Cold and flu season is in full swing here in Canada, and we’re all trying to avoid catching something, and recover faster if we’re already sick. Supported by endorsements from Canadian celebrities, and a recently announced tie-in with the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the biggest selling cold product in Canada is Cold-fX, manufactured by Edmonton-based Afexa Life Sciences. If it’s not already in a pharmacy near you, it will be soon.
What is Cold-fX?
American ginseng (Panax quinquefolium) has been used medicinally for centuries, most commonly as an “adaptogen” where it was and is still believed to be effective for everything from anemia to AIDS to impotence and even cancer.  Few uses have been evaluated scientifically, and when studied, ginseng has not been demonstrated to be conclusively effective for any medicinal use.  
Colds can be caused by one of hundreds of viruses. In general, adults get 4-6 colds per year. There are few effective treatments for colds, with most products simply relieving symptoms, without affecting the duration of the cold. Influenza (the flu) is caused by one of three influenza viruses (A, B, or C). Influenza can cause much more serious infections than colds, especially in the very young, the very old, and other high-risk individuals. Both colds and flu are easily transmitted by hand contact or by inhalation. Both cause a cascade of immune reactions in response to an infection. Headache, fever, fatigue, congestion, cough, and sore throat are all common symptoms.