Flu - Influenza & Herbal Medicine

Photo of Sharol Tilgner
Photo of virus

Some people are worried about the possibility of having another devastating flu visit us again such as in the 1918 pandemic. The best thing to do if you are one of these concerned individuals is to take out insurance in the form of a healthy immune system. A healthy immune system is your best insurance against any type of virus including the flu virus. This article will examine various components of the immune system and how you can support your immune systems innate ability to protect you from the flu. Please see the other article that gives a quick run down on the most common and useful approaches to preventing colds & Flu.

Influenza - What is it?

Influenza or Flu for short is a viral respiratory infection with an influenza virus causing fever, coryza (profuse nasal discharge), cough, headache, malaise (vague body discomfort), and inflamed respiratory membranes.

Influenza produces respiratory illness in the fall and winter each year in temperate climates. New strains of virus arise constantly. If you have immunity from prior exposure or immunization to one strain it does not protect you from another strain. Every 3-5 years there is a severe epidemic . The highest prevalence of infection is in school age children. There is often two waves of this seasonal epidemic. The first in shcool age children and their household contacts, followed by a second wave of shut-in persons in semi-enclosed institutions (usually elders).The flu is spread by airborn droplets, person to person contact, or contact with contaminated objects. Air travel is thought to increase transmission through prolonged contact in tight quarters with infected people. It may also seed and transport new strains to distant areas.

The people at highest risk of complications are those with chronic pulmonary diseases, valvular heart disease or other heart disease with pulmonary edema. The elderly, the very young, the bedridden and pregnant women in the 3rd trimester are also at increased risk of severe disease with increased fatality.

The virus incubates for 48 hours after infection. It replicates in the respiratory tract. In mild cases (in a person who is immune or resistant) the symptoms are like those of a cold. In normal flu progression there are sudden chills and fever of 102-103 degrees. The person is usually prostrate and has generalized aches and pains (espeically in the back of the legs). Headache is normal with photophobia and aching behind the eyes. At first the respiratory symptoms may be mild with a scratchy sore throat, burning in the chest and a nonproductive cough. The lower respiratory symptoms become dominant later. The skin is warm and flushed usually. The eyes water easily and the conjunctiva may be mildly inflamed. Nausea and vomiting may exist, but usually only in children. The acute symptoms disappear quickly after 2-3 days. The fever usually ends but can last up to 5 days without complications. Weakness, sweating and fatigue may continue for several days or sometimes for weeks. Hemorrhagic bronchitis or pneumonia may occur and rapidly progress. Fulminant, fatal pneumonia may be viral, bacterial or mixed. When this occurs symnptoms of dyspnea (shortness of breath), and bloody sputum from pulmonary congestion and edema may cause death in as little as 48 hours after it's onset. This usually occurs in more suseptible persons with cardiac or pulmonary weakness and in pandemics caused by a new influenza A serotype.

Secondary bacterial infection of the bronchi and lungs, most offten associated with pneumococcus or staphylococcus, is noted by persistant or recurrent fever, cough and other respiratory symptoms in the second week. With the development of pneumonia you see a worsened cough, purulent (containing pus) or bloody sputum. Crepitant or subcrepitant rales are heard with auscultation.

There may be other complications but they are infrequent and will not be covered here.
So, with this knowledge behind you, the best thing to do is prevent the flu from occuring by stayiing away from populations of people who may be at high risk for carrying the virus as well as washing your hands well when around those at high risk, and wearing a mask if in closed quarters with infectious individuals. We will examine ways to support your immune system to prevent the virus from taking hold in your respiratory tract if you are exposed.

