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Naturopathic treatments for flu 

With all the recent news of the spike in influenza cases, you must be wondering what you can do to fight the flu virus.  Since the flu shot is about 60% effective, you must do more to help yourself and your loved ones.  Do your part by following my basic tips below, including newer information of the benefits of herbal naturopathic flu prevention and treatment options.
1. A recent study published in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology found that St. John’s Wort has significant effects against influenza A virus.  Care must be taken if you are also on medications while taking this and other herbs. Studies on elderberry extract has also shown significant effects against human influenza A virus, stimulating the immune system to fight the virus, preventing viral infection, and suppressing virus replication.  Herbal extracts can also help against one of the most common causes of virus-based pediatric diarrhea.  A recent 2012 study in the Netherlands found particular plants to help against rotovirus – nettle, licorice, and olive leaf extracts.
2. Consider essential oils.  Excellent as an oil-bath that we offer in the clinic: a unique oil is selected to match your symptoms, which is then dispersed in our hydro-tub – this way you not only inhale the beneficial oil, but also absorb it through your largest organ, your skin.  Simple ways to use such oils at home is with an essential oil diffuser.  Many plant oils have medicinal effects that are important with the flu: anti-viral, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and immune-stimulating.  Plant oils can help clear your congestion and the air, examples include tea tree oil, frankincense and eucalyptus.

3. Vitamin C – intravenous vitamin C can be helpful at ridding viruses and other troublesome infections such as shingles.  Taking oral vitamin C every hour may also help reduce the duration of viral symptoms.  Excess oral vitamin C can lead to diarrhea, if that happens, reduce the amount you are taking to normalize your bowel movements until your symptoms subside.  Injectible Echinacea can also help support your immune system against viruses.   Contact our office to find out more about our injectible treatments.

4. Get a naturopathic immune system checkup: a one-on-one targeted approach to getting customized advice to support your immunity.  Call 905-597-7201 to book you and your family.

Other important basics:

  • Get your rest – seven to eight hours for adults, and more for children based on their age.  If you have the flu, you need more rest – if you don’t take the rest you need, your flu may be more prolonged.
  • Include immune supporting foods more regularly.  For example, thyme, oregano, garlic, mushrooms, and ginger all have immune-balancing effects.  Eating sufficient vegetables and fruits provide important vitamins and minerals that support your immune functions (eg: nutrients like zinc, selenium, vitamin C, vitamin A, etc.).  Drink enough fluids, primarily herbal teas (eg: ginger, echinacea, elderberry, licorice), broths, and yes, chicken soup.  Reduce sugar consumption as it can suppress your immune system.
  • Take your vitamin D.  It has a role in the treatment of viral and bacterial infections.  Consult your naturopath to know the right dose for you.   In our office, we also offer UV-B light therapy to help your body make it’s own vitamin D  (and it also helps against many photo-responsive skin problems as well, such as psoriasis, eczema, and vitiligo).
  • Reduce your stressors, and regularly wash your hands with soap and water.  Note, that some hand sanitizers contain thyroid-disrupting chemicals, learn more.

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