Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Source Natural's Brand "Wellness Formula" The Right and Wrong Way to Use

One of my favorite over-the-counter herbal medicines is Source Natural's Brand Wellness Formula. It is an excellent medicine when used correctly. It contains a fine mixture of Bitter Cold anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbs, along with some important strengthening or tonic herbs, as well as some valuable vitamins, minerals, and other neutraceuticals, like propolis. This makes it very appropriate and useful to take at the very first sign of a cold or flu, especially if there are symptoms of fatigue and feeling run down.

This is because most often, we are susceptible to colds and flus exactly when our immune systems are weakened by fatigue from overwork and stress. At that point, hitting the virus hard, by taking large doses of this product for a couple of days (2 tabs 3x in a day for people with robust digestion), and then stopping or continuing at a lower dose (1tab-2x/day) for a few days if you feel totally normal and no longer run down and symptom free) is the way I use it. If you follow the 2 tabs 3x in a day for 2 days, and get sick anyway, then you can continue at that dose for up to a week or two, maximum.

However, if you have a severe sore throat, or cough of any kind, I always combine this with some Chinese Herbal formulas that better address those symptoms, as the Wellness will be inadequate. It really does almost nothing for cough at all. And sore throat is better treated with other formulas like Yin Qiao San.

Wellness Formula is basically a broad spectrum formula that is all purpose and non-specific. So if you have extreme symptoms of any kind it is always best to tailor you medication to those symptoms.

The problem arises when people follow the directions on the bottle, which well serves the sales mission of the manufacturer, but poorly serves the health needs of its customers. Why do I say this?

Exactly because this formula contains such strong "clear heat and toxins" medicinals, like Echinacea and Goldenseal, which are bitter and cold, and because it contains such high amounts of Vitamin C, which is also cold, long term use of this formula will actually damage the digestive fire, (Agni in Ayurveda) which in turn causes weakened "Zheng Qi" or righteous qi, which is one of the bases of the immune system.
In fact, Echinacea and Goldenseal can have diarrhea as a side effect, which I don't consider a problem when taken for a couple of days (so long as it is very mild diarrhea and not severe), but is definitely a problem over an extended period.

We know from science that Echinacea does alter the bacteria in the gut, which may explain the above. Perhaps. The other thing about high doses of Vitamin C that I have observed repeatedly, is that do to its acidity, even in ascorbate form, it can damage the digestive fire and cause problems like rectal itching.

I also learned years ago, that long term use of Echinacea renders your body insenitive to its benefits, that is, the body adapts to it. Don't know if this is actually true, but I learned it from a Native American herbalist, and this is a North American plant I am told. Have not had a chance to verify this last bit.

There is also the issue that some people may experience allergic reactions to echinacea if they are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies. Also, people with asthma may be more likely to have an allergic reaction when taking echinacea.

So, if your immune system is weakened, and you get colds, flus, and bronchitis often, lets say more than 2x a year, this is the wrong product to take. It is much better to get an accurate diagnosis from a licensed herbalist and to take stronger herbs to build the immune system and at the same time clear the dampness that is most often involved in weakened Wei Qi, which is the term we use in Chinese Medicine for the aspect of the immune system that protects against infectious air borne diseases.


This is absolutely the wrong product to take daily for "wellness maintenance." Daily use of this product over the long term is not beneficial, in my clinical experience, and in the opinion of both Ayurvedic and Chinese Medical theories.


Ayurveda, Acupuncture, and Chinese Medicine in San Diego. San Diego Acupuncturist and Ayurvedic Practitioner http://www.bodymindwellnesscenter.com

18 comments:

Lisa said...

I’ve tried all sorts of coughing syrups, believe me, but none of them helps. Even though Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa http://www.geocities.jp/ninjiom_hong_kong/index_e.htm does not eliminates the cough I like to stick to this chinese syrup I’ve been taking since I was a kid: Nin Jiom Pei Pa Koa. My grandfather is chinese, so I guess my mom got the advice from him. I was really surprised when I found that chinese market selling it here in Belgium. It does have a refreshing, soothing, sweetening effect…as long as it lasts…then back to coughing mode.

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

In Chinese Medicine, as in Western Medicine, cough syrups are just supportive, people should not expect them to cure a cough.