Things that can affect your immune system

• Age - the very young and very old can have a decreased immune system reaction.
• Nutritional Status - Good nutritional support is necessary to a proper functioning immune system.
• Genetics - We are born with a more or less effective immune system and have to deal with the cards we are dealt.
• Medications - corticosteroids, immunosuppressives used in tranpsplant surgery and other drugs may decrease the immune systems activity.
• Environment - There may be environmental factors in the home or work environment that can effect the immune system.
• Radiation - Given during cancer therapy, diagnostic imaging or due to environmental disasters, radiation can decrease or stop the production of white blood cells temporarily.
• Stress - Chronic stress can decrease the immune systems activity due to endocrine system effects.
• Chronic wasting diseases such as cancer and TB as well as immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV can negatively effect the immune system.
• Mental/emotional outlook - The ability to be content, happy and to be able to roll with the punches has been shown to enhance the bodies immunity.

Nutritional, Herbal & Lifestyle
Recommendations For Prevention of the Flu

The immune system needs nourishment from the food we take in. It is dependent on a healthy lifestyle for optimum functionality. Healthy food, a safe environment, sunshine, clean air, healthy water, exercise, prayer/meditation and a fulfilling life are necessary for optimum immune system function. Nutritional products and herbs can be used to support the normal function of the immune system. Some basic nutritional information as well as some of the more popular herbs are listed below.

Healthy eating is one of the fundamentals necessary to support your immune system. Eat the right foods and be conscious about the quality of food you are consuming. There are antibiotics and steroids in non-organic meat and dairy products that may effect your immune system. Only eat high quality meat and dairy from healthy animals. Your immune system can not function properly witout adequate protein. Pesticides and herbicides in non-organic vegetables may also effect your immune system.

Caretenoids (as well as other flavonoids) in carrots, yams, squash, tomatoes, melons, calendula flowers, dandelion flowers, elecampane flowers, green leafy vegetables are beneficial. Carotenoids protect phagocytes from auto-oxidative damage, enhance T- and B-lymphocyte proliferation responses, stimulate effector T cell functions, enhance their cytotoxic capabilities and stimulate macrophage and NK cell activities and increase production of certain interleukins. They also protect lipids in the cell wall from damage.

Eat wild foods which are nutritious and immune-supportive such as plantain, cleavers, chickweed, stinging nettles (cooked only): many of these herbs can be used in stir fries, soups, or juiced. The stinging nettles should be cooked due to the possibility of being stung otherwise. The chickweed is great in salad. plantain and cleavers are best juiced. These vibrant green wild foods support our bodies via their vitamins, minerals, enzymes and ways we yet have to discover.

Foods such as beets and other root vegetables as well as fall greens are helpful for nutritional support to the immune system.

Eating antioxidants in your fresh fruits and vegetables is very helpful. All brightly colored foods have antioxidants in them. The top 5 antioxidants from a USDA study of 100 plants with antioxidants was as follows:

5. Blueberries (cultivated)
4. Pinto beans
3. Red kidney beans
2. Blueberries (wild)
1. Small red beans (dried)

It is best to use foods grown without chemicals and drugs. Dairy products can cause a wide range of problems that affect the immune system. This may be due to an allergy to the milk sugar or protein in the milk or it can simply be due to the use of pasteurized milk. If you want to use milk products, the best milk to use for most people is fresh, organic, raw goat milk.
It is best to avoid all hydrogenated oils and polyunsaturated vegetable oils. These oils result in the production of free radicals which directly impact the immune system. Use olive oil, and butter as cooking oil/fat and get essential fatty acids by adding flax and fish oils to the diet as well as eating fish and nuts. Also avoid excessive amounts of sugary foods, food additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, excess iron, low nutrient, refined food diets, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics and hormones in food, contaminated water, prescription drugs, recreational drugs (including coffee and chocolate).

Other things to be wary of are heavy metals, and radiation. Additionally decrease emotional/mental stress and do things to make yourself happy. Wash your hands regularly, especially if around others with infectious conditons. A friend of mine, Paul Bergner finds smudging oneself to be helpful after being exposed to the flu.

Nutritional, Herbal & Lifestyle
Recommendations For the Person with the Flu

Use the same suggestions as given in prevention of the flu.

