The dreaded "flu season" has once again descended on the fearful population, and for the last month or so I've been witnessing some horrific sights. My local Walgreens has a big sign out front, advertising their large stock of flu vaccines. At Walmart you can find endcap after endcap stacked with over the counter cold and flu drugs. Drug companies are cashing in big time, this year more so than ever as their own lab created swine flu sweeps across America and...well...does absolutely nothing different than any other flu.
If you think the modern Valentine's Day was created by Hallmark and Sees, you're absolutely correct. The same goes for cold and flu season. Unfortunately, you and I and whoever else you decide to tell are pretty much the only people who know this, and some dummy who doesn't believe in multivitamins is probably going to get you sick pretty soon, if it hasn't happened already. Quadruple that statement if you have 2 or more children. So, until the entirety of humanity awakens from the sleep that the media has put them under (natural=BAD Drugs=GOOD), let's you and I keep our livers in top shape and practice some toxin free health.
SUNLIGHT! I use caps when I yell, so try to imagine me when I scream
three times fast. The sun is your first line of defense against illness. Both sunlight and moonlight are necessary nutrients, and these ones can't be bottled. Sunlight creates natural Vitamin D3, a steroid hormone, in your skin, and don't be swayed by "science" which says that you need "natural" Vitamin D from cow's milk, which is added and absolutely not the natural form of Vitamin D3 that you need. 30 minutes in direct sunlight on your face and arms alone will produce way more Vitamin D than anyone's recommended amount. However, this process involves your liver, which is why it's crucial for you to treat it well. If you're doing full body cleanses twice a year or more and not excessively using OTC medications or alcohol, you should be fine.
However, don't just pop a supplement and call it a day, because the awesomeness of sunlight goes far beyond vitamins. Regular sun exposure can help to heal you from depression, insomnia, and boost your immune system. Take off your sunglasses because light therapy is very calming and healing to both mind and body, but don't stare directly into the sun. Also, abstain from using sunblocks, lotions, and other unnatural chemicals that absorb into the skin. The media has played a critical role in convincing you that the sun causes cancer, but think about that for a minute and you'll notice just how ridiculous that sounds. The sun. Our only source of light and heat. Is dangerous. Of course, these are the same people who want to put you in a microwave when you're sick and inject you with mercury when you're well. Applying toxins on the skin and then heating them, such as when you put on sunblock or lotion and go out for a day of outdoor fun, is what you should be careful about. On the flip side, don't bake yourself hours a day, either. Try the middle path, moderation. Take a walk for 30 minutes in short sleeves or a tank top, or open your windows when the sun is at the right angle and soak up the rays on your couch or bed.
If you want to read more about Vitamin D and sunlight, check out this link:
Sunlight and Vitamin D pdf
You diet is VITALLY important when it comes to preventing illness. Nutritional deficiencies lead to disease, and if you think you're getting enough nutrients from food, I hope you're living several hundred years in the past. Our modern produce, organic or not, is severely deficient in nutrients, and processed food has none. Synthetic vitamins don't count. Give away your Centrums, get some whole food based supplements which will provide you with natural nutrients, start JUICING, and start eliminating toxin filled, man made foods which can act as anti nutrients and actually destroy the good stuff you are getting. Cleanse your colon, because you can take all the supplements you want but if your digestive system is compromised you can't actually absorb and assimilate them properly.
Refined sugar will decimate your immune system, as will all the man made foods and chemicals that make up the standard American diet. I know what you're saying now, and I'm already laughing. "But I eat pretty well!" No, you don't. I say that pretty confidently, unless you happen to be a raw foodist who found my blog through a raw food forum. You probably eat pretty well. The rest of you can take a hint from that: eat more raw foods, eat less cooked and eat minimal to no packaged or processed foods. It sounds easy when I say it like that, but it's infinitely harder in practice because we are not simply cars that need fuel. We are complex, unique individuals who all need different levels of nutrients and have emotions which affect our food choices. Learning new information and unlearning the MISinformation we've all been fed is key, and guidance (such as through dietary counseling) can make all the difference.
My herbal flu blend of the day...
There are hundreds of substances, which grow naturally all over the earth, that can help to boost your immune system and fight off colds and flus. What works for one may not work for another, since we are all biochemically unique. I'll mention just a few of the most popular to get you started on your learning path.
