5 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat the Flu

5 Sure-Fire Ways to Beat the Flu

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With flu season rapidly approaching, recommendations for preventatives are everywhere but many are not backed up by science. Can you guess the top five? (Hint: vaccination is not one of them!)

With flu season rapidly approaching, many are looking to vaccination as a “preventive” approach. Those who abstain are often accused of being uneducated or even socially irresponsible, but nothing could be further from the truth. Vaccination cannot replace natural immunity. Vaccines derail your natural immunological processes, along with exposing you to wide-ranging adverse effects.

Your odds of falling prey to influenza are largely determined by your overall health and immune function. Anything that strengthens your immune system will lower your risk for colds and flu. Unfortunately, flu vaccines often do the opposite.

All data point to the ineffectiveness of flu vaccines. According to CDC, the 2014-2015 flu vaccine reduced the chances that a person would seek medical treatment for influenza by a mere 19 percent.[1] If wearing seatbelts produced such dismal statistics, drivers would be demanding a much better defense strategy—which is what you should do if you want to stay healthy this winter. The good news is, there are much safer and more effective strategies than vaccines.

Preventing influenza hinges upon building up your immune system while avoiding the things that wear it down. What factors are the most destructive? Stress, inadequate sleep, inactivity, environmental toxicants and nutritional issues are some of the big ones. Excess dietary sugar,gluten, artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives can wreak havoc on your immune system.

There are many effective flu-busting strategies that are evidence-based, accessible and economically feasible—but the following five deserve special mention.

1. Vitamin D3

Vitamin D3 tops my list due to its ability to produce antiviral peptides (e.g. cathelicidin), which directly destroy invading organisms. Vitamin D prevents macrophages from releasing as many inflammatory cytokines and chemokines.[2] One study[3] found supplementing schoolchildren with 1,200 IUs per day of D3 cut their risk of influenza A by 42 percent.

Traditionally, we received our vitamin D from the sun. In fact, it’s theorized the reason for influenza’s increased prevalence in the wintertime is our reduced sun exposure, with a resultant drop in our vitamin D levels. It’s best to get vitamin D3 from reasonable sun exposure, but if this is not practical, a D3 supplement can be used for just pennies a day.

The only way to accurately determine your D3 level is with a blood test. In one study, adults with vitamin D3 blood levels of 38 ng/ml or greater enjoyed a two-fold reduction in acute viral respiratory infections. The Vitamin D Council recommends keeping your levels between 40 and 80 ng/ml year-round.[4]

2. Probiotics

The billions of microorganisms that reside in your digestive tract comprise 80 to 90 percent of your immune system. Practices such as antibiotic overuse, the standard American diet and today’s “germophobic” attitude have taken a heavy toll on the human microbiome. Therefore, probiotics can give a powerful boost to your immune function.

Chinese researchers found probiotics reduced the incidence and duration of respiratory tract infections in young children.[5] In another study, daily probiotic supplementation was shown to reduce fever, rhinorrhea, cough, and missed school days for children age three to five. Adults show similar benefits—those taking probiotic-containing supplements demonstrate fewer and less severe colds.

The most abundant and active probiotics come from whole foods, such as raw sauerkraut, kimchi, yogurt, kefir, kvass and other traditionally fermented foods. Although less powerful, probiotic supplements are another option. On a side note, a yeast-based fermentation byproduct called beta glucan has also been shown to reduce the incidence and severity of colds and flu.

3. Green Tea

If you feel a bug coming on, brew yourself a nice cup of green tea. Green tea is rich in catechins and is shown to enhance T cell function, as well as interfering with the replication of the influenza virus by inhibiting neuraminidase and hemagglutinin. A 2011 Japanese studyfound children who consume one to five cups of green tea per day have lower susceptibility to influenza. The EGCG (epigallocatechin-3-gallate) in green tea is a potent antioxidant offering numerous health benefits for your brain, heart, bones, eyes and other body parts. It is advisable to source your green tea from Japan instead of China in order to minimize levels of industrial pollutants, such as lead.

