Tuesday, September 15, 2009

13 Ways to Help Shore Up Your Health to Fight Swine Flu

(Our grandson Georgie, not feeling too well during cold season one year. So pitiful!)

A few years ago, I read the following story, which I’ve summarized from The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. With the nonstop media coverage of the Swine Flu, I went back to re-read this story and decided I want to share with you!

In the 19th century, medicine began to focus on killing germs when Louis Pasteur discovered the antibiotic effects of penicillin.

Another 19th century French scientist, Claude Bernard was also a famous medical researcher and friend of Pasteur, but he approached illness from a totally different point of view.His focus was on the immune system of the patient and believed that keeping people’s immunity high was a much more effective approach than “killing the germ.”

Bernard’s theory led to some interesting studies. In one of them, a Russian scientist named Elie Metchnikoff and his research associates consumed cultures that contained millions of cholera bacteria – yet none of them developed cholera. Why? They had built up their bodies immune systems so well that it defended itself against germ invaders.

Pasteur and Bernard continued a healthy debate about their different approaches to health and wellness for many years. But, as Pasteur perhaps began to see that antibiotics would be come less effective as the germs mutated and gained strength… he changed his mind. (Too late, however, to change the focus of medicine for the next century.)

In fact, on his deathbed, Pasteur said: “Bernard was right. The pathogen (germ) is nothing. The terrain (immune system) is everything.”

Now, we come back to the topic of the day: Swine Flu. Which, last season, caused semi-panic in Mexico, and a general uneasiness in the rest of the world.

There appears to be a new vaccine that might help prevent the spread of swine flue, which is wonderful news, though.. since it is so new, is not without risk. What I am wondering why no one in the media seems to speaking of the need to begin upsizing the quality of our immune systems? Even as an important addition to the vacinne?

If Claude Bernard was right, then we should be focusing less on the “swine germ” and more on building up our body’s immunity.

Here’s a list of things you can do right now, until the swine flu vaccine comes to your neighborhood, to help build up your immune system so that you can help protect yourself and your family from any kind of germ invader -- be it mad cow disease, bird flu, swine flu or anything else that Old MacDonald’s Farm o’ Pathogens can throw our way. And every single thing on this list is also excellent for your brain health!

1. Take a good multivitamin with plenty of vitamin C, garlic (there are many odorless garlic pills), and astragalus, a potent immunity builder. Garlic's antibiotic and antiviral properites are well known but astragalus and elderberry were new to me.

Below are statements from an article, "You can fight swine flu" that certainly piqued my curiosity. I now include them in my Dr. Mom kit!(http://www.acupuncturelongbeach.com/swineflu.pdf)

* "UCLA just completed a study looking at the effectiveness of Astragalus and found that it greatly enhances the body's ability to produce anti-viral properties," said Hensle. "It should be taken at the first sign of an illness coming on."

* "Other herbs, such as sambucol (elderberry extract), also have proved to be potent immune system boosters. Elderberry is a plant known for its remarkable ability to prevent colds and flu. It can be purchased in liquid form or capsules at independent health food stores and larger supermarkets, such as Wild Oats, Whole Foods Market and Clark's Nutrition Center.

* According to www.diagnose-me.com, sambucol was tested on patients during the massive Israeli flu epidemic in 1992 and 1993. The results were amazing. Within 24 hours, 20 percent of all patients had dramatic improvements in their symptoms. By the second day, 73 percent were improved. By day three, the figure jumped to 90 percent."

2. Drink black or green tea with honey (honey has wonderful antibiotic properties) to start your day. (Chamomile herb tea with honey in the evening to wind down your day.)My mother swears by dark stevia, a natural sweetener, that she's used for years with nary a sniffle! She says you've got to use the dark kind for it to be effective.

3.Take probiotics or enjoy yogurts with active cultures like Activia or Dan Active on a regular basis. (Also eat something "live" with something "dead" -- fruit, fresh vegies, etc. with meat or dairy. Your digestion and immunity will thank you.)

4. Drink one smoothie a day (see my favorite Blueberry Smoothie recipe at the end of this post) to ensure you are getting plenty of fiber and antioxidants. (You can put your yogurt in here!) A good immune system has much to do with a healthy gut, and fiber plus probiotics are key. (Plus garlic to help keep bad stuff, like candida yeast, down.)

5. Sleep well and if you don’t, try melatonin or a supplement with GABA and/or magnesium in the evening to help you sleep better.

6. Take periodic “healing” baths -- Epsom salt or sea salt (1/2 to 1 c.) with baking soda (1/2 to 1 c.) and few drops of lavender is one of my favorite “feel better” rituals. It helps pull toxins out of your body and relaxes you for sleep.

7. Exercise – Oxygen is a key nutrient for the brain and body. Just walking a few minutes can have a restorative effect. I took my first yoga class today and loved it! There really is no antidepressent with all positive side effects, like exercise.

8. Take 10 to chill. A couple of times a day, if you can manage it… take ten minutes completely relax your body going from head to toe until you are limp. Breathe slowly and deeply. Some new studies also show that yawning, several times in a row, can be a highly effective way to both relax and restart your engines! Soft music in the back ground can facilitate relaxation, as can aromas like vanilla or lavender. (Use nontoxic candles or essential oils rather than waxy artificial candles).

9. If you can afford a massage --- by all means get one as a special treat now and then!

10. Laugh -- one comedy a day can keep the doctor away! Collect funny friends, sign up for funny emails, talk to a 3 year old… whatever floats your humor boat.

11. Gratitude – adopt an attitude of gratitude and positivity; just say a mental “thank you” prayer to the Creator for all the good things around you as you notice them. Positive people consistently fight off germs better than negative, complaining folk.

12. Nurture Relationships – a network of loving friendships and family, along with a loving marriage (with healthy sex life) is one of the best things you can do to boost your immune system. Hugging, touching, even stroking a pet builds immunity.

13. Follow The Joy Diet! (Plenty of fruits and veggies, healthy oils, lean meat and fish, whole grains and dairy products if you don’t have an allergy to them. Organic and fresh in season when possible. It is listed in detail in This is Your Brain on Joy.)

(Along with the above, of course, washing your hands fairly frequently is also helpful!!)

Swine Flu… Schmine Flu.
Eat, Drink and Be Merry… for tomorrow you have a lot to live for!

Becky’s Feel Better Blueberry Smoothie

1 c. orange juice
1 c. frozen blueberries
1 banana
1 dan active yogurt drink (I like vanilla)
1 emergen-c packet
1 T. protein powder( or more vanilla yogurt if you like..)
dollop of honey (has antibiotic properties)
a little ice if desired
Blend, blend, blend... should serve 2!

(Vary according to your taste....)


  1. Hi Becky,
    I am so glad to have found you!
    Your berry smoothie sounds delicious and as a germaphobe I am going to the store right now to buy all the necessary ingredients. I found your post so helpful I am going to tweet about it too!
    Thank you for sharing your secrets.

  2. Ah, thank you so much Stephanie! So glad to meet you too!