Holistic Ways to Treat the Flu

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With an especially debilitating flu season sweeping the country, we asked Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD, author of Flu: Alternative Treatments and Prevention to give us some holistic advice about preventing and treating the flu.  

Contrary to what you have been told about the flu, there are effective treatments for the symptoms. Emergency rooms are flooded with patients, and their doctors remain helpless in the face of viral illnesses like the flu. They suggest prevention in the form of a flu vaccine that is ineffective and accompanied by dangerous side effects.

Holistic medicine, by contrast, provides effective treatment that can alleviate the symptoms, shorten the course of the illness and prevent complications. And holistic treatments are safe without any side effects.

Not only are there effective treatments, but you can develop a plan to treat the flu yourself. Stock your natural medicine kit with a few important supplements and you will be prepared for the flu if it strikes your family. Here’s the plan.

Nutritional Supplements
Vitamin D is essential for immune function. Most adults need about 5,000 IU of vitamin D3 as a supplement per day. Others may need more if their vitamin D blood level is especially low. Children need about 2,000 IU per day.

Vitamin A is a potent antiviral supplement. Take about 20,000 IU per day during an illness.

Vitamin C treats viral illnesses. Take 6,000 to 20,000 mg per day.

Herbal Treatment
Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) had been shown in several studies to shorten the duration and alleviate symptoms of the flu. Most health food stores sell elderberry extract in liquid form and capsules. Liquids are especially easy for children to take. Often elderberry is combined with Echinacea, which stimulates the body to fight off infections.

Chinese medicine has very effective antiviral formulas. Yin Chiao is an important Chinese herbal formula for the early stages of colds and flu. It expels pathogens and relieves congestion. The popular Airborne formula (and similar preparations) contain the main herbs of Yin Chiao in a fizzy tablet, but in a very dilute form. The primary herbs of this formula are Lonicera and Forsythia.

Gan Mao Ling is a more appropriate formula for stronger flu symptoms with aching muscles, headache, sore throat, and sinus congestion.

Both of these formulas (Yin Chiao and Gan Mao Ling) are available at health food stores and online sites. They are inexpensive and good to keep on hand in case someone you know needs them.

Homeopathic Medicines
The two most commonly indicated homeopathic medicines for flu symptoms are Bryonia and Gelsemium. These two are easily distinguished by their symptoms. The indications for prescribing Bryonia are flu symptoms with a bad headache made much worse by moving. The patient feels warm, wants fresh air, and is very thirsty. By contrast Gelsemium corresponds to flu cases with lack of thirst and chills. The patient feels chilly and is extremely exhausted and lethargic.

Take 2 to 3 pills of the 12 or 30 strength homeopathic preparation every few hours during the illness. These are usually available at larger health food stores as well. And they are safe for children.

Later Stages of the Flu
Although this program is usually adequate to cure the flu, if your symptoms continue into later stages of persistent coughing or prolonged tiredness and congestion then a visit to a holistic practitioner can alleviate these symptoms as well.


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Books by Dr. Randall Neustaedter, OMD
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