‘Tis the season to be…super healthy!

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New Potter’s Herbals research reveals how millions could combat infections

Coughs, colds and flu can badly hit daily life and cause significant discomfort, yet new research[1] from Potters reveals that Britons don’t know many of the facts behind such infections – leaving them even more vulnerable to viruses.

Potters, which began in 1812 has been tried, trusted and relied upon by generations of families to help tackle effectively common health complaints. Famous and unique for their blend of quality and trusted ingredients, Potter’s Herbals offers a wide range of licensed herbal remedies for coughs, colds and flu, including Potter’s Elixir of Echinacea Plus, manufactured now for over 80 years.

Used for hundreds of years, Echinacea was first discovered by the North American Plains Indians who used it more than any other plant to help maintain their health during the winter months.

Today, following much research and traditional usage, the most important action discovered behind Echinacea is its ability to stimulate the immune system. Laboratory and animal studies suggest that Echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system,[2] and so has the ability to raise the body’s resistance to bacterial and viral infections.[3] Antibacterial, antiviral, and antioxidant effects have also been documented.[4]

It is also for upper respiratory-tract infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis, as a preventative as well as a treatment. Studies have also shown that Echinacea can make you feel better faster when you have a cold.


To help celebrate Potters’ 200th anniversary, an in-depth research reportwas commissioned by the Henry Potter Advisory Committee (HPAC) to investigate just how much Britons know about cold and flu – and how they try to combat infection and treat symptoms.


The same Potter’s Herbals survey shows that many people put themselves at unnecessary risk of picking up infections because they do not fully understand how the viruses are transmitted or how the illnesses affect the body. Most people had no idea of the danger of picking up a cold from surfaces contaminated with viruses and the majority failed to understand or put into practice good hygiene, such as hand-washing, to keep bugs at bay.

  • 41% of respondents wrongly thought it’s possible to catch a cold by kissing someone
  • 37% admitted they avoid kissing a partner who has a cold. An even greater number (39%) said they would refuse to have close romantic contact with a partner who has a cold, and 12% wouldn’t even go near an infected partner.
  • More than four out of 10 (42%) said they would try to avoid – or refuse outright – shaking hands with someone with a cold. Some 68% said they would try to wash their hands or face after shaking hands or kissing the cheek with an infected person. However, cold viruses are not present in saliva so kissing is not a threat.
  • Nearly two-thirds of people (63%) believe they usually catch a cold from being run down and half of respondents (53%) thought they caught colds from someone they were in close contact with.

Henry Potter Advisory Committee Member (HPAC), immunologist and medical herbalist, Dr Serene Foster notes: “We all suffer a surprisingly large number of coughs and colds and even the occasional bout of flu. While otherwise healthy people should make a full recovery, these infections can be hugely unpleasant and make sufferers feel very unwell for a week or more – badly affecting work and social lives. As we see from this new research1, all too many people underestimate the duration of colds, as well as fail to fully grasp the way they are transmitted. While many people would unnecessarily avoid kissing an infected partner – the cold virus isn’t in saliva – they would still repeatedly touch infected surfaces and not wash their hands, vastly increasing the risk of infection.”

“The body has a finely tuned and hugely powerful defence mechanism to fight off invading viruses, but it can still benefit greatly from extra support and help. Potter’s Herbals can provide this, with a range of products that gently but effectively help to boost immunity as well as tackle specific symptoms.”

Leading medical herbalist and HPAC member Dr Chris Etheridge notes further: “Potters is one of the nation’s most trusted and experienced makers of herbal remedies, having been around now for 200 years. The Potter’s Herbals products for coughs, colds and flu are a great way to stay healthy and help combat symptoms as they appear. Active ingredients such as Echinacea angustifolia have been demonstrated to shorten the duration and severity of a cold or even ward off infection altogether.”


The majority of respondents reveal large gaps in their understanding of how cold viruses are spread – particularly via infected surfaces or objects. Just a quarter (25%) knew that you can catch a cold by sharing food utensils or cutlery. Just 12% knew a cold can be transmitted via re-used towels and only 10% correctly said gym equipment used by others could be infectious. While two-thirds of people (65%) think you can catch a cold by being sneezed on, one-third of people don’t realise that this is a prime route of infection.

Nearly half (44%) of people wrongly believe that you will eventually get a cold if other people around you have one. Just a quarter (27%) have taken on board the advice that you can help yourself by taking measures to ensure good hygiene, such as washing your hands. Only 8% say that colds are avoidable because you can build up your immune system.


Potter’s Elixir of Echinacea Plus uniquely contains Echinacea angustifolia, Fumitory and Wild Indigo and was first launched more than 80 years ago. Echinacea can be used as a preventative measure to stimulate the immune system, at the first sign of a sniffle or to relieve the symptoms of common cold and flu type infections. 135ml, RRP £10.16.

Potter’s Cough Remover is formulated for the symptomatic relief of coughs and contains Black Cohosh, Ipecacuanha, Lobelia, Pleurisy root, Scullcap, Elecampane, Horehound and Hyssop. 150ml, RRP £4.59.

Potter’s Cold & Flu Relief is formulated to relieve fever and discomfort of colds, chills and sore throats. It contains Elder Flowers, Peppermint Oil, Bayberry Bark, Hemlock Spruce, Elder Flowers and Peppermint. 135ml, RRP £6.32.

Potter’s Chest Mixture is for the symptomatic relief of coughs and works on relieving catarrh from the throat and chest. This contains extract of Horehound, Pleurisy Root, Senega, acid tincture of Lobelia and Squill. 150ml, RRP £6.53.

Potter’s Catarrh Mixture offers symptomatic relief of nasal catarrh and catarrh of the throat, and contains extract of Boneset, Blue Flag, Burdock Root and Hyssop. 150ml, £7.65.


  • 27% of respondents said they had three or four colds in the last year
  • Only one in 10 people said they had had no colds at all in the last year.
  • Researchers have found that many people may be underestimating the effects of a cold. In the Potter’s Herbals survey, just under one third of people (32%) thought that colds lasted up to three days and more than a third (37%) thought they lasted four to five days. Just one in five people (20%) more correctly thought they lasted six to seven days and only 6% said seven to 14 days. Colds usually last around seven to 10 days, but can sometimes go on for several weeks.

Every year the average adult will suffer between two and three colds a year – rising to between eight and 12 for children. While healthy people should be able to cope with a bout of cold or flu and make a full recovery, symptoms can be hugely unpleasant and leave sufferers tired, in pain and unable to fully participate in day to day life during the illness.

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