Additionally:
• Use herbs in the categories that follow as they are needed. Immunomodulators can be used at any time to prevent or treat the flu.
• Start treating yourself for the flu the moment you think you are coming down with it or even after exposure to get the best results.
• Eat healthy brothy soups such as chicken and rice soup or miso broth
• Eat lots of fresh garlic in foods or by itself.
• Use vitamin C to bowel tolerance (the amount that makes the stools loose, then back off slightly)
• Get a lot of sleep and rest.
• Don't get up and go back to work or school immediately when you start to feel well. Let yourself rest for a couple extra days so you don't relapse.
• Avoid sugary foods completely, and drink lots of water

Herbs for the Immune System

Lymphagogues are herbs which stimulate lymphatic activity. They will help to move cellular debris out of the body. Alteratives are herbs which stimulate the blood as well as the skin and liver in their respective eliminatory functions. Herbs in these categories can be very beneficial to immune system support by assisting in removal of cellular waste, chemical toxins or microbes from the body. Immunomodulators support the immune system activity while antivirals specifically have been shown to be beneficial at preventing or treating illnesses associated with viruses. However, the way antivairals are thought to work is through support of the bodies immune system, rather than direct activity on the virus.  Anticatarrhals decrease excess mucus and diaphoretics reduce fevers. Antibacterials are used for bacterial associated illnesses and are useful if you get a bacterial infection superimposed on top of the viral infection. Many of the deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic were due to bacterial pneumonias superimposed on top of the flu. Many of the herbs listed below can be found in more than one category.

Alterative

An agent which enhances the process of nutrition and repair to the bodily tissues, promoting healthy changes in the organism. Also called blood and lymph cleansers. Additionally may be called tonics.

 

Examples: Burdock (Arctium lappa), Cleavers (Galium aparine), Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), Nettles (Urtica dioica), Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), Red Clover (Trifolium pratense), Sarsaparilla (Smilax spp.), Yellow dock (Rumex spp.)

Lymphagogue

An herb which supports the lymphatic organs or stimulates activity of the lymph system.

Examples: Burdock (Arctium lappa), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Cleavers (Galium aparine), Flag (Iris versicolor), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens), Poke root (Phytolacca decandra), Queen’s root (Stillingia sylvatica), Red clover (Trifolium pratense), Red root (Ceanothus spp.), Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)

Immunomodulator

Agent which enhances the body’s natural defense system to assist in infectious conditions or other situations which tax the immune system, such as invasive tumors. These herbs act in various ways to promote different aspects of the immune system as well as support of anatomical functions such as decreasing mucous, tightening up lax tissues and decreasing inflammation so the tissues are better capable of protecting themselves from invasive organisms.

Examples: Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera), Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Cedar (Thuja spp.), Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), Elecampane (Inula helenium), Flag (Iris versicolor), Garlic -fresh (Allium sativa), Ginger (Zingiber officinalis), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), Osha (Ligusticum porteri), Paracress (Spilanthes acmella), Poke root (Phytolacca americana), Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis), Propolis, Red root (Ceanothus americanus), Wu wei zi (Schisandra chinensis), Yerba mansa (Anemopsis californica), Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria )

Anticatarrhal

Decreases the production of mucus from the mucous membranes. Because mucus is a natural and necessary body defense. When the body is producing mucus due to an acute healing action such as a cold or flu, it is better to thin the mucus, rather than to stop it.

Using teas can be helpful when there is sinus congestion. The inhalation of the vapors from the tea are medicinal. Inhaling them draws them into the lungs and sinuses allowing direct mucosal contact with essential oils. This is a type of vapor inhalation while at the same time ingesting the medicine. A vapor inhalation can also be made separately from the ingested herbs. Most of the herbs that contain essential oils will be useful as a vapor inhalation. Vapor inhalations are wonderful for mucous in the bronchioles and sinuses. This application allows for the essential oils to make direct and immediate contact with the inflammed mucous membranes.

These herbs are often either anti-inflalmmatory or astringent and drying in nature. They decrease mucus. The end result is that inflammation, mucus, and congestion are lessened.

