STAY WELL THIS WINTER – Practical Hints on dealing with cold and flu 

Colds and flu are caused by viruses which generally target the Respiratory System. They mutate every year mainly from Human to Human, or via  Animals, pigs or Birds.  They differ from each other – A cold is usually milder than the flu and colds are more likely to produce a runny or stuffy nose. Colds can be caught anytime throughout the year.  Flu is more serious with symptoms of fevers, body aches and pains, severe fatigue, chills and sweats and symptoms usually come on quickly and are usually in winter or between seasons. Severe flu can overwhelm the body’s immune system lead to further complications such as bronchitis or even pneumonia.  Once this stage is reached then anti-biotics or strong Herbal medication is required to treat the complaint. So warding off or treating early is the best way of dealing with viruses before they get started –  So the message is, Ward off!

 Recently newspapers and media have reported that researchers have tested common colds and flu remedies and found them ineffective. They tested Vitamin C, Echinacea, and Garlic. Just why they just tested these and not others i do not know as it is well known in the Health industry where i work that these remedies are not heavy hitters regarding colds and flu. Just go into any Health food Store and you will be recommended something else, as there are more effective Herbal remedies on the shelf than these- products such as Fusion Cold n Flu or ActiViral for colds.

The main thing to know is that to affect a Virus one needs to stop it in its tracks straight away. Once the virus multiplies in the body and settles in then the battle has been lost so to speak,  and only considerable rest will help.  Certain Herbs or formulas work but only at the first sign of something happening – Sore throat, unusual fatigue, a runny nose which suddenly develops – this is the time for loading up on the herbs which if taken in sufficient doses will abort the mission of the virus by stopping its replication in the body.

Let’s have a look at some Remedies that can help –

  • GINGER : surprise, surprise. Yes fresh ginger is highly anti-viral and works against most flus viruses . It must be fresh and not in dried or powdered or tableted versions .It must be taken in sufficient quantities to work.  6 times a day at least as the therapeutic actives in ginger only last in the body for a couple of hours.  Ginger a piece about the size of your thumb is grated and steeped for ten minutes and then taken with a little honey, lime or lemon juice with a pinch of cayenne pepper. A good cup full is sufficient.  Leftover ginger can be stored and then, with later leftovers can be reboiled for a  half hour or so then strained and squeezed to express and concentrate the juice. Ginger must be taken hot so cannot be taken cold or stored for too long in the fridge except overnight. It only works if sufficient quantities are taken at the first onset of symptoms. The only downside is that this does not suit the busy person who works long hours and does not have time to brew up the ginger concoction. If you have the flu you should be home and not working but here are some other options –
  • COLD AND FLU tablets by Fusion Health or BACTEVIR by Oriental Botanicals ( same manufacturer and herbs in both products ) .  No ordinary cold and flu formula – these tablets contain a number of herbs that have proven potent ant-viral properties such as Isatis tinctoria, Lonicera Japonica, Andrographis. All these herbs have been used in Chinese Medicine for millennia and have tested over that time for use in warding off and treating the effects of colds and flu. The adult dose is two tablets x twice a day for this product but for the first onset, I would recommend at least 8 tablets for the first day or taken two every couple of hours and half that dose the second day to stop viruses in their tracks!
  • ACTIVIRAL by Fusion Health – is another formula that is flu orientated and has a focus of Andrographis which is a potent ant-viral herb.
  • ELDERBERRY: lots of science behind Elderberry ( Sambucus  Nigra) to support its use as it has a proven ability to reduce virus replication. A typical brand that has been around for some time is the Nyal Brand available in most supermarkets. For dosage, I would double the dose and spread out during the day. Stick to the tabled form as it is concentrated.

Now the key to treating Colds and flu is to commence immediately any symptoms are felt. If the symptoms are mild or you are not sure whether you have the virus then smaller doses can be commenced of any of the above and then monitor what happens. If symptoms increase then immediately go into full Anti-virus therapy mode. The above Remedies can be taken together for best results and this is what I recommend. Pick only two products and go with them. My pick would be Cold and flu and an Elderberry product.  Stocking up with tableted formulas is the go as their shelf life is about two years. Nothing worse than contracting a virus and feeling too ill to go out the door to the shop to purchase a product.

Now, what if the virus replicates and settles before you have time to enact any protocols? Still, do the protocols as they will reduce the symptoms and severity of the Cold or flu and rest with lots of ginger tea can speed recovery time. If you are in this stage then keep it simple with lots of chicken soup, Ginger tea and one of the above products.  Rest is a critical part of the therapy and soldering on is very counterproductive and can lead to post-viral fatigue issues and increases the risk of contracting Pneumonia or bronchitis.

Children can also benefit from the above but of course, adjust the dose according to age . Tableted formulas can be ground up in a spice grinder and blended with a warm drink to be taken throughout the day.

Ahh, the old chestnut!  What about drug interactions? ( always brought up by media or pharmacy people ) Unless you are on Warfarin then there is little chance of interaction. If in doubt then take the supplements two hours away from your pharmaceuticals. The high doses recommended are only for two days or so to stop the virus – then normal doses to be employed thereafter so any chances of drug-herb interaction are minimal.

There are little or no side effects from the Herbs but I have noticed myself that I may get a headache if I take too many Bactevir or Cold n flu at max dose. That means I am dosing at Max and need to back off a little. Dose little, more often, and rest,

There may be other brands out there that have similar herbs so do look around but i have found these formulas to be the best with the right herbs for providing Anti-viral therapy .

Next Blog will be on post Viral recovery. For further information please contact me on  www.adelaidenaturopath.net.au