Titled “Immunity in a viral world: The role of nutrients and herbs”, the whitepaper provides an introduction to supplements including vitamin C, D, zinc, as well as herbal medicines andrographis, echinacea, pelargonium, elderberry, and garlic.
Developed specifically for pharmacists and the wider health professional community, it provides guidelines on the three instances when the herbs or supplements should be taken. They are 1) protection and prevention, 2) treatment of symptoms or infection, and 3) recovery and care.
Other information provided include the dosage amounts, potential adverse effects, and their pharmacological activities etc.
According to the firm, there has been a spike in interest in natural medicines and its role in supporting the immune health amid COVID-19.
“As the world gets used to the ‘new normal’ conditions and living through a pandemic, there has been a sharp increase in interest about how natural medicine can be utilised to support optimal immune system health,” said Blackmores Institute director, Dr Lesley Braun.
“With winter approaching in Australia, there has been strong demand for evidence-backed recommendations on the role that herbs and nutrients can play in treating common respiratory viruses such as influenza and the common cold,” she added.
Besides being available for download, practitioners can also access an online virtual classroom for more information.
The whitepaper has highlighted vitamin A, C, D, E, and zinc as the main nutrients essential for immune health.
Of which, vitamin C, alongside probiotics, has been singled out as the vitamin which is critical in all three stages of health protection, treating infection, and facilitating recovery.
In the case of probiotics, some of the strains that have been recommended include lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, lactobacillus acidophilus, and bifidobacterium bifidum at a dosage amount of at least 1bn CFU.
Vitamin A and zinc are the other two minerals which can be used in more than one instances, specifically, for health protection and treating infection.
In terms of herbal intervention, echinacea and garlic could be used for both health protection and treatment of symptoms or infection.
Others such as andrographis, pelargonium, and elderberry are mainly useful for treating of symptoms or infection.
Nonetheless, clinicians are advised to use their professional judgement when interpreting and applying the information.
“As with all treatments, it’s important to consider individual patient risk factors, co-morbidities, other medications being used and special requirements.
“It’s also important to clearly communicate appropriate use and expectations of supplements and whether they are best suited to short term use such as in symptom relief or bolstering nutritional status longer term,” said Dr Braun.