4. Elderberry

The next celebrity in natural flu prevention is elderberry, or Sambucus nigra. (Black elderberry extract is also known as Sambucol.) A Norwegian study showed flu sufferers who took 15 ml of elderberry extract four times a day for five days recovered four days sooner and required less “rescue medication” than placebo. Elderberry extract has also been shown to inhibit several strains of influenza virus, in vitro. Besides antiviral properties, Sambucol activates your immune system by increasing cytokine production.[6]

5. Echinacea

Last but not least, echinacea purpurea has a long history of use with respiratory infections. Research supports its ability to reduce both the severity and duration of flu symptoms. The roots of echinacea have cytokine-modulating properties.

Czech researchers [7] compared an echinacea beverage to the antiviral drug Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and found the two agents equally effective against flu—however, echinacea produced fewer complications and adverse events. Echinacea has been proven effective against avian flu (H5N1, H7N7) and swine-origin H1N1 (S-OIV). A combination of echinacea and elderberry were proven effective in killing avian flu virus (H9N2) in an infected chicken embryo.[8]

There are numerous other natural agents shown to be safe and effective against influenza—too many to discuss here—but if you’re armed with the fabulous five discussed above, influenza won’t stand a chance! For more evidence-based cold and flu remedies, click here. If you desire more information about flu-fighting medicinal herbs, please refer to this article.


 

References

[1] Medscape March 5, 2015 FDA Advisers Recommend Overhaul of 2015 Flu Vaccine

[2] Cannell JJ, Vieth R, Umhau JC, Holick MF, Grant WB, Madronich S, Garland CF, and Giovannucci E. Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect 2006 Dec.;134(6):1129-1140.PMCID: PMC2870528

[3] Urashima M, Segawa T, Okazaki M, Kurihara M, Wada Y, Ida H. Randomized trial of vitamin D supplementation to prevent seasonal influenza A in schoolchildren. Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 May; 91(5):1255-60 PMID: 20219962

[4] Vitamin D Council Testing for Vitamin D

[5] Ouwehand A, Leyer G and Carcano D. Probiotics Reduce Incidence and Duration of Respiratory Tract Infection Symptoms in 3- to 5-year-old Children. Supplement to Pediatrics January 1, 2008;121:S115. Doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2022JJJ)

[6] Barak V, Halperin T, and Kalickman I. The effect of Sambucol, a black elderberry-based, natural product, on the production of human cytokines: I. Inflammatory cytokines. Eur Cytokine Netw. 2001 Apr-Jun;12(2):290-6. PMID: 11399518

[7] Raus K, Pleschka S, Klein P, Schoop R, and Fisher P. Effect of an Echinacea-Based Hot Drink Versus Oseltamivir in Influenza Treatment: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Double-Dummy, Multicenter, Noninferiority Clinical Trial. Curr Ther Res Clin Exp. 2015 Dec; 77: 66–72. PMCID: PMC4528044

[8] Karimi S, Mohammadi A and Dadras H. The effect of Echinacea purpurea and Sambucus nigra L on H9N2 avian influenza virus in infected chicken embryo. Veterinarski Arhiv 2014;84(2):153-165. ISSN 0372-5480


 

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What To Do In A Flu Epidemic? Stay At Home And Watch TV

What To Do In A Flu Epidemic? Stay At Home And Watch TV

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Non-pharmaceutical interventions (NPIs) include actions individuals can take to reduce disease spread, such as hand washing and minimizing contacts with sick people. These can play a key role in reducing the spread of infectious diseases such as influenza, according to research published in the open access journal BMC Infectious Diseases.

Social distancing, staying indoors and avoiding social activity, is an important NPI in the event of an epidemic, especially when a vaccine is unavailable or limited. Whether privately initiated or policy directed, NPIs calling for the closure of schools and entertainment venues, and cancelling public events are becoming more relevant in control strategies.

“The swine flu outbreak that hit Mexico City in April 2009 could have been worse, but spread of the virus was reduced by people’s behavioral response of distancing themselves from each other,” says University of California at Davis economist Michael Springborn, lead author of the study. The study drew on the combined disciplinary strengths of epidemiology and economics to create a new model that incorporates behavioral responses into existing models of disease spread.

