The decision to vaccinate can be stressful. Many families who seek to be healthy struggle with the idea of going against the CDC suggestions that everyone should be vaccinated. Public schools have intimidated parents into vaccinating their children. The big box pharmacies urge you to take advantage of their convenient service while you shop.
The pharmaceutical companies bring in over 1.2 billion dollars in revenue each year from vaccination sales. The 2014 – 2015 flu vaccination had a 19% success rate in preventing flu! I was surprised by the low percentage and checked this fact at the CDC. It is true. Exceptional years had some better results of up to 60%, though the average annual vaccination benefits only 30-45% of the people who take them.
What the pharmaceutical companies and CDC don’t tell us are that there are other options that are helpful for the majority of Americans – and they do not have the side affects associated with vaccines, which can include: fever, headache, runny nose, sore throat, allergic reactions or more rarely Guillain-Barre Syndrome. These natural options not only prevent or lessen flu symptoms, but they also help the body build its immunity against future outbreaks.
Lifestyle factors: Stress level, sleep, inactivity, nutrition, artificial sweeteners and white sugar all inhibit the effectiveness of the immune system.
Lower your stress: Learn to lower and handle the stresses in your life. Meditation, Yoga, tai chi, Qi Gong and breathing techniques teach us how to better deal with life’s stress; and minimize the negative affects of fear and stress-related adrenaline and cortisone in the body.
Essential Oils to relieve Stress: Caraway, Lemongrass, Hyssop, Holy Basil, Red Myrtle, Bergamot, Blue Hemlock, Cabreuva and Balsam Copaiba.
Get plenty of rest. When we are under stress, our sleep is often affected. When we lack sleep, we don’t make the best choices. Habits to healthy sleeping: Turn off the television and pick up a book for a few minutes before bedtime.
Essential oils that aid sleep: Lavender, Chamomile, Vetiver and Vanilla. Apply one or two drops in ¼ teaspoon of olive oil and gently rub into the back of your neck between the occiput.
Exercise: Engage in movement you enjoy: The possibilities are limited only by your geography and imagination. 30 minutes a day increases immunity, metabolism and endorphins that help you feel good.
Eliminate artificial sweeteners and white sugar: these depress the immune system. Use honey, agave or muscavado sugar as healthy replacements. It is best to avoid sugar during the onset of any illness.
Five potent ways to eliminate or lessen flu symptoms:
Remember that the condition of our immune system and overall health determines whether or not we are susceptible to flu and to what extent.
1. Star Anise essential oil has been tested very effective against stomach flu, bird flu and super viruses. It is also very calming to the digestive tract and clears congestion in the lungs for easier breathing.
For adults, take two drops in a glass of water and sip, or put 10 drops in 1 teaspoon of olive oil and rub clockwise on your stomach (this is especially helpful when you have vomiting-type flu symptoms). For a child, use 2 drops in 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
Other essential oils for stomach flu: Oregano and Holy Basil.
2. Ravensare, Eucalyptus and Spike Lavender essential oils are very helpful for flu that starts out with sinus, sore throat or bronchial symptoms. You may use 5 drops of each in a diffuser to clear the air. This is a potent viral infection fighter. Other excellent oil options are Holy Basil, Tea Tree & Bay Laurel.
Ravensare, Eucalyptus and Spike Lavender are also beneficial when applied to the chest and neck area. 5 drops of each mixed in 1t olive oil, or 1 drop of each in 1T for children ages 2-5.
3. Char’s favorite Hootch: This is a very effective cough and flu drink. Drink it 4 or 5 times a day to speed recovery from flu and colds.
- 1 cup fresh orange juice
- ½ squeezed lemon
- 1-2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- ½-1” inch square of chopped ginger
- Honey to taste
Place the orange juice, lemon garlic and ginger in a small sauce pan on very low heat. Warm and then add honey to taste. Enjoy this soothing drink several times a day to avoid the onset or lessen the affects of flu symptoms.
