Friday, August 10, 2012

import blog herbs for the flu

Blog EntryFeb 27, '08 7:15 PM
for everyone

Flu Shot I thought this picture looked perfect if all else fails-lol Since our hostess, Sea, is still suffering with the flu, I will do a study today on herbs for the flu
Here is a good article on herbs for the cold and flu
This article comes for Care 2  
Adapted from The Antibiotic Alternative: The Natural Guide to Fighting Infection and Maintaining a Healthy Immune System by Cindy L. A. Jones, Ph.D. (Inner Traditions, 2000).
It is getting to be time that we all get a bit more sophisticated about the flu, what with the Avian flu fears looming as a possible global pandemic. Vaccinations, antiviral drugs and pharmaceuticals are not the focus of this article, but finding effective herbs to help combat the illness is.
SIMPLE SOLUTION:  A flu and cold are often difficult to differentiate, but a flu is usually worse. Symptoms include a fever with chills, runny nose, cough, headache, and a feeling of malaise or tiredness. Although the most acute symptoms usually subside within three days, symptoms such as weakness and coughing may persist for ten days. Even though the flu is typically self-limiting, serious complications can arise in the very young or the elderly or those with a preexisting disease. Two herbs have stood the test of science as being effective against the flu. Find out which ones, here: The ideal approach to the flu is, of course, prevention. This might be accomplished by improving the immune system, especially in the fall as flu season approaches. Several studies have shown that astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) extracts can stimulate the immune system. Use astragalus as an extract or add the root to soups. If you do get the flu, here are two herbs shown to help reduce the severity of the illness. 1. Elder (Sambucus nigra) has a tradition of use for the treatment of colds and flu and has stood the test of science. The flowers from this plant have demonstrated antiviral activity against both influenza types A and B, as well as herpes simplex virus type 1. It also possesses anti-inflammatory activity. A clinical study showed that a standardized elderberry extract, Sambucol, improved the symptoms of influenza with a complete recovery in two to three days, compared to a six-day recovery period for the group not receiving the herb. In this study patients were diagnosed with influenza type B. Elder may act by stimulating the body's own interferon or by preventing attachment of the virus to the body's surfaces. 2. Licorce root has also demonstrated antiviral activity. When mice infected with lethal doses of influenza virus were treated with glycyrrhizin, an active component of licorice, they were protected from death due to the virus and had less lung damage than did mice treated with saline controls.
HELPFUL HINTS:  Editor's Note: As with all herbs, if you are pregnant or have health concerns, consult with a doctor before taking those recommended here
This caught my eye as my great grandmother died in the 1918 flu epidemic-this is a review on a book about herbs then that are still useful now for the flu
I will close with this very informative article from here
The following article gives information about cold and flu problems.
It is possible to effectively ease the pain and discomfort of colds and flu, naturally. As part of our regular newsletter there will be examples of successful alternative treatments.

