ACHOO! Flu? Colds? COVID?

Colds, flu, and COVID-19 are all respiratory illnesses that can cause similar symptoms, but they are caused by different viruses and differ in their treatment

Respiratory diseases are a significant health problem in Malaysia, especially among children and the elderly. According to reports from the World Health Organisation (WHO), influenza cases in Malaysia have recently increased, which is of particular concern among people over the age of  60.


Long COVID versus Long Colds

Recent studies have shown that some people may experience long-term symptoms after common respiratory infections like the common cold, leading to what is being called "long colds". These symptoms can persist for weeks and include coughing, stomach pain, and diarrhea, among others. It is important to note that long Covid and long colds are not the same thing. While there are similarities between the symptoms of long COVID and long colds, people with long COVID are more likely to experience lightheadedness, dizziness, and problems with taste and smell. 

A recent study published in The Lancet in October 2023 investigated over 10,000 patients with respiratory diseases. The study discovered that non-COVID infections can result in prolonged colds, meaning various illnesses that last for more than four weeks after the initial infection.

The study also found that whether the infection is COVID or non-COVID, there is a comparable risk of experiencing persistent symptoms. Approximately 22% of individuals infected with COVID and 22% of those without COVID experienced persistent symptoms after infection. The study also found that the more severe the disease, the longer the symptoms tend to last.


Why Is There No “Cure” For Colds? 

Over time, mankind has developed vaccines against viruses; that were once considered deadly. These viruses include polio, smallpox, hepatitis A, B and even influenza viruses. Despite the vaccines, there are occasional outbreaks of viral infections with similar symptoms. These outbreaks occur due to regular mutations in the virus, which allow it to adapt to its environment. A prime example of viral mutation is the emergence of various COVID strains over the past three years. This means that the influenza (flu) virus can produce new variants every year for which our current vaccinations have not been developed for.  

The same challenge applies to the cold viruses. It is estimated that there are at least 160 different strains or serotypes of rhinovirus. Hence, it is incredibly difficult to develop a vaccine or drug that works against all strains. It is estimated that there are at least 160 different strains or serotypes of rhinovirus. 

While the common cold may be an inconvenience for most people, it can seriously aggravate chronic respiratory conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or cystic fibrosis. Additionally, it can lead to  “long cold syndrome” that persists for four weeks or longer.


How About Antibiotics?

Antibiotics are effective against bacterial infections but not against viral infections. Therefore, they are not effective for  colds and influenza which are primarily

caused by viruses.  In fact, the use of antibiotics for these viral infections can sometimes cause unintended harm.

Below is a list of examples of viral infections and their symptoms:

  • Common colds and flu
  • Nearly all sinus infections
  • Most cases of bronchitis (chest colds, productive cough)
  • Majority of sore throats, particularly when accompanied by symptoms such as  fever, cough, runny nose or blocked nose, hoarse voice, or mouth sores


Do Antibiotics Have Risks When Taken Regularly?

Frequent intake of antibiotics can lead to bacteria developing resistance to them. This is a significant global public health challenge, as it can result in severe infections due to increased antimicrobial resistance (Llor & Bjerrum, 2014). Moreover, antibiotics can also disrupt the natural balance between good and bad bacteria in the body.

Below is a list of symptoms associated with excessive antibiotic use:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and severe diarrhea
  • Vaginal infections
  • Nerve damage 
  • Torn tendons
  • Life-threatening allergic reactions


What are the Medicines for Common Cold And Flu?

Doctors frequently prescribe over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to alleviate symptoms of colds and flu. This allows our own immune system to naturally eliminate the virus. 

Some common over-the-counter (OTC) medicines and their side effects include:


  • Taken to relieve fever and pain
  • Side effects: Excessive intake of paracetamol can cause liver damage
  • Dosage should not exceed 4 grams per day
  • Individuals with liver damage or liver problems should not exceed 2 grams of paracetamol per day. 

