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Can an Herbal Remedy Stop the Sniffles?

In my household, winter time usually means one thing–runny noses. My children’s noses are like a faucet that never turns off–and if it does, it just starts running again a few days later. I don’t think much of this until I get a bad cold. Like right now–I’ve been perpetually sick for the last two weeks–and I’m miserable. So my poor kids, who have been dealing with this since the day winter hit, they really must be miserable. What’s a mom to do? (Especially since cough and cold medicines are not advised for children under 2, according to the FDA.)

The Canadian company Afexa Life Sciences wants to change this and give moms an option, herbal remedy. According to Time Magazine, “the company is so confident of the magical properties inherent in COLD-FX, its North American ginseng-based product, that it’s seeking out the scrutiny of clinical trials. In 2008, research published in Pediatrics – the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics — showed that the botanical extract had no serious adverse effects in children. It works by boosting the immune system, reducing symptoms and duration and helping prevent colds if taken regularly. COLD-FX  targets specific immune cells like natural killer cells and macrophages, whose function is to engulf viruses and digest them.”

In Canada, COLD-FX is one of the most popular brands, outselling Tylenol and even being the “cold remedy” of the 2010 Olympic Games. But, what really makes it stand out is the fact that the company is willing to have a children’s clinical trial on the product, something that isn’t usually done. Time reports that,”Research has shown that 10% of U.S. children take cough and cold meds each week, yet an FDA report found that fewer than a dozen studies on children’s cough and cold medications were published between 1954 and 2004.” The article goes on to quote Dianne Murphy, director of the FDA’s Office of Pediatric Therapeutics, from a 2009 interview: “Most OTC products other than those for fever or pain have not actually been studied in children for effectiveness, safety, or dosing.”

As most of us know, deaths in children were occurring as a result of overdosing from cold and cough medicine, which is why the FDA put a ban on them for children under 2. This fact gets even scarier knowing that if more studies had been conducted, perhaps some of those deaths could have been prevented. So, for me, I look forward to an all natural solution in helping eradicate my kiddos’ sniffles. But for the time being, we’ll just need to be patient as Time reports, “Although it’s popular in Canada, COLD-FX is not readily available in the U.S., though it can be ordered online at places like The company branched out to its southern neighbor a few years ago, but because it didn’t have approval to market itself as a cold remedy from the FDA — a process that can take years — sales didn’t take off and the company pulled out. Eventually, they intend to wind their way through the FDA approval process, with the intent of re-entering the U.S. market.”

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