Tag Archive: herbs


immune systemOur immune system is what keeps us from getting sick and it is our own personal defense weapon (so to speak). Keeping the immune system in top shape, especially during viral season or during a time of crisis is actually pretty easy and can be done through a variety of methods. Our diet, being touched (yes touched in a positive way) stress reduction, getting enough sleep, and two specific herbs for the immune system plus herbs and foods that fight stress called adaptogens. An article on stress and the immune system can be found here.

Research has constantly noted that the healthier the immune system, the less likely you are to be infected and if infected, the less severe the infection will be. This has been proven time and time again amongst those living with HIV/AIDS, Lyme disease and even people who ‘catch’ the flu.

Our dietary habits become job #1 when we start talking about strengthening our immune system. Sugar, especially processed sugar actually depresses our immune system. And this includes all those artificial ones. Alcohol, drug use, processed foods also are of concern limit these as much as possible.

From top down lets talk about some of THE best supportive foods for the immune system.

Yogurt. People who consume REAL yogurt or Kefir without all the artificial ingredients (and no, not the low fat stuff either!) on a regular basis report few sick days. How? The body’s white blood cell count increases greatly and the GI tract (where many infections take hold of first) remains very healthy due to its bacterial community being strong. Suggested 2wo 6-ounce servings a day.

Oats and barley. Studies have shown that animals (and we are animals ehmm) that eat a mix of oats and barley regularly have fewer infections, including influenza. Suggested at least one in your three daily servings of whole grains.

Garlic. Regular intake of garlic boost the immune functioning. Studies have shown that people eating or taking garlic had a much higher rate of staying healthy than those who didn’t. Suggested two raw cloves a day and add crushed garlic to your cooking several times a week.


Selenium-rich foods. These foods help to clear infections FROM the body. In descending order of how much is found, highest to lower.

Brazil nuts
Fish:
Suggested at least two servings a week.
Tuna
Cod
Halibut
Sardines
Flounder
Salmon
Poultry:
Chicken
Turkey
Sunflower Seeds

Shellfish:
Oysters
Mussels
Shrimp
Clams
Scallops
Meat:
Suggested a 3-ounce serving of lean beef provides about 30 percent of the Daily Value (DV) for zinc. That’s often enough to make the difference between deficient and sufficient. Not a beef person? Try zinc-rich oysters, fortified cereals, pork, poultry, yogurt, or milk.
Liver
Beef
Lamb
Pork
Eggs
Mushrooms
Whole grains
Wheat germ
Onions
Garlic
Asparagus
Broccoli
Tomatoes.

Remember how mom used to make Chicken Soup when you got sick? Well, it does work.

Black tea increases interferon levels which is what the immune system needs. Suggested several cups daily. To get up to five times more antioxidants from your tea bags, bob them up and down while you brew.

Zinc-containing foods…zinc plays an important role in the immune system. Zinc enhances many actions of the immune system including T cells. Higher amounts can be found in these foods:
Oysters
Wheat germ
Liver
Seeds
Sesame
Pumpkin
Squash
Watermelon
Roast beef
Dark chocolate
Cocoa
Lamb
Peanuts
Garlic
Chickpeas
Mushrooms
Ginger
Broccoli (and other braccea’s)
Red bell pepper
Oregano

So you can see that indeed you are what you eat. Simple dietary changes can make a big difference in your immune system and how well your body can fight off invaders.

And there are two specific herbs that very specifically reduce the cytokine cascade (known as an immune system response storm which can in and of itself be harmful) that many viruses cause and also just happen to cause the right immune system response to reduce viral invasion within the body.

#1 Astragalus
You can eat this root as food, take as a tincture, water extract, tea, or powder. Best way to use this herb is to cook with it or using as a tea as heat releases the best immune system boosters/viral fighters.

