Welcome to Body and Weight Wednesday. We are moving into flu season and want to give you my top tips and favorite herbs and supplements for staying well. I haven’t had a cold or flu in at least a decade. In fact, I can’t even remember the last time I got sick. However, I remember twenty years ago, before I figured this out, I got sick many times a winter.
First off, I don’t recommend getting a flu shot. There is no evidence that they really work and according to the Center for Disease Control some of them contain mercury a known neurotoxin and immune suppressant. Further, whoever designed flu shots really doesn’t understand the flu nor the immune system. With a Ph.D. in physiology, I understand how the immune system works better than your average doctor. In order to create immunity, you need the exposure to match the way the viruses actually enters the body. Influenza enters the body via our respiratory system. Throat, mouth, nose, lungs, you get the idea. Not our arm.
Okay, enough said.
Now there are two lines of thought when it comes to flu prevention. Some people focus on decreasing exposure to the virus. Face masks, wiping door knobs, washing hands a lot. Telling people to stay home if sick or cough in their sleeve. This is based on the theory that germs cause illness. You’ll hear me refer to this as germ theory. I believe that germs can be a contributing factor to getting sick, but not the most important factor. My focus is on becoming an inhospitable host body. Afterall there are germs everywhere. You can’t avoid them. At any one time we have staph and strep and other infectious bacteria living on our skin and in our body. I was surprised when I learned this in college, but it makes sense, we were designed to live in harmony with bacteria. We have an immune system that keep everything in check.
How do we reduce our susceptibility to infection and avoid getting colds and flu?
Anything that stresses the body our increases our susceptibility to infection. Stressors include anxiety or fear or anything that actually increases adrenaline in our body. This is psychological stress. Poor nutrition or poor quality lipids also stresses the body out. And lack of sleep and exposure to cold are both on the list of stressors. You can probably think of other stressors like injury or exposure to toxins. The list goes on and on.
The first thing we need to do to prevent a cold is reduce stress. Why is this?
The effects of stress on the body are not completely understood. But we do know that stress suppresses the immune system and overall functioning of the body. Our bodies were not meant to be under continuous stress. We were meant to chase after a wild boar to get our dinner and then relax for a couple days.
Having been a stress puppy for decades I learned that the best way to counteract the continuous stress of PTSD is to take an adaptogenic herb. My herb of choice is Siberian Ginseng, otherwise known as eleutherococcus. Eleutherococcus is a mouthful, but the FDA made it illegal to call it Siberian Ginseng so we are stuck with its botanical name. Eleutherococcus helps the adrenals turn off so that the body can recover more easily from stressful circumstances. The best and most inexpensive source is Imperial Elixir Siberian Sport. One cap a day is good. I take three.
Of course, optimally we identify and remove the subconscious beliefs that are causing our stress. When it comes to viral infections it seems that being driven by the idea that we are not enough just the way we are or that we have to be perfect and please everyone makes us more susceptible. If you are running beliefs that reflect low self-esteem and have been unable to get rid of them, drop me a line at [email protected]. I am offering people sessions to be broadcast on this podcast for free. Space is limited, so if you are ready to let go of your limitations, let me know.
Another stress that is easy to avoid is poor nutrition. I have always made sure I eat well, but I also supplement. We just can’t get enough of the minerals we need in modern food. Big scale farming depleted the minerals years ago. Even the Journal of the American Medical Association recommends supplementation for this reason. In addition, what some people call aging is actually the body falling apart due to oxidative stress. Extra anti-oxidants are essential in order to keep the body in top form. I take a supplement bundle called Peak Performance. It is patented to deliver the highest absorbable minerals and has extra antioxidant support, fish oils and a probiotic. It has been clinically tested and shown to reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure in healthy people. An added bonus.
I recommended Peak Performance to a woman last year that was chronically getting sick and it was enough for her to stay well the rest of the winter – even when she tested it by being stressed, sleep deprived and having her heat go out.
