There are many foods and supplements with antiviral properties; some of them are common, some of them are exotic. What I’ve tried to do with the recommendations below is focus on the most common and highly recommended. Nobody knows what will work against Ebola, so try your own favorites to see what you can tolerate when ill. None of this is “medical advice” for purposes of federal obfuscation and interference. Consult your doctor, who will have no idea what to do. The information below is not exhaustive; it is not authoritative; and it is untested. Do your own research and be responsible for making your own decisions. I have no personal interest or investment in any product or item mentioned.
H1N1, or “swine flu” is sweeping across the country, prompting the mainstream media to trumpet, “DOOM APPROACHES!!! GET YOUR FLU SHOT BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE!!!”
Don’t fall for the escalating propaganda that is being propelled by a fear campaign. The flu vaccine is NOT the best way to protect yourself against the H1N1 virus.
According to reports, 6 people have died in Texas from the H1N1 virus and complications. But the virus is not confined to that state.
Texas isn’t the only state dealing with H1N1 cases. Here are some of the states battling the swine flu:
- Michigan. Swine flu has killed three adults, and infected about a dozen more child and adults. These patients remain on life support, according to The Detroit Free Press.
- California. Last week, Santa Clara Health Department officials reported the state’s first flu death of the season. The victim tested positive for the H1N1 strain, and other counties have also reported positive tests for the virus. In addition to seven cases in Santa Clara County, Marin County and Contra Costa County have reported several cases of swine flu, according to NBC Bay Area.
- Oregon. Health officials confirmed two deaths from H1N1 flu, and another 81 hospitalizations, according to King 5 News.
- Utah. Utah officials warn that swine flu is on the rise, and could be responsible for the first two flu deaths reported last week, according to The Salt Lake Tribune.
- North Carolina. The flu has killed 13 people in North Carolina, according to USA Today.
The CDC reports that the flu is now widespread in more than half of the country, with many states reporting severe outbreaks. As of the last weekly flu advisory report, widespread activity has been reported in Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nebraska, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington state and Wyoming.
This year’s flu shot was concocted to be effective against the swine flu. The flu sweeping the US right now is the same one that was reported to have killed 12,000 Americans in 2009. Although it just doesn’t seem to be working (no surprise to many of us) the media and public health officials keep up the brainwashing refrain that is repeated nearly word for word in every flu report on the mainstream media. Does any of this sound familiar?
A flu vaccine is by far the most important step in protecting against flu infection.
It’s actually NOT the most important step, and what is even worse is the fact that people who receive the nasal mist version of the flu vaccine can actually become contagious and pass on the virus to those around them. We can probably expect a big push, and perhaps even a vaccine specific to the swine flu, like the one that the UK government is now admitting caused narcolepsy in a high percentage of recipients. But again, from the CDC, that adamant recommendation that rings in our ears via news anchors everywhere:
CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease. While there are many different flu viruses, the flu vaccine is designed to protect against the three main flu strains that research indicates will cause the most illness during the flu season. Getting the flu vaccine as soon as it becomes available each year is always a good idea, and the protection you get from vaccination will last throughout the flu season.
This is not true. It’s an outright lie. Before you roll up your sleeve to get injected, read on: the real key to keeping healthy during flu season is basic, simple, and totally non-tech.Wash Your Hands
General hygiene (hand-washing) is by far the most important step in protecting against flu infection. Dr. Mark Gendreau, MD, a medical contributor for the NY Times, writes:
Washing your hands with either soap and water or an alcohol–based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol content are the two most effective means of minimizing infection spread. Bleach, hydrogen peroxide and isopropyl alcohol are also effective — but they are very impractical and can cause severe skin irritation or skin breakdown that will increase your susceptibility to infection.
Keep in mind that respiratory viral infectious diseases, like influenza and the common cold, are transmitted when an infectious person coughs or sneezes, sending droplets containing the offending microorganism outward. These invisible droplets are propelled no further than three feet and can land on an inanimate object — like a seat, tabletop or door knob — or on your body. We then inadvertently introduce these microorganisms into our bodies when we touch them, contaminating our fingers, then touch our mouth, nose or eyes, all areas where the virus can enter the body.
On average, most people touch their eyes, nose or mouth 200 times a day, and flu viruses can live up to two days on surfaces. This is why hand hygiene is so important. In fact, it is the single most significant thing you can do to protect yourself and your family and minimize your chances of catching the flu or a cold.
Major studies have found that infectious disease transmission in public spaces is reduced by up to 50 percent when hand hygiene is practiced. Sanitize your hands before eating and drinking and before touching your nose or mouth. When washing your hands with soap and water, scrub for 20 seconds and rinse with water for an additional 30 seconds. Surfaces that are frequently touched should be cleaned and disinfected often. You can minimize your risk even further by regularly cleaning computer keyboards, phones and remote control devices with disinfectant wipes.
There are many other natural preventatives – you’ll notice that the CDC never mentions the immune-boosting effects of Vitamin D, for example. Perhaps that is because Big Pharma hasn’t yet managed to patent sunlight, mark it up 5000%, and make it a controlled substance. and-washing and good hygiene, likewise, remains unpatented and no potential profit exists, so there is no financial benefit to Big Pharma in promoting it.What if you get the flu?Despite your best efforts, you or a family member could still end up with the flu. Sometimes infection just happens, particularly when you are exposed to the public frequently or when you have school-aged children. If you do get sick, the most important weapon against influenza that you can add to your herbal arsenal is elderberry extract.
