Alternative medicine views the body as a whole functioning system: It also applies to colds and flu. In this article I want to introduce you to the alternative approach of colds and flu.
First the basic question: Is the infection caused by germs (viruses) or is catching a cold a matter of susceptibility? The condition of the person/host can be a weak immune system and then the source of “catching a cold” is different from being contaminated by a sneezing neighbor.
This is a controversial point discussed in medicine. The conventional medicine promotes the germ/virus theory while the alternative medicine very clearly emphasizes the “host” theory. Probably there is no either/or answer. But there is this very interesting fact: If people change diet and lifestyle, they will have less infections or at least milder symptoms. This observation clearly supports the “host” theory. For whatever reason, the person who is attacked by a cold or flu virus can not defend the invaders and gets sick, while others don’t, even though they are exposed to the same germs. How is this explained?
How nature works:
During any infection, the “inner doctor”, the immune system, becomes highly activated and mobilizes specific blood cells, the lymphatic fluid and the connective tissue to fight against the invaders. But at the same time this works like a cleansing and purification of the whole body. All the annoying symptoms like runny nose, sneezing, coughing, phlegm, tears, perspiration, sweating, pain, vomiting, diarrhea are actually the response of our immune system in its attempt to fight against the infection. If we support this effort therapeutically the person will feel much better after the illness than before, because the illness worked simultaneously as a detoxification.
What about the fever?
Fever is actually a beneficial reaction because it shows that the defense system reacts in a proper way. During the higher body temperature the production of immune (killer) cells and the blood circulation is increased (providing more oxygen for healing), sweating helps to eliminate toxins, not feeling hungry saves energy that would be otherwise needed for digestion and the person is tired, wants to lay down and the resting helps recuperation and healing.
The Natural Treatment Program
The Natural Medicine approach is very simple and is based on the concept of the “host “theory. The sick person’s overall condition has to be treated by supporting the body’s own defense reactions. So we help by cleaning, sweeping, wiping, purging – just what the immune system tries to do anyway.
The Basic Program
- Fasting with tea and juices or only very light meals. Avoiding sugar, greasy food, meat, milk, or processed foods. To sweeten teas use honey or agave syrup.
- Take Vitamin C (up to 6000 mg), Zink lozenges and Echinacea several times a day.
- Do a series of intestinal cleansings with Epsom Salt (1 teaspoon in 4 ounces of warm water) or take another laxative.
- Rub or brush the whole body and wash it afterwards with cold water. Then go to bed to have a thermal reaction (increasing the skin circulation helps the lymphatic fluids to flow freely). It feels very good!
- If you have a bathtub: Take a hot bath in Baking Soda, Sea Salt or Epsom Salt.
- Drink 2 cups of hot tea after the bath and take an aspirin to encourage sweating.
- Go to bed with a warm water bottle (available at the pharmacy), totally covering yourself with warm blankets and try to sweat.
- Rest, stay in bed, cancel social events etc.
- Drink lots of liquids (water, teas) during the day.
- In cases of uncomfortable high temperature take an aspirin or wrap moist towels around the legs.
- Repeat all that until you feel better.
Detoxification in that sense supports the healing process. The person will feel better very fast and will not have prolonged recovery time.
What else can help?
Homeopathic remedies work fast and are able to give effective relief for different conditions. For example a very common “first onset” remedy is Occicoccynum. With few exceptions homeopathic remedies usually have to be chosen according to the individual condition of the sick person. Ask for advice at homeopathic pharmacies or consult a homeopathic practitioner.
Poultices and Wraps
Most of us have childhood memories when our mothers wrapped us in blankets and fed us hot tea until we “sweated it out“. Many generations of Mexican, American, and German mothers have used the teas to break fever and alleviate discomfort. They are today as useful as in ancient times.
Poultices using cold or hot water, with or without herbal essences, are placed directly on the affected area of the body.
For fever and headache: Place potatoes soaked in vinegar on the temples.
For a congested chest with wheezing: Put sour cream, lemon juice or mustard around the chest and back.
For a dry cough: Apply hot cooked potatoes on the chest.
Teas (Spanish and English name):
For bronchial congestion, chest colds and cough: Gordo lobo (the Mexican herb of choice for all sorts of chest ailments. It can be taken by itself or mixed with eucalyptus, thyme and jamaica blossoms. Manzanilla (chamomile), tomillo (thyme), liquorice. An excellent home remedy is also the juice of an onion extracted by honey (chop the onion in little pieces and soak it in honey).
Soothing/sleeping teas: hops, valerian or passiflora.
Head cold and stuffy nose congestion:
Eucalyptus, thyme and rosemary. Local Mexicans use a cough syrup, which is available in almost all little stores here (ask for jarabe de Don Bronquio).
Sore throat and hoarseness:
Calendula, chamomile, jojoba, Malva
Use Vicks vapor rub, peppermint oil, tiger balm, thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary or salt.
Gargle with: chamomile tea, salt water, colloidal silver or hydrogen peroxide (agua oxygenada); available in little stores and pharmacies around here.
Don’t forget garlic: It helps to kill germs and to clear up cold symptoms
A powerful tea recipe for “Cold – Flu- Gripa”
Ginger root ( at Super Lake) one inch piece
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
1 or 2 cloves of garlic
Put ginger in a pot with 2 cups of cold water, bring it to boil and let it simmer for 5 min. Then add cayenne pepper and garlic and let it simmer for another minute. Take it from the stove and add lemon juice and honey. Drink as much as you want.
In case of a resistant condition or repetitive infection you can take a product called “Transfer Factor”. It is made from the colostrum (first milk) of mammals. It contains a high amount of immune factors. I also recommend taking this medication initially at the first onset of symptoms if you really can not afford to get sick! Propolis (from the honey bee) is also recommended, especially as a preventative similar to Echinacea and vitamin C.
Use visualization: See yourself as healthy as you would like to be and know that with this kind of treatment you will not suffer from a cold or flu like you did before and after a shorter period of time you will be energized – refreshed – and strengthened.