Garlic. Oh, baby, I know you love it. You cook with it, but it can literally save you from some pretty bad infections. Allicin is the important compound found in garlic which is antibiotic and antiviral, but it will be destroyed by heat as with all nutrients. The best way to use this is to take a clove of garlic and crush that thing up, mince it, or do whatever you do until its in tiny little bits and eat it. I dump mine in a glass of water if I'm in a hurry or add it to lettuce wraps or other raw dish and eat it. I suggest doing this with food or on a full tummy, as garlic is very powerful and can be irritating and ever cause an allergic reaction when taken on an empty stomach. However, before I learned that I took it on an empty stomach all the time and only suffered occasional heartburn. You decide. Garlic is also a potent blood thinner, which is great for your heart and actually recommended for people in place of aspirin, which can cause death even in small doses. If you're taking medications for your heart or blood, ask your chosen health professional before taking tons of raw garlic.
Oregano Oil. I personally like this stuff, and have used it in combination with other methods to successfuly heal a severe piercing infection. However, because this herb in it's oil form is gaining popularity, it's also starting to be taken incorrectly. Oregano oil is a powerful antibiotic that can be used topically or internally to treat fungal infections, viruses and bacteria, and even Candida overgrowth. As such, it should not be taken long term and only used when an infection is present. In high doses it can become toxic to the human body. It should be used for a period of 2-3 weeks, and then discontinued for 2 weeks. Do not assume that because something is natural it can be abused with no side effects. Antibiotic abuse, both natural and pharmaceutical, can result very quickly in Candida overgrowth, which is a very serious condition that can be fatal if not treated properly. For this powerful oil, treat it respectfully and use it often, but not in excess.
Tea Tree Oil. As one of my favorite oils of all time, Tea Tree gets a lot of screen time on this blog. However, it is, in my opinion, a must in every household. For colds and flus, Tea Tree is the foundation of any good herbal routine. Dilute 20-30 drops in a full sized spray bottle filled with water and spray it everywhere in your home, especially where the sickies are. This will disinfect surfaces and bedding without the incredibly harmful chemicals found in regular household bacterial sprays. Mix a few drops into Coconut Oil and you've got a natural, homemade Vicks that won't harm you or your children and can be used safely on the chest, under the nose or around the frontal sinus. Mix 1-3 drops in a glass of water and gargle several times daily to destroy throat infections.
Elderberry. Isreal got something right. There, elder is used as a potent flu remedy, and health stores across America are catching on. Both the flowers and the berries can be used in several different ways to effectively heal the flu. Personally, I keep elderberry tincture on hand at all times, and I always have a jar aging as a back up, because it takes a few months to make and goes very quickly. Elderberry syrup is also very popular, but it tends to be loaded with sugar and I avoid it. The flowers can be infused with hot water for 20 minutes and then drunk as a tea. Amish people use elderberries to make pies and jams, so it's a very safe way to heal a flu naturally.
Finally, I'll just plug Vitamin C once more. I know you think that Vitamin C just gets peed out, and that because someone told you it did. And you believed them. When vitamins are found in urine, that simple means they're water soluble. The vast majority of vitamins are. When traces of vitamins show up in your urine, that is simply an indication that you have the vitamin in your bloodstream. No trace in the urine means no trace in the bloodstream, and then guess what? You're in trouble. Take your vitamins. So next time someone tells you they don't take vitamins because you pee them out, ask them why they bother drinking water.
Vitamin C is not only safe in large doses, it's highly suggested. A good level to shoot for in a normal day is 2-3 grams. I like to use it in a powder form, and simply mix it in a glass of water after every meal. Make sure you take this while eating, since large amounts of Vitamin C can cause diarrhea if taken on an empty stomach or you're simply not used to having nutrients in your body. Increase the amount you take gradually, and don't forget that not only does Vitamin C boost your immune system, it also helps to heal artery damage and plays a role in keeping your skin soft and wrinkly free. Straight IVs right into the bloodstream have even helped people heal from broken bones in staggeringly short amounts of time.
There are literally thousands of online articles about natural cold and flu remedies, and there are as many combinations of herbs and supplements as there are herbalists. You may have success with a completely different combination of methods and herbs, but no herbal formula or pill can substitute for a good diet and plenty of natural rest, air, activity and sunlight. Free yourself from cubicle syndrome and come outside :)