Again the flu season is upon us. Whether to get a flu shot or not is a personal decision. Last years flu shot was 42% effective, 2015 was 19% effective. Here is an interesting article from CNN on this years flu shot. If you get a flu shot or not remember to check out our cold and flu pages for resources in how to prevent or mitigate the flu for the coming year.
When you are ill, it is best not to come into the office but call or email us and see which remedy is best for you. The remedies we offer are more effective than acupuncture for colds and flu and it is best for you to stay home and rest. We can mange the herbal diagnosis over the phone or email and have additional herbal formulas available for you to pick. Even better is to have these formulas at home ready to use at the first sign of a cold/flu. All Chinese formulas mentioned in this article are tested 15 times for contaminates and quality.
There are a number of anti-viral and anti-bacterials we use at our office to prevent, shorten and acutely treat colds and flu common in the fall and winter. Here is a list of the common ones that are used with directions and dosing guidelines. Dosages are very important, as insufficient dosing is the main cause of treatment failure.
With the first sign of a cold/flu this is the best time to address the cold or flu.
Once you come down with major symptoms it a longer task to address the sickness. It is best to start treatment as soon as any symptom appears. A slight tickle in the throat, slight headache, beginnings of a sore throat, pain in the sinus, queasiness and nausea can be a sign that you about to come down with a cold or flu.
In addition to Chinese herbal formulas, we are excited by the response we have seen with German biologicals for colds and flu. They can be used for those who don’t respond well to herbs or have digestive issues that make their absorption a problem. The Biologicals are extremely effective in activating your immune system to fight the cold/flu and direct it’s action directly to the part of the body most in distress. Many of our patients find them helpful in preventing colds and flu as well as treating acute symptoms. In a severe flu we often suggest their usage with Chinese formulas and Garlic to best support your immune system.
Those familiar with the excellent results of SyAllgen for treating and help eliminating allergies will be pleased to know that SyImmune pills, lotions and nasal spray are equally effective in addressing colds and flu. We can inform you in detail at your next appointment on how best to use them.
Lonicera complex is a general remedy for cold and flu. It’s principle ingredients have been used in Chinese herbal formulas for thousands of years. It has proven effective for viral and bacterial infections. It can prevent and shorten the duration and severity of a cold or flu. The company we use test extensively for quality and purity.
With the sudden severe onset of a flu or cold I recommend strong dosages of this formula for 24 to 48 hours. A typical strong dose (adult body weight 160 to 175 lbs.) would be 5 pills every two to three hours (do not wake up to take dose if asleep) for an adult for the first 24 hours, in extreme cases longer. If after 24 the symptoms are reduced in severity, reduce to three pills 4 to 5 times a day. If there is little effect you may need to add the herbal ENT, Cinnamon Combination, German Biological or Garlic to the formula. Call or email the office for advice on these additional remedies for further information see below.
Lonicera with a mild onset
Malaise and moderate symptoms you can do 3 pills every three to four hours.
If you are improving after 24 to 48 hours you will need to continue to take Lonicera throughout the illness, three pills three to four times a day. When symptoms improve take two to three pills two to three times a day for five days after you feel fully recovered. This will prevent a relapse.
If you are not improving after 24 to 48 hours you may need additional formulas to help get through the flu or cold. A cold or flu that settles in the chest will need additional formulas. You will need to call the office for advice.
Lonicera Complex can also be used for prevention of colds and flu. When those around you are sick or when you fly try taking 2 to 3 pills 1 -3 times a day depending on severity of the exposure.
Garlic has powerful anti viral and antibiotic effects. Don’t underestimate garlic, it can for some people be the herb of choice. You can add it to the above Lonicera formula one pill three times a day to enhance the effects of lonicera. Some people cannot tolerate garlic and have digestive complaints with its use, if this is the case for you, stop taking it. If your symptoms are severe: headache, sore throat, fever, body aches, running nose, etc. you can take as much as three pills three times a day or as much as your digestive system will allow.
The ENT represents ears, nose and throat. This formula can be added to Lonicera and garlic when there are heat symptoms present in these areas. Those are high fever, severe body aches, headache, yellow or green mucous and severe sore throat. This formula adds stronger antibiotic and antiviral herbs. If you are prone to sinus or ear infections with colds and flues you can add this to lonicera and garlic right at the start of a cold or flu. I would suggest 1 to 3 pills of Herbal ENT taken with the lonicera depending on the severity of heat symptoms. Green mucous is a stronger heat symptom than yellow mucous.