Following confirmation of a novel strain of A/H1N1 influenza virus (swine flu), on Friday 24th April 2009 the Mexican federal government closed public schools in Mexico City and ‘social distancing’ measures were put in place. Researchers from University of California, Arizona State University, Georgia State University, and Yale University used home television viewing in Central Mexico as an indicator of behavioral response during the pandemic.

Television ratings data are consistently and widely available and “highly correlated with time spent in the home,” says Springborn. These data provide a good indicator for the level of social interaction, because time spent watching television generally increases with time spent at home. When people are home, they are limiting the number of contacts they make.

“We found that the behavioral response to the outbreak was initially strong but waned sooner than expected,” says Springborn. This dynamic is interpreted as a “rebound effect”. At the onset of a flu outbreak, the public responds strongly to the directed control policies. After a prolonged period of staying indoors people began to spend less time in the confines of their homes.

Springborn explains “This suggests that efforts to utilize social distancing to mitigate disease spread may have a limited window of efficacy, i.e. before pent up-demand for activities outside the home takes precedence.” There is historical evidence for this behavior. Observations from the 1918 influenza pandemic in Australia showed that when the perceived risk decreased the public reverted back to normal behavior.

“Our study reinforces the view that capturing behavioural changes that amplify or blunt the transmission rate is key to improve our ability to make predictions about the impact of epidemics,” says co-author Gerardo Chowell, who is a newly appointed faculty member in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.

Certain age groups and socio-economic groups responded more strongly than others. The researchers found that the increase in TV watching for children and wealthier groups was more pronounced. The authors speculate that those from poorer backgrounds may face greater difficulty in taking self-protective actions like social distancing, e.g. due to less flexibility with working hours. These differences between demographic groups could have public health policy implications for directing outbreak response assistance to those with lower financial means or increasing access to paid sick-leave for low-wage workers.

Behavioral responses clearly affect the course of the disease. “This affects public health authorities tasked with planning for epidemics,” says Springborn. This has implications for management advice, including the allocation of resources between pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Within the set of NPIs, the findings provide insight for selection of the duration and strength of major interventions (closing of businesses and cancelling public events) versus other forms of assistance, such as distributing masks.

Social distancing policies may be effective against pandemic influenza. However, people don’t need to wait. It is important to remember that other behaviors, such as washing hands and wearing facemasks, could contribute and should be routine in order to reduce transmission.

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The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Natural Flu Remedies: 7 Powerful Herbs to Help Get You Through Flu Season

Natural Flu Remedies: 7 Powerful Herbs to Help Get You Through Flu Season

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As we enter the colder season of the year, chances are many of us will get a cold or the flu. Luckily there are many inexpensive herbs that can help prevent or soothe the symptoms. They raise immunity and soothe any discomfort caused by one of the highly contagious influenza viruses out there.

Here are 7 powerful and inexpensive natural flu remedies to start building up your defenses to avoid repeated illness during these colder months.

1.    Thyme

Thyme works as an excellent expectorant to clear out your sinuses and lungs when a common cold or the flu hits. So make sure to keep thyme essential oil or dried thyme at hand in case you fall ill. To loosen mucus in your chest or sinuses, steep 2 teaspoons thyme in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink as needed during the day until symptoms disappear. Or make a steam bath with dried thyme or thyme essential oil to help loosen mucus.

2.    Licorice Root

Licorice root has strong antiviral properties that can fight off the flu or common cold. You could opt for licorice tea or supplements, but make sure to buy the real, organic thing. Most commercially available licorice products don’t even contain licorice but anise seed, which has a similar taste. Be careful if you take medicine, licorice can interfere with some of them.

3.    Garlic

Garlic is one of the best immune booster out there. People who often include garlic in their diet are better in warding off viruses that cause the flu or common cold. If you can bear the taste chew on one clove of garlic once a day to keep the flu and cold away. If this is too much for you, mince the garlic and mix it with honey or add it in abundance to your daily dishes.

4.    Echinacea

Echinacea is well known to boost immunity and shorten the duration of your symptoms once the flu or cold hits. But be careful, there are many products out there that contain Echinacea but with too little of the herb in it to do any effect. If you are allergic to ragweed or pollen, avoid Echinacea as you may react to it as well. The best way to use Echinacea is as a tincture. Take 3 droppers full of tincture in one cup of warm water or drink dried Echinacea as an herbal tea.

