Beating Colds and Flu's
Tarilee Cornish, Certified Nutritional Consultant
This may be cold and flu season but we can defend ourselves to prevent sickness by supporting our immune systems. By making a few wise lifestyle choices and using supportive therapeutic products, we can maintain vibrant health all season. If we do happen to catch a virus, these same methods, employed to an enhanced degree, and complementary infection fighting products can will bolster our ability to fight off the virus, or at least reduce its severity, and, possibly its duration. Following are some specific strategies and products that can help.
Emphasize nourishing foods. Avoid food choices that suppress our healing - like food additives, refined fats, starches, sugars of any kind, and mucous producing foods like red meat, dairy or cheese. Light, alkalizing foods like salads, fermented vegetables and grated or steamed vegetables give your body what it needs to put up a strong defense. Try adding fresh lemon juice to hot, fresh ginger tea. to increase circulation and warm the body to help kill off the virus.
Whole Approach sells many herbal products that are complementary to the Whole Approach candida protocol (though it's advisable to slow or stop anti-fungals while you are recovering from a cold/flu).
"SOS" Cold and Flu Essentials for the Medicine Cabinet
Caution- Consult a health care practitioner prior to using any herbal or nutritional products, especially if you are pregnant or breast feeding; have been diagnosed with a medical condition; or if you are taking prescription medications. If symptoms persist, consult a health care practitioner. Reduce dosage or discontinue use if you experience a hypersensitivity reaction.
For Regular Use to Support the Immune System Daily
Deep Immune* (formerly named Astragalus Combo)
This product is for daily, whole body and immune support to help prevent viruses and other infections. Feel it's vitalizing, restorative effect as it bolsters your resilience to infections.
Deep Immune is not intended for acute viral treatment and should thus be discontinued at first sign of a virus. In the early stage of an impending cold or flu virus, EchinaSeal is more effective to prevent onset.
Deep Immune is best cycled on and off so that the body does not become too accustomed to it. (i.e. three weeks out of each month)
This is a highly-potent probiotic that helps to normalize intestinal flora, boost immune function and stave off intestinal infections.The quality and human-compatibility of the bacterium in the formula are important, much more so than the sometimes-arbitrary count on the label. For more information see Everything You Wanted to Know about Probium Probiotics.
Vitamin D3 Drops (D-Drops)*
Vitamin D3 has earned new fame in the defense against colds, flu’s and cancer. It acts similar to a hormone in the body and adequate levels have been found to be helpful to immune strength. Doses varying from 1000 iu to 6000 iu daily are recommended depending on the results of blood tests. Whole Approach sells a very good quality, additive-free brand of vitamin D3 drops, called D Drops. Here’s a link to more information about them on the Whole Approach online store: Vitamin D3 Drops
SBX with Soil Based Micro-Organisms*
This product contains micro-organisms that are supportive to our intestinal flora combined with highly nutritious, potent super-food extracts. In combination with Deep Immune and Probioplus, SBX can help insure a stronger base level of health to help us ward off infectious conditions. For more info see: SBX with Healthy Soil Micro-Organisms
Herbal ‘First Aid’ for Acute Cold & Flu Prevention:
EchinaSeal® Infection Fighter*
This is a potent combination of herbs that forms a potent force against bacterial and viral infections.
Its manufacturer, St Francis Herb Farm indicates that it is especially potent for bacterial infections, but when used at the first signs of a cold or flu, it can also be a powerful virus inhibitor. The herbs have a long history of clinical evidence of their ability to treat upper respiratory tract infections.
Saint Francis's recommendations for use: 1-2 ml (30-60 drops) 3-6 times daily in a little water - can be gargled before swallowing.
For prevention, continue using at least three times a day for three days after the symptoms disappear. This insures that the virus does not come back after the herbal defense is discontinued. Use for a maximum of ten days. For more info see: SFHF Echinaseal
Contra-indications and Cautions:
Do not use this product if you have an allergy to bees or bee stings or to the Asteraceae family of plants.
When cold and flu symptoms are affecting the lungs, this product can be used in combination with Saint Francis Herb Farm Respirafect, (Usnea Combo). For more info see below for more details.
Buffered Vitamin C*:
Vitamin C is crucial for immune function. Infection, physical or emotional stress, and chronic disease deplete vitamin C. Vitamin C enhances immune response similarly to interferon, the body's natural antiviral and anticancer compound. Dr Ron’s Buffered Vitamin C is naturally additive-free and combines 500 mg of vitamin C with 25 mg Alpha Lipoic Acid. For more info see: Dr. Ron’s Ultra-Pure Natural Buffered Vitamin C
Oreganum Plus' Supreme Wild Oregano*
Oreganum is an excellent defense against acute infectious conditions like colds and flu’s. It has been clinically tested to have anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties and can even combat stomach viruses or food borne bacteria. If you're fighting off a virus with Echinaseal and Buffered Vitamin C and the virus is winning, try adding Oreganum to your defense. If it's too peppery for you try putting a few drops in a capsule. Saint Francis recommendations 1-3 drops up to 4 times a day. See: SFHF Oreganum Plus
Respirafect™ (Usnea Combo)
According to St Francis Herb Farm, clinical and laboratory tests confirm that Respirafect holds an important place in the treatment of 'lung infections accompanied by purulent sputum'. It also offers soothing, demulcent action, and encourages expectoration. For more info see: Respirafect (Usnea Combo)
Saint Francis Herb Farm's recommendations - Adults, take 30-60 drops (1-2 ml) 3X daily between meals, in a little water.
Contra-indications and Cautions: Do not take this product if you have an allergy to the Asteraceae plant family.
