Airborne Herb List- Herbal Explanation, Formula Explained, and Comparison

airborneCold Quell 60
As the popularity of Airborne increases more and more controversy surrounds the product as they gain customers. There is alot of controversy as to whether or not the formula works or not. I am going to go ahead and list out the herbs in the formula and explain their usage in this formula.

Airborne has the following list of herbs:

Loniceria / Jin Yin Hua / Honeysuckle
Forsythia / Lian Qiao

Jin Yin Hua and Forsythia are usually used together and have a common name ‘Yin Qiao’ when used together. They are toxicity clearing herbs and work strongly at clearing evils.

Schizonepeta / Jing Jie
Release the exterior with a broad action.

Ginger / Gan Jiang
Well there is a problem here. Raw ginger has a great property to help at the beginning of cold signs, but dried ginger is very very warming and has a primary action of warming the body to dispel cold. This may be a rookie error from a teacher trying to be an herbalist? This is also adding a very warming herb to list of cool herbs that trying to clear heat and relieve toxicity. Even if you are attempting to start with fresh ginger, it will not stay fresh unless decocted, it will dry out.

Chinese Vitex / Man Jing Zi (I think this is the herb they mean)
This herb is commonly used for PMS and gynecological symptoms in the west, but it is cool and releases the exterior.

Isatis / Ban Lan Gen
Great herb here. Ban Lan Gen is a proven anti-viral and anti-bacterial herb.

Echinacea relieves toxicity and is similar to Jin Yin Hua. Echinacea is good as an anti bacterial. Echinacea is good for colds at an acute stage, it can get your body to dump white cells out but does not work as a long term immunity builder.More information on Echinacea can be found here: Echinacea Another problem with this herb is there are 3 different varieties. It seems to me from research that Airborne uses the cheaper less effective form of Echinacea and not the expensive Purpurea version. Lastly you will not find Echinacea mixed in other products using the Yin Qiao 2 herbs (loniceria and forsythia) because these 2 combined are the Echinacea of Chinese Herbs, and really their whole combined use hasn’t really been explored if there are any consequences in doing so.

Vitamin C
Vitamin C has countless claims to work on increasing and maintaining your immunity. However .06 grams of Vitamin C is 100% daily serving. Airborne has 1 gram of Vitamin C per capsule and recommend you take 3 daily. While I agree that the government usually grossly underrates some of our Vitamins, I think 2000% of what is recommended 3 times a day is a bit steep. This is also a problem because while Airborne claims 3000mg of Vitamin C is okay for you to take daily, there is scientific proof that that much Vitamin C is very bad for you. Kidney stones, diarrhea, and leaching of important metals affecting your metabolic condition are just some of the problems with Vitamin C overdoses. Another problem is all of your food you are eating also contains Vitamin C which makes for even higher intake of Vitamin C.

So, how did a teacher come up with this? Well simple really this formula is a combination of some classic Chinese Herbal Formulas that have been around for a really long time.
As we have discussed before there is a 2 herb combination called Yin Qiao (loniceria and forsythia). This combination has been made into a more complex formula years ago.

Modern Day Yin Qiao or Yin Chiao or Yin Chieu or even Yin Xiao is typically made up of:
Jin Yin Hua / Loniceria
Lian Qiao / Forsythia
Jie Geng / Platycodi
Bo He/ Mint
Nui Bang Zi / Burdock / Arctii Fructus
Ban Lan Gen / Isatis
Gan Cao / Licorice

As you see there is a common resemblance here. In practice fresh ginger is a good choice, but in pill form Licorice is more often used because: It is already dried, harmonizes formulas, and works on tonifying lung problems (an obvious problem with a cold).
It appears that Man Jing Zi is substituted for Nui Bang Zi as they are both similar in a few ways and in the same category. However, Man Jing Zi is not a typical ingredient used here in this condition, Nui Bang Zi would be a better bet.
Apart from this the addition is some vitamins including Vitamin C and Echinacea. Two of the most well know ‘herbs’ in the west, it is no wonder these are thrown in. The problem with using Echinacea is it doesn’t say the exact species being used. Echinacea Purpurea would be the best usage and only using the ROOT part, however we don’t know this by an ingredient listing as ‘Echinacea’. I have already expressed my concern here about the blatant over use of Vitamin C here.

Many people I know use Airborne and many people think its really neat that a teacher made it. I can tell you that I don’t use it for the simple fact that a teacher made it. This formula also supposedly uses extracts as far as I can tell. If this is true you are working with extracts of herbs, not whole herbs that have buffering effects. This is the closest step to a pharmaceutical (most prescription drugs are isolated and extracted parts of plants), im surely not overdosing on Vitamin C and taking an extract of herbs.

I also have a complaint that Airborne seems to elude on their website that this formula increases immunity, as if to use long term. Having lots of experience with all of these herbs including Echinacea I can say that this herb list is NOT for increasing immunity. This is an acute formula that is for releif of symptoms and signs related to the onset of a cold. DO NOT take Airborne long term, only for short periods of time related to cold signs.

