Physicians classify influenza, or flu, into three types, each with a slightly different set of symptoms. Types A and B symptoms include chills, fever, headache, muscular aches, loss of appetite, and fatigue. Type A is more debilitating than type B. Type C is a mild illness that is indistinguishable from the common cold. The symptoms include cough, sore throat, runny nose, fever, joint ache, and fatigue. After two days, the symptoms tend to subside and after five days they have disappeared. However, the lungs may still be infected and the person may feel weak and depressed after the main symptoms subside. The illness is usually gone in seven to 10 days.
What is Influenza?
From Modern Western Medicine
Influenza is a viral infection of the respiratory tract that is spread through water droplets that contain the virus and are coughed or sneezed into the air. Outbreaks of the flu tend to occur in the winter. Flu virus alter themselves just enough so that even when you contract a type of flu and become immunized to it, you may still be vulnerable to that same type in the future, if it is altered sufficiently to overcome your body’s immune protection. This is the case with type A flu, which is highly unstable and constantly creating new strains. Such mutant strains have created pandemics during the course of the 20th Century, such as the Spanish flu in 1918, the Asian flu in 1957, and the Hong Kong flu in 1968.
Flu vaccines for the A and B types are 60 to 70% effective, though the resulting immunity is short-lived. The vaccine, therefore, must be readministered each year before the flu attacks.
Once you get the flu, bed rest, painkillers, and medication to reduce fever, sore throat, and respiratory congestion are recommended.
From Traditional Medicine
The flu is not distinguished from the common cold and is looked at as a way for the body to eliminate stored-up waste and poisons that have accumulated over months of poor eating, stress, lack of exercise, and inadequate rest. Eating smaller meals and getting plenty of rest will help alleviate the symptoms and speed recovery. Overeating will prolong the condition or send the underlying toxins deeper into the body. Elimination of mucus and waste through the nose, bladder, and intestines should not be suppressed, since this is doing considerable good work to cleanse the system.
Foods to Eat
- Fast on apple, citrus, and lemon juice
- Cabbage with hearts is high in bioflavonoids
- Peppers with their insides are high in bioflavonoids
- Cooked fruit
Foods to Avoid
- Dairy products
- Flour products
- Salty foods
- Fried foods or excess oil
Herbs to Treat Influenza
Garlic can often halt a cold or flu if taken soon enough. Take every three hours during the day that symptoms first appear. Hold, without chewing, half a peeled garlic clove between the check and teeth for 20 or 30 minutes. Move it around occasionally to avoid burning delicate mouth tissue. If the juice is still too strong, use an uncut clove for a longer period of time. Use garlic when there is a need for warming herbs, as in the case of chills, lack of sweating, and body aches. These are the diaphoretics to increase circulation.
When the person feels weak:
- Hyssop: standard infusion or 3 – 9 g; tincture, 10 – 30 drops
- Freshly grated ginger tea: steep 2 – 6 slices of the fresh root in a cup of boiling water. Ginger tea bags can also be purchased at your health food store. For sweating to help dispel toxins.
- Cinnamon branch: standard infusion or 3 – 9 g
- Peppermint: standard infusion or ½ – 6 g
- Lemon balm: standard infusion or ½ – 6 g
- Burdock seed: standard infusion or 3 – 9 g
- Feverfew: standard infusion or 3 – 9 g
Cooling, diaphoretic herbs are used to dispel toxins through sweat, and appropriate when there is a high fever. They are contraindicated for individuals with a low metabolism who are complaining of cold when there is no fever present.
- Beta-carotene: 15 mg per day
- Vitamin C: 100 – 500 mg per day