Cold and Flu Remedies

The time to treat a cold is when you don't have it.! Prevention is always better than cure. However the same herbs that keep colds and flu at bay, will also help you get rid of it faster.
The common cold is caused by any one of 200 different viruses. When infection occurs , the walls of the respiratory tract swell and produce excess mucus, giving rise to the typical cold symptoms. Symptoms range from sore throat, running nose, nasal congestion, watery eyes to hacking cough, headache, and fever. Most colds run their course in 7-10 days. Recurrent colds (almost constantly suffering) may indicate a lowered immune capacity and too much stress and often not enough sleep.
Colds spread from person to person and are highly contagious. Coughing, sneezing or hand to hand contact will easily pass the virus on. The virus can also live for several hours on everyday surfaces.
One particular herb has recently had a lot of press coverage and marketing as a 'new' cure for colds. Echinacea has in fact been used by America Indians for hundreds of years. It is native to the North America Plains, but varieties of the species are now found on most continents. Echinacea increases levels of properdin, a chemical which activates the part of the immune system responsible for increasing defence mechanisms against virus and bacteria attacks.
Its anti-bacterial effect makes it a good herb for treating many viral and bacterial infections. Echinacea is also an excellent blood cleanser, it helps to sweep dead cells and other debris through the channels of the lymphatic system. And dispatches white blood cells to fight the infection. The best test to determine if you are taking a good, high strength echinacea is the tongue test. After you have taken the tincture, the back of your tongue should feel numb or tingly. This feeling will soon pass, but you know you are using a good quality product. So when you feel the cold coming on - reach for the echinacea tincture. It is important to try to take echinacea before the full onset of a cold or flu to give the best chance of a swift recovery.
No treatment of colds would be complete without Garlic. This pungent herb was highly esteemed by the ancient Egyptians, who ensured that the slaves building the Great Pyramids at Cheops were given a daily supply. The Romans also acknowledged garlic's strengthening powers and fed it to their soldiers before battle. Garlic has anti-bacterial properties that help the immune system to fight infection, it is an excellent boost to the immune system. The reason for this is garlic contains several helpful compounds, including allicin, one of the plant kingdom's most potent antibiotics. Garlic combines well with echinacea and together make a strong fighting force against infections.
Onion is a close relative of Garlic and has similar properties, containing similar antiviral chemicals. Use onions and leeks in your cooking when you have a cold or are around people who do.
Ginger is another of natures' antiviral herbs. It contains nearly a dozen antiviral compounds. Ginger is pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant. It is valuable for preventing and treating colds, sore throats and inflammation of mucus membranes. Ginger reduces pain and fever and has a mild sedative effect that will encourage rest. And it is tasty! (with no lingering odours!) Drink a tea, or soak fresh ginger in hot water, take as a tincture and include it in your food. Ginger is also delicious in a fruit smoothy (a mix of soft chilled fruits put in a blender).
Vitamin C is very good for the relief of cold symptoms and to help the body fight infection. The best source of vitamins is always fresh fruit and vegetables. Citrus fruit is especially high in vitamin C. Combine orange, pineapple, seedless grapes, lots of fresh ginger, banana, pink grapefruit, cantaloupe in a blender. Add orange juice if more liquid is needed. This not only makes a delicious drink, but is healthy and fights that cold.
When you have a cold or flu your body is under a lot of stress, fighting the viral infection. Big, heavy meals take vital energy to digest, resources which your body could be using to fight the infections. An old saying states "Feed a cold and starve a fever". A better saying is "Starve a cold and starve a fever". The best thing to do is drink plenty of liquids - water, fruit juices and if needed soups, but stay away from heavy and high processed food. High liquid intake is important as the body uses water to carry waste products and toxins to your elimination systems.
Goldenseal is both antiseptic and immune stimulating, increasing blood supply to the spleen. The spleen is the bodies staging area for the fighting cells in your immune system. Berberine is present in goldenseal, and activates macrophages (special white blood cells), which are responsible for destruction of bacteria, fungi, viruses and tumour cells.
Herbalists have been using liquorice to soothe chest and throat complaints since the third century BC. It is used in the treatment of asthma, bronchitis, throat problems, colds and coughs. Liquorice contains anti-viral compounds that induce the release of interferon, the bodies own anti-viral constituents. It is an expectorant* and anti-inflammatory making it excellent for stubborn coughs and lung infections. As well as being a soothing herb, liquorice tastes nice! Large doses can act as a laxative.
*expectorant: promoting the secretion, liquefaction or expulsion of sputum (mass or salivary matter ejected from the mouth) from the respiratory passages.
Sage is a traditional remedy of long standing for soothing sore throats as it has antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. For an inflamed throat and hoarseness use a hot sage infusion or gargle with a sage, apple cider vinegar and honey mix. In feverish conditions, sage is very cooling. Take as a tea or tincture.
Peppermint is a valuable expectorant* in the treatment of bronchitis, colds and flu. It reduces fevers by inducing sweating and cooling the body. It is also a painkiller for headaches and some migraines. It is a soothing decongestant and makes an effective inhalation for clearing blocked sinuses.
Other herbs which will assist in combating and relieving colds are:
Lemon Balm: Lemon Balm tea promotes sweating. This is good for feverish colds as it helps to eliminate the toxins from the body.
Blackberry: More commonly know as Bramble. The fruit is rich in vitamin C. The leaves can be used to make a cleansing tea, or make a poultice from fresh, lightly boiled leaves.
Borage: A versatile herb, borage promotes sweating and has expectorant* properties, both of which are beneficial for feverish, chesty colds.
Catnip: Catnip or Catmint, promotes perspiration and a hot infusion is good for feverish colds and flu's. Catnip is also a muscle relaxant and mild sedative so will help to induce sleep.
Cinnamon: Will stop vomiting and relieve feelings of nausea. Take as a tea. Cinnamon oil also had anti-bacterial properties.
Fenugreek: Has expectorant qualities. It is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and soothing. It can ease coughs and sore throats.
Juniper: Steam inhalations of Juniper is beneficial for relieving congestion in coughs and colds. Add a few drops of the oil to hot boiled water, place your face over the bowl, cover with a towel, and inhale the steam.
Lemon: Lemons are a rich source of vitamin c, and taken hot in a hot lemon and honey drink, is a traditional remedy for colds and sore throats.
Yarrow: Yarrow has anti-inflammatory properties, and a hot yarrow tea will promote sweating. Many herbalists consider yarrow to be one of the principle herbal remedies for fever, feverish colds and flu. It is often taken in combination with elderflower and peppermint. Or try adding a strong infusion of yarrow and camomile to a warm bath.
Copyright © 2002 - 2005 P. Topham:
U.S. Nutritional and Herbal Researcher - All Rights Reserved
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