FLU PREVENTION & TREATMENT
THE NATURAL WAY*
As winter approaches, the recommendation to have a ‘flu jab’, to be vaccinated against flu, both the ordinary flu and well as the swine flu, is so widespread that it is almost impossible to avoid the adds for it on the television, in the newspapers, at the doctor’s surgery. We are especially warned that certain groups should be vaccinated such as the elderly, those who have respiratory disease, those who are pregnant and even children. It is estimated that, in Australia, some 3,000 people will die from influenza or its complications this year and that 18,000 will probably require hospital care (ABC TV 31.03.2011). These figures are given by the authorities to create fear and to underscore their message that everyone should be vaccinated.
The Best Prevention is a Healthy Lifestyle
The ‘Seven Requirements for Health’ are detailed in Chapter 2 of my book How to Stop Feeling So Awful (see home page), and are summarised as follows:
- A nutrient-rich, dominantly alkali-forming diet which has limited or no animal foods, and is made-up mainly of fruits, vegetables, beans, legumes, grains and nuts (see my September 2005 newsletter Acid/Alkali Balance - The Ideal Diet).
- Clean pure water. Our bodies need this to function properly. Pure water is essential for vibrant health.
- Clean fresh air. Oxygen is the very source of our life. The air we breathe (for oxygen) should be pure and free from pollution.
- Regular exercise. Aerobic exercise is an essential part of health (see my November 2010 newsletter The Health Benefits of Exercise).
- Exposure to sunlight (see my November 2007 newsletter Sunlight and Health).
- Adequate rest and sleep. A person’s physical, mental and emotional well-being is dependent on the quality of sleep.
- Positive thoughts that include such things as hope, happiness, love, gratefulness, joy and peace actually increase the immune system’s ability to fight disease. Negative emotions such as fear, worry, envy, guilt, hatred and jealousy, if left unchecked and unresolved, can result in a depression of the immune system and a resulting susceptibility to disease and infections such as flu (see my December 2009 newsletter Positive Thinking for the New Decade).
Natural Flu Fighters
If your doctor confirms that you have the flu and there are no complications, or if you suspect that the cough, fever and fatigue with possible other symptoms such as diarrhoea that you are experiencing are due to the flu, you may find it worthwhile to try some natural remedies.
These natural remedies have a long history of safety, but if you have a serious health condition or take prescribed medication, you should consult with your health professional before using them.
Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract is derived from leaves of the olive tree Olea europaea, and its medicinal use goes back thousands of years.
Olive leaf extract has the following properties:
· It contains a range of powerful antioxidants
· It is a free radical scavenger
· It is antiviral and antibacterial, and helps relieve fevers
· It maintains and improves general wellbeing
· It helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular system and normal heart function.
Full details of this outstanding natural therapy, including dosage, are set out in my April 2009 newsletter Olive Leaf Extract.
Echinacea, also called the purple cone flower, is native to North America. There are several species. The two common ones are Echinacea angustifolia and Echinacea purpurea. Echinacea has been called the king of cold and flu remedies.
It has the following properties:
· It is an immuno-stimulator, stimulating the body’s non-specific immune system and so warding off infections
· It is antimicrobial, and is effective against both bacterial and viral attacks
· It is anti-catarrhal.
The active ingredients responsible for the above properties are phenols, including cichoric acid, caftaric acid and echinacoside. Other constituents include alkyl amides and polysaccharides.
For Echinacea to work effectively, a dose should be taken at the very first sign of symptoms, and then repeated every two to four hours after the first dose, including throughout the night, until the cold or flu symptoms have disappeared. Taken this way, studies have shown that there is a reduction in cold and flu symptoms or a shortening of their duration. It should not be taken for more than 10 days. It is contraindicated in children under one year.
The standard dose for dried Echinacea angustifolia root is normally three grams per day. Some studies show that there is little or no benefit with less than one gram per day, which would be an inadequate dose.
Elderberries are the fruit of the herb Sambucus nigra.
Elderberry has been used for its antioxidant activity (due to anthocyanins) to boost the immune system, to treat coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections as well as to lower cholesterol and improve vision. Bioflavonoids, such as carotenoids and flavonoids, and other proteins in the juice, destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell.
