Last updated: Feb 29, 2008
Instead of drugstore or supermarket brands, try products made by herbalist-run companies—Herb Pharm, Herbs, Etc., Herbalist & Alchemist, and Bioforce USA. Theyre available at natural-products stores and on the Web for $10 to $40, depending on how much you buy.


At the first signs of a cold, go with extracts or tinctures (tea and capsules arent likely to be effective, most experts say). Take 1 to 2 teaspoons of the tincture every 2 to 4 hours round the clock for a day or two. Using it often is best. As a general rule, the stronger tinctures are thought to be more effective. (There is no danger of an overdose, but the tincture may make your mouth tingle temporarily. Also, if youre allergic to ragweed, be aware that echinacea belongs to the same family of plants.)

For more help, consult a well-trained herbalist. The American Herbalists Guild, a nonprofit professional organization that requires rigorous peer review to become a professional member, can help you find one.