Examples: Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum), Elder (Sambucus canadensis/nigra), Garlic (Allium sativa) , Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis) , Ma huang (Ephedra sinica), Mullein (Verbascum thapsus), Oregon grape root bark (Mahonia spp.), Osha (Ligusticum porteri), Sage (Salvia officinalis) , Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) , Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Expectorants

Fresh mucous excreted from the respiratory tract is usually thin, free flowing and easy to expectorate. Thick mucous builds up when the secretions are scanty due to dehydration or when there is cellular exudate. Expectorants are herbs which help expel bronchial secretions from the respiratory tract by decreasing their viscosity, and increasing the amount of respiratory tract fluid. Without adequate hydration no amount of herb is going to increase the fluidity of the respiratory secretions. Constituents in plants which have expectorating action include saponins, resins, volatile oils, alkaloids, isothiocyanate glycosides, phenolic glycosides.

Irritating/Stimulating Expectorants: It is thought that these types of expectorants irritate the bronchioles and this causes increased secretions. This is thought to be a direct irritating effect on bronchial mucosa when some constituents are excreted by the repiratory tract for removal from the body causing the bronchial secretory cells to increase their production of free flowing mucus.

They are thought to increase the amount of mucus and thin it making it easier to remove from the lungs. They are used when the mucus is thick and will not come up very easily. They are specific for productive coughs which have thick, ropey, yellow, green or blood tinged sputum, or phegm and it is hard to cough up.

Irritating Expectorants examples:
Elecampane (Inula helenium), Flag (Iris versicolor), Horehound (Marrubium vulgare), Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), Osha (Ligusticum porteri), Popular buds (Populus spp.), Propolis, Thyme (Thymus officinalis), Violet (Viola spp.), Yerba santa (Eriodictyon californicum).

Soothing & Relaxing Expectorants:
Herbs in this category help when there is a lot of irritation and the mucus is thick and there may be a dry irritated cough or spasmodic cough. One mechanism is thought to partly be due to a gastric reflex via the vagus nerve such as with ipecacuanha.

Soothing and Relaxing Expectorant examples:
Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Marshmallow (Althea officinalis), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Lobelia (Lobelia inflata), Plantain (Plantago spp.), Slippery elm (Ulmus spp.), Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Usnea spp., Violet (Viola spp.)

The Thyme is relaxing and especially useful for spasmodic coughs as is Usnea. Neither of these herbs are soothing however.

Antibacterial For Superimposed Infections

Destroys or suppresses growth of bacteria. These are useful if you get a bacterial infection superimposed on top of the viral infection. The most common being a bacterial pneumonia.

Examples: Clove (Syzygium aromaticum), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.), Garlic- fresh (Allium sativa), Calendula (Calendula officinalis), Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), Elecampane (Inula helenium), Horseradish (Armoracia rusticana), Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), Lungwort (Sticta pulmonaria), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Oregon grape (Mahonia spp.), Thyme (Thymus vulgaris), Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria), Old man’s beard (Usnea spp.), Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Antiviral/Immunomodulators

Destroys or suppresses growth of viruses, generally by supporting the immune system. Rather than attacking the virus, herbs we use in systemic viral conditions are used for their efffect on the immune system. The immune system, then goes after the virus as much as possible. Viruses hide inside our cells and make it really hard for the immune system to be able to get at them.

Examples: Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus), Cedar scales (Thuja spp.), Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), Garlic -fresh (Allium sativa), Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum), Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.), Osha (Ligusticum porteri), Paracress (Spilanthes acmella)

Diaphoretics

Another category of herbs that is of prime importance in treating the flu once you have the flu is the diaphoretics. While immunomodulators, antivirals, lymphagogues, and alteratives are often used to prevent the flu, a diaphoretic is used only when you have the flu. Following is specific information about diaphoretics that you need to know before using them.

Diaphoretic herbs: An agent that induces perspiration. Used in febrile conditions.

Preparations: Diaphoretics can be prepared in any manner, however it is helpful to give them as a hot tea. The hot beverage will increase the diaphoretic activity. The liquid in the tea will help replenish the fluid lost through perspiration.

Actions: Herbs in this classification are divided into two types of subsets; relaxing and stimulating diaphoretics.

