Monday Health & Wellness: Natural Ways to Prevent and Alleviate the Flu - Modern Alternative Mama
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Monday Health & Wellness: Natural Ways to Prevent and Alleviate the Flu

admin October 21, 2013

Flu post 3 edit

Every Monday and I write about health and wellness.  I love the structure — something focused to start the week, but an open enough subject that I don’t get bored with it.  Except occasionally I get stuck and don’t know what topic to choose!

I asked my fans on Facebook what they’d like to hear about.  (You should join up over there if you haven’t — and Pinterest, too, while you’re at it.)  They said, overwhelmingly, “Flu remedies!”  I get that — ’tis the season and all, right?

Here’s to hoping most of you don’t get the flu this year!  And hoping we don’t either!  But…just in case….

Flu Prevention: The Flu Shot?

The goal, of course, is to prevent the flu.  It’s not as hard as it sounds, because most illness that goes around in the winter is not the flu.  Sometimes it is “flu like,” but rarely is it the actual flu.  Still no fun and we want to prevent that too.  I just wanted to make that clear, because a lot of people feel like the flu is so common that they need to get a flu shot to prevent it — but I disagree that that’s the best path for a number of reasons, just one being that the flu really isn’t that common anyway (and flu shots not only don’t prevent “flu like” illness, but they may increase the risk of it).

A few more thoughts on the flu shot, really quickly:

It’s really important to know that the flu shot isn’t perfect, and that we’re not always told about the actual dangers.  Be aware of this research (all linked above) when making your choice.  Our family doesn’t receive the flu shot.

Flu Prevention: Natural Methods

There are lots of natural ways you can help to prevent the flu, though!  Let’s look at them.

Vitamin D

Having a good vitamin D level (and taking vitamin D supplements, in most cases) can help prevent flu.  One study showed that children taking vitamin D had half the risk of flu compared to children who weren’t taking it, and that risk of asthma attack related to flu was greatly reduced.  Another study showed the same, and specifically mentions using cod liver oil as a vitamin D supplement. Offer kids 1/2 tsp. of cod liver oil (we use Green Pastures) or other vitamin D supplement that is about 1 – 2000 IU per day.  Adults can take up to 4000 IU, especially in northern climates.

Magnesium

Magnesium deficiency is tied to higher levels of inflammation, and more frequent illness.  It plays a role in immune function and interacts with vitamin D.  Deficiency may play a role in chronic infections as well as allergies.  In fact, deficiency is so serious it’s been implicated in cancer, liver disease, kidney disease, migraines, Alzheimer’s, MS, recurrent bacterial infections, fungal infections, and much more.  Magnesium chloride is the preferred form (although there’s no strong evidence that it’s best).  We use magnesium lotion that we make to supplement as needed, usually nightly before bed (it can help insomnia too).

Probiotics

So much of our health is in our guts — that is, our digestive system.  Our gut is filled with trillions of bacteria — some friendly, some not.  Probiotics (good bacteria) help to fight the bad bacteria, break down food, absorb vitamins, and so much more.  One strain in particular has been shown to reduce the severity of flu infection.  Another study shows that probiotics reduce the duration of illness and need for medical intervention.  It is thought that probiotics specifically increase the body’s response to illnesses, which is why it decreases the likelihood or duration of illness.  Probiotics are a fairly new field of research, but a promising one — few to no side effects occur, while they appear to be protective in a number of ways.

I recommend a multi-strain probiotic.  Currently I am taking {affiliate link} Garden of Life Raw for Women.  For kids, {affiliate linkKlaire Labs powder is the best I know.  Both kids and adults should be encouraged to consume probiotic-rich foods, like yogurt (not the sugary kind), kefir, kombucha, pickles (Bubbies, not vinegar pickles), sauerkraut, etc.

Cut the Sugar

Too much sugar is no good — we all know this, right?  (Although mentioning that we’re taking a break from sugar for awhile sure did get some people upset a couple weeks ago!)  Sugar can deplete magnesium and other vitamins, which can lead to greater susceptibility to illness.  It may also feed yeast which can lead to thrush and other issues.  Stick to whole, unrefined sugars and don’t consume too much.  Some sugar-free days and some with a small treat is good; overloading the sugar can lead to illness!

Additional Ideas

We’re planning to stay active, I use {affiliate link} gelatin every morning (2 tbsp. in diluted juice or herbal tea), coconut oil (it’s anti-viral and anti-bacterial), and more, at the first sign of illness….

If You Get Sick

Nobody wants to get sick, but if you do, you want to be prepared!  There’s nothing worse than getting sick and realizing you have nothing around to help you feel better.  We have several options!

Mullein

I like to use the herb mullein for illness.  It helps with respiratory illnesses as well as digestive (I tend to use for respiratory mostly).  Make a tea with 1 tsp. of mullein to 1 c. water, or add a handful of mullein for an infusion (much stronger).  Or, try this immune stimulating tincture.

Elderberry

Read the research on elderberry, and decide what you think.  It’s not for everyone, but it does seem to cut the duration and severity of the flu significantly in some, if taken at the onset of symptoms and frequently for a few days (every few hours).  Try this elderberry syrup.

Ginger

I love ginger because it’s so safe and it’s beneficial for nausea, general inflammation, headaches, respiratory illness, and more!  Make ginger tea (2 – 3 slices of ginger boiled in 2 c. water for 5 – 10 minutes) or try these electrolyte ice cubes so you always have it on hand!

Supplements

I just briefly want to mention a few of my favorite.  We use the Green Pastures’ infused oil (coconut oil + fermented cod liver oil + skate liver oil), Mockingbird Meadows’ intriguing Immunibee honey, and Redmond Clay (they are all pictured above).  The clay we take internally (great for vomiting or diarrhea, or general detox), as well as using it as a paste externally or in a bath.  For illness we would start with a bath (about 1/2 c. clay in a very warm bath) and take as a drink or capsules if needed.

Other Remedies and Information:

That’s a great list to get you started!

While not all illness can be avoided, you can come out of illnesses quickly and be stronger for them.  Try any or all of the ideas above!

How do you prevent or recover from the flu?

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  1. Do you know if you can use magnesium lotion on a newborn?

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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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