To make an tincture/water extract:
5 ounces of astragalus root (powder or shredded root)
12.5 ounces of water

Place the astragalus and water into a pot…bring to a boil. As soon as it boils put a lid on the pot and get off the heat, setting it aside to steep overnight. The next day put ALL of this into a jar and place the lid on the jar. Put aside for the next two weeks and if you remember, shake it once in a while. After two weeks, strain the powder or root out and then add 12.5 ounces of pure grain alcohol to the steeped water so it stays good for up to one year in a cool dark place. Shake well before using.

You can then pour this tincture/extract into smaller bottles for ease of use. Per Stephen Bhuner:
30-60 drops up to 4 times daily as a tonic
In chronic illness conditions take 1 tsp 4 times daily
As a preventative from viral infections 1 tsp 4-6 times daily
IF SICK take 1 tsp about every 3 hrs

To make a tea to drink through out the day put about 3 ounces of astragalus into 1 quart of hot water and allow to steep for approximately 3 hours, strain and drink. Any leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator for a few days.

Powder form: (which can be mixed into food, water or capsules)
Chronic conditions: 1 tablespoon 3 times per day
If sick, 2 tablespoons 3 times per day

From the book Herbal Defense you can make this broth using astragalus:
Ingredients:
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 ounce astragalus
1 bulb (5-10 cloves) garlic
Salt/pepper to taste

Combine water/broth, astragalus, garlic and simmer for several hours until garlic is soft. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Consume all the broth if you feel something coming on or take a cup or two through out the week to prevent infection. Consume the cooked garlic separately or leave in the broth.

You can even use the powder when making barley, rice or anything else, the point is that you can use this herb in your cooking to kick up the immune system a notch.

Please note: those with auto-immune diseases may be sensitive to this herb. Those with late stage Lyme disease should avoid as it may make it worse.

Cordyceps is an herb that is used as a food. It is indicated that one should consume 3 to 9 grams per day. For preventative measures/strengthening 6 grams a day. If actively sick then 12 grams per day. Please keep in mind that most OTC capsules are 500 to 1,000 mg measurements. So if you get 500mg you will need to take 12 capsules to get 6 grams. 1000 mg capsules you will need to take 6 to get 6 grams.

So, eat healthy and reduce your stress. Food and herbs for your immune system are readily available to you, some directly help and others support. A few simple changes now might just keep you healthy!

As always, please keep in mind that I am not a professional healthcare provider, I am just very passionate about helping others help themselves and all information is taken directly from professional resources.

Stay safe and be prepared.
Survivingshtfmom

References:

http://www.health.harvard.edu/flu-resource-center/how-to-boost-your-immune-system.htm

http://www.organicgardening.com/living/9-foods-boost-immune-system

Herbal Antivirals by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Advertisements

ebola10There is no cure nor treatment for Ebola. There is only prevention, strengthening our immune system and supportive (palliative) care. While our country has some of the best healthcare available in the world there are other ways that you dear reader can help yourself in the event of the unthinkable…an outbreak of Ebola and what YOU can do before and during an outbreak.

First, let me clear, I am not a licensed health care professional, just someone who is very passionate about alternative therapies. I have managed to live to the rip old age of 42 with very little help from the medical community in dealing with illnesses. I have managed to keep my 5 children out of the doctors office also, none of them have seen a doctor for anything except one case where a school official forced me into getting an ‘all clear’ note from a doctor during a strep outbreak. So with this in mind, let me share with you what you can do for yourself to support your health in the event of an outbreak of ebola.

AS ALWAYS: SEEK PROFESSIONAL MEDICAL CARE WHEN INDICATED. MY ARTICLES ARE NOT INTENDED TO BE USED AS TREATMENTS OR CURES, BUT ARE FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY. I REFERENCE EXCELLENT PROFESSIONAL ADVICE GIVEN BY TRAINED PROFESSIONALS.

First things first, prevention is going to be KEY as is the case in type of viral or bacterial ‘outbreak’ within a given population or community. Since we have no vaccine for Ebola at this time we have to fall back onto the basics.