Relaxing diaphoretics will cause vasodilation of the peripheral capillaries and relax the sweat glands. This kind of diaphoretic is used when there is dry hot skin with a fever. Relaxing diaphoretics are usually used in actue situations.

Stimulating diaphoretics are used for when the sweat glands and capillaries have no tone. The skin is pallid and cold, the skin may be puffy, perspiration is usually cool, moist and mostly on the palms of the hands. This condition is seen when someone faints or is in shock. It can also be found occasionally with chronic illness.

Some diaphoretics actually have both qualities.

Indications For Use of relaxing diaphoretics: Acute respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia are the most common time to use relaxing diaphoretics. Any febrile situation where the person has dry skin or is not sweating as much as you would expect. Their skin is hot to the touch, they have a fever, their pulse is often more full than usual and their blood pressure is elevated.

Indications For Use of stimulating diaphoretics:The stimulating diaphoretics are more often used in a subacute or chronic situation where the person is cold and may seem puffy and congested. Their skin is cool or at least not hot. They may have a rapid and hard pulse. You can see this state quite often in the common cold.

Examples of relaxing diaphoretics for overcontracted tissues:
• Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum)

• Catnip (Nepeta cataria)
• Elder (Sambucus nigra/canadensis)
• Linden flower (Tilia spp.)
• Lobelia inflata (Lobelia)
• Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa)

• Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
• Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Examples of stimulating diaphoretics for overrelaxed tissues:

• Cayenne (Capsicum spp.)
• Ma huang (Ephedra sinica)
• Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
• Osha (Ligusticum porteri)
• Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
• Prickly ash (Xanthoxyllum clava-herculis)
• Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
• Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Boneset, Elder, Yarrow are some of my favorites for the flu.

Contraindications: In all cases when diaphoretics are being used, fluid needs to be monitored carefully and replaced as needed. If the person is dehydrated such as a person who has adrenal insufficiency, fluid needs to be monitored and replaced more carefully than usually to make sure the person stays hydrated.

 

Herbs for prevention & Treatment

All doses are for adults: To get child doses for herbs, simply take the child's weight and divide it by 150. Use this percent multiplied with the adult dose.
Example for 50# child and 120 drop dose. 50/150 = 0.33, when you multiple 33%x120= 39.6 or 40 drops.

Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) is used for night sweats, deficiency of chi (Indicated by fatigue, weakness, and loss of appetite), and diarrhea. Studies have shown that Astragalus appears to restore T-cell counts to relatively normal ranges, even in cancer patients. This is a good herb to use preventatively. It can be made into a tea or added to a soup.

Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea/angustifolia) increases the production and activity of lymphocytes and macrophages. It also increases the production of interferon. Echinacea enhances the immune system’s resistance to infections. Due to its specificity for infectious conditions, it is often used for influenza, but it really shines in bacterial infections.

The plant contains 3 groups of constituents, high molecular weight polysaccharides, alkylamides and chicoric acid, that are known to act as immunomodulators. As a liquid extract take 1/2 - 1 teaspoon, three times per day for prevention and 1 teaspoon 4-6 times per day for treatment.

Garlic (Allium sativum) has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal activity. Take a clove of raw garlic per day for prevention or 2-3 times per day for treatment.

Boneset (Eupatorium perforatum) is specific for the type of intense flu pains where you ache to your bones. This herb is also a diaphoretic and is best taken as a hot tea although it can be used as a tincture also. You will see it used the same way in homeopathy also. This herb is used for treatment only. Take a heaping tablespoon per cup water, infused 3-4 times per day.

Yarrow (Achillea millefollium) is a diaphoretic, astringent, antiinflammatory, antimicrobial that is wonderful to use in the feverish stage.

Osha (Ligusticum porteri) is antiviral, immunomodulator, anticattarrhal and diaphoretic. I find this herb has a synergistic effect when used with Licorice and Echiancea. It's especially helpful if you have a lot of mucus as it helps dispel the excess mucus with its drying action.

