Natural Flu Prevention- PART 1

24 09 2009

flu

With the arrival of Autumn comes a cornucopia of beautiful changes in just about everything around us.  The leaves begin to change colour as they release their chlorophyll.  The fall harvest brings in beautiful root vegetables.  The air begins to change in temperature.  There seems to be a calming down of all the senses, as we move into our preparation for the winter months of repose.

Spring and Summer is full of vibrant energy, growth and development.  We now harvest all of that amazing productivity. We begin to savour the fruits of the harvest.

With this change there often may also come a disruption to our IMMUNE systems. Our bodies need to adjust and acclimate in many ways to this change in season.  Often at this time (between season stage) we see more colds or flu affect people.

In my alternative medical practice I see a significant increase in infant and child cases, as well as older populations.  These seem to be the more susceptible individuals overall.

For children this time of year can be quite stressful.  They return to school and encounter a whole lot of change.  New teachers, new peers to sit beside in class, new homework and new schedules.  So the stress can suppress the immune system and allow for the onset of infections.  So its quite wise to prepare them with a sound PREVENTION regime.

This also applies to adults.  We get affected just as kids do to changes and new stages in life.  So if you are transitioning at this time just like the weather is, you should be aware of the extra need to keep you immune system strong.  You may be starting a new job or career, you may be getting married or ending an unhealthy relationship, you may be changing homes before the winter sets in.  Whatever it is realize that there are many things transitioning at this time, and a good FLU PREVENTION plan is something to consider.

I will outline here a good PREVENTION program as well as tips on what to do once the flu or cold has already taken hold.

Here is a PREVENTION program I initiate with my patients in my homeopathic and natural medicine practice:

1)Diet:

First of all your diet must be cleaned up.  Here are the basics:

  • Eliminate SUGAR, especially white refined sugar and its relatives ie glucose syrup
  • CUT down or eliminate FAST FOOD and junk foods– these all supress the immune
  • ELIMINATE or greatly reduce DAIRY (milk, cheese, yogurt) these are HIGH MUCOUS forming foods, block air ways, and many of the physiological systems of the body
  • CUT DOWN on alcohol– alcohol supresses the immunity and weakens your natural defense system
  • INCLUDE raw fruits and veggies at most meals: esp the brightly coloured ones i.e:  Red peppers, carrots, dark green leafy greens, radishes, tomatoes, raspberries, strawberries, blureberries, pomegranate, grapefruits, oranges.  All contain anti oxidants to fight off free radical damage and support immunity
  • Lean meat, fish, organic eggs for the non vegans
  • Vegans try eating a variety of high quality foods i.e  quinoa, millet, lentils, beans, chickpeas, all high in protein, and vitamins and minerals
  • Eating less animal foods overall helps to keep toxins to a minimum and lessens the load on the DIGESTIVE SYSTEM, if your body has less work to do during DIGESTION than it can allocate more resources to HEALING and KEEPING YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM stronger. Meat and most animal products are harder to digest and breakdown and eliminate.  This puts extra stress on the body.  So that’s  basically the reasoning behind VEGAN and vegetarian benefits for immunity enhancement.

FruitLady

Herbal support and ADAPTOGENS:

What are Adaptogens?  Well guess what- they help you ADAPT to stress and give you that extra boost.  They are like hiring more soldiers to your defensive team of troops. They also feed your adrenals and restore your body so you have less fatigue, and more energy.

  • Ashwagandha: a phenomenal herb that boost the immunity and strengthens your defenses (safe to take for prolonged period)
  • Astragulus: Another great adaptogen that is nutritive, supportive and very gentle to the body( safe to take for prolonged period)
  • Siberian Ginseng: A great adaptogen, stimulant and restorative herb ( must be cycled, caution for some constitutions as this is a stimulant)
  • Medicinal Mushrooms: Reishi, shiitake, agaricus, are a few.  More and more studies are promoting the value of these powerhouse fungi.  They are safe, promote cell regeneration, and strong immune builders.
  • Garlic: Fresh raw garlic is best, but if odour andor if not so practical to include in meals, try a high quality organic supplement. Most health food stores carry it. ( very safe to take  daily or weekly)
  • Herbal Immune Teas: There are some great formulations of the market.  Look in your local health food store for cold and flu formulations in tea form. These are phenomenal because diffusing them in hot water enables them to be taken in a more easily assimilated form.  Also hot tea is the best drink during the cozy fall and winter months. ENJOY them often!

The above are my preferred herbs for cold and flu prevention.  Health food stores will carry formulations that include some or all of the ones listed above.  I highly recommend you buy your herbals in LIQUID formulations. These are often called tinctures. These are better absorbed and assimilated.

herbs

3) Essential Oils:

The third practice you can start to incorporate into you daily life, is the use of ESSENTIAL OILS.  PLEASE look for HIGH QUALITY ORGANIC formulations.  One particular company that is highly reputable is Young Living Oils. They use only the purest organic plants.  Essential oils are phenomenal for a multitude of uses.

Some can be used topically, most aromatically, DIFFUSED in the air in your home, car or work environment.  Just make sure you check labels and ask the company which are safe to ingest and which aren’t.

  • Oregano Oil- this should be in EVERY medicine cabinet or first aid kit out there.  Oregano oil is safe to take orally ( small doses as its very POTENT), also can be used to treat cuts, bug bites, boils, abcesses. It is highly anti bacterial, anti fungal, anti viral.  It is the equivalent to conventional antibiotics in its use.  As prevention and treatment of an existing infection this is by far one of the best things you can take.
  • Thieves Oil- This is a melange or blend of many anti bacterial, anti fungal and anti viral essential oils.  It includes cinnamon, clove, rosemary, eucalyptus, and lemon.  It is superb for diffusing in the air, and killing air borne bacteria , its also effective taken orally in VERY small doses.  check company and labels.
  • Thyme, Geranium,Citronella : These are all great oils to diffuse and dilute in water and spray linens, or pillows.  They are also great on YOGA mats!  Make sure to dilute in a water spray bottle, and spray down your mat.  It will disinfect and clean like no other cleaner.  Much more healthy than chemical based cleaner.

Basics of Essential Oils

Take extra care with essential oils.  They are POTENT. So a very little goes a long way.  They are concentrated extracts of plants and herbs.

So there you have it.  Your PREVENTION REGIME in a nutshell. Refer to this throughout the season. I would HIGHLY reccomend you incorporate these herbs and supplements under the guidance of a licensed Naturopath, Homeopath or other reputable alternative medical practitioner.  They can ensure you are taking safe quantities, and monitor duration of the supplements.

Some supplements need to be cycled.  This means you take it for a few weeks, then rest a few weeks off them and then restart them again.

PLEASE NOTE:  This is just a guide, don’t embark on supplementation without the guidance of a health professional.  We must respect the potential of these healing substances and treat them like any other drug taken.  Natural does not mean you can super dose or take it when you wish.  Some herbs should not be taken in high doses or extended periods of time. I’ve mentioned which are safe to take and which need caution.  Seek professional guidance 🙂

STAY TUNED: Part 2 of this blog post is coming up next.  It will include WHAT to do when you do catch that nasty cold or flu.  There are some very EFFECTIVE ways to shorten the duration, and lessen the yucky symptoms.

To your health always!

Travelling Yogi

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2 responses

29 09 2009
yogaheals

Hi Meagan!

Thanks for dropping by and leaving your gracious sentiments. Yes diet is very important to consider and balance when embarking on a wellness improvement journey. I wish you the best and namaste!

Piera

6 11 2009
Todd

Don’t forget the good old neti pot! Lots of studies show it helps with prevention and symptoms of flu.

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