The Number One Problem with Winter:
A closer look at the common cold:
Colds can be caused by different viruses and bacteria, whereas the flu is always caused by the influenza virus. There is usually a different strain of the influenza virus that appears each year (sometimes several in the one year or flu season), as it morphs.
A trip to the doctors with a suspected case of flu may result in you undergoing test after test to determine exactly what has infected you. However, to natural healers like myself, it makes no difference—the treatment is the same regardless.
It might matter to the doctors, who try to match their drugs to your symptoms, but for people like us who try to get to the root of the problem rather than just find a band-aid solution, it is not important.
Why is winter the cold and flu season?
The bacteria and viruses that cause colds and the flu are around all through the year, the winter months are often dubbed the cold and flu season. During this time, the weather is colder, and people tend to go into hibernation in their homes or offices. These spaces become badly-ventilated, with less fresh air circulating—windows are closed, heaters are on, and the air becomes stale and stagnant.
In an environment like this, when an infected person coughs or sneezes, there is much more opportunity for others to breathe in the infected air.
This is exactly how one sick person in the office can result in the whole office falling ill. This is also the reason that one of the best ways of avoiding the cold or flu is to stay far away from those who have it!
During the cold season, there are fewer hours of sunlight, and, since the weather is often cold, we tend to be inside (trying to keep warm!) for the hours that the sun is out anyway. This means we get less exposure to vitamin D, which is important for preventing illness.
The air we heat indoors to try and keep us warm dehydrates our nasal passages. This means that any germs that they trap may more-easily invade the body, rather than exiting it through mucous.
Why doctors’ treatment for colds and the flu don’t work, and the truth about the flu vaccine.
The mainstream approach to treating colds and the flu often involves antibiotics and the flu shot.
However, even mainstream medicine is seeing the havoc that antibiotics are wreaking. Their overuse is causing serious superbugs and damage to our intestinal flora, which can weaken our immune systems.
In any case, they are only effective for treating bacteria, not viruses, which makes them a totally useless treatment for the flu, and for colds of a viral origin.
And what of the flu vaccine? The pharmaceutical industry promotes it so much for one simple reason: $$$$$ That’s right—it makes BILLIONS for them every year.
Have you ever wondered how it can be effective when the flu is a virus that morphs so frequently? Basically what the scientists do is make a calculated guess as to what they think the next year’s strain is going to be, and create the vaccine accordingly. If their guess is wrong, you get next to ZERO protection from the flu for that season! In fact, it was admitted by the CDC that the 2014 flu vaccine was a failure, due to the scientists miscalculating the strain. However, we are told it is still important for us to get this shot. Why? Again, $$$$!
It is one of the few vaccines that still contains Thimerosal (i.e. Mercury), yet is now recommended for use with pregnant women!
Aside from that, in 2013, the Cochrane Collaboration examined 116 studies that had been completed in relation to the influenza vaccine. Now the Cochrane Collaboration is a think tank group who does not conduct any studies themselves, but who systematically examines existing papers that have been written. What they determined from these studies was that the flu vaccine only offered a very small amount of protection in the general population against the flu. At least 40 people would need to be vaccinated to prevent just one influenza-like illness, and 71 would have to be vaccinated to prevent the one case of the influenza virus.
Interesting to note is that the Cochrane Collaboration determined that of the studies they analysed, around 20% of them had a high risk of bias, and only fewer than 10% of them were of good methodological quality. For scientific papers which we are expected to hold in high esteem, this is quite poor.
How to get to the root of the problem and get well fast!
Rather than drugging ourselves up, then, with antibiotics, flu shots or other over-the-counter medications (yes, we should stay away from them, too. All they do is stop the symptoms of our colds—symptoms that are there for a REASON…they help our body get the germs out and help us to recover!) we need to teach our immune system how to fight against these germs…or we risk having reoccurring colds and illnesses all winter.
Rather than dealing with the symptoms—the runny nose, the fever, the aching joints, the cough, etc., we need to get our body healed, and restore it to true health. When we do that, the symptoms will disappear anyway!
We have to remember that our bodies are in a constant state of trying to bring us to perfect health. We just keep doing things to prevent this from happening. We keep eating the wrong things, exposing ourselves to stressful situations and sitting indoors on the couch. To get ourselves well, we have to pinpoint what it is that has dragged our immune system down, and STOP DOING IT!
A simple look at how the body works to keep you safe:
Now let’s take a step back and look a little at the make-up of our immune system.
Our immune system is actually made up of a number of organs, cells, nodes, bones and other parts of the body that all work together to kill any invaders.
Some of the most important elements of this system are white blood cells, called lymphocytes, which are designed to kill pathogens. These are called T-cells.
