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Treating Flu Alternatively

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Staying Safe from Swine Flu

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Staying Safe from Swine Flu

On Monday, the World Health Organization raised the influenza pandemic alert to phase 4 on its "pandemic alert" scale, meaning that they have evidence that there is human-to-human transmission of the virus that is capable of leading to a sustained community outbreak. Whether or not swine flu will become a major pandemic remains unclear -- but thereís absolutely no question that everyone would benefit from measures to strengthen their immune systems to minimize the likelihood of infection.
I have written numerous times about flu prevention with regard to both the "standard" flu viruses as well as avian flu, so have pulled together the most significant and helpful information to help you protect yourself. These are good strategies at all times but especially important and relevant right now.
Itís vital to follow all the same common-sense advice weíve ever heard about staying healthy during the annual flu season: Wash your hands often... avoid exposure to infected people... try not to touch your face, as this is a common way germs are transmitted... cover your mouth and nose with a tissue (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze... and get plenty of fresh air.


According to Daily Health News contributing editor Andrew L. Rubman, ND, there are a number of particular strategies that are helpful in boosting your immune system in order to be strong enough to fight off the assault of germs. He is quick to point out that the real danger has less to do with exposure than with the state of your health at the moment -- being exposed to a virus doesnít mean you absolutely will get it. Organisms are able to cause disease only when they can get past the bodyís defenses. A strong immune system will help limit the duration and intensity of symptoms.
Dr. Rubmanís favorite immune boosters to fight viral infections:
Selenium: A Powerful Antioxidant
This essential trace mineral is a valuable antioxidant that prevents cell damage from free radicals. Selenium helps the immune system recognize viruses and block them from entering cells, explains Dr. Rubman. He recommends a dose of 400 micrograms (mcg) to 500 mcg a day divided into three parts -- that is about four times the usual.
Another potent and powerful weapon against flu is a plant called Lomatium dissectum, a member of the parsley family that grows in the northwestern US. This herb was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat upper respiratory infections and is thought to possess antimicrobial properties as well.
Specialized formulations of Lomatium are available to physicians, but consumers can purchase Lomatium - Osha throat spray (Eclectic Institute). Lomatium is most effective if used as soon as possible after a known exposure (such as a person with whom you work or attend school).
Supplemental vitamin C and D are both very helpful -- C in improving mucous membrane resistance, which is how the virus is most commonly transmitted, and D in reducing risk of infection (and if you do get sick, severity).
Red-Hot Chili Peppers: A Spicy, Immune-Boosting Tea
Another of Dr. Rubmanís flu-fighting favorites is a spicy tea concocted from echinacea, goldenseal, slippery elm bark and just a touch of the red-hot pepper capsicum. Echinacea, goldenseal and capsicum team up to fight off germs, while slippery elm allows the tea to coat the back of the throat, where viruses are most likely to take hold.
Hereís how to make it: At your local health-food store, purchase one-half ounce of powdered goldenseal root... one-half ounce of powdered echinacea root (not the whole plant)... two ounces of slippery elm bark powder... and one teaspoon of capsicum.
At home, put ingredients in a brown paper bag or plastic baggie, close tightly and shake. Transfer the contents to a screw-top jar. Give this jar a shake each time you use it in order to remix the ingredients.
To make the tea, pour one cup of very hot water into a mug over one-half teaspoon of the powder.
Cover and steep for five minutes. Sip up to several cups daily throughout flu season.


It is important enough to repeat -- wash your hands. Itís age-old advice that remains critical. Wash hands before eating... before leaving the bathroom... and indeed, anytime they are dirty.
Read on to learn what to do if you do happen to be stricken with swine flu...

Andrew L. Rubman, ND, medical director, Southbury Clinic for Traditional Medicines, Southbury, Connecticut.

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Natural Swine Flu Treatment


If You Get Sick...
In the devastating 1918-1919 flu pandemic, which claimed more US lives than World War I, only 1.05% of those who used homeopathic remedies perished... in contrast to a 28.2% death rate in those who used conventional treatment. Thatís a compelling reason to turn to homeopathy, in my view.
Homeopathic treatments encourage the body to marshal its own healing resources to fight disease. A particular advantage: Because they are so highly diluted, homeopathic preparations are not associated with the adverse effects of conventional medicines. I spoke with Michael Carlston, MD, a physician in private practice in Santa Rosa, California, and principal author of the book, Classical Homeopathy, to get his advice on what homeopathic treatments people can use if they become ill.
Homeopathic medicines come as small pills or drops to be taken under the tongue. Carefully follow instructions on the label for administration and dosage. Always use a spoon (even for pills) because contact with dirt or oil on the skin can potentially inactivate these substances.
With homeopathic treatments, different ones work for different symptoms. Most homeopathic treatments are not flu-strain specific (as flu shots are) but rather are tailored to the needs of the individual. Specific symptoms and characteristics will help determine the homeopathic medicine that is best for you. Dr. Carlstonís favorites:
Gelsemium was the primary homeopathic medicine used successfully during the 1918-1919 flu pandemic. Dr. Carlston recommends gelsemium for flu sufferers with extreme lethargy, fatigue and shakiness.
Flu symptoms appropriate for treatment with gelsemium include...
  • Dizziness and weakness
  • Dullness, exhaustion, sleepiness and heaviness
  • Symptoms that grow worse with movement
  • Headache at the back of the head
  • Muscular soreness in the neck and shoulders
  • Stiff neck
  • Chills, including down the spine
  • Alternating sensations of hot and cold
Bryonia is best for flu sufferers who are irritable and worried and find themselves saying, in the manner of Greta Garbo... "I want to be alone."
Symptoms that call for treatment with bryonia include...
  • Dullness that is accompanied by irritability and worry
  • Headache in the forehead that feels better with pressure and worse with motion
  • An uncomfortable feeling of warmth with a strong desire for cool air
  • Extreme thirst for cool drinks
Eupatorium perfoliatum
Eupatorium perfoliatum is for influenza accompanied by deep bone pain, which may actually hurt as badly as if your bones are broken, says Dr. Carlston. This pain is most pronounced just before and after chills. Eupatorium perfoliatum is most appropriate for a bout of influenza characterized by the following symptoms...
  • Soreness and aching of the entire body, especially in the bones
  • Hoarseness and sore throat
  • A severe cough that hurts the head and chest
  • Thirst
  • Runny nose, inflammation and stinging tears
  • Bad digestion, stomach pains, constipation and excessive gas that may lead to vomiting
In contrast to the other homeopathic medicines discussed here, oscillococcinum is a more general flu remedy. Formulated from the liver and heart of the Muscovy duck, it is one of the most widely used homeopathic medicines in the world. It helps reduce symptoms and duration of the flu.
When self-treating flu with homeopathic medicine, you should stop taking it once you begin to feel better.
Side effects of these and other homeopathic remedies are rare, but always be on the lookout for unusual symptoms when you take any new medication or supplement. If you already take medication, consult your health care practitioner before taking any remedy.
To find a homeopathic practitioner in your area, visit the Web site of the National Center for Homeopathy at or the American Institute of Homeopathy at You also can consult the site of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians at, because naturopathic physicians are trained in homeopathy.

Michael Carlston, MD, in private practice, Santa Rosa, California, principal author of Classical Homeopathy (Churchill Livingstone).


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