Beefing yourself up against the Swine Flu…naturally
January 9, 2010
Beefing yourself up against the Swine Flu…naturally
Posted by Barbara Peterson under Survival, health | Tags: disease prevention, elderberry, h1n1, Herbs, natural remedies, swine flu prevention |
By Drina Brooke
Certified Community Herbalist
In September of 2009, the mainstream News-Medical.net reported that “A recent research study has given new scientific evidence to the long-held empirical belief that elderberries possess antiviral activities. The research involved a specific, reproducible elderberry extract developed by HerbalScience Group LLC, and succeeded in identifying key chemical components of the extract that inhibited in vitro infection and were shown to bind directly to Human Influenza A (H1N1) virus particles. The binding blocked the ability of the viruses to enter host cells, and thereby effectively preventing H1N1 infection in vitro.” More here: http://www.news-medical.net/news/20090911/Elderberry-extract-prevents-H1N1-infection-in-vitro.aspx
In laboratory tests, elderberry extracts have been proven effective against more than ten strains of influenza viruses, writes phytotherapy authority David Hoffmann in his Medical Herbalism book. Further, writes Hoffmann, the berry has been shown to shorten the duration of flu to a total of 3 or 4 days in a randomized, double-blind and placebo-controlled study. Compare this to the mainstream drug Tamiflu, which shortens the duration of a flu infection a mere 12 hours!
Black Elderberry extract strengthens the cell membranes of human beings, thus making it harder for viruses to penetrate the cells than in absence of the elderberry. In this way, not only does the elderberry herb de-activate the virus by binding with it and blockading its entry to the body as above, but further it strengthens the body’s own resistance too. Win-win! And, no side effects or drug interactions have been reported with this herb!** IMPORTANT NOTE: The extract is much stronger than the herb alone. Use the tea as preventive but the extract for infections (and prevention, each alike). Studies have proven that herbs work best in synergistic combinations, much more effective than when used alone. The herb may be used alone as preventive but not once infected. By itself, black elderberry is perfectly safe for children, adults and elderly people. Elder berry may safely be used over the long term as immune strengthener, to beef yourself up against the swine or other types of flus.
The flowers of the elder plant are also of value in flu infections. The expectorant qualities of the blossoms, when inhaled as steam from the prepared tea, loosen mucous in the lungs and bronchial tubes, thus speeding up the healing process. At first one may feel as if one is getting worse, because one will feel more mucousy than before. This is not to be confused with a worsening of the condition, in which one develops more mucous: In fact, loosening the mucous speeds the healing process. It is in fact a strong expectorant or mucous-loosener, so it is very important to go quite gently. Just a small pinch of the flowers will do, mixed with anti-inflammatory chamomile tea. Simply prepare a moderate-strength tea in a pot, using a small pinch of the elderberry blossoms and two or three very generous pinches of chamomile flowers per quart of water (available in bulk from your healthfood store grocer). Drape a towel over your head and the pot to form a tent which catches the steam. Inhale through your nose, making sure the steam is not so hot as to burn your skin or nasal passages, or it will burn the mucosal linings of your lungs and bronchial airways too! So be sure the steam is mildly hot but also to a comfort level, at which point it will be quite beneficial. Inhale through your nose for as long as you can tolerate it, splash off with cold water and you are done. Do this twice or three times daily for chest colds, bronchitis or even pneumonia, alongside the internally-administered elderberry (in combination with other anti-viral herbs, not by itself in serious infections such as bronchitis or pneumonia). NOTE: If symptoms do not improve, or if they persist for a week or more, see your doctor. Like the berry, elder flowers used sparingly are safe for children, adults and elderly people.
Vitamin D3 as “Cholecalciferol” At the Atascadero State Prison in California, it was accidentally discovered in the 1990s that vitamin D3 “Cholecalciferol” protects against the flu. A psychiatrist, Dr JJ Cannell, ordered his criminally insane patients to be administered 2,000 IU of vitamin D daily: When none of his patients got the flu as the other wings in the same prison suffered an epidemic, his interest was piqued. He posed it as a question, whether or not Vitamin D was responsible, but in fact further studies have proven it to be true. More here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=show_mesg&forum=389&topic_id=6804991&mesg_id=6806022
IMPORTANT NOTES: Vitamin D3 is much better absorbed by the body than its weaker counterpart, Vitamin D2. Caution: An excess of 20,000 iu of vitamin D daily can cause calcification of the kidneys and kidney stones. Optimal dosage is 400-1800 iu daily, according to Earl Mindell’s Vitamin Bible. For children’s doses, figure the percentage of bodyweight compared to an adult’s (150 lbs), and use that same percentage of the adult dose to administer to the child. For example, if the adult weighs 150 lbs and the child weighs 80 lbs, use a half strength dose, or 200-900 iu daily.