I recommend lots and lots of hot beverages; I add that cough syrup to hot water as a tea, with ginger or peppermint, depending on if its moist or dry; lots and lots of soups; lots and lots of rest is vital, something Americans tend to overlook; but then the cough has to be diagnosed and an appropriate herbal prescription given that is much stronger than the cough syrups.

The herbal prescription should match the exact type of cough and the condition of the patient; a dry non-productive cough gets a radically different prescription than a productive one that has copious amounts of yellow-green phlegm, or a difficult hacking cough with scanty sticky phlegm.

Of course the presence of fever, sinus symtoms, bowel effects, and energy levels have to be factored in, too.

Qing Fei Tang and Bei Mu Gua Luo San are two of the prescriptions I often start with.

This is why its good to consult a professional...

Thanks for your contributions to this thread, Lisa!

Sol said...

Hello! Thank you so much for your helpful information.
I would like to know if Wellness Formula can interfere with antibiotics.
I was diagnosed with upper respiratory infection (flu from bacteria) and prescribed with Amoxicillin 875mg for 10 days. Can I take Wellness Formula at the same time? Would it be helpful?
or it could actually affect the effectiveness of the antibiotics?
Thanks in advance

Sol

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

hi sol,
flu is always a virus. the only way to know if your upper resp infection is bacterial, and not viral, is to culture your sputum.

either way, i would not take wellness and amox at same time, its too much for your body. choose one, get plenty of rest, eat well.

moreover, i dont use wellness for a lung infection, i would use a chinese her formula that is more specific. i only use wellness at the first sign of a cold with sore throat. that is all.

take a probiotic and vitamin b complex if you choose the antibiotic.

good luck!

Sol said...

Thank you Eyton!
Which Chinese formula would you recommend?
Another question...Does the Oscillococcinum works the same way as Wellness Formula?

Thanks again!
Mariel

brightpavilions said...

Hi Eyton,

Stumbled across this page and wanted to say thanks. I've been using the Wellness Formula with varying degrees of success over the years. I think it definitely helps when used properly and it sounds like your dosing is more in line than what the manufacturer recommends.

My one concern with using it, I'm often affected by sudden weather changes which in turn trigger my allergies (mold, pollen etc.) It's hard to know when to take it, plus you mention that echinacea has been known to cause allergic reactions although I don't think it's affected me.

I had been taking the WF as an overall immune support supplement until I read your post. I'm by no means someone who gets sick often, but I work in an office and am surrounded by people who do get sick. I was wondering if you could recommend a product that could be taken daily and act as preventative care to support the immune system.

Thanks!

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

for being triggered by sudden weather changes, allergies, wellness formula is definitely NOT the thing to take.

there is a great chinese formula called Gui Zhi Tang/Cinnamon Twig decoction, that is very useful. Sometimes we modify it to suit the individual. one imp. ? would be if you perspire easily when that happens and if you feel hot.

to overall support the immune, #1 is happiness :-) seriously, as to herbs, occasional Reishii Mushroom with Astragalus is great, and managing stress. but if you dont get sick often, i would not really even worry about it, depending on age. if you are young, just take it at the change of seasons. and treat the allergies directly.

thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am 39 and have struggled with sinus poblems for years, even having a sinus surgery done. No allergies, but sick a ton. I'm wondering if all of my sinus poblems are more viral or fungus related. Antibiotics are increasingly NOT working. I also recently came down with mono and still have it after 3 months.
Will the WF help me? I am desperate!

Thank you....

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

Hi,

your case is a serious one.

1. often sick
2. chronic sinus.

you may well have a chronic fungal infection. first you have to treat the mono, and take a sinus formula.

WF is NOT for you right now, unless there were absolutely nothing else avail. if so, take it for 2 weeks, max, off two, on two. like that. but its by far, NOT the right formula for treating mono or chronic fungal.

let me know if you want to do a phone consult. are you in the states? or finding someone local is ideal...

Anonymous said...

I've just started taking Wellness Formula as I have got my 4th or 5th cold of the winter. I think I've only had about 2 weeks without one since Christmas. This has been tough as I'm training for the London Marathon. As usual after a cold I am left with my sinuses draining down into my throat constantly and a hacking cough which aggravates my asthma (which fortunately I only suffer with when I have a cold).
My mucus is clear or cream or yellowy cream but quite thick. My chest feels tight and I am very tired. Can you suggest anything I should take instead of Wellness? I expect I should come in for a consultation but I live in Cornwall in the UK. Thanks.