Frequent hand washing with soap and hot water. Hand sanitizers do NOT WORK against many viruses though rubbing alcohol will.
Not touching the eyes, nose or mouth (easiest pathway for germs/viruses/bacteria to enter)
Sanitizing surfaces with bleach or rubbing alcohol.
Avoiding contact with those who may potentially have Ebola (Isolation).

Seems simple right? Well, tomorrow I really want you to practice these preventative measures and then keep on going. It takes time to get into infection control practice.

Next, we want to help your immune system to be at its peak. Ways of doing so can be found here.

Okay, got that down. Now what specifically can YOU do to help your body fight off a potential viral infection? There are a few herbs that are known to help support the body in this matter. Boneset and Goldenseal are the two best for this. Use either one daily. You can find more information on viruses and how to protect yourself from them here in my discussion on Entero Virus 68.

Now, let us say you have done all this, taken all the precautions you can possibly take to keep yourself and your immune system healthy. You hear on the news that an Ebola case has been confirmed within 300 miles of your area. Now what?

Time to REALLY practice your ‘staying healthy protocols’. But there are other things to add to this. If you are a normal healthy person with no pre-existing conditions you could also begin to add either Kola Nut tincture or Japanesse Knotweed tincture. Both of these have highly active compounds that viruses of all sorts do not like. A recent paper was presented in St.Louis, Missouri speaking about and Kola Nut extract Ebola. Sam Coffman over at the Herbal Medic speaks about Japanesse Knotweed and Ebola. I would like to make 2 notes here. Kola Nut contains natural caffeine and would not be suggested for those with high blood pressure or anyone sensitive to caffeine. Japanesse Knotweed must be used sparingly as overuse can cause bowel bleeding in some individuals and must NOT be used in individuals prone to bleeding or suspected of having Ebola. For more information on viruses, herbs and tinctures please visit here.

Homeopathy also offers supportive measures. When dealing with homeopathy less is MORE! According to Dr. Vickie Menear, M.D. and homeopath, found that the remedy that most closely fit the symptoms of the 1914 “flu” virus, Crolatus horridus, also fits the Ebola virus nearly 95% symptom-wise! So what does this mean to you? If Ebola is in your area or near you, you can use Crolatus Horridus 30c to help support your immune system against Ebola.

How?

Homeopathy is a proven and safe method for supporting the body and helping the body to come back into a normal state of health. Used as a preventative this is what you do according to Joette Calabrese, HMC, CCH, RSHom(Na):

ONE DOSE of Crolatus Horridus 30c DAILY IF NEAR BY or potentially exposed to the Ebola virus. (of course all other safety measures should be taken IF you have knowingly been exposed or come into contact with an infected individual)
Stop taking once threat is over!!!
this means in your local area and ONLY in an epidemic/pandemic situation…otherwise follow the advice below.

However, standard prophylaxis protocol maybe used in the event that it is in your REGION (about a 300 mile radius)

According to Miranda Castro (a trained homeopath):
OK, in brief here are my thoughts about using homeopathic remedies as preventatives.
1. The beauty of homeopathy is that less Is more. More is not more. In fact, more can be a bad, bad thing.
2. If you take too much of a remedy – whether you need it or not – and, if you are sensitive in general and/or if you are sensitive to the remedy in particular – you can get symptoms you never had before. They don’t usually last long but they can be a pain. Literally. It’s how we test our medicines.
3. Don’t give the children unnecessary medications. Including homeopathic medicines.
4. Use homeopathic preventatives only in an epidemic. And only if the epidemic is really and truly in your area.
5. The safest preventatives are the ones with a proven track record. Some are nosodes (Pertussin for Whooping Cough, Morbillinum for Measles and so on). Some are not – the genus epidemics is the very best preventative of all (homeopathically) – the remedy that is helping the most in any epidemic.
6. Stick with a 30C potency (unless you are under the guidance of a homeopathic practitioner who has made other recommendations). 30C is strong but gentle and has a proven track record. No need to go higher.
7. You only need to give a single dose every 3-4 weeks – that’s how long the effects of a preventative typically last.

