Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Burkemper

Q: Does zinc really help when you have a cold?

A: Zinc is an essential trace mineral that contains several immune-boosting nutrients which help strengthen the body’s defenses against respiratory infections, such as the common cold. It is also anti-viral and activates T-cell and natural killer cells for antibody production. If you have a cold, you want to take a zinc lozenge every four hours for the duration of your cold. Make sure you are taking “zinc gluconate” because it is released readily in the mouth. Zinc aspartate or citrate does not work as well. I am especially fond of the lozenges that also contain elderberry as they can really boost your immune system and they taste delicious.

Q: I have been diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Are there any supplements I can take to help alleviate my pain?

A: Millions of people suffer from this disorder. It manifests itself as chronic muscle soreness, stiffness and fatigue. For many people, the pain is constant. Many herbalists believe that some of this pain may come from the body’s energy production system. If your body is deficient in energy-producing fuel, it breaks down muscle protein to create energy. This could cause pain and fatigue. Research has shown there are two supplements that when taken on a daily basis, most people respond to very favorably. They are malic acid and magnesium. Malic acid , one of several alpha-hydroxy acids, is found in high concentrations in apples, grapes and cranberries. It is a naturally-occurring antioxidant and essential for the synthesis of ATP. Malic acid prevents and reverses the inhibition of energy production. Magnesium is essential for producing energy in the cells. Low levels of magnesium are equated with low levels of energy. It also helps with the absorption of vitamins and minerals, to promote bone strength and to regulate nerve impulses. Magnesium is also very relaxing. The combination of these two supplements provides fuel that generates energy to operate the body, particularly the structural system and muscles. These supplements are available as a combo specifically for fibromyalgia.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care.

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Burkemper, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011. www.morethanherbsonline.com.