July 31, 2014

How to Conquer Flu Fast, The Natural Way

This entry is part 2 of 5 in the series Natural Winter Health

Statue of a pig wearing a real medical maskWinter is flu season.  Especially for those living in climates where winter is uncomfortable or even dangerous, having flu this time of year is a miserable experience.  While there is the flu shot, it’s based on researchers’ best estimates of what strain of flu will be dominant the coming year, so it’s very possible to get a different strain and end up sick.

Wouldn’t it be great if you could get over your bout of flu within hours or a day or so?  Better yet, what if you could just skip it altogether?  Best yet, what if the solutions were not only fast, but natural?

Prevention

The best way to prevent grappling with flu is to have a healthy immune system.  Your immune system needs certain substances in order to work properly, and if you don’t have those substances in your system, the system will break down.1

One crucial element to a healthy immune system is vitamin D.  Vitamin D interacts with many major nutrients in the body.  When there is enough of it, they can do their jobs much better. In most of the northern Hemisphere, we live far enough north of the equator to be unable to produce enough vitamin D to fill our needs on our own.  This is particularly true in winter, when many of us are covered from head to toe, with only a little skin showing, and the sunlight is both weaker and not present as many hours in the day as it is in summer.2

So we need to supplement, but recent studies have shown that most Americans, at least, are very deficient in vitamin D.  Some researchers suggest that 4,000 I.U.s daily is a good amount for the average person in average health.3

Another element of a healthy immune system is to have a healthy relationship with sugar.  Many microorganisms thrive when blood sugar is high.4, 5 Other hazards of high blood sugar include increased risk of cancer, insulin resistance, diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and metabolic syndrome.  Keeping your blood sugar low by eating low on the glycemic scale, eating whole foods, avoiding convenience foods and keeping your total intake of carbs much lower than the average American consumption of 200-300 grams a day.  Depending on your body. metabolism, and activity level, you might do better with anywhere from 25 grams to 150 grams daily.  But definitely when you’re fighting illness, don’t eat “whites”: potatoes, sugar, flour.  You’d do well to stick with broth-based soups, salads and protein when you’re sick.

Finally, using coconut oil in your diet can help prevent many illnesses, including influenza.  The lauric acid that makes up around 57% of its weight, on average, is made up of chains of monolaurin.  Monolaurin has been shown by several peer-reviewed studies to kill many viruses, fungi and bacteria.6 With the influenza virus, it acts by destroying the sticky, hard protein coating around the virus, making it easy for your own immune system to sweep the virus away.  You can find either traditional coconut oil that tastes like coconuts, or expeller-pressed if you don’t like the taste of coconuts or intend to use it in dishes where the coconut flavor would be odd.  Coconut oil helps keep baked goods from going stale and adds a rich flavor.  It’s also great in island-style food.

Many people swear by various herbs like echinacea and adaptogens like astragalus, panax ginseng, eleuthero, and andrographis.  If you keep your system in good shape, you’ll be much more likely to not even have a symptom when exposed to influenza and other viruses.  The recommendations in the first article in this series can also help.

Quick Recovery

If you come down with the flu anyway, despite your best efforts, you can recover from it quickly if you act fast.  The following remedies will work quickly, before your symptoms are very severe.  If you try to tough it out and wait until you can’t handle it anymore, however, you will have to try different methods (and a different article).

Oscillococcinum

You may get one of the biggest surprises of your life if you’ve never tried oscillococcinum (oh-sill-i-cox-in-num) before.  If you take it right as you realize you’re not just sleepy/sore from exercise/having an allergic reaction, you may stop the flu at that point and feel better nearly immediately, as many people do.  Nearly 2/3 of people in two separate double blind studies showed complete resolution within 48 hours.7,8 Some people take it, fall asleep, and wake up completely well, without ever progressing beyond the first couple of tissues.  If you wait long before taking it, you may end up having to take more than one dose.

Pelargonium sidoides

This South African herb, traditionally used by the Zulus, has made some big inroads outside of Africa.  A Swiss missionary doctor published a paper on it in 1929, and by 2005, it was being sold in the west by Nature’s Way under the Umka brand.  Zand sells both lozenges and syrup with the extract.  This one is also beneficial if you don’t stop the flu in the first stages.  More modern studies conclude that pelargonium sidoides is indeed effective against both colds and flu.9

Colloidal Silver

Colloidal silver was a staple of Western medicine from the 1920s to late in the 1970s, when its under-regulation and some public cases resulted in all edible silver being pulled from the market (remember when you could decorate your sugar cookie Christmas trees with silver balls?).  New safety regulations have resulted in its re-introduction to the market.  Colloidal silver has been shown to kill many microorganisms, including the pneumonicoccal bacteria, Shigella, and more.10, 11 Many people report that if they take colloidal silver at the first signs of flu (when it may be difficult to distinguish from a cold), all their symptoms stop within hours.

Do you have any surefire ways to knock out influenza so that you barely get sick?  Tell all in the comments!

References

1 http://www.askdrsears.com/html/4/t042500.asp

2 http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/2010/vitamin-d/

3 http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=vitamin-d-deficiency-united-states

4 http://www.ajcn.org/content/26/11/1180.abstract ;

5 http://insciences.org/article.php?article_id=856

6 http://www.lauricidin.com/tech_data.asp

7 Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al. Oscillococcinum in patients influenza-like syndromes: a placebo-controlled, double-blind evaluation. Br Homeopath J. 1998;87:69-76;

8 Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D’Adhemar D, Balducci F. A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes. Br J Clin Pharmacol. 1989;27:329-335

9 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12807337

10 http://www.ias.ac.in/currsci/oct102006/926.pdf silver

11 http://www.thejsho.com/pdf/Effect.pdf silver against flu

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Copyright©2011 Tracey Rollison

Comments

  1. inertiarus says:

    We always default to garlic for everything. :} Our kids have never had the flu, and it’s been decades since I had it. Dh used to have sinus infections every winter (until we started using garlic to treat it), but I don’t know that he’s had the flu in the past 10 years either. I guess our immune systems are pretty decent…and we thank our mostly organic foods diet for that!

  2. inertiarus says:

    We always default to garlic for everything. :} Our kids have never had the flu, and it’s been decades since I had it. Dh used to have sinus infections every winter (until we started using garlic to treat it), but I don’t know that he’s had the flu in the past 10 years either. I guess our immune systems are pretty decent…and we thank our mostly organic foods diet for that!

  3. @inertiarus We use a lot of garlic around here, too! That’s another really good piece of advice. And oregano. Pizza Stew all around!

  4. inertiarus says:

    @Tracey I was taking oil of oregano for a bit, but it’s much too strong for me, so having oregano in plant form, and in pizza, is a great idea! I’m guessing pizza stew is pizza without crust? :)

  5. @inertiarus Exactly! I make it in the slow cooker. It’s extremely filling.

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