Colds and flus are viruses, which mutate each year. Plum Flower brand Gan Mao Ling is an anti-viral formula. Ashland Food Co-Op does the best job in the area of keeping this, and the other formulas I mention here, in stock. Shop N Kart often carries these formulas as well. The adult dose of Gan Mao Ling is 6 pills. Taken every 3-4 hours it will quickly resolve a cold or flu, or shorten the duration if it has already taken hold. The first sign of a virus is often a sudden, unusual, and unexplained fatigue. If you start Gan Mao Ling soon enough, you can eradicate the virus immediately. If the cold or flu takes hold, continue the formula, every 3-4 hours until symptoms subside, then 2 more days at a reduced dose: just 3 times per day.
To stop a runny nose or post nasal drip, use Bi Yan Pian with Gan Mao Ling. Take 3-4 pills of Bi Yan Pian every 3-4 hours, until the post nasal drip or nasal discharge is gone. Don’t wake up to take the formulas but have the doses counted out, in a small container by your bed, with a glass of water. If you wake up in the night, take it, and you’ll get a better night’s sleep.
Jade Screen, another Plum Flower formula, builds the immune system to prevent colds, flu or allergies. The pills are tiny. Take 8 pills, 1-4 times a day, on a regular basis to build your immune system. How often depends upon what you are exposed to. It’s advisable to increase the times per day of your dose during cold and flu season, and for several weeks before and after airplane travel.
Wild Harvest brand Nettles and Quercetin is usually effective for seasonal allergies. It is also available in local health food stores. Take with Jade Screen.
Having these formulas on hand and learning to use them effectively can minimize or eliminate these seasonal illnesses. The exception is if your digestion or immune systems are compromised. This means you need the help of a healthcare professional such as myself. The following is an explanation of why more serious illness can occur.
Mucus encapsulates inhaled viruses, bacteria, dust, pollens, mold, smoke or any external pathogens you might breath in. This encapsulation is a protective device, like armored cars, to escort invaders to the stomach. The stomach acid destroys the invaders. But too many pathogens can mean mucous overflowing into the lungs or sinuses. Trapped in a dark, warm place this slimy substance becomes the perfect breeding ground for bacterial or fungal infections. These secondary infections prolong colds or flu and can cause sinus, bronchial or lung infections.
When there are too many invaders for the stomach to destroy, or not enough stomach acid to do so, the invaders proceed into the small intestines. It is up to your intestinal lining to halt these invaders from entering your bloodstream and inducing systemic reactions.
Your gut flora fertilizes the microvilli that line your intestines. These are the fastest regenerating cells in your body. The microvilli are supposed to regenerate every 20 minutes. If this process is impaired, by antibiotic use or other disruption of your gut flora, you end up with microscopic holes in your intestinal wall. Whole food particles (including the waste you should be pooping out), gas from food (if you aren’t efficiently breaking food down), and other external pathogens can then pass through the intestinal wall into your bloodstream. This creates a systemic reaction as the blood carries these toxins to other areas of your body. Inflammation, body aches, pain, burning eyes or nose, nasal discharge, headaches, sweating, fevers, vomiting, diarrhea, and rashes are all ways the body has of attempting to deal with, or push toxins out of the body quickly. These reactions are your emergency systems when the normal pathways of detoxification fail. When viruses, bacteria, molds, parasites or whole food particles get into your bloodstream you can become miserably sick. Severe colds and flu can result, or a variety of chronic illnesses, unrelated to colds and flu.
As you age you might not have as much stomach acid to kill pathogens that are escorted by mucous into the stomach. Drinking organic, apple cider vinegar mixed with water can help make your stomach more acidic. The increased acid helps terminate invaders, when fighting off allergies, colds or flu. If vinegar burns your stomach you need to come see me to rebuild your stomach lining. Taking antacids impairs your stomach’s ability to break down food, as well as its ability to eradicate invaders escorted to the stomach by mucous.
If your mucus becomes colored: yellow, green or brown, it means phlegm has become trapped in the lungs, bronchial or sinuses and you are brewing a bacterial culture. Colds and flu always begin as viral. A bacterial infection is a secondary infection. When a cold or flu lasts for weeks or more, or recurs frequently, it could be the result of a bacterial or fungal infection.
Antibiotics kill bacteria not viruses or fungus. Antibiotic drugs kill the bad bacteria but also the bacteria you need to build and maintain your intestinal wall. While there are times antibiotics are necessary, in most instances the antibacterial herbal formulas I prescribe work just as well for colds, flus and respiratory infections, without destroying the bacteria essential to your overall health. Keep in mind that if you are eating animal products that are not free range or organic, you are ingesting a wide assortment of antibiotics every day, and therefore impairing your protective intestinal lining.
A cough is your body’s attempt to expel phlegm from your throat, bronchi or lungs. If phlegm sits in your lungs long enough to get heated up, evaporating the moisture, the congealed phlegm becomes like rubber. That’s when you get the hard, barking cough. In this case I prescribe a formula to “de-rubberize” the phlegm and another to expel it from your lungs.
Severe respiratory infections or diseases can create inflammation in the lungs and impair the lung lining. There are formulas I prescribe to help regenerate the lung lining and counteract inflammation, enabling the lungs to heal. These work to help patients breathe easier.
Ear and sinus ‘infections’ are usually caused by a buildup of phlegm, which creates pressure and pain. So in most cases, antibiotics are inappropriate. For the times when there is a bacterial or fungal component, in the ears or sinuses, I prescribe antibacterial or antifungal formulas along with formulas to resolve the phlegm.
Keeping the formulas I’ve listed above on hand, and learning how to use them, can prevent phlegm from accumulating in your lungs or sinuses. Using them soon enough can prevent secondary infections and prolonged and more serious illness. Be sure to label your bottles with a brief explanation of their use. Then, long after you’ve lost this article, you will know exactly how to use them when needed.
If you require additional assistance for acute allergies, colds, flu, or any chronic illness or disease, come to see me.
Health and Happiness,
Nancy Burton, L.Ac.