4. Viral Body Blend: You can apply this mixture to the feet and body (avoid the face and eyes). Use organic olive oil as carrier oil. It aids your immune system, helps retain moisture, and provides nourishment to the cells when you cannot eat (due to vomiting).
- 10 drops Ravensare or Tea Tree
- 5 drops Bulgarian, Fine Population or Spike Lavender
- 10 drops Oregano
- 2 T Olive Oil
Apply several times daily to the chest (front and back) to ease breathing; or apply to body aches associated with flu.
5. Fever: I love the feel of Lavender on my skin when I am sick. It lowers high fevers without breaking them. It is soothing and calming and is a welcome relief for hot dry skin.
For babies and young children: place a drop in a warm bowl of water and apply to the body and back of the head (but not the face where it may end up in little eyes) as needed.
You can do the same with lavender in an organic olive oil mixture. Use one or two drops for babies (1% solution). For older children, use 4 or 5 drops (4-5% solution). For adults use up to a 10% solution in organic olive oil. It reduces fever, offers nutrition to skin cells and helps the body retain fluids.
Support for healing flu:
1. Emergen-C: Contains high doses of vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. Also very important are electrolytes, which generate energy, contract muscles and move fluids throughout the body.
2. Drink plenty of water: Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water and electroytes like those contained in Emergen-C. Water helps the movement and elimination of wastes from the body. If you are vomiting and can’t keep fluids down, change to ice chips and small sips of Emergen-C.
3. Bone Broth & Chicken noodle soup: There is a reason that mom’s homemade chicken was a favorite food when we were sick. The bone broth restores our joints, blood vessels and supports a healthy immune response. The carrots, celery, onion and garlic contain valuable trace minerals and vitamins that help us regain strength. Sorry, the benefits are not the same using canned soups; many of which contain MSG.
Nutrition for Immune Health:
Probiotics – more studies come out each year noting the power of probiotics. In Chinese medicine, the large intestine is the yang to the lungs. Quite simply, the health of the large intestine affects the health of the lungs and visa versa. Probiotics or probiotic foods such as kefir, yogurt, kimchi, sauerkraut and cultured dairy products strengthen the digestive tract including the large intestine, reducing the number and duration of respiratory tract infections.
Vitamin D3 – there are studies showing that sunlight is vital to a healthy immune system. There are some who believe the outbreaks of virus in wintertime directly relate to the decreased time people spend outside; and producing the Vitamin D3 that helps our bodies produce antiviral peptides. Studies have shown that 1200 units of Vitamin D3 per day cut flu incidences by 42%. That’s a far better record than many years of flu vaccinations!
Oats and Barley: studies show that they contain beta-glucan, which has antimicrobial and antioxidant. It increases immunity, speeds the healing process, and works with other herbs and foods to accelerate healing.
Garlic: garlic contains allicin, which fights infection and bacteria. In addition, 6X garlic, a brand sold online, has been used over a year period to eliminate inactive TB in the body. (This is anecdotal). Two cloves daily has been shown to lower the rate of colorectal and stomach cancer.
Organic eggs from free-range chickens: these are a great source of high-quality protein and fat.
Coconut Oil – is excellent for your thyroid and metabolism. It contains lauric acid, which our bodies convert to monolaurin. This is the same compound contained in breast milk that strengthens a baby’s immunity. Use organic, unrefined coconut oil that is non-GMO.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Blueberries and raspberries are very high in antioxidant capacity. They also contain powerful phytochemicals. They are lower in sugar than many fruits. Eating apples, oranges, lemons, grapefruit, and winter vegetables also build the immune system to help prevent flu outbreaks for your family.
Mushrooms strengthen the immune system, as they are rich in protein, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, calcium and other minerals.
Herbal teas: Holy Basil, Echinacea, Cat’s Claw, Gingko Biloba, Reishi , Stinging Nettle, Rosehip and Lemongrass all strengthen the immune system.
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