Here are 2 competitors out there that I also know work great (besides a basic Yin Qiao formula):

Blue Poppy’s Cold Quell:
This is 2 formulas combined. The first formula is a formula similar to Yin Qiao- Xiao Chai Hu
Ban Lan Gen (Radix Isatidis/Baphicacanthi)
Lian Qiao (Fructus Forsythiae)
Jin Yin Hua (Flos Lonicerae)
Xuan Shen (Radix Scrophulariae)
Huang Qin (Radix Scutellariae)
Chai Hu (Radix Bupleuri)
Dang Shen (Radix Codonopsitis)
Ban Xia (Rhizoma Pinelliae)
Da Zao (Fructus Jujubae)
Sheng Jiang (uncooked Rhizoma Zingiberis)
Niu Bang Zi (Fructus Arctii)
mix-fried Gan Cao (Radix Glycyrrhizae)
Jie Geng (Radix Platycodi)

You can see the similarity here, but the formula has herbs to deal with lung heat and phlegm. This formula also keeps your defensive mechanism running strong and make sure the pathogen doesn’t dive deeper.

Si Wu Tang
Sheng Di
(uncooked Radix Rehmanniae)
Bai Shao (Radix Paeoniae Albae)
Dang Gui (Radix Angelicae Sinensis)

Chuan Xiong (Rhizoma Chuanxiong)
This formula adds in protective herbs and tonifying herbs. The point here is to not give you a pill that is going to drain and dry you out. You shouldn’t need much time in the ‘recovery’ stage of the cold using this theory.
Cold Quell uses 10:1 extract, but of ingredients that are well documented so you KNOW what is in the formula. I still feel you lose something dealing with pure extracts, but at least the owner of Blue Poppy is well respected Practitioner and knows his herbs.

Dimmak Herbs offers Quick Kill – Cold
Herb List:
Loniceria / Jin Yin Hua / Honeysuckle
Forsythia / Lian Qiao

Jin Yin Hua and Forsythia are usually used together and have a common name ‘Yin Qiao’ when used together. They are toxicity clearing herbs and work strongly at clearing evils.

Elder Flowers
We really like the cleansing power of Elder Flowers and use them in several herbal remedies here. Elder Flowers fall into the clear toxicity category and Elder is a great anti-bacterial and anti-viral cleanser.

Huang Qi / Astragalus
Huang Qi is a very revered herb all over the world for its immunity boosting abilities. The Chinese make soups all winter long with a  big dose of Huang Qi in it, and Westerners everywhere take Astragalus all winter long in teas and tincture form to avoid colds. Huang Qi boost the Wei Qi and builds up what needs to be strengthened. This herb has an important function of tonifying your body while its down (fighting a cold) while actually helping to get rid of the cold or flu.

Chai Hu / Bupleurum
Chai Hu releases the exterior by function and category. This herb sets our formula apart and works when others may not. Chai Hu not only pushes out what is trying to enter, BUT also pushes out what has already entered. Chai Hu also helps your bodies liver and blood Qi move freely throughout the body (this is usually where the aches and pain come from with the cold). We can go on and on about Chai Hu, but we are looking to keep this to a comparison, not an article on this herb.

Bo He / Chinese Mint
Mint is cool and releases the exterior. Mint is commonly used at the onset of colds and helps with headaches too.

Ban Lan Gen / Isatis
Ban Lan Gen is an excellent and under used herb. Ban Lan Gen actually has a huge amount of research to get rid of colds and flu and has more research on it that Echinacea. Ban Lan Gen is used as a shot in concentrated form as a flu shot. Yes that’s right, it even prevents colds and flu.

Huang Qin / Scute
Clears heat in the upper body. Helps with scratchy throat and lung problems like cough, phlegm, and swellings dealt with in the onset of colds and flu

Gan Cao / Licorice
Licorice helps to ease this formula into your system and avoid reactions to strong herbs in your body. Licorice is also great for the lung and throat for cough and sore throat.

Vitamin C
Again, Vitamin C has possible great effects on helping the body through colds and flu and such. However, In our formula a normal dose will be only 200% daily dosage and full dose would be 400% of Vitamin C. So even with orange juice or other foods you wont take in more than a safe 1000% of Vitamin C intake daily!

Dimmak herbs uses 20% extracts to 80% whole herb. Quick Kill- Cold and Cold Quell both come in a pill form as opposed to a dissolving tablet. These tablets are full of atificial flavors, sucralose, and fillers. I prefer the pill form to avoid needing to dissolve my tablet and avoid all the extra fillers and such.

On a final note- Airborne got sued in a class action suit as people assumed that Airborne made a claim that it cured colds. This is ridiculous and everyone knows it. Nothing is assumed to cure anything, all herbal formulas say on them they don’t cure anything. These don’t cure, but rest assured Chinese Medicine IS the BEST and CLOSEST thing to a cure for the common cold!

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