The EclecticPhysician

The Eclectic Physician
Natural Health Care
by Beth Burch N.D.

Colds & Flu-

Colds & flu are caused by viruses. There are many different kinds of viruses that result in cold and flu symptoms. They tend to be more prevalent in the winter months due to drying of the air passages by heated environments and increased sharing of air in closed buildings. A strong immune system will help to decrease the frequency and severity of colds and flu (see immune enhancement).

Cold and flu symptoms are the result of the bodyís response to the virus. Fever is the the result of substances released by the immune system to increase body temperature. White blood cells which work to remove the virus from the body, function best at an elevated body temperature. These same substances can cause headache and body aches. The cells of the nose, throat and lung passages react to the virus by producing mucous to help expell the virus from the body. The respiratory tract tissues also become red and swollen as a result of increased blood flow to the area bringing white blood cells to fight the virus. So, you can see it may not be best to take things to get rid of symptoms.
Prevention is the best defense against colds and flu. When colds and flu abound, stay away from those who are ill, wash your hands frequently, donít touch your eyes, nose and mouth and avoid using otherís eating and drinking utensils. To optimize the functioning of your immune system, eat healthy foods, take a vitamin and mineral supplement, get plenty of fluids and rest, minimize stress, and dress warmly.

If you get a cold or flu, one of the most important treatments is rest, especially in bed. When at rest and asleep, the body releases powerful immune stimulating substances. Next, it is important to drink lots of fluids, especially hot ones. Try herb teas, vegetable juices and broths and avoid drinks with alot of sugar (decreases the functioning of white blood cells). Hydrating the body has a number of beneficial effects- moisturized mucous membranes to make them less hospitable for the virus, loosening mucous and stuffy nasal passages, and soothing sore throats. Eat light and healthy foods and avoid sugar and sweets. Take vitamin C 500 mg every 2-3 hours and use zinc lozenges every few hours. Extra beta-carotene will help as well. Homeopathic remedies are often helpful, consult a homeopathic book for suggested remedies.

You should contact your health care provider if you arenít better in 3-5 days, you are pregnant, your fever is greater than 102° F, you are getting worse, you have a stiff neck with a headache, you have chest pain or are coughing up green, yellow or brown mucous, you are unable to keep liquids down or you are lethargic.

Herbal treatment.
Echinacea- has been extensively studied in Europe in the treatment of colds and flu. It stimulates immune function and has direct antiviral activity to reduce cold symptoms and duration.
Liquid extract- 1/2- 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours
Dry herb in capsules- 500-1000 mg every 3-4 hours
Standardized extract (3.5% echinacoside)- 150-300 mg every 3-4 hours

Elderberry-shown to be very effective for treating flu viruses.
Liquid extract- 1/2-1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours
Dry herb in capsules- 500-1000 mg every 3-4 hours

Other herbs-Garlic, Ginger, Goldenseal, Licorice, Slippery elm, 

* The information presented in this web site is intended to inform and educate. It is not intended replace a qualified medical practitioner to diagnose or treat medical conditions.

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