Wellness Wednesday: How to Fight the Flu ... Naturally!

6:47 PM

Let's get down to it right away. The flu is out there and you don't want to catch it. Here's what you can do, naturally, to fight it:

  • Vitamin C - research is inconsistent regarding the effectiveness of vitamin C to shorten the duration of a cold, but most of the studies are in agreement when it comes to its ability to prevent catching a cold in groups under stress (the actual study I'm referring to was done on marathon runners). I love the dissolvable packets of Emergen-C that taste great and contain 1000mg of vitamin C.
  • Vitamin D - a study by Nature Immunology discovered that T-cells (white blood cells involved with immune response) will extend a receptor, looking for vitamin D, when they encounter a pathogen, and it isn't until the T-cell receives vitamin D that it can be activated and fight the pathogen. You can find it in fish, eggs and fortified products (like milk) or simply bare some skin and get sun exposure. I take Now Vitamin D 1000 IU chewables and I give Oliver the liquid Baby D Drops, 400 IU.
  • Probiotics - there's nothing like good bacteria to fight off bad bacteria. If you're the type that is constantly sick you may be in a state of good bacteria deficiency. I recommend a probiotic that is enteric-coated, refrigerated, and contains multiple strains of bacteria. Renew Life makes a great one with 50 billion CFU (colony forming units - a way to measure bacteria).
  • Oil of oregano - a great little liquid extract to have in the house, it is anti-microbial so beyond fighting infection, it can sanitize your toothbrush, clean out a yucky wound, and add fighting power to your homemade countertop cleaner. Place 3 drops under your tongue (really, on your tongue is not going to taste pretty), allow to absorb for 30 seconds, then wash down with a glass of water.
  • Netti pot - Many bugs going around have incubation periods, meaning they enter your body and then take a bit of time to actually infect you and begin producing symptoms. Flushing your nasal passages may rid you of a bug before it sets in. Do it every few days for best results. Each model is different in its instructions but you basically flush a saline solution up each nostril and allow to drain out. See below for my saline solution recipe.
  • Echinacea - a prominent researcher, analyzing years of studies, concluded that taking echinacea cuts your risk of catching a cold by more than half, and reduces its duration by 1.4 days on average. Try an alcohol-based tincture or look for immune products that contain it. Because it is a product thats effectiveness is very much based on its quality, make sure to buy a reputable brand. I recommend A. Vogel: one of the single greatest supplement companies in the world.
  • Zinc - a zinc-deficiency is probably the leading cause of immune dysfunction. T-cells cannot function without this mineral. You can find zinc in a variety of lozenges.
  • Homeopathic "Influenzium" - this preparation is available as a liquid that can be taken (away from food and drink) to essentially immunize you from current flu viruses. Make sure the product you purchase is current or else it will contain ingredients not specific to this year's flus.

What might be causing you to be prone to illness? Here are some things that depress your immune system or promote the spread of illness, that you may want to consider addressing:

  • Lack of sleep and high caffeine intake can cause adrenal fatigue
  • Poor sanitation skills
  • Over-sanitation (using chemical cleaners, alcohol hand sprays and constant antibiotics creates an overly "clean" environment which is just as risky)

And what about when it's already hit? Here are some nice remedies:
  • Slippery elm is excellent for a sore throat, pick up a pack of the lozenges for instant relief
  • "Oscillococcinum" is a homeopathic flu remedy that wows me every time I hear of its miraculous effectiveness
  • Elderberry syrup is a delicious remedy that actually severs the flu molecule's ability to attach onto healthy cells
  • Umcka Coldcare - anything from this line is pure magic and I have no idea how to explain the mechanism by which it works - just trust me

How to make your own saline solution for a netti pot:

Boil water in a kettle, then measure out 8 oz. Stir in 1/4 tsp salt (table will work, Himalaya is better) and 1/4 tsp baking soda. Allow to dissolve, then cool. Slightly warm water is most pleasant for using a netti pot.

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