I am a firm believer in the incredible power for healing that exists within each of us. As a Holistic Health Counselor, I strive to promote the body’s own capacity for wellness and self-healing. Through nutrition and other natural means, we can nurture our inner terrains so they do not provide fertile grounds for harmful pathogens. A strong immune system will keep you from getting the flu (and the various other bugs making the rounds) in the first place, or enable us to overcome them much more easily. That’s why 5 Winter Immune Boosting Tips is a good place to start to keep that flu away.
In children whose immune systems are developing, contracting the flu—with proper nutrition and support — provides an opportunity to strengthen immunity. Reality demonstrates that in areas with adequate nutrition, the immune systems of people hundreds of years ago, before vaccines and all sorts of suppressive medicines, were stronger and more capable of overcoming diseases such as cancer and infection than they are now.1 So if you or your child do get the flu, rather than taking medicines to suppress the body’s own efforts to heal itself through fever (which kills viruses and harmful bacteria), mucus production (which helps to flush pathogens from our mucous membranes), cough (an effort to rid our throat and lungs of that mucous and its pathogenic content), I highly recommend you work with your body to enable more efficient and effective self-healing.
For me, that begins with homeopathy. I am not a homeopath yet, but a student of homeopathy, who uses homeopathy every day because it works. It is based on the principle of “like cures like” and treats the individual rather than the disease. Thus, there is no remedy for the flu per se, because everyone experiences the flu differently. It is how you react to the flu, as experienced in your feelings and physical symptoms, that will determine the appropriate remedy. For a list of common flu remedies with indicative symptomology, click here. You will know if you have the right remedy fairly rapidly (generally within 20 minutes at the most) because you will feel so much better. If the remedy you chose does nothing for you, it’s a sign you selected one that does not match your symptoms. The appropriate homeopathic remedy will prompt your body to heal itself. If you’re not sure what remedy to choose, consult a homeopathic practitioner.
Other supportive measures:
Drink plenty of fluids! Coconut water is a great way to naturally replenish electrolytes and avoid dehydration. Or make your own electrolyte drink. Steer clear of commercial electrolyte drinks that tend to be full of sugar (that will suppress the immune system), synthetic nutrients, artificial colors and chemical preservatives. Drink plenty of homemade broths from organic sources.
Eat less! Let your system concentrate on healing rather than heavy-duty digestive efforts. Nutritious, traditional bone broths and fresh vegetable and fruit juices will help keep you hydrated while providing high quality nourishment. Steer clear of processed foods and sugar.
Rest! Go to bed, and give your system a chance to heal.
Clear out sinus congestion naturally. Xylitol (use the brands that are made from birch trees rather than corn to avoid GMO contamination) is a natural sugar alchohol that works against flu, strep and other viruses and pathogens. You can buy a commercial nasal spray of saline and xylitol and squirt two sprays in your nostrils 3-4 times a day. Or make your own saline/xylitol solution and put it in a small spray bottle, or use it as a nasal rinse in your neti pot twice a day. This cleansing process will not only help relieve your congestion, but can cut back on viral shedding from nasal passages, limiting the amount of contagion to others in your household. You can also try my recipe for “Clear That Congestion” Tea.
Healing nutrition support. Black Elderberry extract (find the extract without the added sugar and preservatives) 2 and Black Cumin Oil have both been shown to dramatically increase T-cell ratios and function, bolstering your immune response to the flu. They also help modulate the immune system, so they can counter autoimmune tendencies such as propensity toward PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorder Associated with Streptococcus) as well. They can be taken during flu season as a preventive measure, as well as given during a bout of the flu.
Fruits high in papain and bromelain enzymes, such as pineapple and papaya, have mucolytic effects that help to liquefy congestive mucus and relieve sinus pressure and lung congestion.
Cell salts. Also known as tissue salts, these 12 salts correlate to the salts that make up the various cells of the body. Keeping a kit of all 12 on hand can be a wonderful support to overcome nutritional deficiencies or imbalances. Taken in the 6x potency, four tablets or pillules every hour of each indicated salt (alternating if using more than one) until symptoms are relieved. For the flu, Natrum Sulph, can be of tremendous benefit. In addition, when there is the beginning of a high fever with chills, congestion, aches and pains, especially at the start of the illness, Ferrum Phos, can be a tremendous aid. Kali Sulph works together with Ferrum Phos, especially to help with congestion. In the second stage of the fever, when the ears may be blocked and coughing and serious congestion sets in, Kali Mur can help. When fever is down, and one is suffering from weakness and exhaustion, try Kali Phos.
2Zakay-Rones, Z.; Thom, E.; Wollan, T.; Wadstein, J.; “Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections,” The Journal of International Medical Research, March-April 2004.
References and recommended reading:
Calabrese, Joette. Homeopathic treatment for influenza.