Often with patients prone to lung ailments the cold/flu will eventually end up in the lungs. In Chinese Medicine this represents a deepening of the illness and increases the recovery time. With a cold that includes a DRY COUGH we add Respitrol (CF) to any of the remedies above. A dry cough is the first sign that the lungs are struggling and often results in a secondary bacterial infect in the lungs. RESPITROL (CF) can stop the cough, loosen up mucous and clear the lungs. Whenever taking any of the formulas above and a dry cough appears RESPITROL (CF) can be used to good effect.
Whenever Lonicera or Herbal ENT is not working, consider the use of Cinnamon Combination. Your illness may be cold (rather than hot) in nature and it may respond better to a warming formula rather than the cooling formulas of Lonicera and Herbal ENT. Call into the office if you suspect this is the case and we can discuss your condition and determine the right remedy.
These formulas are just a few that I use for colds and flues. Each person is unique and each illness is as well. So, it is best when possible to call in and talk to me or email the office and we can fine-tune the dosages of these formulas. If the cold or flu settles in your lungs, additional formulas will be needed. Call the office whenever the lungs become involved.
As a general principle, any time a formula is not working, or another symptom appears, or your condition is worsening CONTACT THE OFFICE and we will discuss with you other options. If you have an adverse effect from the remedy or you feel it makes your symptoms worse, stop taking the remedy and call or email the office.
The suggestions above are just the most common remedies we use, there are others too numerous to list we can use as well to help you return to health.
Now is the time to prepare for the cold and flu season.
As we begin to move from the yang seasons of summer and late summer to autumn, we are called to bring balance into our lives. It is in autumn that we pay special attention to our inner balance and become acutely aware of our unique balancing act.
You can start by paying attention to the balance between activity and rest, taking in and letting go, in our social life and our inner life. This attention will prepare us for the winter months ahead, when we are to rest and build our reserves for the activity to come in spring and summer.
As we all know, achieving this balance is not easy in a society that is out of balance itself; increasing activities in the fall that often peak in winter. The best we can do is to keep the ideal in mind and let it temper our daily decisions. This allows us to control those activities we do have under our control. The choice to go to bed early or stay home on a fall evening with a book can go far in keeping us tuned to the season and help build our reserves. As the days become shorter and the nights cooler, let this wisdom of nature temper your activities.
Do not be discouraged if the ideal cannot be achieved. Continue to apply the principles the best you can. Do not apply a rigid set of rules to your life but focus in and respond to your individual inner sense of balance.
Even with a concerted effort to be in balance, we still can become ill. There is no blame here. Illness is just the other side of health. It strengthens and rebalances our lives in ways we may not understand.
When ill we should strive to respond to what is being called for: not to battle the illness or overwhelm it but to work with nature to help restore your health. Learn how to be ill. Rest, stay home from work, drink lots of fluids and wait for your body to do what it does best; recover. It is best not return to work until you are fully recovered.
Dress warmly in the winter and do use ice in your water or drinks. It is also best to avoid sweet foods and drinks during the rainy season. They can contribute to a condition the Chinese call ”internal damp” which makes you more susceptible to colds and flu and can increase mucous discharge.
As you see more colds and flu in the community wash your hands frequently and keep them away from your face. Most cold viruses are passed from the hands to the eyes and nose, where they can enter our bodies and begin their attack. Work on eliminating unconscious habits that bring our hands into contact with our eyes or nose. Research shows that getting the flu or a cold depends on the amount of exposure to the virus. Keep that exposure to a minimum! That said, there is much we can do to avoid, limit or reduced the time we spend ill with the use of Chinese herbs, vitamins, vitamin D and German biologicals. It is important to stress that these remedies are not to be used in place of the advice above, but together with it.
- 1 bottle Lonicera Formula (100 capsules) : anti-viral and anti-bacterial action.
- 1 bottle Herbal ear, nose and throat formula:(100 capsules)- sinus infections, sore throat, earaches, headache, congestion.
- 1 bottle Garlic Tablets 600mg (90 tablets)- strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial action.
- 2 bottles Lonicera Formula (100 capsules) : anti-viral and anti-bacterial action.
- 2 bottles Herbal ear, nose and throat formula: 100 capsules)- sinus infections, sore throat, earaches, headache, congestion.
- 1 bottle Garlic Tablets 600mg (90 tablets)- strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial action.
What with the amazing weather we have been having, there is an increase in allergy symptoms. Grass allergies have begun already.