Elder (Sambucus nigra/canadensis) This expectorating, antiviral and diaphoretic herb has become popularized with the extensive advertising for the brand name Sambucol that uses a berry extract. Indeed both the berries, leaves and the flowers are useful for the flu. I love to use the flowers as a relaxing diaphoretic. They are safe to use for children and don't taste bad like Yarrow does. You can make a tea with both the flowers and berries.

Vitamin C elevates interferon levels, which explains its anti-viral ability. As a preventative 1-3 grams per day is used. For treatment, take up to bowel tolerance (1-8 grams per day). You can use vitamin C and add rose hip berries to your teas.

Zinc supplements have been shown to increase immune function. I suggest 25 mg per day for adults and about 15 mg per day for children. Take the supplement with food to avoid nausea. Zinc has also been shown to reduce the duration of flu and cold symptoms from 7.6 to 4.4 days.

In the beginning of a flu it is best to use diaphoretics such as yarrow, or elder flower. (See specifics on diaphoretics) You can get in a hot bath and sip a hot diaphoretic tea. Then dry off and hop in bed and sweat. Additionally it is good to take a good immune supportive herbal formula.

Preventative & Acute Herbal Formula #1

Echinacea - Echinacea ang/purpurea root 40-50%
Osha - Ligusticum porteri 20-40%
Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra 15-30%

Actions: Supports the immune system as well as protects against infectious diseases of a viral nature. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, carminative, stimulates the lymphatic system, supports the adrenals, thins mucous associated with colds and decreases congestion. Examples of use are treatment of colds, influenza, and chronic viral fatigue. It can be helpful in many situations where the immune system is under stress. Although this formula is used as a general immune supportive formula, it is specifically helpful for viral respiratory infections and can be used preventitively.

Liquid extract dosage
Dosage - acute: 1/2 to 2 teaspoons in a little water, 3-5 times per day.
Dosage - preventative: 60-120 drops in a little water, 3 times per day.

Tea dosage
Dosage - acute: 2 teaspoons per cup water, 3-5 times per day.
Dosage - preventative: 1 teaspoon per cup water, 3 times per day.

Contraindications, Cautions and Words of Wisdom: Chronic large doses of licorice can mimic aldosteronism by increasing sodium resorption and potassium excretion by the kidney. Avoid using with pre-existent hypertension. The symptoms of pseudoaldosteronism are hypertension, edema and hypokalemia. See full contraindications for Licorice before use.

Acute Herbal Formula #2

Echinacea - Echinacea ang/purpurea root 25-40%
Osha - Ligusticum porteri 20-25%
Yerba mansa - Anemopsis californica 10-20%
Elder flower - Sambucus spp. 10-20%
Red Root - Ceanothus spp. 10-20%

Liquid extract dosage
Dosage - Acute: Use 60-120 drops, 4-5 times per day. Best used by adding to hot water or tea. Can alternatively be put into a small amount of water to drink.

Dosage - Preventative: Use 20-60 drops, 3-4 times per day. Add to a small amount of water.

Tea dosage
Dosage - Acute: Use 2 heaping teaspoons per cup of water 3-4 times per day. Drink the tea while it is still warm. If you store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it is best to warm it up before drinking. (decoct Echinacea , Yerba mansa, Red root and infuse Osha (long infusion), Elder flower.

Here is a second example:

Echinacea Echinacea ang/purpurea root 30-40%
Boneset - Eupatorium perfoliatum 15-20%
Oregano - Origanum vulgare 15-20%
Licorice - Glycyrrhiza glabra 15-20%
Prickly ash bark - Zanthoxyllum clava-herculis 5-10%

Actions and indications: Supports the immune system as well as protects against infectious diseases of a viral nature. It acts as an anti-inflammatory, antiviral, carminative, stimulates the lymphatic system, supports the adrenals, eases aches and pains of influenza. It has specifically been used for prevention and treatment of influenza.

Liquid extract dosage
Dosage - Acute: Use 1/2-1 teaspoon, 4-5 times per day. Best used by adding to hot water or tea. Can alternatively be put into a small amount of water to drink.

