodulatory properties, to help to restore suppressed immune function. 

How to use herbal supplements to prevent colds

We suggest using these herbs preventatively if you are susceptible to colds, or if you think you might be exposed. The same herbs will also help your recovery and get you back to work sooner in the case that you do fall ill. You can use all three of these herbs, or you can focus on one depending on your symptoms. If you are feeling depleted and stressed, or if you have a sore throat or cough, you can add some licorice to your daily routine. If you have allergy-like symptoms or respiratory issues, try adding some turmeric. All three herbs are beneficial thanks to their anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, and antimicrobial properties.

Soma Naturals sells high quality licorice, turmeric, and dandelion extracts to suit your lifestyle. See our product line for dosing instructions and additional recommendations on how to incorporate these products into your routine.




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