Do you have to get a cold or the flu this coming season? No! This year can be different. With the right preparation, quick intervention and a lineup of powerful, natural vims fighters, there’s a good chance that you can enjoy fall and winter without getting sick. Here’s how…
Rely on nature’s virus killers
If you start to come down with a cold or the flu, my first recommendation is to change your diet. Eat lightly so that your body can focus on healing. For the first 24 hours, consume filtered water, broths and soups with lots of garlic, onions and spices, such as turmeric and cayenne, which relieve congestion, promote circulation and have a natural anti-inflammatory effect. Herbal teas (especially ginger, cinnamon and peppermint) and steamed vegetables also are good choices. When you’re feeling better, move toward a more normal diet.
I have found several supplements to be effective for treating colds and flu. Consider taking these when people around you are sick or when you first feel symptoms. You can use one or any combination until you feel better. These also are safe for children when given in dosages of one-quarter to one-half of what I recommend for adults. The bigger the child, the higher the dose you can use.
• Lomatium dissectum
Lomatium dissectum is a plant once used by Native Americans to fight Spanish flu. Preliminary research shows that lomatium has the ability to prevent viruses from replicating and to stimulate white blood cell activity.
With colds and flu, I often see improvement within 24 hours. In my experience, the only side effect has been an allergic reaction in the form of a measles-like rash in a small percent¬ age of users. This rash disappears a few days after lomatium is discontinued.
Eclectic Institute makes a potent product called Lomatium-Osha, which soothes the respiratory tract. This product is 30% alcohol, so take only the dosage recommended on the label. For children, add one-quarter of the adult dosage to hot water and let it sit for five minutes so that the alcohol evaporates.
Women who are pregnant or nursing should not use lomatium.
Elderberry, as shown by research in Israel, can stimulate the immune system, enhance white blood cell activity and inhibit viral replication.
Flu patients have reported significant improvement within 48 hours of taking elderberry. It also helps with colds.
The elderberry used in research studies is Sambucol Black Elderberry Extract from Nature’s Way. Adults should take two teaspoons four times daily children, one teaspoon four times daily.
Contrary to recent media reports, extracts from this plant can be effective for treating colds and flu. Echinacea makes the body’s own immune cells more efficient in attacking viruses.
The key is using a product that has been processed to contain a high level of active constituents. Ground-up echinacea root or leaves won’t do much. The use of alcohol and water by the manufacturer to extract active components is critical to the product’s potency.
Also, be sure to use enough (many people don’t). Two potent, well-researched products are Echinamide: Fresh Alcohol-Free Echinacea Extract, Natural Berry Flavor and Echinamide Anti-V Formula Softgels, both by Natural Factors. This echinacea has been shown to reduce the length and severity of the common cold.
If you feel a cold or the flu coming on, take 20 drops of liquid extract or two capsules every two waking hours for 24 hours, and then cut back to every three waking hours until the illness has passed.
The same company makes a liquid preparation called Anti-V Formula, which contains Echinamide, lomatium and other virus fighters. It is the most aggressive product for cold and flu from the Natural Factors line and can be used instead of the other supplements. Take 1.5 milliliters (ml) every two waking hours for the first 48 hours and then every three waking hours until the illness is gone.
Homeopathic influenzinum is an intriguing remedy that I have used with success.
Made from active flu strains, it stimulates the body’s own defense system to resist infection. It works along the same lines as an oral vaccine, but since it is homeopathic, none of the flu particles are left in the preparation. It can be used for the prevention or treatment of flu and has no side effects.
Take two 30C-potency pellets twice daily for two weeks at the beginning of flu season (in early November). Take two pellets four times daily when exposed to flu sufferers or if you start to have symptoms.
Oscillococcinum is another great homeopathic remedy for flu, which is also available from The Vitamin Shoppe, health food stores and pharmacies.
It can be taken at the first sign of flu and is the number-one-selling homeopathic flu remedy in the US.
• N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
This nutrient helps thin the mucus that may accompany a cold or the flu. In addition to making you feel better, NAC helps to prevent sinus and more serious chest infections.
A study at University of Genoa, Italy, showed that NAC, when taken as a supplement, could help prevent as well as treat flu. The nutrient increases levels of the powerful antioxidant glutathione in the body, which, in turn, improves immune function. NAC is available at any health-food store and many pharmacies.
If you tend to get the flu every year, take 600 milligrams (mg) twice daily when you are around people who have the flu or if you start feeling sick yourself.
• Vitamin C
Vitamin C enhances the activity of white blood cells. I have found that taking 3,000 to 5,000 mg daily helps fight viral infections. However, some people get diarrhea from this amount. For immediate treatment of symptoms, start with 5,000 mg in divided doses. If loose stools occur, cut back to 3,000 mg (or even less).