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People who have gotten the flu early this season report that it hits them harder and it takes longer to get rid of debilitating symptoms.  If you prepare yourself and strengthen your natural defenses, however, you can beat the odds of getting the flu this season.  Here’s how to do it. 

1.       Through the winter months, get regular acupuncture treatment to ensure your energy is balanced and you are as strong as you can be.  This will go a long way in helping you maintain your resistance against the cold and flu.

2.       Take herbs or supplements preventatively to boost the immune system and support the respiratory track.  An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

·         Astragalus  In China, it is common for the family cook to put herbs in their soups to ensure family members stay healthy.  Astragalus is one that is frequently used in the late fall/early winter because it supports the Wei Qi (Chi), or the energetic "shield" which serves as a primary defense mechanism against pernicious threats to the system.  Astragalus has antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties and stimulates the immune system.  You can buy astragalus in a tincture at most any health food store and take some  a couple of times per week for the next few weeks.    

·         http://www.iherb.com/Herb-Pharm-Astragalus-1-fl-oz-29-6-ml/9594?CAWELAID=120224250000011300&gclid=Cj0KEQiA2b20BRDj4buduIG-y9EBEiQAhgMGFfka13_-kduDfEgfM4ICkSQ_MmEhcrZI7BSERAGz9LYaAimP8P8HAQ

·         Vitamin D3   Take a vitamin D3 supplement every day and spend as much time as you can in the sun.  Even getting sunlight just on your face helps produce more vitamin D in your body. 

·         In addition to boosting the immune system, Vit D3 helps the body absorb calcium. To prevent  to prevent  Vit D3 from pulling calcium from  the bones and depositing it in the arteries or kidneys for example,  where you don’t want it you must take Vit. K2 in tandem with Vit D3 to direct the calcium to the skeleton where it can best help you. 

o http://www.amazon.com/Thorne-Research-Vitamin-Dietary-Supplement/dp/B0038NF8MG

·         Probiotics  The successful functioning of the immune system depends on a healthy gastro-intestinal tract full of friendly bacteria.  These guys need to be replenished with supplements as the average diet does not include enough cultured foods to replenish them. I recommend  Jarrow-Dophilus EPS by Jarrow Formulas which is full of friendly bacteria and the capsules are entric coated so the stomach acid does not kill the friendly guys before they get to the large intestine.  You can buy this product at most any health food store.

·         http://www.amazon.com/Jarrow-Formulas-Jarro-dophilus-EPS-VegiCapsules/dp/B0013OUKTS/ref=sr_1_1?s=hpc&ie=UTF8&qid=1452265896&sr=1-1&keywords=Jarrow-Dophilus+EPS

·         MycoPhyto Complex®This unique mushroom formula contains a potent blend of six beneficial mushrooms species, specially cultivated on a bed of immune-supporting herbs and organic brown rice. Additional beta-glucans give this formula an extra boost to support optimal immune function all year round.

·         https://www.econugenics.com/mycophyto-complex-main/

·         Elderberry   To protect your respiratory tract, take elderberry tincture periodically during the late fall/early winter. You can buy elderberry tincture at most any health food store.

·         http://www.iherb.com/Herb-Pharm-Black-Elderberry-1-fl-oz-29-6-ml/15776?CAWELAID=120224250000010874&gclid=Cj0KEQiA2b20BRDj4buduIG-y9EBEiQAhgMGFW2uHtf2gekLyH3rFJ0TZiIPpNJCt8xbKDj5Qzpe6yUaAn3c8P8HAQ

·         Zinc, selenium  Boost your trace minerals intake, especially zinc and selenium . Both these trace minerals are critical for optimal immune function. Get theses trace minerals from natural sea salt or a high-mineral salt.  You can buy natural sea salts from the bulk section at Whole Foods or the supplements section of Whole Foods.  

3.       Stock you medicine chest with an emergency supply of these remedies to put your immune system in overdrive at the onset of the slightest hint of a flu or cold. If taken at the VERY, VERY FIRST HINT of cold or flu symptoms, these remedies will kick-start your immune system in such a way that you or your family members can be spared a cold or flu this season.

·         Nucleo Immune by Premier Research Labs (PRL)

o   Nucleotides are tiny building blocks of cellular RNA and DNA. Infection of any kind rapidly depletes the body’s store. Like minerals, nucleotides must be supplied from outside the body and are first available to us through breast milk.

o   According to PRL, “the genetic code of a cold virus enters the body as a strand of RNA that contains about 7,000 nucleotides coiled inside a viral shell. This code acts to trigger the body's cellular machinery to start duplicating the viral code and spreading the infection to new cells in a downward infection cycle. If an extra source of nucleotides is available, billions of these sturdy, fresh nucleotides can be absorbed by the cell to help fight back and put an end to the infection cycle.”

o   I find I can ward off a cold by taking 4-5 nucleotide capsules every hour until the HINT of a cold or flu disappears. 

o   https://www.pureformulas.com/nucleotide-complex-q-500-mg-60-vcaps-by-premier-research-labs.html

·         Oscillococcinum by Boiron

o   This product, affectionately referred to as Oscillo is a homeopathic remedy and can be used easily by small children to nip cold and flu like symptoms in the bud.  They can suck on these very small tasteless pellets so it is a very easy sell. Oscillo works for adults too.

o   Oscillo has been around for many years and has even worked its way onto the shelf of mainstream retailers like CVS, Gaint Food and the like.

o   Here is an online source too,   http://www.vitacost.com/boiron-oscillococcinum-30-doses-1?csrc=PPCADW-%5Bkeyword%5D&mtp=s8TmJsKp2-dc|pcrid|95700665531|mt|b&gclid=Cj0KEQiA2b20BRDj4buduIG-y9EBEiQAhgMGFVvWkazNrWc2V5n-a7IP05soMSRIYP8XuP0OJf5BKFAaAurf8P8HAQ

4.       Eat these foods more frequently during winter as that are known to boost the immune system.

·         Pumpkin seeds: These seeds contain approximately 10 mg of zinc per 100 grams of seeds. Zinc is a trace mineral that provides critical support to immune cells.