I also take a little extra Vitamin D. Genetic testing revealed I have a tendency to vitamin D deficiency. We don’t actually know everything Vitamin D does, but it acts like a hormone in the body and low levels are correlated with a wide variety of illnesses.
When viruses attack the body they go through the cell linings that are made up of lipids. If you are eating poor quality lipids you are more susceptible. If you think you are about to get sick, don’t eat restaurant Chinese food – unless you want to get sick. To fortify your resistance, fish oils and other essential fatty acids will help. These are also great for people with allergies.
These recommendations will give you the best body to prevent germs from infecting you. A body taken care of this way will be strong enough to fight off any infection without you having symptoms.
Now lets talk about what to do when you’ve been exposed and infected. There is a period of time between the virus getting into your body and a full blown cold or flu. Do you want to know how to fight the virus before it has taken complete hold?
I have got recommendations for things you can do and herbs you can use, but the critical aspect is awareness. You have to learn what your first early sign of infection is. Many people actually get brain foggy a couple days before symptoms start. You may notice this. I used to get a slight tickle in the back of my throat, or the air coming in my nostrils would feel a little raw. If I ignored it I would end up with a full blown cold within a few hours. If I noticed it in the middle of the night and did not take action I would wake up and it would be too late. The critical aspect of preventing a cold once you’ve started to get it is to take action fast and hard.
There are three actions to take to stop the cold in its tracks.
- Stimulate the immune system.
- Take Anti-microbials.
- Stimulate tissue.
Herbs I have used that put the immune system on alert are echinacea, reishi, and astragalus. There are many others that will stimulate the immune system.
As for antimicorbials, elderberry syrup actually prevents both viruses and bacteria from traveling along the surfaces of the throat and penetrating cells, plus it is tasty. That’s my first choice for my daughter. For me I use Mahonia or Berberis (Oregon Grape Root Extract ). These are nasty yellow bitter herbs that kill bacteria and stimulate the immune system to clear everything else. One of the active ingredients in these herbs is berberine and that is used as berberine hydrochloride to prevent travelers diarrhea. I use mahonia as a tincture. The key thing with herbs is you need to dose high if you want to stop the virus. For me that means a dropperful of tincture every 15 minutes until I feel the symptoms go away. Then I might switch to every hour or every few hours. One dropperful three times a day will not stop a cold. You need to hit it hard and fast and then you can stop taking the herb. I might continue to treat for a day, then I would just stop taking the herb. That’s my way. Follow your gut. Of course, if you are clueless about all this, you need to consult with a trained herbalist or health practitioner. Everything has the potential to harm you, so be sensible.
If all this sounds pretty exotic and you need help now, then go to your kitchen spice rack. Anything will help. Thyme, oregano, garlic all have antimicrobial activities. Make a strong tea to drink or breath in the steam.
Stimulating the tissue means getting better blood flow to the area, activating the tissue and creating more immune cell traffic. Cayenne is good if the infection is going down your throat and horse radish is great if it’s going into your sinuses.
You also may want to add some additional antioxidants like vitamin C. I actually use that and Padma Basic for antioxidant support. And avoid anything that creates more stress. Get rest if you can, meditate, avoid those rancid oils, deep fried food, and sugary foods.
In summary, I keep healthy by meditating, maintaining good nutrition and doing yogic practices and removing the subconscious triggers to stress. If I overwork, get worried about something or travel I increase antioxidants, Siberian ginseng and immune stimulated herbs to counteract the increased stress. I stay alert for my personal signs of getting sick and I take action. Mahonia/Berberis is my herb of choice, but you might find it practical to use oregano oil or colloidal silver. Find your own anti-microbial and make sure you carry it with you, especially when you travel. Oh sure, you can wash your hands. The good news is that the same basic health advice I give for preventing a cold will also prevent degenerative disease and aging. How does it get better than that? Taking care of yourself is certainly worth it.
Cheery Monday by Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
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Podcast: Copyright 2017 Dorena Rode – All rights reserved
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