Tips for allergy season.
- Try removing sugar, gluten, cow dairy products and corn from your diet for 7 days and notice if symptoms lessen. Email us Joseph@classicalfiveelement.com for some sample gluten and dairy free menus. They are delicious!
- Limit your time outdoors during the worse days and shower before bed, making sure your hair is rinsed as well. Don’t take that pollen to bed with you!
- If possible keep your windows closed in your bedroom at night and cover your bed with a sheet during the day. You can get an inexpensive HEPPA air filter for your bedroom that will help keep the air pollen free. http://www.amazon.com/Honeywell-Long-Life-QuietCare-Purifier-1 7000/dp/B000050AQ5
- The Neti Pot is a godsend for allergy sufferers. It cleanses your nasal passages of pollen and sooths the swollen and painful mucous membranes of the nose and sinuses. It is helpful to use the neti pot anytime your allergies are troublesome and best to use it right before bed.
It is important to use it properly, please consult this demo
- Remember exercise and proper hydration play an important role in limiting our allergy response during this season as well.
- For those of you not familiar with SyAllgen, it is a non-pharmaceutical medication that has the ability to address allergy symptoms; itching nose and eyes, sinus congestion, sneezing, and shortness of breath. Even better, it has ability to reduce your allergic response to allergens! By modulating your immune response it limits the discomfort you experience during this allergy season, but even better it reduces your allergic response in the following year as well. Each successive year it is taken lessens your allergic response the following year. In addition to the tablets there is also a lotion you can apply to those allergy hot spots to direct SyAllgen to these target areas. SyAllgen does not just cover up the symptoms. It actually changes how your immune system responds to allergens. It does not disturb your sleep, dry out your mucous membranes or make you irritable or sleepy like over the counter remedies.
Hope you are all enjoying this amazing spring!
Many readers report a reduction (not absence) of colds and flu with 5,000 IU daily doses of vitamin D. However, hundreds of media outlets are reporting on a well-conducted JAMA study that showed no benefit for vitamin D in preventing the common cold.
- Vitamin D Won’t Save You From Common Cold, Latest Study Says
- Vitamin D may do nothing to prevent common colds
- Trying to Avoid a Cold? Skip the Vitamin D Supplements
- Vitamin D doesn’t fight off colds
The randomized controlled trial, led by Dr David R Murdock of the University of Otago in New Zealand, found that 200, 000 IU per month for two months followed by 100,000 IU per month of vitamin D for 16 months in 161 patients did not prevent either the diagnosis or complaint of the common cold. The study included viral cultures, rigorous efforts to capture all infections, vitamin D given during monthly doctor visits, and initial and follow up vitamin D levels. The average initial level in the treatment group was 29 ng/ml and 18 months later, the mean level was approximately 50 ng/ml, with no side effects.
However, only 13 of the 161 placebo patients had levels below 20 ng/ml and only 5 of the 322 total patients had levels less than 10 ng/ml to begin the study. That is, the placebo group had relatively high levels (mean of 28 ng/ml initially), compared to most populations, and all but 13 patients had levels above 20 ng/ml for most of the study, apparently from sun exposure.
Compare Dr. Murdock’s results to the result of another study, one in the Lancet by Dr Adrain Martineau and colleagues, who, as a secondary end-point, assessed upper respiratory tract infections over two months in patients given 2.5 mg (100,000 IU every two weeks for eight weeks for ancillary treatment of TB.
They found a six-fold reduction in upper respiratory infections, but their English popu- lation was severely vitamin D deficient to begin with.
In addition, two randomized controlled trials in children, one in Japan and one in Mon- golia, both given daily vitamin D, showed a reduction in upper respiratory tract infections. Both studies had placebo arms. In the Mongolian study, the investigators measured vitamin D deficiency in the placebo arm, and it was much worse than in the JAMA study, a point the JAMA authors note.
In yet another secondary end point in a randomized controlled trial, 2,000 IU/day of vitamin D in African Americans with initial low levels reported a dramatic reduction in respiratory infections. Both the report and our group’s reply are free to read and download in its entirety.
Thus, the JAMA study leaves us with a number of possibilities:
- Vitamin D does not help prevent the common cold.
- Monthly doses of vitamin D do not help prevent the common cold while daily or weekly dosing does.
- Levels above 20 ng/ml (92 % of the placebo group) are all that is required to lower the infection rate.
I am unaware of any study that used significant daily doses for an entire winter that was negative. What is your experience with daily doses of vitamin D and infections?