Category Archives: Flu

Obesity and Swine Flu: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

Flu virus diagramA recent report report from the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy indicates that 25% of hospitalized H1N1 victims in a California study were morbidly obese versus 4% of the US population and more than half were obese.  It did not collect data on whether the heavy patients had other underlying conditions although the analysis found that probable. Now the question is, is obesity an independent risk factor or a proxy for other conditions that make flu infection worse? Continue reading Obesity and Swine Flu: A Chinese Medicine Perspective

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Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

echinaceaIt looks like last year’s rather mild flu may turn more virulent this season.  It already is killing large numbers of people in unusual ways, especially those of Asian or Native American descent.  The most vulnerable seem to be not the aged or the young, but healthy young adults.  And it has killed people during the summer, a time when influenza deaths are all but unheard of. The 1918 flu pandemic which killed millions worldwide started out mild too.

If the flu acts like the 1918 pandemic, it will cause a cytokine storm, where your immune system can overreact, rapidly killing you.  In cases like this you do not want to use immune system stimulants like echinacea.  You are better off with Vitamin D and immune modulators which will not hype up your system if you don’t need it. Continue reading Don’t Use Echinacea for This Season’s Flu

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Vitamin D Regulates the Immune System

I am an herbalist, and that is where I turn first, in most cases.  But Vitamin D is an exception.  It is a hormone used by most of our cells in over 2000 functions,.  As humans ranged north of the African savannah where we evolved and started wearing more clothing, we started lowering our D levels.

Vitamin D
Vitamin D

Vitamin D has the ability to kill off bacteria and that property has been so important that we have retained that property as primates for over 60 million years

Vitamin D  also prevents the over stimulation of our immune system which could cause it to attack ourselves.  This is important for the Swine Flu which can be dangerous if there is an excessive inflammatory response, called a cytokine storm.

Most deaths in the 1918 flu pandemic and more recently from SARS, happened when young healthy people who had a strong immune response provoked a cytokine storm which allowed an excessive response that quickly killed them off.  We speculate that with higher levels of Vitamin D, the regulatory function that caused the excessive inflammation might not have occurred.

This article tells how the process works, but the takeaway is to keep your Vitamin D levels high (blood level around 60) which may require 10,000 iu or more daily and if you get the flu increase it.  Continue reading Vitamin D Regulates the Immune System

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Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

Watching this You-Tube video from the University of California at San Diego might be one of the best things you can do for your health. It explains clearly and in detail which levels of vitamin D3 are necessary to prevent a great variety of diseases. Rickets, the disease our woefully inadequate RDA was designed to prevent, needs very little Vitamin D.    Cancers, diabetes, heart attack, falls, fractures, hypertension, neurological impairment, even pain will be prevented by raising your blood Vitamin D levels to the recommended range.

I have been taking 10,000 iu of Vitamin D3 daily for the last year and am only in the low end of the recommended range.

You can find the charts shown in the video at

A blood level of Vitamin D (have your doctor test it) should be 40-60 ng/ml, which is likely higher than the reference range of the test. You would need to reach 200 ng/ml to suffer from toxicity. The amount you need to supplement will vary, but is way way higher than you find in any multi.  Unless you seek out a special high concentration vitamin D supplement, you are not getting enough, at least above the Mason-Dixon line (and usually below as well.)

This video puts together the Vitamin D research and offers a public health program designe Continue reading Vitamin D Prevents Cancer, Type 1 Diabetes, MS, Heart Attack and Pain

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Russian Folk Remedies

A fascinating look at Russian herbal folk medicine from the St. Petersburg Times:    Mumiyo is the Russian form of Shilajit.  I suspect they mean charcoal instead of coal.

Garlic, Mustard and Herbs: Russian Folk Remedies

Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times  A visit to the banya is believed to be good for the lungs, but not always for the liver.
Alexander Belenky / The St. Petersburg Times A visit to the banya is believed to be good for the lungs, but not always for the liver.

By Irina Titova

The St. Petersburg Times

If, when entering a Russian home or even an office, you are hit by the strong odor of raw garlic, it’s not necessarily because someone is cooking or eating garlic.

More likely, it is because someone is ill, and in order to stop others from getting infected, people have chopped up garlic and left it on a plate. In Russia, many people believe that garlic’s phytoncaedos kill diseases — even viruses as strong as flu.

Garlic therapy is one of Russia’s most popular folk remedies. During flu epidemics, Russian parents may put a piece of garlic in their children’s pockets. They also tend to eat more garlic in the winter in order to strengthen the immune system. Continue reading Russian Folk Remedies

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Flu Attacks Those of Asian (and Amerindian) Ancestry Worse

Intresting post to Flu Wiki that confirms a piece I quoted last week that deaths in Canada have been more prevalent in those of First Nation ancestry:

The Mongolian Spot and Susceptibility to A/(novel)H1N1 Swine Flu
by: The Doctor
Thu Jun 11, 2009 at 22:29:52 PM EDTmongolian-blue-spots

The outbreak of pandemic influenza began in the early months of 2009. It became apparent first in Mexico and spread north, south, east and west and is now worldwide. Today the virus has infected millions of people but causes relatively few deaths. Since this virus is a novel strain of influenza that has not been encountered previously by humankind, its spread throughout the world is not a surprise. What is of interest is the morbidity and mortality associated with this virus has been very uneven.

It is possible now to see that the majority of the severe illness and death within North America has been confined primarily to persons of Asian decent; specifically those whose ancestors once lived upon the Asian steps primarily in the area that includes modern day Mongolia. Continue reading Flu Attacks Those of Asian (and Amerindian) Ancestry Worse

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Flu Turning More Virulent

The Late Barbara Davis, Age 48
The Late Barbara Davis, Age 48

The CDC concurs. The Swine Flu is becoming more virulent:  a recent report from Milwaukee reads like books on the 1918 pandemic-swift,  deadly and attacking healthy young people:

“Barbara Davis, 48, was healthy just a week ago. She had dinner with her mother Josephine last Friday night. But just hours after that dinner, Josephine got a phone call.“My friend, he called me and told me Barbara was real sick. And I said, “Well, she wasn’t sick when I left, so what’s the matter?” Josephine Davis said.

Barbara told her mother that she was ok. But the next day, things got worse. She had trouble breathing, and she was shaking. She could barely walk into the hospital.“She tried to talk to people, but she just couldn’t talk,” Continue reading Flu Turning More Virulent

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Darwinian Disease: What is the Adaptive Value of Illness?

We all know people who push themselves until they collapse with a flu, or who suddenly come down with a disease when faced with a wedding where they would come face to face with an ex.  We have seen people with chronic stress develop autoimmune disease or chronic fatigue.  Perhaps disease is the body’s way of dealing with stresses that might otherwise overwhelm it.  Perhaps we should reconsider the adaptive value of disease.

In febrile disease we should look at the value of fever and how it can help.  In children over one year of age, fever has the value of increasing the temperature to fight the pathogens, making the child tired enough to get sleep and to challenge the immune system and strengthen it.  So what should the strategy be?  Continue reading Darwinian Disease: What is the Adaptive Value of Illness?

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