There are many herbs which have anti-viral properties alongside antibacterial and antiseptic ones. It has been studied and noted that herbs work best in combination with each other:
Osha is an anti-viral herb best used for lung and bronchial infections.
St Johnswort, traditionally known for its antidepressant action, also contains 2-4% flavonoids (quercitin, rutin and hyperosides)* which makes it a mildly antiviral herb as backup to other more potently antiviral herbs. NOTE: St Johnswort raises P450 liver enzymes, thus weakening the effects of many mainstream medications. Small dosages as background herb may or may not interfere, but in the interest of caution, ask your doctor if you are taking any medication.
Olive leaf boasts antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, antifungal, and antiparasite actions. Thanks to its iridoid oleuropein, it has been shown in clinical tests to be effective against the AIDS virus, and is capable of tackling herpes viruses, flu, the common cold, meningitis, shingles, chronic fatigue syndrome when a viral infection is at the base, pneumonia, tuberculosis, dental infections, and more, writes Naturopathic Doctor Linda Rector-Page in her Healthy Healing book.
Oregano oil contains the flavonoid constituent carvacrol, a potent anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Traditionally used for ear and sinus infections, or in combination with mint, for digestive issues. Caution: VERY STRONG! Use only one or two drops in a cup of hot water, but no more. May be used for steaming too, in the same very dilute dosages. Keep out of reach of children.
Grindelia is a sticky yellow flower with a waxy leaf, growing as wild ground cover, from which asthma medication was once made. Relaxes and dilates the bronchial passages and clears the lungs. Safe for children and adults alike.
Sea Greens: Contain algin, which absorbs toxins from the gut (where many though not all of the immune secretions occur), and have antiviral and antibacterial actions. Rich in iodine, they support the thyroid, the body’s carburetor which is largely responsible for the body’s temperature, along with the hypothalamus gland in the brain. Kelp is particularly noted for its iodine content, with little bits going a long way. By supporting the thyroid and warming the body, sea greens make an excellent background support to immune-supporting herbs. Consider making a seaweed soup out of chicken or vegetable broth, adding arame seaweed (high in iodine) or kombu (good for clearing up mucous), and a dash of soysauce for flavor. Shave in carrots and celery and other vegetables, and you’ve got a quick-and-easy soup which is fairly tasty and has healing power besides! Use alongside anti-viral and anti-bacterial herbal formulas, not as replacement. CONTRA-INDICATION: Hyperthyroidism, which is rare.
Orange Blossom Water: This exotic Middle Eastern product (not the same as the Neroli essential oil from healthfood stores) is high in anti-bacterial and anti-viral flavonoids. Simply delicious in sourcream with honey, wow! Transportingly divine flavor. Available from specialty food markets. Of course dairy products are mucous-producing, so this would be contra-indicated in cold and flu infections. Instead, mix a teaspoon of the fragrant liquid per two cups of chamomile or linden tea (if you can get it), inhale the pleasant smell just for the fun of it, and drink its benefits right in as background assistant to other cold and flu-killing formulas. Yummy! And so pleasant. And, an aphrodisiac for women, besides. (Neroli essential oil from healthfood stores will also work, but won’t taste as pleasant and is much stronger. Use only one or two drops per cup of tea, but definitely no more. Very strong: Keep out of reach of children).
Echinacea: Boosts T-cell production. T cells are one of the body’s several types of immune cells. Cleanses the lymph, very important herb for this function. Overwhelmingly, studies have proven the herb to be safe and non-toxic, but one study showed that after ten days, the T-cell production slows down, as if the immune system was tired from over-stimulation. The echinacea purpurea and pallida varieties have been shown to be less stimulating than the angustifolia variety. In the spirit of caution, take safely for ten days, then take a break for a week or two. CONTRA-INDICATIONS: Cancer, auto-immune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, and certain types of arthritis. Do not use if on immuno-suppressive drugs.