Dosage - Preventative: Use 60 drops, 3-4 times per day. Add to a small amount of water.

Tea dosage
Dosage - Acute: Use 2 heaping teaspoons per cup of water 3-4 times per day. Drink the tea while it is still warm. If you store it in the refrigerator for a couple of days, it is best to warm it up before drinking. (decoct Echinacea, Licorice, Prickly ash and infuse Boneset and Osha)
Additionally consider using various homeopathics such as Oscillococcinum (a combo mix used to prevent and treat). Other homeopathics to consider are Gelsemium, Eupatorium Perf., Arsenicum album, Aconite, Allium cepa, Bryonia, Baptisia, Influenzinum, Phosphoric acid, Rhus tox. These remedies need to be looked up to decide if they are specific for the person or not.

Example Case
46 year old female presenting with flu symptoms of 5 day duration. She is feeling worse rather than getting better. Has a 101.2 fever. She has hot, dry, red skin. Her pulse is fast and bounding and her BP is 160/95. She has bronchial congestion that is noted on auscultation and an unproductive cough. She has a history of getting pneumonia following the flu and seems to be on her way to it right now. She has numerous chronic physical ailments including hypothyroidism that she is taking Synthroid for as well as untreated adrenal fatigue. She has had some trouble with her blood pressure that may be related to her new use of Synthroid. Her diet is poor with a lot of sweets, white flour pastas and poor quality oils. She gets little fresh fruits and vegetables.

She is currently put on a meat broth diet (best with bone marrow and lots of garlic) and told she can have as much steamed vegetables and fruit as she wishes but no fruit juices. She can also have miso soup with parsley, carrots and celery in it. She can have vegetable juices but go easy on the sweeter vegetables like carrots. Get rid of the oils she is using expect for olive oil. Also add Arctic Cod Liver Oil and take one teaspoon each day. She was given basic information such as increasing her water intake, resting etc.

She was given directions to go home and make a tea and take it while soaking in a hot bath. Tea of 2 parts Achillea millefollium (yarrow), 1.5 part Mentha piperita (peppermint) and 1/2 part Glycyrrhiza glabra (licorce) . She was to add 10 drops of Pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) tincture to the tea. This tea was to be drunk hot while bathing and she was to get into bed immediately after drinking this tea and taking a hot bath.

This tea was a diaphoretic, antimicrobial, antiviral, anticatarrhal, immunomodulator, expectorant. She was to take an additional tincture when she got into bed and to continue taking it the next few days. It was 2.5 Echinacea, 1.5 Ligusticum (Osha), 1 Anemopsis (Yerba mansa), 1 Inula (Elecampane). 1 Usnea, 1 Ceanothus (Red Root). Add 4 drops of Asclepias to each dose in the water. (Asclepias is separated out as she was to also take it with the tea and the tincture both but she won't need to take it as long as the rest of the tincture.) Take 1 teaspoon every 2 hours for first 24 hours, then 1 teaspoon every 4 hours while awake, including if she awakes at night. She was to stop taking the Asclepias when her temperature and BP became close to normal and she was couging mucus up.

She began sweating in bed the first evening and it lowered her fever and BP both. She was feeling better in a couple days, started coughing up mucous and continued to improve with no need for follow-up.

The hot bath and tea started her sweating and was the key to starting the healing process. The Inula, Asclepias and Ligusticum were useful as expectorants to move the mucus out of her lungs. The Asclepias, and Ligusticum are also both diaphoretics. Asclepias is a very strong diaphoretic. Echinacea, Ligusticum, Anemopsis, and Inula are immunomodulators, Usnea and Inula are antimicrobial to assist in decreasing the possibility of her getting a bacterial pneumonia on top of the influenza. Anemopsis is also useful in toning up the respiratory tract tissues via its astringent properties. Inula is a respiratory tract tonic as well as a GI tonic. The Ceanothus is a wonderful lymphagogue and supports the spleen and liver. Ligusticum is also helpful at drying up the mucus in her lungs as well as expelling it as an expectorant. It is also soothing to the GI tract as a carminative.

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