The Obligatory Cold and Flu News Letter.
The title sounds like I am being forced to write this. Just because it’s cold and rainy and people are hacking and coughing, and Kleenex sales have skyrocketed, OTC decongestants and antihistamines are flying off the shelf………
Wait it IS the cold and flu season. The CDC shows sporadic flu infestation across the country.
Colds are well established with moderate spread.
Also this year the CDC is not recommending the “live attenuated influenza vaccine”. Studies show that it was as effective as say breathing through a tissue. Okay, that wasn’t quite fair, since the effectiveness of vaccines change year to year. CDC not to recommend nasal vaccine
This newsletter isn’t so much about take or don’t take the vaccine. On it’s BEST years it’s only about 65-70% effective. This week we are going to talk about what you can do to help prevent you and your family from getting the flu.
Each year the CDC GUESSES on what strain to included in the vaccine. This years winners are…
- A/California/7/2009 (H1N1)pdm09-like virus,
- A/Hong Kong/4801/2014 (H3N2)-like virus and a
- B/Brisbane/60/2008-like virus (B/Victoria lineage).
- And 4 part vaccines will have B/Phuket/3073/2013-like virus (B/Yamagata lineage.
It’s a total WAG* each year.
* WAG= Wild Assed Guess
So enough defending the FDA Lets get down to business
I like Elderberry. No, I LOVE Elderberry. Just not for colds. It’s much better and beating a flu into submission. Over all it is not overly effective on the viruses that cause colds
The Big 3 Cold Bugs are:
- RSV and/or parainfluenza
My beloved Elderberry( No the lady that goes by that handle) is better at dealing with Influenza bugs. In one study Erling Thom, with the University of Oslo in the winter of 1999-2000 used elderberry syrup and a placebo in a double blind study on using elderberry for the flu. The study found that complete cure with Elderberry as the main drug happened within 3 days and with out it was 6+ days. Randomized Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Oral Elderberry Extract in the Treatment of Influenza A and B Virus Infections
Elderberry on the main cold viruses shows little effect, other than mainly a it’s good for you feeling.
Echinacea has been shown in many studies to lower the duration of the common cold. Cardif University in England did a study on it and the results of the study Safety and efficacy profile of Echinacea purpurea to prevent common cold episodes
The study did show that Echinacea did lower the duration and severity of the cold but did little on the prevention. Now in the United States Echinacea is severly frowned on by the medical community This report Echinacea for Cold and Flu says it does nothing. Make your own choices, We use it in our home.
Image courtsey of https://nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea/ataglance.htm
Chinese Star Anise
Star Anise is a wonderful herb. It is used to extract Shikimic Acid That is processed by Genetech into oseltamivir phosphate the active ingredient of Tamiflu.
Star Anise is at it’s BEST effectiveness within the first 2-3 days of onset of flu symptoms. Star Anise is also shown to help shorten the length of colds but the same restrictions apply as flu. It needs to be taken within the first 2 days. Note. Do not confuse Chinese with it’s close cousin Japanese Star Anise. The Japanese species is toxic.
Osha is a native to the Rocky Mountains and is the go to here in the mountain west for respiratory problems. Word of caution. Osha is almost identical to Hemlock. The leaves have subtle differences, but it’s the root and scent that tells the story. Osha roots are hairy, Hemlock is bare and Osha smells, well it smells like Osha! Very strong scent
Osha Leaves Hemlock Leaves
Images courtesy of: Western New Mexico University Department of Natural Sciences & the Dale A. Zimmerman Herbarium
Osha root like the other plants listed does not prevent the viruses from attacking you, but again taken in the first 2-3 days they do lessen the severity of the viral attacks. Osha is such a wonderful plant. It has a very long history with the original Spanish settlers and much further back with the Native Americans. It is my number 1 go to even over elderberry for cold and flu.
No Cold and Flu newsletter is complete without Slippery Elm. Slippery Elm is native to the northeastern section of the country. I really wish it would grow here in New Mexico, but our climate is to dry. It is a top choice for the sore throat that comes from colds and flu. The Mucilage it contains is a fantastic Demulcent Emollient and goes a long way for historically treating many other ailments besides colds.
The common thing here is that we have WONDERFUL herbs for treating colds and flu, but nothing to really prevent them in the first place. The best way to not get infected is, to not get infected. Seriously by staying away from sick people and if you’re sick staying home. That alone will stop flu straight in it’s tracks.
Washing your hands and not touching your face goes a long way to preventing colds and flu. Notice I said washing. Soap and water does not kill the germs. It removes them from the skin. By removing them you eliminate the #1 cause of getting sick. Alcohol cleaners. It’s pretty well known that I am not a huge fan of them. Yes most kill the bacteria and viruses the are living on the skin. But not all. And it doesn’t remove them. Yes we use surgical scrubs that are alcohol and chlorahexdine based. But we do 1 full surgical scrub first thing in the morning then the rest of the day we use the alcohol scrub. Also if our hands get soiled we rescrub the traditional way and then it’s back to the alcohol scrub.
CS has not been truly studied in the lab as a prevention for cold and flu. CS is one of the most attacked herbal supplements and it has it’s hazards. I’ve discussed them prior newsletters and podcasts. What I have in knowledge in CS is first hand and observed with a clinical eye and mindset. First hand is using it and seeing the results of it . In 2009 the US was hit with a variant of Swine Flu H1N1. I put the whole family on CS and yes we still caught the flu. It was identified by a visit to our doc and he did a nasal swab and it was positive. We also had minimal symptoms of the flu. The effect on us was more like a cold than full blown flu. So while it did not prevent the flu from attacking us it reduced the length of time and the symptoms of it immensely. Next is observation. A very close friend of mine takes CS daily. As does his family. And no they are not blue. Over a period of 15 years I have seen him sick with cold or flu symptoms 4 times. And they were mild. I can’t say if they were cold flu or allergies but the record speaks for itself .
The Medic Shack Herbal First Aid Kit
This is a comprehensive kit designed to supplement your standard first aid kit by using herbal and natural alternatives to the most common medicines found in your first aid kit.
The kit comes in 2 sizes Large and Small
Small Kit $35.00 and the Large is 50.00
Note there is @ 3-4 day build time for the kits
Cuts and scrapes: Sage Pine and Plantain Comfrey salve
Burns: Chaparral Plantain Calundula Marshmallow salve
Insect bites: Yarrow chaparral salve
Rashes: Plantain Comfrey chaparral salve
Muscle Aches Strains and Sprains Arnica Cayenne salve.
All Salves are made with 100% coconut oil and stiffened with Beeswax
Cold Flu Sore throat. Elderberry Echinacea Slippery Elm Osha glycerite
Sore throat Osha, Yerba Mansa, licorice slippery elm Glycerite
Allergy Mormon tea tincture
Pain relief Willow Devil’s claw glycerite
Upset stomach Mint/Mesquite glycerite
All the glycerites are made with 80% natural vegetable glycerin 20% RO water.
The 1 tincture is made with wildcrafted Mormon Tea tinctured in 50% grain alcohol
The colors of the bags available are OD Green, Desert Tan and Deep Black. They are MOLLE compatible and super tough. Orders your TODAY . The NEW bottles are in so no more leaks!
Folks have a very Happy Thanksgiving. For we are truly blessed for all that we have.
Christine, Jake, Ryan and Chuck Hudson.