Studies have shown that those who took elderberry juice reported less severe symptoms and felt better much faster than those who did not.
It is available as a liquid extract (1:1), dosage 5ml (5,000mg) 4 times per day. It is also available in lozenge form.
Garlic, Allium sativum, belongs to the onion family, and is one of the best known and most-used medicinal herbs. It has a strong odour, but capsules can be obtained in a deodourised form.
Garlic is full of infection-fighting compounds, notably allicin.
Properties and uses:
· Has antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties
· Boosts the immune system
· Cleanses the blood and helps to create and maintain healthy bacteria (flora) in the gut
· Helps to bring down fever
· Has antioxidant actions
· Acts as a decongestant.
For prevention of colds and flu, it is suggested to eat one fresh, raw clove daily. At the start of symptoms of a cold or flu, increase the intake to three cloves daily. Deodourised capsules are an alternative.
There are some 700 species of eucalyptus, several of which are used to distil medicinal-quality essential oil, but the Australian ‘blue gum’ (Eucalyptus globulus) is by far the most widely used. It is an antiseptic and has antibacterial and antiviral properties.
A few drops of the pure essential eucalyptus oil, used in a steam inhalation, can help loosen the mucus in the chest and sinuses. The oil is in many throat lozenges, often combined with menthol.
There are an estimated 38,000 species of mushrooms. Most provide a wealth of protein, fibre, B vitamins and vitamin C, as well as calcium and other minerals.
Three species have phenomenal healing potential:
These medicinal mushrooms have been shown to:
· Promote immune function
· Protect against viruses, bacteria and fungi
· Reduce inflammation
· Combat allergies
· Boost heart health
· Lower the risk of cancer
· Help balance blood glucose levels
· Support the body’s detoxification mechanisms.
Shiitake, reishi and maitake mushrooms have many overlapping properties: all boost immune function, all support cardiovascular health and all show promise in lowering the risk of, or treating, cancer.
These medicinal mushrooms contain the glyconutrients mannose and N-acetylglucosamine. Glyconutrients are essential for effective cellular communication, especially relevant for the efficient functioning of the immune system (see my March 2007 newsletter Glyconutrients).
It is recommended to take or consume these medicinal mushrooms regularly as prevention, and to take them therapeutically at the start of flu symptoms. They can be eaten fresh or dried.
Astragalus, Astragalus membranaceus, is a perennial plant, native to China, Korea and Mongolia. The root is the medicinal part (generally used dried).
Astragalus has the following properties. It is
· An anti-inflammatory herb
· An immune system stimulator
· An adaptage (helps to protect the body against various stresses)
· An antioxidant, protecting against free radical damage.
It has very few side effects.
Astragalus root is available as
· Capsules and tablets (should be standardised)
· Tincture (liquid alcohol extract).
· Standardised extract: 250 - 500 mg, three to four times a day
· Tincture (in 25% ethanol): 2 - 4 ml, three times a day.
Ginger, Zingiber officinale, originally came from India and China. It has been used both as a food and medicine for thousands of years.
Ginger is pain-relieving, antiseptic and an antioxidant. It is valuable for preventing and treating colds, sore throats and catarrhal congestion. It also eases coughing and, because it promotes sweating, it is useful in the treatment of flu.
Strong ginger tea can ease cold and flu symptoms by clearing congestion and warming the body.
The ‘Natural Flu Fighters’ can be used as a preventive, or can be taken therapeutically. All have stood the test of time, and are essentially free of side effects and well tolerated.
A healthy lifestyle is the ideal protection against ‘catching’ the flu.
If the symptoms of flu develop, a healthy diet of fresh fruit and mainly raw vegetables, with fresh juices, combined with one or more of the natural flu fighters will give best results, reducing the symptoms and shortening the duration of the illness.
*Copyright 2011: The Huntly Centre.
Disclaimer: All material in the huntlycentre.com.au website is provided for informational or educational purposes only. Consult a health professional regarding the applicability of any opinions or recommendations expressed herein, with respect to your symptoms or medical condition.
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