Thoughts On Immunity

Friday, March 16, 2018

Let's talk about immunity! Although the flu season appears to be on its way out, we are still seeing some local active cases of Type B popping up. However, these suggestions aren't strictly for flu...viruses are always popping up, including the common cold. Besides the basics: washing hands consistently, hand sanitizing after touching pens/credit card machines in public (I keep a bottle in my car for this very reason), getting enough sleep (HAHA, who's with me on never getting enough sleep?), eating your best attempt at a balanced diet, and staying hydrated!! And, remember, stress is going to lower our immunity...we can't avoid it, and you all know this has been a particularly stressful time for our family, but we can be aware that it leaves us more prone to catching something.
One of the most commonly known immunity boosters is Elderberry. But, what do we usually all buy? Elderberry syrup...which has sugar, which lowers your immunity. You're kind of shooting yourself in the foot there. Not to mention, it is expensive. We have one in the store for around $15 for only 14 doses. We sell bulk dried elderberries and I have seen plenty of folks buying them and raw honey to make their own syrup, so that may be a little better option, but I still usually advise skipping the syrup and going straight for the concentrate (Wyldewood Cellars $26.99/75 doses). The recommended daily dose for a 150lb person is 1 tsp a day, so you're going to want to adjust that dosage down for kiddos. And, speaking of kiddos, it tastes a little like a dry wine so you may need to hide it in some grape juice, which is what we have done for Kindred. If you are showing symptoms, you can do an acute dosage of 2-4 times a day for a few days. I have taken more like 5-6 when I had flu-like symptoms, personally. If you notice a little upset stomach, unrelated to your virus, just skip your next dose. Elderberry is one of the most clinically studied herbs. It has even been found to be effective against strep throat. Take it if you're going to be traveling!!
Echinacea has also been run through the ringer as far as testing goes and they find that it reduces the length and severity of colds. Take it at the first sign a cold is coming on. Skip this one if you have ragweed allergies, as my compatriot Kim found out. Typically, you want to do 150mg (at least) about 2-3 times a day.
Propolis is on the list of nature's antibiotics. Studies have shown it to be effective against upper respiratory infections, tonsillitis, colds, flus, pain, skin conditions, cold sores, & candida. Scientists are looking into it for 'superbugs' because it has neutralized multi-drug resistant bacteria. Be aware of the potential for anaphylactic shock in folks with bee allergies.
One that is fairly new to my medicine cabinet this year has been Pelargonium, but is more widely known as Umcka. It is effective against heavy coughs & other respiratory ailments. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and an expectorant. We sell a box with little individual packets you add to hot water. When I started at the store, I had a lingering cough & cold and Umcka really helped me out.
Other than these herbal remedies, make sure you are boosting your Vitamin C levels (I do 5000mg in a day, when I am actively sick with something respiratory, as it thins mucus & even higher doses have been shown to help with whooping cough/pertussis). As an antioxidant, Olive Leaf has been shown to be stronger than Vitamin C and it is also an antiviral particularly effective against hepatitis B & C and herpes. Just as a general rule, I also start raising my Vitamin D levels when winter comes on.
If you are diagnosed with the flu and given a prescription for Tamiflu, I urge you to research it before you take it. And be especially cautious in giving it to children as it seems to be causing some serious mental disturbances/suicides. Star Anise contains shikimic acid, which is an active ingredient in Tamiflu and has been used for treating the flu by the Chinese. And, please, do not be afraid of a fever! In our family, we let it burn because that is the job it is designed to do. When we eliminate the fever, we rob the body of it's natural response to an invader. For the adults in our family, up to 104 is not medicated, if we aren't in pain. However, if Kindred hits 103, I am more concerned and likely to treat with Motrin. (As always, we are monitoring for other symptoms. If Kindred had a climbing fever, no other symptoms, and was complaining of a sore neck, we'd be on our way to the ER.) I try to remember that everything we take affects our bodies in other areas. According to their package inserts, Motrin can cause ulcers, bleeding, or holes in the stomach/intestines at any time during treatment, without warning, & may cause death. It doesn't say from an overdose, it says with ANY dose. It's rare, sure, but there is a risk. Tylenol can be toxic to the liver if you take too much, or take it often over a period of a few days because the body can't eliminate it quickly enough.
I believe alternative & western medicine practices are equally important and should have a symbiotic relationship to truly help people. I would never hesitate to tell someone that they seem beyond the scope of holistic treatment. Hopefully, some of these suggestions come in handy. Take good care, friends!
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