REMEMBER: do NOT take more of any alternative method/remedy than recommended, especially homeopathic…you will make yourself ‘prove’ it (make yourself sick!)

So with this advice in mind, stay safe, be prepared and take good care of yourself and those you love. In a later post I will talk about how to support yourself in case you contract Ebola in spite your best efforts until you can get to professional medical care.

survivingshtfmom

stressimmuneWe have one great defensive team to protect ourselves in this world full of germs, viruses and bacteria our immune system. We are born with it and while not perfect, it keeps us alive in most cases if we ‘catch’ something and it has a great memory for prior foreign invaders.

Our immune system is what keeps us from having to live a sterile environment and it’s in our best interest to keep our immune system strong so that when some invaders comes a knockin’ we have a fighting chance to live. I would hazard to guess that most people don’t even THINK about their immune system and what would happen if it went bye-bye or was seriously compromised. Day in and day out we go about our lives full of stress and surrounded by germs. So, in this day and age when we typically don’t eat right, sit around a lot and stress out about everything and ding our immune systems with literally hundreds of different chemicals everyday what can we do to support our immune system? Fight STRESS!!!

Stress…stress can kill you and that isn’t a joke…according to Paige Bierma, M.A
“Some kinds of stress — very short-term, that last only a matter of minutes — actually redistribute cells in the bloodstream in a way that could be helpful,” says Suzanne Segerstrom, an associate professor of psychology at the University of Kentucky who has conducted studies on stress and the immune system. “But once stress starts to last a matter of days, there are changes in the immune system that aren’t so helpful. And the longer that stress lasts, the more potentially harmful those changes are.”
The fight-or-flight response (short-term stress) goes something like this: When a villager in Africa sees a lion charging at him, for example, the brain sends a signal to the adrenal gland to create hormones called cortisol and adrenaline, which have many different effects on the body, from increasing heart rate and breathing to dilating blood vessels so that blood can flow quickly to the muscles in the legs. Besides helping him run away, this type of acute stress also boosts the immune response for three to five days (presumably to help him heal after the lion takes a swipe at him).
When humans experience stress, our bodies react the same way that animals’ bodies do. Once the lion is gone, a zebra or gazelle’s stress level will return to normal, but humans have more trouble getting back to our routines after a stressful event, whether it’s a car accident or a divorce. We’ll think about it, dream about it, and worry about it for a long time, and that sets us up for long-term problems, says Robert M. Sapolsky, a Stanford University stress expert and author of Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.
Over time, continually activating the stress response may interfere with the immune system. How this affects your disease risk, Sapolsky suggests, depends partly on your risk factors and your lifestyle, including your degree of social support.

Infectious disease and stress:
A number of vaccine studies have also found that the immune system of highly stressed individuals have sluggish responses to challenges. In one study, published in the journal Psychosomatic Medicine, a pneumonia vaccine was administered to 52 older adults, including 11 people caring for spouses with dementia. After just six months, the levels of antibodies produced against pneumonia in the caregivers had dropped off, while the non-caregivers’ levels remained stable. A similar study in which 32 caregivers were given the flu shot also found that caregivers received less protection from the vaccine than did a control group of non-caregivers.
If you’re stressed out, you’re more likely to get sick — at least it seems that way. A study in the New England Journal of Medicine actually found that higher psychological stress levels resulted in a higher likelihood of catching the common cold. The researchers accounted for many variables — including the season; alcohol use; quality of diet, exercise, and sleep; and levels of antibodies before exposure to the virus — and concluded that higher stress was to blame for lowered immunity and higher infection rates.
In the meantime, there is enough evidence to convince us that we should find healthy ways to keep our stress levels down, which is advice we got from our grandmothers: Eat right, exercise, and get enough sleep.
“Stress is inevitable,” Spiegel says. “The trick is to learn to manage it, to find some aspect of our stress and do something about it. Don’t think in terms of ‘all or nothing’ but in terms of ‘more or less.’ ”

An immune system that is continually ‘working, working, working’ never gets a chance to recover so when challenged by an invader it cannot mount an adequate defense.
Learn to manage your stress!

