Why is it that whenever you start to feel that slight scratchiness in the back of your throat it always seems to be Friday night AFTER all the stores are closed! I am often asked by patients what they can do to ward off an oncoming cold or flu virus. There are some who will tell you there is nothing you can do once a virus takes hold, but I have found several things to be effective in treating them. If I have learned one thing as a holistic medicine practitioner, it is that you need to treat the patient BEFORE their symptoms become chronic or too severe. That means that like a good Girl or Boy Scout you need to be prepared. Since viruses and bacteria typically grow according to a logarithmic scale, it is important to treat the patient in the lag phase and not the log phase (bet you thought that algebra would never come in handy!). For those of you who forgot, this is the slow growth phase at the beginning of the curve before things take off and are a lot harder to treat. So basically, that means that you need to have a variety of anti-viral and anti-bacterial items on hand in your tool kit for when those nasty bugs creep up on you in the middle of the night. Here are a few things I have in my Winter Wellness Kit.
Natural Sources Elderberry Concentrate: Effective at killing the common cold virus and 3 types of flu. LOTS cheaper than Sambucol and just as effective. Also makes a great base for salad dressings or can mix with sparkling mineral water for a delicious immune boosting soda!
Vitamin A (10,000 IU): Works great for when you first start to feel sick. I take 40,000 IU at one time. I have checked with my doctor friends and found out that you can do this for short periods of time. I only take 40,000 IU/day but usually that is enough to make a noticeable difference in about 20 minutes.
Probiotics (20 billion +): In addition to their beneficial effects on the health of the colon and digestive system, probiotics also support our immune systems. It is thought that probiotic bacteria inhibit the growth of potentially pathogenic organisms by producing acids, hydrogen peroxide, and natural antibiotics called bacteriocins and microcins (Fernandes 1987)
Grapefruit seed extract by Nutribiotic: I can’t imagine the bug that can survive this stuff! It is HORRIBLE, VILE, NASTY TASTING stuff…BUT…it works. 20 drops in a tablespoon of elderberry concentrate is the ONLY way I can get it down. Since it has the consistency of a resin, it coats your tonsils and back of throat where viruses and bacteria linger and like I said not much can survive this stuff… including you!
Oreganol by North American Herb and Spice Company: If you like oregano, you are in for a treat. HOWEVER, if you are like me and wouldn’t be caught dead using it in your pasta sauce, know that what you are trying to kill can’t stand it either. A couple of well aimed drops at the back of your tonsils will usually do the trick and create a significant gag reflex to boot.
As you can see, my kit doesn’t contain Vitamin C or Echinacea. That is because after years of using it and getting sick anyway, I gave up and continued the search for products that work more reliably 90% of the time. On the occasions that I lose the battle, I remind myself that sometimes, it is OK to be sick.