HERE ARE SOME HERBAL PRODUCTS WHICH CAN BE USED FOR COLDS AND FLUS:
For discounted rates, log on to www.vitacost.com to order direct by mail. Or, support your small local healthfood store grocer, who can special order these products for you.
GAIA Herbs “Black Elderberry Syrup” is concentrated, delicious, and is fortified with vitamin C-containing Acerola cherry. Contains sugar, so avoid if diabetic or hypoglycemic. Recommended as maintenance for strengthening against flu and to intervene in mild infections. Safe for children if the dose is scaled down to body weight relative to an adult’s dosage, as described above.
GAIA Herbs “Black Elderberry” capsules are alchohol-free, with glycerin so they are safe for people with blood sugar problems.
For chest colds, pneumonia or bronchitis: GAIA Herbs “Respiratory Defense” www.gaiaherbs.com/product.php?id=4 contains Osha, grindelia and other anti-viral herbs for the chest. Also contains herbs which would be supportive of asthmatic conditions. The company’s “Breathe Naturally” product is excellent specifically for asthma.
For headaches, runny nose, etc Source Naturals “Wellness Formula” works very well . Caution: Do not take this product for the long-term. It contains a high amount of echinacea, which “asks” your immune system to do its job, but which (according to one out of many other studies showing the herb’s safety) also may possibly tire it out, being an immune stimulant, after a period of ten days or so. Take safely for up to ten days, then take a break from it for a week or two before starting again. But it is safe to use it for the short-term and it works very well! www.sourcenaturals.com/products/GP1345/
Rainbow Light’s “Counter Attack Immuno-Response” is an excellent formula for colds and flu of the chest, for viral and bacterial infections alike, and contains no echinacea. It is formulated by Christopher Hobbs, one of the outstanding herbalists world-wide: http://www.rainbowlight.com/Categories~Category~627c3de8-0e1b-4e76-84da-db4310a07f51.html
Rainbow Light’s “Deep Defense” is formulated to tonify the adrenal glands, thereby strengthening immunity. It uses ligustrum fruit and codonopsis as adrenal, digestive and immune tonics, which can be safely taken for the long-term, while adding only small amounts of immune-stimulating and lymph-cleansing echinacea as background herb. It also features the less-stimulating echinacea purpurea as the first of the echinacea ingredients, with the more-stimulating angustifolia variety as the lesser of the two echinaceas in the product . So it is gentle on the immune system while strengthening it too, using echinacea to cleanse the lymph, one of the herb’s important benefits. This forumla is targeted to vitalize the qi, the Chinese concept of the vital force. www.rainbowlight.com/Categories~Category~04f77356-905a-4177-be15-24e74911a355.html
For earaches: Surfer’s Defense by Paradise Herbs this company has simply excellent quality herbs and an extraction method which is completely chemical and alchohol/glycerin-free. Thus, it is hypo-allergenic and suitable even for environmentally ill patients. The product features a superb and simply-formulated anti-viral blend of olive leaf, oregano leaf and ginger for enhanced digestive uptake. Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and warming to the body, this product would be excellent for colds and flus of many types.
Biotics Research Corporation’s Bio-D-Mulsion Forte is an excellent and hypo-allergenic product containing Vitamin D3, administered in drops from a sesame oil, water and acacia gum base. http://www.evitamins.com/product.asp?pid=13834
Healthforce Nutritionals Truly Natural Vitamin C, is an all-natural acerola cherry powder which is high in vitamin C. Unlike its synthetic counterparts, it is gentle on the kidneys and bowels, and will not strip the body of Vitamin K needed to prevent bruising and for necessary blood clotting which prevents excess bleeding. One can take any large dosage without fear of diarrhea or kidney aches associated with the synthetic product, and the acerola powder is just as effective as the synthetic vitamin C.
Drina Brooke, certified Community Herbalist, professional musician
* Pocket Guide to Herbal Medicine by Karin Kraft, MD and Christopher Hobbs, LAc AHG, Thieme Books
** Hoffmann, David FNIMH, AHG “Medical Herbalism”