Stressful events are a fact of life and they can be even little ones like too much noise or activity going on around you. You can learn to identify what stresses you and how to take care of yourself physically and emotionally in the face of stressful situations. Learn to UNWIND in a healthy way.

Stress management strategies include:
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise and plenty of sleep
Practicing relaxation techniques or learning to meditate
Fostering healthy friendships
Having a sense of humor
Seeking professional counseling when needed
Learn to say no! Set yourself realistic expectations and learn how to say “no” when your workload or social and family commitments get too much.
Learn to switch off. Leaving the office for the day? Then it’s time to switch off your work brain as well as your mobile phone. Unless you need to be on call for work, there’s rarely anything that can’t be solved the next day with renewed perspective.
Breathe! When we’re stressed, we tend to shallow breathe. Try to take deeper breaths into your diaphragm.

But hey! There is good news on the stress/immune system relation using herbs called adaptogens and these can be included into your healthy diet as herbal supplements. According to Frank M. Painter, D.C.:
The body expends a great amount of energy keeping itself in a heightened state of readiness. When weakened by prolonged stress–be it caused by lack of sleep, poor diet, chemical toxins in the environment or mental assaults–the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis can be compromised, and illness can result. Adaptogenic herbs have traditionally helped prevent the imbalances that can result from stress and have therefore prevented or minimized disease. At the core of an adaptogen’s scope of actions is the ability to help the body cope more effectively with stress. Specifically, adaptogens recharge the adrenal glands, which are the body’s nominal mechanism for responding to stress and emotional changes. The adrenals, which cover the upper surface of each kidney, synthesize and store dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine. These compounds are responsible for the changes that occur during the fight-or-flight reaction.

Well known adaptogenic herbs are:

Ginseng
Suma
Ashwaganda
Astragalus
Schisandra
Jiaogulan

And while mushrooms are not technically herbs Reishi, shiitake, maitake mushrooms have been shown to have adaptogen properties also.

Homeopathy can also play a role in reducing stress levels when needed and be apart of an overall stress reduction program:
According to Claire Zarb LCPH, it’s advisable to start with a 30c potency and take every hour or so when the feelings of stress are at their peak.

Argentum Nitricum
Ideal for treating anxiety, caused by the anticipation of a big event, such as an exam, party or public speaking event. Dizziness and diarrhea may also be experienced, especially in the morning. People who need this remedy are often enthusiastic and suggestible, with a tendency towards being quite impulsive. They often crave sweets which usually make their symptoms worse.
Gelsemium
When a dull, heavy, but restless, weariness dominates you, think of Gelsemium. A dose before an exam or interview can keep your mind from drawing a blank. Heavy fatigue with muscular weakness means it’s great for flu, restless colds, diarrhea and dull, pressing headaches. This can be a very steadying remedy, especially to quiet, often low-spirited people who dread public speaking.
Nux Vomica
This remedy’s reputation is based on its ability to treat modern day complaints of indigestion, intoxication, and stress. Nux Vomica acts to neutralize both the effect of stress on the mind, and excess intake of food, alcohol and drugs on the digestive system. Nux Vomica offers comfort when travel, hangovers, busy schedules, overwork, or late night meals cause digestive and mental distress. Ideal if you’re a ‘workaholic’ who is easily irritable and tired.
Lycopodium
Ideal for nerves and indecision and especially good if you worry a lot and battle with self-confidence (too much and too little!). Digestively, it applies to acidity, gas, bloating, colic and constipation. There may be a fear of change, irritability, obstinacy, stage fright and exam nerves.