'Extras’ for Cold & Flu First Aid
Activated Charcoal Capsules: This remedy is effective to help with nausea, flatulence, intestinal cramps or diarrhea. Charcoal soaks up undesirable pathogens and wastes in the intestines. Best used separate from meals and other supplements as it is so absorptive.
Fresh Ginger Tea: Ginger tea has a heating action which warms up the body and helps fight off viruses. Use a teaspoon of sliced or grated ginger root per cup of water and steep for at least five or ten minutes. You can also leave the ginger in the tea and store.
Homeopathic Aconitum Napellus (30c): This remedy is appropriate for early cold symptoms that come on suddenly (especially when chills and sneezing are present.) Aconitum, like most homeopathic remedies, generally comes in sugar pellets and the recommended dosage is three to five pellets. Homeopathics need to be taken between meals and away from strong flavors like toothpaste, coffee or chewing. When sneezing is present, this remedy may be taken several times a day. Once the early sneezing stage has passed, this remedy is no longer helpful.
Homeocoksinum - Flu Buster: This is another, well known homeopathic remedy to prevent flu. For flu symptoms (aches/pains/fever), it can be better than aconitum though it can still be helpful to try a few doses of actonitum.
Zinc lozenges (preferably stevia sweetened): These are a very helpful support when sore throat is the first symptom of a cold or flu but be careful as zinc can cause nausea on an empty stomach.
Goldenseal Tincture: If a throat condition develops, especially a bacterial infection, it’s important to see your doctor for a swab test. However, goldenseal is a very powerful anti-bacterial and can prevent and can conquer some throat infections. Thirty drops in a tiny bit of water makes a great (though awful tasting!) gargle. After rinsing for thirty seconds, swallow. In acute cases, this can be used frequently for a few days. Consult with your ND for specific instructions. Goldenseal treatment is best kept to short term (less than ten days) to minimize the loss of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
Other Healthy Practices
The ancient practice of nasal irrigation is a powerful offense against cold and flu. Rinsing the nasal passages with salty water (of appropriate pH for the nose) is a great way of dislodging and flushing out viral populations where they are most like to multiply. There is ample information online about how to safely and effectively perform nasal hygiene using traditional equipment like a netti pot (which looks like a tiny tea pot.) There is also a more modern syringe method that uses a syringe with a soft silicone tip to administer the saline (Nasaline).
To be truly well, we need to rest when we’re tired or sick and we need to care for our emotional being as well. It’s easy to put everything and everyone else before sleep but it is essential to heal and rejuvenate our physical and mental health. Much of our immune activity happens as we sleep so this is a critical part of our defense. For an improved sleep environment, use natural bedding and laundry detergents, completely darken your room (or wear eye covers), shut off wireless technologies, move lamps and other electrics and their cords 3 feet away from your bed and choose a non metal bed to sleep in.
Manage our Stress with Compassion
Holding onto negative emotions can be destructive to our health. It's important to acknowledge our feelings fully and allow ourselves to feel them with acceptance so that they can move through and out of our body to minimize stress hormone levels. Regular relaxation or self awareness practice like meditation or Tai Chi can help us sail more smoothly through our day with fewer immune-suppressing stress reactions. See Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction courses, Heartmath Insitute and Tai Chi or Qui Gong schools for help.
Healthy Home and Work
In addition to eating healing foods, potent herbal and nutritional ammunition, smart hygiene and caring for our need for rest and emotional balance, we can keep our health strongest if we create a healthy home and work environment.
This means maintaining hygienic, pleasant, healthy home and work environments that are free from pollution and VOC out-gassing from furniture or chemically-intensive decorating materials. It’s also beneficial to avoid having electrical or radiation fields in our living and work environment (wireless devices and wi-fi and wise use of cell phone technologies.)
Extra attention to hand washing and not touching our hands to our face or ears can help prevent us from getting a virus. If we have an infectious condition we can protect those around us by using our elbow to shield coughing, washing every time we touch our nose and wiping surfaces down regularly with disinfectant (i.e. an oregano or thyme based product in witchazel ose).
Minimize exposure to (or clean), door handles, shopping cart handles, money, cash cards and machines, anything in a hospital, and your car keys, purse or wallet. If we are sick, staying home from work or school is kinder to others than sharing the misery by spreading the virus. It’s important to know that a cold or flu virus is contagious even a few hours before symptoms appear so when the symptoms are just coming on, we can definitely make others sick, even if the cold or flu is not yet ‘full blown’. Also avoid sharing cups, cutlery, food, cigarettes or beverages with others.
Portable, natural sanitizing gel or wipes are a great idea for those times when we just can't wash our hands. Try to find natural ones with tea tree or oregano and thyme. When you've been out in publish wash your hands after coming home and wash all foods before eating. In the case of a full-blown flu epidemic, you might take this further. For example, washing any groceries that could have been handled by others (e.g. jars, cans and the outside of produce), before preparing them or storing them.
Know your Body
Catching a virus early our our best course of action. Learning to recognize the subtle symptoms of a cold coming on allows us to fight the infection before it takes hold. The most common signs include fatigue, head ache, irritability, fuzzy-headedness, thick mucous in the mouth, frequent urination, fever or chills, a swollen or scratchy/tickly feeling in the throat, sneezing, or runny nose.
At the first sign of any of the above, it's time to slow down, seek calm, increase our nutrition, introduce virus fighting herbs and attempt to get extra sleep.
For more tips to support your immune system year round, see the article, “Fourteen Strategies to Boost Immunity”
Tarilee Cornish is a Certified Nutritional Practitioner with a special interest in immune and digestive recovery including general detoxification and recovery from food allergies and candida overgrowth. She is especially passionate about pure healing food choices that have a democratic, ecological and compassionate production and distribution chain. Tarilee is a moderator on the WholeApproach Support Forum.