5.    Elderberry

Elderberry extract shortness the duration of the symptoms and is very effective in fighting most of the flu viruses out there. Click here to get my granny’s homemade Echinacea and elderberry cough syrup recipe.

6.    Sage

Sage is great to soothe a sore throat or cough. You could gargle with cooled sage tea, make a steam bath or enjoy a nice cup of hot sage tea with honey. Keep in mind that sage should be avoided when breastfeeding as it can dry up milk production.

7.    Lemon Balm

Everybody loves the refreshing taste of lemon balm. It has strong antiviral properties and is well known to help fight or prevent colds and flu. Pairs well with chamomile or mint to enhance the effect. Or, for the younger patients, you could make a soothing and refreshing lemon balm soda.

FYI: Other Great Ways To Prevent Or Fight The Flu

  • Avoid dairy, alcohol, coffee, processed food, sugar , artificial sweetener, and refined grains
  • Up your vitamin C intake with citrus fruits, yellow bell peppers, guavas, dark leafy greens, kiwis, broccoli, berries, cooked tomatoes, peas, and papaya.
  • Start your day with lukewarm lemon water to boost vitamin C levels and immunity. Click here for 15 more reasons to start your day with lukewarm lemon water.
  • Get your daily dose of vitamin D. 15 minutes of natural sunlight a day will do the trick.
  • Raw apple cider vinegar works great to treat the flu or common cold. Add 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water and drink 3 times a day until symptoms disappear. Add fresh lemon juice for a better effect.

If you make sure you get your daily vitamins from the food you eat and keep these herbs at hand, there will be no need to get a flu vaccine. Those are nothing more than expensive toxic injections that don’t even guarantee you to stay flu-free.  Each year they create a vaccine based on the virus strain from the year before. So what’s the point in injecting harmful substances into your body if you still can get the flu?

Forget Natural Alternatives, Scientists Now Using Illegal Meth to Treat Flu

Forget Natural Alternatives, Scientists Now Using Illegal Meth to Treat Flu

by Anthony Gucciardi,

Who needs natural methods of dealing with the flu when you can simply use one of the most deadly and highly addictive illegal drugs on the face of the planet? That appears to be the attitude of some medical scientists, who are now looking to methamphetamine to combat the flu.

It is no satire, scientists based out of Taiwan have conducted research on the effects of methamphetamine on the flu and are now reporting that it does indeed exhibit flu-fighting properties. Granted the scientists are not recommending that the pure form of meth be utilized in the treatment of the flu, but instead they actually plan on taking further time and research to figure out which parts of the meth are responsible for the effects. This is beyond ridiculous when considering that there is already a bountiful amount of research showing the significant anti-flu capabilities of natural substances like whole foods and vitamin D.


Slashing the risk of flu contraction by around half even in very low doses, vitamin D has been found to be extremely potent when it comes to bolstering the immune system and fending off the flu. But it appears vitamin D and other natural alternatives do not warrant further research.

Instead, illegal meth is under the microscope and is being held up as a possible answer to the flu by some scientists. Used by around 30 million worldwide, meth is known to lead to side-effects like damaged blood vessels in the brain, stroke, and can even cause death. It also contains ingredients such as:

  • Drano
  • Brake fluid
  • Sodium hydroxide
  • Ether
  • Hydrochloric acid (a corrosive acid that will actually ‘eat away’ human flesh)
  • Lighter fluid

Unsure of which of these deadly ingredients were truly responsible for reducing the presence of influenza viruses in meth-exposed cells, the scientists reported that the more meth used the less the virus reproduced. The research was published in the journal PLoS One. Lead researcher Yun-Hsiang Chen wrote:

 ’We report the first evidence that meth significantly reduces, rather than increases, virus propagation…”

Studies like these highlight just how out of touch with reality (whether willingly so or not) many within the mainstream medical community have become. Waging a war against natural foods and nutrients that have been shown to fight the flu while questioning whether or not the deadly drug meth may actually hold the ‘key’ to treating the flu reveals a whole new level of ‘old paradigm’ medicine brought into focus.

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/natural-alternatives-scientists-now-using-illegal-meth-to-treat-flu/#ixzz2CKqpNksz

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