And don’t forget the Food!
According to Michael Ozner, MD, the top 10 stress fighting foods are:
1. Spinach contains magnesium, which helps improve your body’s response to stress and may prevent migraine headaches.
2. Asparagus is a good source of folic acid, which produces serotonin and helps stabilize mood.
3. Beef helps stabilize mood by supplying zinc, iron, and B vitamins.
4. Dairy products such as milk and cottage cheese provide protein and calcium.
5. Nuts and seeds are good stress-fighting snacks. In addition to containing vitamin B12, magnesium, and zinc, almonds also provide vitamin E, which, like vitamin C, fights stress-related free radicals that cause heart disease. Walnuts and pistachios are known to lower blood pressure. Sunflower seeds include folate, which helps produce dopamine, a pleasure-inducing brain chemical.
6. Fruits such as oranges and blueberries contain vitamin C, which fights cancer-causing free radicals. Blueberries also counteract the effect of hormones such as cortisol, and bananas provide potassium, which lowers blood pressure.
7. Fish containing omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, can boost serotonin levels and limit the production of anxiety hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol.
8. Avocados are a good source of monounsaturated fat and potassium, which lower blood pressure.
9. Milk, including skim milk, is high in antioxidants and vitamins B2 and B12 and also provides protein and calcium, which can reduce muscle spasms and tension and soothe PMS.
10. Crispy rice cereal or corn flakes aren’t necessarily low in sugar; however, they offer B vitamins and folic acid, which reduce stress. Have a bowl of whole-grain cereal with milk for a stress-fighting breakfast.
Four foods to avoid:
1. Caffeine, found in coffee, tea, soda, and chocolate, can cause anxiety and raise stress hormone levels.
2. Sugar causes spikes in blood glucose levels and increases insulin. This affects your adrenal glands, which regulate stress hormones and help the thyroid regulate body weight.
3. Trans fatty acids such as hydrogenated vegetable oil are found in many baked goods and can hinder the immune system and increase the risk of heart disease.
4. Alcohol puts more sugar in the body, and excessive consumption can damage the adrenal glands.
While stress is just one factor in keeping the immune system healthy you can see that there are ways of helping the body to defend itself against stress and boost our body’s resiliency against stress. So get moving, eat ‘right’ and get your SLEEP and don’t forget to add homeopathy and herbs into your life to LIVE! Your immune system will love you!

Stay safe, be prepared!
survivingshtfmom

virus681Enterovirus 68. It is here in the US and although considered ‘rare’, it would seem that it is currently reaching epidemic proportions if reports are true of hundreds of children across the country being admitted to hospitals for severe respiratory complications. According to the CDC, only Colorado, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky and Missouri having confirmed cases. However, it is of such concern, that yesterday, September the 11th, 2014 that the New Kent County Public Schools in Virginia where I live (which is a rural area outside of Richmond, Virginia) felt the need to call all school age parents and issue a statement regarding enterovirus 68. The message was to let parents know that ‘they’ were monitoring the situation, to teach children not to touch their eyes, nose or mouth, wash hands repeatedly, do not share cups or toys or clothing and to keep home any child who was sick. The school system also referred parents to the CDC website for more information on the enterovirus 68.

About EV-D68

Typically, EV-D68 causes upper respiratory illness, such as low-grade fever, cough, runny nose, sneezing and body/muscle aches. Infected individuals generally recover on their own without incident by treating symptoms. However, some individuals, especially those with weakened immune systems or underlying medical conditions, such as asthma, may experience severe complications and require hospitalization with supportive therapy. This is what the CDC says about EV-D68. Although one documented case in Indiana the child had no such underlying medical conditions and yet was hospitalized.

However, many parents with children infected with EV-D68 report severe upper respiratory distress within hours of coming down with what seems to be a cold/flu. Including high grade fevers uncontrollable with Tylenol/ibuprophen, extreme headaches, neck pain, rashes and vomiting, blisters in the mouth, limpness of limbs and ultimately the inability to breath (shortness of breath, wheezing).
My own doctor called it a very, very bad ‘cold’

How do you contract enterovirus 68?

