April 30, 2017

Natural Ways to Conquer In-Progress Flu and Colds

This entry is part 3 of 5 in the series Natural Winter Health

Sick guy with a package of herbal tablets on one eyeThe first two articles in this series show how you can quickly kick colds and flu so that you never really have to deal with symptoms.

But what if you’re in a situation where you can’t deal with it when it’s first starting?  You might be traveling and not have your supplies or not be able to access them (if, for example, they’re in the cargo hold and you aren’t).  Or it might be the middle of the night, and you’re too bleary to locate them if someone else moved them.  Or possibly, you might interpret the headache and achiness as the result of a migraine coming on top of post-workout soreness, or the runny nose as allergies.  Delaying treatment even a few hours can take you from kicking it to getting really sick.

There are still things you can do that will shorten the duration of your illness and be more comfortable, without disabling your body’s defenses.

Rest, Fight, Win

The first thing to do is accept that you’re in a battle against tiny, little assailants.  Tiny, but potentially lethal.  It’s not a day to go about business as usual.  You’re going to need to rest, even if you don’t currently feel like it.  You’ll loose a day, instead of operating at ever-slower efficiency for ten.

You should still crank the vitamins B-complex, C, and D, as well as the antiviral substances of honey, vinegar, oregano oil, coconut oil, garlic oil, and colloidal silver.  It’s going to take longer than it would have when the virus was concentrated at the top outer part of your respiratory system, but they will still work.  It’s important to treat taking the antivirals like antibiotics, however, and take them every 6-8 hours (more often for the silver, as directed).

Two other things have been clinical proven to lessen the duration of illnesses caused by respiratory viruses, including but not limited to influenza: elderberries and Pelargonium sidoides, a South African geranium.  In one trial, patients receiving elderberry extract had symptoms less 4 days earlier, on average, than subjects getting the placebo.  Because real flu can last up to two weeks but is often 2-5 days, this is a helpful reduction.  And because both extracts get not only the flu but a variety of respiratory illnesses, this can be very helpful if you know you’re sick, but not quite sure that’s it’s influenza.

An extract of Pelargonium sidoides is the treatment of choice for bronchitis in Germany. One study showed that patients could return to work two days earlier than those on other treatments, while another study showed a marked improvement in symptoms by those suffering severe bronchitis by the seventh day.  It’s also been shown to be effective against strep and the common cold, reducing not only duration but severity of symptoms.

Elderberry and Pelargonium sidoides are sold together in a mentholated lozenge by Zand called Zumka.

Featured Video: Sambucol (Elderberry Extract) vs. Tamiflu

In this video, the speaker compares the efficacy and cost of Tamiflu and Sambucol tablets, including how long it takes to recover, using each. Tamiflu at the time of making the video cost $5 per tablet and took an average of 6 days to recovery, while Sambucol tabs cost 50 cents each and took 3 days to recovery according to a double blind study.

Feeling Better

While you’re still waiting for the remedies to kick in, you can be more comfortable by drinking warm liquids.  Yogi Tea’s Breathe Deep really helps if you’re coughing or having other kinds of lung involvement.  It contains herbs that are proven to have antiviral and expectorant qualities, and relax the airways to help minimize coughing and asthma attacks.  Yogi Tea’s Cold Season works well against sinus involvement, head congestion, and achiness.  It also contains herbs with anti-viral qualities.  Some people will brew both teas at once in one giant cup, while others will alternate one each hour.

There are also herbs that can help you deal with congestion.  Menthol, eucalyptus and mints all will help.  Look for a good-quality, non-petroleum-based rub, or essential oils.  Peppermint oil near the nostrils can help clear the sinuses.  Hot sauce (drunk, not rubbed on unless you want your kids snickering at you!) can accomplish the same thing.  Colloidal silver nasal spray can also not only help clear the sinuses, but kill the viruses and bacteria in them.

Environmental factors

There are also external things you can do to help yourself feel better.

Using a hot water bottle, very warm washcloth or heating pad on swollen glands not only helps them feel more comfortable, it raises your temperature near the sources of infection, helping to kill them without you having to have a higher fever.  You can also use a hot water bottle or heating pad when you’re having chills.  Some people even like soaking in the tub.

Soaking in the tub is one way to have warm, humid air.  This air can help break up congestion and further relax air passages.  Another method is to use an electric tea kettle, a good Canadian trick (it can be hard to find electric tea kettles in most parts of the United States).  Older humidifiers produce warm air, but because of the concern for possible scalding, most humidifiers now produce only cool air, which can be uncomfortable and risks the growth of mildew in the humidifier itself.

Conversely, if you have a low or steady fever and want to let it kill the virus rather than lowering it using artificial means, you can use a washcloth wet with cold water and wrung out, laid on your forehead.  This can go a long way towards helping you feel more comfortable without resorting to medications.

Listen to Your Body

No matter what you choose, be sure to listen to your body.  If you’re tired, sleep.  Don’t try to be productive: it’s counter-productive.  Our modern culture may make you feel guilty about it, but keep in mind that you’ll be back to 100% days faster than if you try to soldier on through.

If you don’t feel like eating, don’t.  Your body may be keeping resources for infection-fighting, and forcing your system to use resources to digest food instead could be a step or three backward.

But if you feel like eating something specific, do it.  There’s a lot of research behind the idea that our bodies know what they need. One thing you should have on hand, if possible, is bone broth (broth made by including the bones as well as the meat, and using vinegar in soaking them to draw more minerals and nutrients from them).  This is a food with both research and tradition behind it.  It can usually be consumed even when you have no appetite without adverse effects, and a lot of evidence points to it aiding in faster recovery.

References

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

http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/news/20031222/elderberry-fights-flu-symptoms

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/field/jimr/2004/00000032/00000002/art00005, Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections, Zakay-Rones, Z.; Thom, E.; Wollan, T.; Wadstein, J.: The Journal of International Medical Research, Volume 32, Number 2, March 2004 , pp. 132-140(9): Field House Publishing

Pelargonium sidoides for acute bronchitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis Taofikat B. Agbabiaka, a, , Ruoling Guoa and Edzard Ernsta . Complimentary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, Universities of Exeter and Plymouth, Phytomedicine Volume 15, Issue 5, 15 May 2008, Pages 378-385

http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/symptoms.htm

http://www.bidmc.org/YourHealth/ConditionsAZ.aspx?ChunkID=111711

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Series NavigationHow to Conquer Flu Fast, The Natural WayPreventing Early Spring Colds

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Copyright©2011 Tracey Rollison

Comments

  1. I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (embrocation.50webs.com), also called White Flower Oil

  2. I am one of those people prone to headaches, migraine and colds. Usually, my first recourse is White Flower Embrocation (embrocation.50webs.com), also called White Flower Oil

  3. @FiletoFish That’s good info. I’ll have to try that!

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