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COLD-FX logo.jpg
The logo for Cold-fX
Inventor Afexa Life Sciences Inc.
Manufacturer Valeant Pharmaceuticals International
Available Available
Current supplier Valeant Pharmaceuticals International

Cold-fX is a product derived from the roots of North American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius). It was formulated by Jacqueline Shan[1] and originally manufactured by her company, Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (formerly called CV Technologies Inc.).[2] It was headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and subsequently, the company and lead product was acquired by Valeant Pharmaceuticals International (headquartered in Laval, Quebec, Canada) in 2011.

There is little evidence to support that Cold-fX is effective in the common cold.[3][4] All trials have been done by the manufacturer and there has been poor data reporting.[3] According to Health Canada's Natural Health Product Directorate records, Cold-FX claims to "help reduce the frequency, severity and duration of cold and flu symptoms by boosting the immune system".[5]

Medical uses[edit]

There is no evidence that Cold-fX is effective in those infected with the common cold.[3] The effect of preventative use is not clear.[3] When used preventatively it makes no difference on the rate of infections.[4] It also appears to have no effect on how bad the infections are.[4] There is tentative evidence that it may lessen the length of sickness when used preventatively.[4]

Adverse effects[edit]

Individuals requiring anti-coagulant therapy such as warfarin should avoid use of American ginseng. Not recommended for individuals with impaired liver or renal function. It is not recommended in those who are pregnant or breastfeeding. Other adverse effects include: headaches, anxiety, trouble sleeping and an upset stomach.[3]


The product has not been shown to reduce the number or severity of common colds.[4] There is tentative evidence that it may shorten colds in people who are otherwise healthy adults when taken preventatively.[4] All studies posing 'significant' results on its efficacy were funded by the manufacturer.[4]

Other criticisms point out that these studies have been small scale, with conspicuously shallow participant pools and lopsided gender distributions.[6] Researchers have pointed out that there aren't enough studies on the effects of any form of Ginseng on the common cold to form any conclusions.[7]

Scientists have argued that Cold-fX has not been tested for its ability to treat a cold after an individual has been infected.[8] In addition, no studies have yet been performed to assess the possible long term side effects of taking the pills every day during the cold and flu season.[6] Afexa Life Sciences Inc. (formerly called CV Technologies Inc.), the makers of Cold-fX, were criticized for making health claims about the product that have never been tested or verified scientifically. Up until February 2007, the company advised a regimen of 18 pills over a course of 3 days in order to obtain "immediate relief" from a cold. Health Canada's review of the scientific literature confirmed that this is not a claim that CV Technologies Inc. is entitled to make.[9] The company formulated a separate product for this usage. A CV Technologies press release explained the change in the dosing regimen as a choice to take a two-tier approach application to Health Canada.[10]

In 2015 a class action lawsuit was launched that claimed that the manufacturer misled people.[11]This lawsuit was subsequently dismissed in a B.C. Supreme Court ruling. [12] The appeal on this case has been dismissed. [13]


  1. ^ Keung, Nicholas (16 June 2014). "From Chinese village girl to Canadian CEO: Cold-FX founder writes her story". Toronto Star. Torstar. Retrieved 17 June 2014.
  2. ^ "What is COLD-fX intended for?". Cold-fX: Frequently Asked Questions. Retrieved 2007-11-24.
  3. ^ a b c d e Nahas, R; Balla, A (Jan 2011). "Complementary and alternative medicine for prevention and treatment of the common cold". Canadian Family Physician. 57 (1): 31–6. PMC 3024156. PMID 21322286.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Seida, JK; Durec, T; Kuhle, S (2011). "North American (Panax quinquefolius) and Asian Ginseng (Panax ginseng) Preparations for Prevention of the Common Cold in Healthy Adults: A Systematic Review". Evidence-based complementary and alternative medicine : eCAM. 2011: 282151. doi:10.1093/ecam/nep068. PMC 3136130. PMID 19592479.
  5. ^ "Product Information". Archived from the original on 2013-10-23.
  6. ^ a b "Fighting the Common Cold". ABC News. 2005-10-25.
  7. ^ William Lin (2007-02-16). "Does ginseng really work? It depends on who you ask". The Ottawa Citizen.
  8. ^ "Ginseng Unproven in U.S." Los Angeles Times. 2008-02-18.
  9. ^ Charlie Gillis (2007-03-26). "COLD-fX catches the sniffles again". Macleans Magazine. Archived from the original on 2012-02-07.
  10. ^ "COLD-fX Sets Record Straight: Health Canada's Approval of New Medical Claims Unchanged" (PDF). CV Technologies. March 5, 2007.
  11. ^ "Cold-FX users were misled about top-selling cold and flu remedy, lawsuit alleges". National Post. March 31, 2015. Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  12. ^ "Cold-FX class action lawsuit tossed - Toronto Star".
  13. ^ "B.C. Appeal Court rejects class action lawsuit aimed at Cold-FX". May 2 2018.

External links[edit]