According to the CDC: Since EV-D68 causes respiratory illness, the virus can be found in an infected person’s respiratory secretions, such as saliva, nasal mucus, or sputum. EV-D68 likely spreads from person to person when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or touches contaminated surfaces.

Prevention according to the CDC includes:
Wash hands often with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially after changing diapers.
Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid kissing, hugging, and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.
Disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as toys and doorknobs, especially if someone is sick.
According to the CDC there is no treatment, vaccine or ‘cure’ for enterovirus 68 (which is in the same category of viruses that cause polio and hand/foot/mouth disease) only ‘palliative’ care, ie, managing the symptoms and keeping people comfortable.
Okay, so we now have that out of the way…as a mom of several school age children and an alternative health care advocate/practioner and prepper, I have some thoughts on ‘prevention’ and ultimately managing this ‘rare’ virus that seems to be sweeping across this country so quickly.

The basic question is what can YOU do to keep you and yours safe without going overboard and setting up a clean room to enter and leave through. We are NOT talking about a biohazard level 4 after all. However, getting sick is not fun and the following is what I will doing to hopefully prevent my children and myself from getting this virus:

First and foremost, goldenseal tincture used once a day, daily for the duration of the cold and flu season. I personally make my own goldenseal tincture and use it regularly whenever someone gets a cough, cold or the flu given that this herbs nature is to work on viruses first and foremost in the mucus member body systems (eyes, mouth, sinuses, stomach, intestinal tract). There is no danger in using this herb preventively and maybe used in children 6 months and up. The tincture works best and the best part is that a small amount, when properly prepared will go a long way! Goldenseal is safe for pregnant and nursing women also.
Another herb worth noting is Devils Club (Oplopanax horridum or Fatsia horrida) though I would tend to reserve this herb for the first sign of cough or cold and not so much as a preventative.

Please be sure that when you buy any herb in tincture form you buy from a reputable source. The best would be to buy from an herbalist who makes their own tinctures (ie a private person). Next best a nationally known company. An herbalist who makes their own tinctures will have the strongest available tinctures. Unfortunately, due to FDA regulations and other national and state ‘authorities’ large companies engaged in herbal products often are required to dilute their tinctures down to the point that in many cases you have to use twice the amount of tincture recommended below to get the desired results.

How much to use and how?

The BEST way to use a tincture is to place the desired amount directly under the tongue and hold it in the mouth for as long as possible without swallowing!! Yes, it tastes nasty, but no one said medicine tasted great. If necessary, it is fine to dilute the tincture in a small amount of water or juice and sip very slowly, again, not swallowing immediately.

As a general rule of thumb for tinctures:

Adults: 60 drops
Children:
Younger than 3 months — 2 drops
3 to 6 months — 3 drops
6 to 9 months — 4 drops
9 to 12 months — 5 drops
12 to 18 months — 7 drops
18 to 24 months — 8 drops
2 to 3 years — 10 drops
3 to 4 years — 12 drops
4 to 6 years — 15 drops
6 to 9 years — 24 drops
9 to 12 years — 30 drops

In some cases if you do not want alcohol in your tincture or cannot tolerate it you may be able to make your own glycerin tincture at home or, to rid the tincture of alcohol, boil water, place the tincture in the bottom of the cup and pour boiling water over it. It is up to you, personally I just use as is as I have found it more potent this way.

There are herbs that are great for the respiratory system that you can buy bulk and put into a large pot of simmering water that will also help to disinfect the whole house without you going crazy cleaning.
They include:

Inula (not recommended if anyone in the house has asthma or other medical conditions involving the lungs)
Mullein
Thyme
Ginger

At the very least your house will smell great!

If you like teas then try a daily cup of Astragulus it is excellent for strengthening the lungs and helping the immune system stay strong.

