Several years ago, I became aware of the supplement Astragalus while reading one of Andrew Weil‘s newsletters. It is a traditional Chinese herb derived from the root of a plant in the pea family, and it’s been used for centuries for immune support (particularly against colds and upper respiratory infections), as well as to help treat chronic hepatitis and even cancer and heart disease. There have not been many exhaustive studies of the herb, but I will share my own personal experience. I have a long history of serious upper respiratory infections, including 3 bouts of pneumonia, one of which required hospitalization. I have always suffered 2-3 serious annual upper respiratory infections, requiring antibiotics, inhalers, and even steroids. Well, since I started using astragalus daily about 3-4 years ago, I have only had 1 serious infection, and that occurred when I stopped taking astragalus for a couple of months (for no good reason, and I’ve learned my lesson!). I’ve had some minor colds here and there, but they were very tolerable and resolved themselves within a week each time. I personally like Gaia’s astragalus tincture, but I’m sure there are other good brands. I simply squeeze one dropperful in my green tea first thing each morning. Per the advice of my amazing naturopathic doctor, Jen Green, a couple of times yearly I will take a 2-3 week break from astragalus, just to give my body a break and ensure that the herb does not become less effective. I try to time this when my kids do not have colds and when I feel I’m at the least risk for getting sick. If you are a frequent victim of colds and flu, and assuming you aren’t on other drugs or supplements which might interact badly (please do your homework!), I highly recommend this herb for immune support.