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An Herbal Approach to H1N1 Virus (Swine Flu)
Over the last few days, I have watched the media rush to warn us of a possible shortage of H1N1 Swine Flu vaccines. We warn that the H1N1 virus will enter pandemic proportions this winter. Many of us are clearly confused about the prevention/treatment approach for ourselves and family members. As a herbalist, I was asked my opinion on this provocative topic.
Sometimes vaccinations are necessary. The elderly, people with compromised immune systems and very young children should be protected. Maintenance is necessary and often insufficient. Therefore, caregivers and educators should consider vaccination. With this, the decision to vaccinate should be carefully considered. Are there reasonable and easy options to protect you and your family without vaccination, while the choice is still ours? Of course there are, and one option is to use an herbal approach.
Herbalism, like prevention, is all about personal responsibility, responsibility for yourself and others. If you are sick, self-quarantine to prevent others from becoming sick. Most employers have seen the H1N1 virus as a serious enough threat to encourage their employees to use their sick days when feeling sick. Some even allow employees to take days off even when you’ve exhausted your sick time.
Prevention in this case and all other health problems is the most important consideration. Especially for this flu season, building your immune system should be your biggest concern.
Herbs that build the immune system and can be taken before illness include:
ONEstragulus (Astragalus Membranaceus) – A powerful immune booster. Best taken before cold and flu season hits, it builds the body’s resistance.
Siberian Ginseng (Eleutherococcus Senticos) – Has anti-viral properties and boosts the immune system.
Codonopsis Root (Codonopis pilosulae) – For low immunity and frequent infections
Schizandra Berries (Schizandra chinensis) – Increase the body’s immune function
Reishi Mushroom – (Ganoderma lucidum) – Stimulates the immune system
All of the herbs listed above can be taken as a tea or tincture on a preventative basis this flu season.
What to do if you feel sick:
Know your body and recognize the signs of illness. Everyone starts getting sick in a different way; fatigue, sore throat, headache, dizziness, cold etc. The first hour of the illness is the most important in the treatment of that disease. A herbal approach to treating the flu includes all of the following: clearing toxins and excess fluids by increasing sweating, killing germs and reducing fever, pain, stiffness and swelling.
It is done by stimulating a natural immune system response.
– At the first symptoms of the flu – a diaphoretic medicine such as Osha Root (Ligusticum porteri) which can be taken, it will stimulate sweating and help eliminate toxins. Osha Root was first used by Native Americans to treat colds, flu and upper respiratory infections. It is a powerful herb, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. An Osha tea or tincture can be taken in small doses every half hour to an hour.
– If your cold symptoms become inflammatory, take an herbal antibiotic or antimicrobial – Like Golden Seal (Hydrastis canadensis) or Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea) up to 7 days in tea or tincture. These two are powerful herbs and should be treated as such.
– If you are congested, have a cough or phlegm – use a expectorant, astringent and antispasmodic herb. Echinacea can kill germs and dry phlegm. Echinacea can be a drying herb, so you should not take it when you have a dry cough. Use a peppermint herbal steam (Menta piperita) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globules) for congestion relief. Other herbs that may help include: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) and wild cherry (Prunus serotina), Elecampane (Inula helenium) and sour (Thymus vulagris).
– For sore throat – Use a soothing demulcent (an herb that provides moisture) such as Marshmallow Root (Althaea officinalis) and Slippery Apple (Ulmus rubra). Osha can also be taken to reduce inflammation, it will calm and relax. With Yarrow, Sage (Salvia officinales) and or Echinacea.
– For Ear Infections – An ear infection usually starts in the throat and travels through the Eustachian tube to the inner ear. Anti-microbial such as – Garlic, Echinacea, Mullein or/and Meadowsweet (Filipendula ulmaria) for pain.
– For Fever use an herb that is febrifuge (reduces fever) and diaphoretic (promotes relaxation), such as – Ginger, Boneset – relieves aches and pains, Pepper, Elderflowers, Catnip (especially good for small children) and Yarrow.
There is also a lot to say about using plants to prevent the spread of infections. According to the story, in Toulouse, France, during the plague, four thieves stole and stole from the dead without falling victim to the plague. When they were finally caught, and sentenced to death for their actions, the judge allowed them to live if they would reveal the secret of how they could handle the sick bodies and keep themselves safe. Their secret was a formula of herbs and essential oils with antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties!
you can easily make a similar formula to use as a room spray and hand sanitizer to protect yourself and others from getting sick. Use two cups of distilled water to 1/2 ounce of vodka, and add 30-40 drops of the following essential oils: Sage, Thyme, Buckwheat, Pine, Lavender, Rosemary or Oregano. Shake well and spray on face, air and hands.
Above all, use common sense when feeling sick; avoid cold, raw foods, dairy products, dress warmly, and get what your body needs. Eat plenty of garlic, miso soups, and organic vegetable soups in your diet. Take care of yourself and each other this flu season!
“The above information is not intended to diagnose or treat influenza, and has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration”
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