Next up, homeopathic prevention. In past cold/flu season I have always had a homeopathic for the flu at hand to take one dose weekly when no known exposure has occurred or if know/likely once a day. Boiron Oscillococcinum is the traditional remedy for the flu. I am not sure how much this may or may not help, but it is cheap and only 5 pellets need to be taken. At best, it may help at worst you might not get the seasonal flu.
I also found a homeopathic called LUNG LIQUESCENCE,RESPIRATORY DETOX FORMULA that supports the lungs in getting rid of viruses and mucus that I am incorporating into our routine. It should be taken the same way.

I would be remiss not to discuss essential oils under prevention. My favorite is the following:

A blend of specific essential oils including clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and Eucalyptus Radiata. Frankly, just a few drops in honey (or on a piece of bread) will work at keeping you healthy. You may also put this blend into an ultrasonic diffuser to spread the germ fighting virus killing essential oil particles around you home or workplace. Word of note: do NOT put this blend into water and use to disinfect anything besides metal as many of these essentials oils will break down plastics and paint and may harm stone surfaces also.

Now lets talk FOOD! Yes, food…food as medicine! Onion and garlic are two of nature’s BEST anti-virals available to everyone! I use a lot of these two ‘herbs’ in my own cooking. However, you can make teas or tinctures out them. There are a million and one ways that can be found online to do this. I also include onions and garlic in my homemade anti-sick honey syrup (do not give honey to children under the age of 1).

Take a clean quart sized jar and thinly slice up the following into about ½ inch sized pieces:
2 fresh lemons (including the rind)
2 medium sized onions
Fresh ginger root (I typically get a piece about the size of my hand)
4 tablespoons of minced garlic.
I put all of this into the jar and then cover with honey to the top. Be sure you stir the honey down to the bottom. Typically it takes just over 1 pound of honey.
Next, grab that crock pot! Place the jar (with lid on) into the middle of it and add enough water to almost fill the crock pot. Place the lid on it (most likely will not close, but the idea is to retain as much of the heat as possible) and then turn onto to low and allow it steep/warm up this way at least 16 hours or up to two days. Stir occasionally. The food ‘material’ will separate from the honey…that is okay, that is why you stir it and once done, it will be A LOT easier to get the pieces of food out before use. To use your anti-sick honey infusion, I use 1 tablespoon of honey stirred into one cup of hot water and drink slowly.

Another great ‘preventative’ is to cleanse your sinus cavities using a nettie pot or even simple saline solution daily before going to bed. This will help clean out any nasty germmies lurking around in your nose and sinuses and the added benefit is that you will help keep them from drying out during the winter preventing sinus headaches and sinus infections.

This is all I have for prevention at this time. In my next article I will be talking about what do IF you get that dreaded cough/flu called enterovirus 68.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns, do not hesitate to contact me at laura@iempoweredhealing.com

Per law I am required to tell you that I am not a medical professional and all information above is based upon my private experience and documented research by medical professionals online. Always seek professional medical assistance if you are unsure.

Here it goes…

Well, I am finally getting around to doing something that I have been thinking about for a long, long time. After hanging around several other blog sites for the past year or so I am jumping in…here it goes!

Let me introduce myself, my name is Rev. Laura aka SHFTMom…I am a girl scout at heart and believe in being ready for what ever may come my way, financial down turns, the skinned knee, the car breaking down at the most terrible time and oh, that little thing that seems to be looming closer with each passing day, TEOTWAWKI. Now, before you go thinking that I am some nutso job who thinks the world is going to go to you-know-where in some ball of ash or that a comet is going to put us back into the stone ages, know this…I don’t believe that..but what I do know and believe is that life as we know it now and have for say the past 30 or so years is coming to an end and that what we are facing not only as a country, but as a world is a complete rearrangement on a wholesale level, the kick-off, at least in my own humble opinion will be the final collapse of the economy. So, I am getting ready, wish I could do more and will be sharing on various things as I go along…so…what’s that song by REM? Its the end of the world as we know it…and I feel fine…that is until I broke of the stem of my tomato plant today as I tried to put the cage back into the ground. But its all good…I got 6 more plants! and that is the essence of being prepared to survive no matter what may come.