We have posted a version of this information before, but with autumn here and the exceptionally nasty enterovirus 68 making the news, it is well worth repeating our cold and flu guidelines.
First, it is important to understand the progression of a typical cold or flu. A cold or the flu is an attack on our immune system that can be broken down into three general stages.
The cold enters the body via the upper respiratory tracts as a virus. The Chinese thought you needed to protect the back of the head, neck, and chest from “wind”. Symptoms include achy muscles, stuffy head and nose, headache, sore throat, low grade fever, cough, clear or colored phlegm, and a possible change in bowel activity. This is the best point in the cycle to arrest the development of the cold or flu by using home remedies or herbs.
This includes a bacterial response to the initial viral invasion and in our household is otherwise known as, “the really sick stage”. If your husband whines (like mine) during stage one, they will be incapacitated for stage two. If you are inclined to use Western medicine, this is the stage to use it. The symptoms become worse and more interior, such as a really sore throat with swollen glands, ear ache, movement or settling into the bronchi or lungs with lots of highly colored mucous from sinuses and chest.
This is the final stage of the infection where the virus returns to the sinuses before resolving and completing its cycle. Symptoms may look similar to stage one.
First and foremost, remember to use common sense regarding the cold and flu season.
REST. Take care of yourself. If you have a hard time stopping at the end of the day, build rest into your schedule, just as you would plan for exercise, entertainment, or dinner. Additionally, you could go to bed a few minutes earlier, sit once or twice a day with your feet up and your eyes closed—even for five minutes—it does make a difference.
CONSUME WARM FLUIDS. Drink warm herbal teas or bone or vegetable soups.
VITAMIN C. This is no longer controversial as it once was when Linus Pauling first suggested it over 45 years ago. You can choose to consume fresh fruits and vegetables high in it, or look for a specific form of degraded vitamin C that bypasses the intestinal system and stays in the intestinal tract a few days instead of the usual four hours before being eliminated. Martha’s brand of choice was Metagenics, Ultra Potent C.
GENTLE MOVEMENT & JOINT ARTICULATION. Take a short walk, do a few minutes of yoga stretching or chi gung breathing, even splash in a hot tub. Movement of the joints doesn’t have to mean an hour on the treadmill, or burning 500 calories to count as beneficial. There is a belief in Chinese medicine that “evil” (in this case, virus and bacteria) lurk near the joints so gentle movement allows them to be thrust from their hiding places where the blood constituents can eliminate them efficiently.
A HOT SHOWER OR HOT BATH. Adding Epsom salts can help “relieve the surface”, induce seating, and reduce toxic lymphatic waste.
ACIDOPHILUS. Increase the use of intestinal flora products such as lactobacillis acidophilus to enhance the body’s ability to cleanse the intestine. Martha recommended 15 – 450 billion per dose.
HERBAL RECOMMENDATIONS. General herbal recommendations include stocking up on Gan Mao Ling, BHP Chinese Cold & Flu, and BHP Anti-X. Keep them on hand and use very early in the cycle if the symptoms are present in the throat or head. If an individual has a pattern of lung weaknesses or if colds or the flu settle into the chest frequently, include BHP Deep Lung as well.
USEFUL BHP PRODUCTS
DEEP LUNG 3 IN 1: A proprietary blend of Anti-X, Chinese Cold & Flu, and Deep Lung. Keep this on hand as a first resort and add additional amounts of other formulas as necessary.
ANTI-X: All herbs in this formula are antiviral and some have additional antibacterial components. It is useful in all stages of an illness.
CHINESE COLD & FLU: This formula is especially useful for sore throats, lymph, and to keep the liver open when dealing with infection. Evodia has been added to warm the stomach slightly as the other herbs are considered very cold and would compromise the digestive system. Adding evodia allows the formula to be used with more confidence by the young, pregnant, and nursing mothers as well as the elderly and infirm.
DEEP LUNG: This is most useful in stage 2, the bacterial stage, or after 18 hours when the infection may have descended into the bronchi or lower chest.
ELDERBERRY PLUS and ELDERBERRY PLUS WITH ELEUTHERO: This formula contains no sugar, but relies on a thick concentration of the berries themselves. It is useful for coughs, immunity, as well as a tonic for the lungs. Being sweet, it is well received by young children.
ASTRAGALUS: this is best used in stage 3 and in the recuperative stages until the natural energy (chi) has returned. It is especially useful in cold and wet lung conditions. Do not use for a dry lung condition or if it appears to increase coughing.
IMMUNE PLUS: A comprehensive herbal immune tonic best used for three weeks prior to exposure to infection or throughout the entire season by susceptible patients.
OLIVE: Olive is a strong anti-microbial and is especially anti-viral that many find useful when experiencing viral eruptions, such as herpes.
USNEA: This is another strong anti-microbial that many find useful when experiencing respiratory and urinary infections.
CHINESE EAR OIL: This is an effective topical application for ear pain. NOTE: It stains clothing and needs to be stored in the refrigerator when not in use.
MULLEIN FLOWER OIL: This topical oil is useful after the active ear infection is over, but it is still necessary to use something to continue addressing the ear for another week.
LYMPH OIL: This topical oil is applied in lymph rich areas such as the neck or groin to facilitate the movement of overburdened lymph glands in the removal of infection waste material. Martha used it extensively with children as well as adults with ear aches and swollen throat glands. It has been helpful for children with chronic ear infections.
ECHINACEA: This is a mild lymph mover useful in fighting infection.
PHYTOLACCA: This is a strong lymph mover useful in fighting sore throats and infection. CAUTION: DO NOT EXCEED DOSE RECOMMENDATIONS!
BREATHE EASIER: This is phenolated (anti-microbial) Irish moss used topically to sooth and shrink swollen membranes. It may sting when applied. I’ve found the more swollen or inflamed my sinuses are, the more this may sting.