German researchers have found that an extract taken from the Larch tree prevents colds and upper respiratory infections.
In this double-blind study, the researchers gave 199 healthy subjects either a Larch tree extract called arabinogalactan or a placebo for twelve weeks. The subjects were qualified by their having at least three colds during the past six months.
During the twelve weeks the 101 subjects in the test group were given 4.5 grams per day of arabinogalactan – a product called ResistAid. Each of the subjects kept a diary of symptoms, and only a medical doctor could qualify symptoms as being a cold or upper respiratory infection.
The researchers found that the people taking the Larch tree extract had 60% fewer colds and 77% fewer upper respiratory infections than did the placebo group. The researchers concluded:
“The present study demonstrated that larch arabinogalactan increased the body’s potential to defend against common cold infection. While the immunomodulatory effect of arabinogalactan can be assumed, its mechanism of action remains to be elucidated.”
The researchers also noted that those among the Larch tree group that did contract a cold, had more severe symptoms at the beginning. While this might sound like not such a good thing, it is when we consider what a cold actually is.
This is not the first study finding this Larch tree extract arabinogalactan boosts the immune system. California researchers tested 75 healthy volunteers, again comparing a placebo and two different doses. The researchers then tested the subjects’ antibody levels following vaccinations. The researchers found that taking the 1.5 grams per day of the arabinogalactan resulted in a significant hike in IgG antibody response. This of course indicates the ability of the arabinogalactan to boost the immune system.
What is a cold?
A cold is the body’s immune system detoxifying the body from the buildup of toxins. Having a cold can thus be a good thing for a healthy person in that the body will cleanse itself. As such, having more severe symptoms in the beginning of a cold means the immune system is strong. It also typically means the cold won’t last very long, because the toxins are cleansed more quickly.
This relates also to the strength of the immune system, as does getting a cold at all. A person with a particularly strong immune system will likely get fewer colds in a year. This is because their immune system is regularly clearing out toxins and/or the body is not consuming or otherwise being exposed to as many toxins.
In the case of taking Larch tree extract, or other tree bark extracts such as pine bark extract, these supplements are stimulating and assisting the immune system so the immune system is able to clear out toxins more quickly.
Riede L, Grube B, Gruenwald J. Larch arabinogalactan effects on reducing incidence of upper respiratory infections. Curr Med Res Opin. 2013 Mar;29(3):251-8. doi: 10.1185/03007995.2013.765837.
Udani JK. Immunomodulatory Effects of ResistAid™: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Multidose Study. J Am Coll Nutr. 2013 Oct;32(5):331-8. doi:10.1080/07315724.2013.839907.