Antihistamines (eg. diphenhydramine)

  • Taken to relieve a runny nose
  • Causes sleepiness or drowsiness

Oral decongestants (eg. pseudoephedrine)

  • Relieves a stuffy and blocked nose
  • Insomnia, nervousness, and irritability can occur 
  • Not recommended for pregnant women and those who with uncontrolled high blood pressure 

Nasal steroids 

  • Used to relieve a runny nose and sinus pressure
  • Can cause dryness, burning or stinging in the nasal passage 
  • May induce nosebleeds & headaches 

Antitussives & Lozenges

  • Relieves cough and sore throat symptoms
  • May cause drowsiness, dizziness and headaches 
  • Nausea, upset stomach, heartburn and constipation may also occur 


How about a Natural Remedy for respiratory diseases?

If you're already dealing with a cold or influenza and need relief, here is one of the most well-known natural remedies available.

Andrographis Paniculata (aka Hempedu Bumi) 

Andrographis Paniculata, also known as Hempedu Bumi in Malay, King of Bitters in English, and Nivavempu in Tamil, is an important medicinal plant in both Indian Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese medicine. It is also referred to as "蛇草" and "穿心莲" in Chinese.

This plant is known for its immune-support properties and many medicinal properties. It is a bitter-tasting herb that is rich in compounds known as andrographolides. 


What is AP-Bio® Andrographis paniculata?

AP-Bio® is a clinically tested immune health supplement that contains Andrographis paniculata, a plant traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat respiratory infections. The extract is obtained through a proprietary extraction process that preserves the natural balance of the plant's active ingredients. Here is what the research says about the effectiveness of AP-Bio® in testing colds, flu, and COVID:


In one of the clinical studies, a total of 223 adults with colds symptoms were given 200 mg/day of AP-Bio®.  They showed a significant reduction of  symptoms from day 3 to day 5 compared to the placebo group that did not receive AP-Bio®. (Saxena RC)

The most recent study, published in 2023, in the Journal of Complementary Therapies in Medicine found that 200 mg and 400 mg of AP-Bio® relieve colds symptoms better than placebo on the third day with no safety concerns. (Raj JP)


In a review published in the Journal Pharmaceutical (Basel), the extract of Andrographis paniculata contained active ingredients with different biological activities against various diseases, including influenza. (Adiguna SP)


In a review paper published in the journal Biomolecules, Andrographis paniculata and its constituents, including andrographolide, were found to potentially serve as lead compounds for COVID drug research. (Intharuksa A)

In conclusion:

Andrographis leaves have been shown to possess immunostimulatory and anti-inflammatory properties. AP-Bio®, known for its potent anti-inflammatory action, has been shown to reduce inflammatory symptoms such as fever, sore throat, cough and pain associated with colds, flu and COVID. AP-Bio® helps shorten the duration of sickness and promotes faster recovery. Its strong antiviral properties also make it a potential preventive measure against respiratory diseases.


Kordel’s to the Rescue:

Kordel’s Cold Away contains 100 mg of Andrographis Paniculata extract (AP -Bio®) for the treatment of respiratory symptoms at low dosages. 

The AP-Bio® Andrographis Paniculata extract in Kordel’s Cold Away is standardized to 35% of 7 bioactive constituents. AP -Bio® has been clinically proven to relieve cold symptoms within 3 days. AP -Bio® is useful against multiple viral upper respiratory infections.

Recommended dosage: 

  • Prevention: take 1 capsule daily after meals
  • Mild symptoms: take 2 capsules twice daily after meals
  • Severe symptoms: take 2 capsules 3 times daily after meals 


For an additional boost to your immune system in preparation for the flu and cold season, you can combine Kordel's BEWELL Peppermint Drops with Wellmune® in addition to Kordel’s Cold Away.


Kordel's BEWELL Peppermint Drops with Wellmune® is a dietary supplement designed to strengthen the immune system and alleviate cold symptoms such as cough, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing. These drops contain Wellmune®, a patented beta-glucan derived from baker's yeast. Clinical studies have demonstrated the immune-boosting effects of Wellmune®.


