Herbal Spotlight: EHB by Integrative Therapeutics
ByKatarina Meister, ND •September 18, 2022
One of our most commonly recommended immune supportive supplements at Lakeside is EHB. EHB stands for “Echinacea, Hydrastis, and Berberine.” This supplement contains antiviral and antibacterial herbs along with immune supportive micronutrients. It is indicated for colds and flu. EHB also helps to reduce a fever and inflammation, helps to expel mucus, and soothe a sore throat.
To understand how this supplement works – let’s learn about its ingredients.
Botanical medicines in EHB:
- Echinacea spp. (Echinacea): The root of Echinacea contains a compound called inulin, which activates the immune system to neutralize viruses and kill bacteria. Echinacea also supports the immune system by activating natural killer cells.[i] Natural killer cells are the ‘secret police’ of the immune system that monitor every cell in your body and kill any cell that the body cannot identify.[ii] Echinacea can support different parts of our immune system and improve our resistance to infections. Not surprisingly, echinacea has been found to rapidly alleviate symptoms and reduce the duration of illness.[iii]
- Hydrastis canadensis (Goldenseal): Goldenseal has antimicrobial properties and is a fever reducer. Its fever-reducing effects are up to three times as potent as aspirin![iv] Goldenseal is an ideal plant for strep throat if treated close to onset of symptoms.[v]
- Allium Sativa (Garlic bulb Extract): Garlic has antimicrobial properties due to its constituent called Allicin. Fun fact: crushing or cutting garlic and letting it sit for 10 minutes helps to release allicin naturally into your food! Consider trying this with your immune-supportive recipes over the fall and winter season.
- Bromelain is a proteolytic enzyme found in pineapple. Bromelain helps to reduce inflammation and pain – which can further support any cold or flu.[vi] When we lower inflammation, we take some of the burden off of the immune system.
- Mahonia aquifolium Root (Oregon Grape): Oregon Grape has antimicrobial and immune- supportive properties due to its berberine and berbamine constituents.
- Glycyrrhiza glabra (Licorice Root Extract): Licorice root is great for colds due to its demulcent properties, which help to soothe a sore throat. It also works as an expectorant, which helps expel mucus, further helping to clear the infection.
Immune supportive micronutrients in EHB:
- Vitamin A: Vitamin A is a fat-soluble vitamin that is important for immune function. Vitamin A supports natural killer cell function and supports B lymphocyte cells growth, differentiation, and activation.[vii] Vitamin A deficiency is linked with more chronic and frequent infections.[viii] Vitamin A is also well known for its anti-viral activity.[ix] With any cold or flu, high doses of Vitamin A as seen in this formula work very well in clearing the infection.
* Please note that this supplement is contraindicated if individuals are pregnant or breastfeeding. High doses of Vitamin A is teratogenic and may cause birth defects.
- Vitamin C: Vitamin C is the “superhero” vitamin of the immune system because it has so many powerful effects. Vitamin C increases T-lymphocyte activity, phagocyte function, leukocyte mobility, and possibly antibody and interferon production[x]. Vitamin C is a natural antihistamine with anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
- Vitamin B6: Vitamin B6 is beneficial for the immune response and is required for antibody production.[xi]Other effects of B6 to aid the immune response include its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Zinc: Zinc is an essential trace mineral that we must get from our diets (meat, seafood, dairy products, nuts, legumes, and whole grains). Zinc has antiviral effects on the common cold and other viruses (RSV and herpes virus). More recent in vitro research has shown that high intracellular zinc levels might stop replication of SARS-CoV-2.[xii] Zinc also has immunomodulating effects to help support T-lymphocyte function and natural killer cell’s function.[xiii]
When EHB isn’t enough, this is a sign that your body needs further immune support. Please seek medical care if you are not seeing relief with EHB after taking it for 48-72 hours for a cold or flu.
If you find yourself using EHB often or if you are suffering from frequent illnesses, I often run some labs to further asses a person’s immune system, such as a vitamin D, zinc, vitamin A, cortisol, and/or salivary IgA.
As always, start the season out strong with your foundations of health to support your immune system, such as proper rest, hydration, exercise, and whole foods. If further support is needed, reach out for help! You can book an appointment with me to receive your own individual plan to support a healthy immune response.
[i] Pizzorno, J., et al: The Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone, New York, NY. 1999
[ii] Murphy KM (2012). Janeway’s Immunobiology. 8th Edition. New York: Garland Science.
[iii] Schulten B, Bulitta M, Ballering-Bruhl B, et al. Efficacy of Echinacea purpurea in patients with a common cold. A placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind clinical trial. Arzneimittelfor schung 2001;51(7):563-8.
[iv] Pizzorno, J., et al: The Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone, New York, NY. 1999, p.778
[v] Pizzorno, J., et al: The Textbook of Natural Medicine, 2nd ed., Churchill Livingstone, New York, NY. 1999, p. 777
[vi] Bromelain. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on September 8, 2022. [Database subscription].
[vii] Vitamin A. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on September 8, 2022. [Database subscription].
[viii] Food and Nutrition Board, Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes for Vitamin A, Vitamin K, Arsenic, Boron, Chromium, Copper, Iodine, Iron, Manganese, Molybdenum, Nickel, Silicon, Vanadium, and Zinc. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2002. Available at: www.nap.edu/books/0309072794/html/.
[ix] Lee, H. and Ko, G. P. Antiviral effect of vitamin A on norovirus infection via modulation of the gut microbiome. Sci. Rep. 6, 25835; doi: 10.1038/srep25835 (2016).
[x] Vitamin C. Natural Medicines website. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on September 8, 2022. [Database subscription].
[xi] Maggini, S., Wintergerst, E. S., Beveridge, S., and Hornig, D. H. Selected vitamins and trace elements support immune function by strengthening epithelial barriers and cellular and humoral immune responses. Br J Nutr 2007;98 Suppl 1:S29-S35.
[xii] Al Sulaiman K, Aljuhani O, Al Shaya AI, et al. Evaluation of zinc sulfate as an adjunctive therapy in COVID-19 critically ill patients: a two-center propensity-score matched study. Crit Care. 2021;25(1):363.
[xiii] Shankar AH, Prasad AS. Zinc and immune function: the biological basis of altered resistance to infection. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Aug;68(2 Suppl):447S-463S. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/68.2.447S. PMID: 9701160.
Editor’s Note: The information in this article is intended for your educational use only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health practitioners with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and before undertaking any diet, supplement, fitness, or other health program.