Oregon's Wild Harvest - Ask Dr. Meletis


Wintertime Medicine Cabinet

December 2017

Q.  What herbs can I use through the winter months to keep me healthy?

A.  There are three herbs that I recommend to my patients for their wintertime medicine cabinet.

  1. Echinacea: Echinacea’s immune system boosting properties are often attributed to the polysaccharides and phytosterols. Scientific research shows that Echinacea stimulates the production of white blood cells, which help rally the process of immune wellness at the first sign of challenge.
  2. Black Elderberry: Elderberry has been studied for its ability to help with viral illnesses. This antioxidant activity powerhouse contains flavonoids like quercetin to help support healthy inflammatory response with the respiratory system. Elderberry helps speed up the recovery time from winter health challenges.
  3. Astragalus: Astragalus is my go-to for all my patients that feel worn down and are looking to support energy, immune health and wellness. Astragalus is an adaptogen herb, used to build and strengthen the immune system. It helps balance the body during times of stress when the immune system is weakened and susceptible to environmental challenges. And, it’s often used for long-term wellness.

Finally, I often add Licorice and Reishi – two more adaptogen herbs - to this list for patients that are very worn down and, potentially, more susceptible to illness. Stress has been well-documented to lower the immune function, thus further wearing down ones resilience.

  1. Licorice is included in many herbal remedies due to its broad range of health benefits. It’s a powerful tonic herb, helping to soothe the respiratory and digestive systems, while offering immune system support and s helping to soothe inflamed tissues of the throat and respiratory tract.
  2. Reishi mushroom has antioxidant properties and has been used in traditional medicine to support  healthy immune response. It’s an adaptogen good for immune support and stress.

Side note:  A small percentage of people that use Licorice may experience an increased blood pressure reading, thus keeping track of your blood pressure is prudent. I advise all my patients that are stressed, ill and worn down to monitor their blood pressures as it is one of the many ways our body shares data with us.


Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D.Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., has 24-years of experience practicing as a Naturopathic Doctor in Portland, Oregon.  He is dedicated to using his vast knowledge about alternative medicine to help his patients and generously give to those in need. He has written over a dozen books and 100's of national articles, and was named Naturopathic Physician of the Year in 2003 by the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians.  Read more about Dr. Meletis here.  Or, visit our "Ask Dr. Meletis, N.D." page for additional articles. 

*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. The information on this website, and provided by Dr. Chris Meletis, N.D., is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications. There is additional information linked within this site to HealthNotes®, a third party educational source, containing the latest research on health and supplements. Oregon's Wild Harvest will not be held accountable for this information and consider it an education reference only.  

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