  • Kordel's BEWELL Peppermint Drops with Wellmune® contains a standardized extract of Wellmune®, which is rich in beta-glucans.
  • The supplement has a mint flavour and is available in the form of lozenges.


  • Kordel's BEWELL Peppermint Drops with Wellmune® is clinically proven to boost immunity and relieve symptoms of a cold. 
  • Wellmune® has been shown to help support the immune system and reduce the incidence of upper respiratory tract infections. (Auinger A) (Talbott SM)
  • The supplement is safe and can be taken daily.

Recommended dosage: 

  • Adults: take 1 – 4 drops daily 
  • Children: take 1 – 2 drops daily 



If you are feeling unwell, taking a combination of Kordel’s Cold Away and Kordel's BEWELL Peppermint Drops with Wellmune® may effectively treat influenza or flu  and relieve your symptoms in 2 to 4 days. Additionally, taking these supplements as a preventive measure, months before flu season, can also boost your immunity and prevent future illness.


AP -Bio® is the brand of Andrographis Paniculata, a trademark of Natural Remedies Pvt.



  1. Llor, C., & Bjerrum, L. (2014, December). Antimicrobial resistance: risk associated with antibiotic overuse and initiatives to reduce the problem. Therapeutic Advances in Drug Safety, 5(6), 229 - 241. 10.1177/2042098614554919. 
  2. Saxena RC, Singh R, Kumar P, Yadav SC, Negi MP, Saxena VS, Joshua AJ, Vijayabalaji V, Goudar KS, Venkateshwarlu K, Amit A. A randomized double blind placebo controlled clinical evaluation of extract of Andrographis paniculata (KalmCold) in patients with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract infection. Phytomedicine. 2010 Mar;17(3-4):178-85. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.12.001. Epub 2010 Jan 25. PMID: 20092985.
  3. Raj JP, Maurya MR, Nair N, Marfatia H, Hadaye R, Gogtay NJ. Efficacy and safety of AP-Bio®(KalmCold®) in participants with uncomplicated upper respiratory tract viral infection (common cold) - A phase III, double-blind, parallel group, randomized placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2023 May;73:102934. doi: 10.1016/j.ctim.2023.102934. Epub 2023 Feb 24. PMID: 36842634.
  4. Adiguna SP, Panggabean JA, Atikana A, Untari F, Izzati F, Bayu A, Rosyidah A, Rahmawati SI, Putra MY. Antiviral Activities of Andrographolide and Its Derivatives: Mechanism of Action and Delivery System. Pharmaceuticals (Basel). 2021 Oct 28;14(11):1102. doi: 10.3390/ph14111102. PMID: 34832884; PMCID: PMC8619093.
  5. Intharuksa A, Arunotayanun W, Yooin W, Sirisa-Ard P. A Comprehensive Review of Andrographis paniculata (Burm. f.) Nees and Its Constituents as Potential Lead Compounds for COVID-19 Drug Discovery. Molecules. 2022 Jul 13;27(14):4479. doi: 10.3390/molecules27144479. PMID: 35889352; PMCID: PMC9316804.
  6. Auinger A, Riede L, Bothe G, Busch R, Gruenwald J. Yeast (1,3)-(1,6)-beta-glucan helps to maintain the body's defence against pathogens: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, multicentric study in healthy subjects. Eur J Nutr. 2013 Dec;52(8):1913-8. doi: 10.1007/s00394-013-0492-z. Epub 2013 Jan 23. PMID: 23340963; PMCID: PMC3832763.
  7. Talbott SM, Talbott JA. Baker's yeast beta-glucan supplement reduces upper respiratory symptoms and improves mood state in stressed women. J Am Coll Nutr. 2012 Aug;31(4):295-300. doi: 10.1080/07315724.2012.10720441. PMID: 23378458.


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