Whether you are concerned with the seasonal flu or the potential of a deadly strain of influenza becoming pandemic, elderberry extract is a vital addition to your vault of flu remedies.
Unlike the highly touted flu shot, black elderberry has actually been conclusively proven to be effective. It is one of the few natural remedies that has been written up in the medical journals. The studies I’m listing here are based on black elderberry extract (Sambucus nigra L) – name brand Sambucol.
According to PubMed:
Sambucus nigra L. products – Sambucol – are based on a standardized black elderberry extract. They are natural remedies with antiviral properties, especially against different strains of influenza virus. Sambucol was shown to be effective in vitro against 10 strains of influenza virus. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized study, Sambucol reduced the duration of flu symptoms to 3-4 days.
The Journal of International Medical Research concurs that elderberry extract is a proven treatment, referencing a different study:
Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections.
Sixty patients (aged 18 – 54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999 – 2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale.
Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza.How It WorksScientists have isolated the active compound in the elderberry. It is called Antivirin and is found in proteins of the black elderberry. The compound prevents the flu virus from invading the membranes of healthy cells.
The main flavonoids present in elderberries are the anthocyanins cyanidin 3-glucoside and cyanidin 3-sambubioside, and are detectable in plasma after oral intake of elderberry extract. A possible mechanism of action of elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza is that the flavonoids stimulate the immune system by enhancing production of cytokines by monocytes.
In addition, elderberry has been shown to inhibit the haemagglutination of the influenza virus and thus prevent the adhesion of the virus to the cell receptors. Anthocyanins also have an antiinflammatory effect comparable to that of acetylsalicylic acid; this could explain the pronounced effect on aches, pain and fever seen in the group treated with elderberry syrup.
Elderberry Extract and the Swine FluAccording to a study by Zacay-Rones in 1995, black elderberry was proven to be effective against the swine flu, specifically A/Texas 36/91 (H1N1) and animal strains from Northern European swine and turkeys, A/Sw/Ger 2/81, A/Tur/Ger 3/91.
A placebo-controlled, double blind study was carried out on a group of individuals living in an agricultural community (kibbutz) during an outbreak of influenza B/Panama in 1993. Fever, feeling of improvement, and complete cure were recorded during 6 days. Sera obtained in the acute and convalescent phases were tested for the presence of antibodies to influenza A, B, respiratory syncytial, and adenoviruses.
Convalescent phase serologies showed higher mean and mean geometric hemagglutination inhibition (HI) titers to influenza B in the group treated with SAM than in the control group. A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the SAM-treated group within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days (p < 0.001).
EffectivenessSambucol has been shown to reduce the symptoms and the duration of flu sufferers. It has been tested on both Influenza A and Influenza B strains. In one study it was noted that subjects taking Sambucol instead of a placebo took fewer over the counter medications to relieve symptoms like fever, aches and congestion.
Thom’s findings were presented at the 15th Annual Conference on Antiviral Research in 2002. The study has been accepted for publication in the Journal of International Medical Research.
The study involved 60 patients who had been suffering with flu symptoms for 48 hours or less; 90% were infected with the A strain of the virus, 10% were infected with type B. Half the group took 15 milliliters of Sambucol or and the other group took a placebo four times a day for five days.
Patients in the Sambucol group had “pronounced improvements” in flu symptoms after three days: Nearly 90% of patients had complete cure within two to three days. Also, the Sambucol group had no drowsiness, the downside of many flu treatments.
The placebo group didn’t recover until at least day six; they also took more painkillers and nasal sprays.
Sambucol will not prevent the flu, but it will shorten the duration and severity of the flu if you should contract it.
How to Take Elderberry Extract
In the Israeli study, mentioned above, each day children were given 1/2 tablespoon of Sambucol extract four times per day, and adults were given 1 tablespoons four times per day. It’s important to note that the only form of elderberry extract that has been used in studies is Sambucol, which is based on a standardized black elderberry extract.
(NOTE: I’m not affiliated with the company Sambucol in any way. I am recommending this product because our family uses it, it is standardized, and it is the product used in all of the studies referenced in this article. I receive no commission or payment of any type from this company.)
There are a few different ways you can take the pleasant tasting liquid:
- Right out of the spoon
- Mixed with hot water and honey for a tea
- Mixed with sparkling water and served over ice for a refreshing “soda pop”-like beverage
Store your elderberry extract in a cool dry place – we keep our bottle in the refrigerator.
Unlike chemical medications, there have been no reported side effects from Sambucol. Although you should always check with your physician before taking this or any other remedy. It is safe for children over 2 and the elderly. No studies have been done regarding the safety of Sambucol during pregnancy or breastfeeding. There are no reported contraindications for those taking other medications, or those who suffer from asthma or high blood pressure.
The goal of a flu recovery program is to support your body’s healing processes from different angles. That means good hydration, keeping warm and resting, eating nutritious foods and cutting out all sugars and simple carbs that fuel acidity and reduce immunity. You also need to support the virus-fighting power of your immune system with targeted ingredients. Take those measures, and you’ll be back on your feet sooner than you can imagine.
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