·         Sweet potatoes: Approximately ½ cup of sweet potatoes can provide up to 40% of the RDA for vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene. Vitamin A is an important immune supporting nutrient, and helps protect mucus membranes and maintain immune response in these sensitive tissues.

·         Beneficial mushrooms, including Shiitake, Maitake and Reishi:  Beneficial mushrooms are high in beta glucans, vitamin D and other health-promoting compounds to help support immune cells, promote healthy digestion and support numerous other areas of health.

·         Broccoli: Cruciferous vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage and Brussels sprouts, are potent sources of powerful immune supporting compounds such as vitamin C, beta-carotene, the trace minerals, zinc and selenium, and others to bolster immunity and support overall health.

·         Green tea:  ECGC (Epigallocatechin gallate) and L-Theanine are two powerful compounds found in green tea that support immunity and protect long term health. L-Theanine in particular supports the immune system’s fight against foreign invaders, while ECGC protect cells against damage and offers numerous additional health benefits.

·         Chia seeds: These tiny seeds are nutritional powerhouses, high in antioxidants, nutrients and protein. They also contain a healthy balance of Omega 3s and Omega 6s, and support healthy glucose metabolism. They offer a significant boost to vital energy, and because of their extremely high nutritional content, they support numerous aspects of immunity and overall health.

·         Pungent Spices:  Eat meals that are rich in pungent spices like curry, turmeric, ginger, garlic, cilantro, rosemary, thyme, cloves and nutmeg. These spices boost immune function and taste great, too!

·         Chicken soup: Studies show that chicken soup, even store-bought, can reduce symptoms of cold and flu and support the function of immune cells.

·         Burdock root:  This hearty root is high in a compound called inulin which helps to promote strong immunity, balance blood sugar and support organs and tissues.

5.       Avoid these foods as they make your immune system inefficient.

·         Avoid eating cheese and drinking milk, especially during the winter season.   All dairy products tend to produce mucus and cause sinus stuffiness. This can make you more susceptible to physically catching and harboring a virus floating around.

6.       Do these things on a daily basis to strengthen your natural defenses.

·         Get regular exercise to boost your circulation and immune strength. This exercise should be frequent and moderate. Do not over-stress yourself at the gym, or your immune system will be temporarily compromised.

·         Move your lymph (body waste) out! Rebounders (mini trampolines) are great for this purpose. Jumping rope also works, as does just hopping in place for a few minutes each day. You can also do arm rotations and other simple movements to keep your lymph circulating. Lymph movement is crucial for immunity.

·         Get plenty of sleep. A lack of sleep compromises the immune system.  So, in the winter, early to bed and up with the sun.

·         Reduce chronic stress so as not to compromise your immune system.

·         Laugh, Laugh, Laugh! Watch some comedy movies, or spend some fun time with family and friends. Laughter boosts immune function at many levels. It's good for your body and your mental health, too.

·         Wash your hands frequently. Many of the infections we receive during the flu season come from us touching contaminated surfaces and then touching our eyes, nose or mouth. The simple act of washing your hands can dramatically cut down on viral infections.

7.       What to do if you do get a cold or flu.

·         Today people are reporting that they feel sicker and it takes longer to get rid of the “common cold.”   Below are natural remedies which will whip out the cold and flu critters while leaving the immune function in your gut in tack.

    • Assuming that you have taken Nucleo Immune by Premier Research Labs (PRL) or Oscillococcinum by Boiron at the very first sign of a cold or flu and you still feel fluish, you should then take 1000-2000 mg of Vit. C several times during the day. 

·         It is not necessary to take all of the remedies below when you get a cold or flu, but you should have them all on hand because, today, some flu’s will respond better to one remedy than another.  If one doesn’t work, you can try another. 


o   Food grade Oregano Oil – Very powerful antimicrobial, anti-viral.  Very powerful against cold and flu virus.  http://www.myvillagegreen.com/brands/pathway/pathway-oregano-oil.html  

o   Grapefruit Seed Extract – a very powerful antimicrobial  http://www.iherb.com/product-reviews/NutriBiotic-GSE-Liquid-Concentrate-Grapefruit-Seed-Extract-2-fl-oz-59-ml/4211/?p=1

o   Olive Leaf Extract ---strong antimicrobial, anti-viral, anti-fungal   https://www.pureformulas.com/core-olive-leaf-extract-by-energetix.html 

o   Lauricidin is the medicinal essence of coconut oil which is an anti-bacteria, anti-viral, anti-fungal.  https://www.lauricidin.com/


So, I invite you to increase the frequency of your acupuncture treatments this winter, stock your medicine chest with the above suggestions and eat a non-mucus producing diet so as to beat the odds of getting a cold or flu this winter. 

By strengthening your natural defenses, NATURALLY you increase your chances of succeeding.

Feel free to pass this information on to your family and friends.

Dan Ebaugh, L.Ac.

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