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

Anon:

from the standpoint of natural medicine, you are way too sick to be thinking about the marathon. its just not reasonable.

wellness formula doesnt even begin to scratch the surface of your illness.

the fact that you keep getting sick and are left with drainage tells us just how week you are.

i would find a local person who can do a deep evaluation. if you want names i have colleagues in london, but dont know about cornwall.

Chevaun said...

Really interesting thread, stumbled on your blog after searching Wellness Formula in a web search.

The information posted here has been most helpful, was advised to take WF after a visit to my local health store as I need something to support me with a chest infection, after reading your blog I am now not sure if WF is the best recommendation...

I havn't had chest infection diagnosed with a Dr as I am yet to visit one, I am currently on the waiting list with my local Hospital for allergy testing to antibiotics so don't see the point in visiting the Dr as this is probably all that will be prescribed.
I am becoming increasingly concerned about this cough though and am worried that not supplementing will leave me at risk of a more serious infection that will be difficult to gain control of as I am currently unable to have any beta-lactum antibiotics due to the allergy risk.
I am bringing up green phelgm in the mornings rest of the day clear to yellow phelgm (quite frothy)with chest tightness and winded feeling at bottom of ribcage top of stomach area (hard to cough at times).

Are you able to advise?

I have had the cough for 3 days before that very sore throat for 3 days so 6 days of illness so far. I have been taking a teaspoon of 15+ Manuka honey 3 times a day orally for throat and chest, holding at back of throat for as long as possible. Also gargling 1 time a day with sea salt and warm water, sipping lemon water first thing in the morning and trying to rest as much as possible. Little improvement although throat seems easier...
I am also taking a daily supplement called ProGreens, which is also an advanced Probiotic and drink a freshly made juice of Kale, Beetroot, Orange, Apple and Ginger daily, although the rest of my diet is poor...

I live in London so a consultation with yourself is most likely out of the question but if you are aware of anyone in my area who is as knowledgeable and pleasent as you come across in this post, then I would be very grateful for the details.

In the meantime, what do you suggest for my current symptoms? Should I take the WF as prescribed?

Thanks in advance,
Chevaun.

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

chevaun i do know a very good chinese medicine herbalist in london, not personally, but we both study with the same classical chinese medicine scholar, Arnaud Versluys.

Send me an email, and i will dig up his name. Its really hard to advise you from this far.

p.s. As you point out, the rest of your diet is poor, the ProGreens is no substitute for actually cooking and eating veggies. I also would definitely not recommend combining fruit and veggies in a drink. Drink one or the other.

Anonymous said...

Hi,

I've been battling an HPV infection for the past year, actually now it has been 14 months since originally diagnosed and treated. More specifically, I am dealing with the strain that causes gential warts. I have been to a dermatologist and went the cyrotherapy route but am looking for alternate means to assist in hoping to rid or atleast suppress the virus completely. I have read items online that the Source Naturals Wellness could help in clearing the infection. After reading your blog about side effects I am questioning if it would be useful to use for a short period to try to battle the infection or look elswhere?

Any feedback is much appreciated.

Eyton J. Shalom, M.S., L.Ac. said...

There are Chinese Herb formulas that are much more specific for HPV; the antiviral herbs in Wellness tend to be for the upper body, goldenseal for example is specific for sinus infection and is a digestive bitter. I would find a Chinese herbalist where you live. You might find a Health Concerns or Blue Poppy brand formula that is broadly for HPV, but even then it always works best if it matches your particular pattern--is it more damp, more heat, more weakness in the immune system, etc.

Diana said...

Can you suggest a remedy for an extremely persistant growl starting in the stomach and ending in the throat? This has been happening every 10-15 seconds for the past 10 hours. I started taking Source Naturals -Wellness Formula a few days ago when my throat felt a little sore (before I found your site) and now I have a very runny nose and sore throat with this loud, persistant and uncomfortable (not painful) bubbling growl. It is likely a combination of Wellness Formula and mucos.

Anonymous said...

Hi!
I wanted to thank you for your article, I had a horrible stomach ache today after taking the wellness formula for my first time and now I know why. I'm going to go to whole foods and get a refund for this. It's ridiculous seriously burned my digestive tract.

Anonymous said...

Good afternoon,
Thank you for this great article. I have been taking Wellness formulat for years and love it. However, I do take it as a daily immune supplement, and it appears this might not be the best idea. Can you suggest other complex, daily immune supplements?

Thank you!