There are also B-cells which create antibodies to help you fight against specific diseases. Your lymph nodes and lymphatic system in general, also play an important part in your immune system (think about how your glands get swollen when you have a cold or flu—they are working hard to get you well!).
Organs such as the appendix (yes, contrary to what doctors have been telling us for years, it DOES play an important role! Studies have shown that when the appendix is removed, the spleen functions less-effectively), the tonsils (which doctors have also been cutting out of people for years!) and adenoids, as well as the red bone marrow (which is where all the immune cells are produced).
And as far as science has come in the past hundred years, there are still elements of the immune system that doctors and scientists don’t understand, though they don’t like to admit it!
The main function of the immune system is to PROTECT YOU! To save you from invaders or self-mutation. Invaders, sometimes called ‘pathogens’ can include bacteria, viruses, fungi, pollens, and even cancer cells.
This system is constantly checking your body for signs of invaders If any are detected, it goes straight to work, killing them.
Want to know the best part, though? While I could go into great detail about exactly how our body kills pathogens and saves us, we don’t have to know or understand the ins-and-outs of it to get well! As long as we stop doing what weakened our immune system in the first place and allowed us to get sick, we will get well!
How Do I Stay Well?
I’m sure you will want to know how to prevent yourself from succumbing to illness in the winter months, just like my family does. Here’s a quick list of how to stay well when the cold weather hits:
- Avoid sick people and crowds. Obviously this isn’t always able to be done—if you have sick family members, you can’t really quarantine them in their own house. However, avoid being within close proximity to them, since colds and the flu are spread by bodily fluids. When this isn’t possible, the other steps can be taken to reduce the likelihood of infection.
- Use natural medicine to build up your body. Getting your body strong enough to fight off pathogens is the best way to fight against illness in winter. Eat well to feed your body a range of vitamins and minerals. Consume seasonal fruits and vegetables—citrus, for example, is best in winter, and just happens to be high in vitamin C—a crucial vitamin for the immune system (more on that later!). Juicing regularly, and taking a plant-based supplement such as the Mountain Nutrition can be helpful too. If you feel that your immune system is a little under stress, or you know you have come into contact with infected people, take Echinacea for a week or so to arm yourself. The beginning of the cold and flu season is also a good time to think about doing a 5 day detox, to clean out your body and prepare it for battle.
- Keep the air clean. As I mentioned earlier, one of the reason winter is such a bad time for germs, is because the air indoors isn’t as fresh. Windows are closed, and heaters are on. It is not always possible to open windows when it is freezing cold outside, but this is where essential oils come into play. In our house, we commonly use eucalyptus oil, as well as the essential oils of a number of different citrus fruits. These are all naturally antibacterial, and have the added bonus of smelling fresh and clean. A range of humidifiers is available on the market now, which helps to put moisture in the air that heaters take away. These can also be used to disperse essential oils.
- Wash your hands! Think about when you have a cold. How many different surfaces around the home or office do you touch? Scientists believe that the bacteria in bodily fluids can stay alive for 8 hours or more –so when that sick person in the office touches the buttons on the photocopier, or the fridge handle, they could infect every single person in the office. Don’t become paranoid or germaphobic, but be sensible, and wash your hands after you touch surfaces that sick people may have also touched. Alternatively, there are many natural antibacterial sprays that are available these days; carrying around one of these and using it when needed can have the same effect. I advise against using the standard hand sanitiser gels, though, as more and more research is coming out about how damaging these are to the good bacteria on our skin’s surface.
- Keep your fingers away from your face. Microscopic droplets of bodily fluid from a sick person are harmless enough when they are on your hands they are harmless enough. However, if your hands make their way to your nose, mouth or eyes, the bacteria can quite easily make its way to your upper respiratory tract and infect your body. Keeping your fingers away from your face avoids this from happening.
- Keep warm and avoid chills. For years, scientists have told us that our grandparents were wrong to insist we rug up before heading outdoors in the cold. The cold, or getting chilled, they told us, didn’t make us sick. However, recent research shows that they were actually right! Getting cold causes us to be more susceptible to succumbing to infections. So rug up and stay warm when heading outdoors!
- Move and get some sun. We tend to be less-motivated to exercise when it’s cold, but your immune system needs circulation to work effectively. It needs the blood to be pumped around the body, and the lymphatic system needs the body to be moving to get the white blood cells to do their job most efficiently. If you don’t like the cold, there are plenty of exercises you can do inside, even in a small area. Even though there doesn’t seem to be much sun in the winter, if you head outside, there is still enough to get you some vitamin D. Try to spend 15 minutes a day outside if you can.
- Sleep well. Lack of sleep can weaken your immune system and make you more prone to colds and the flu. Sleep gives your body a chance to repair and rebuild—and if you don’t sleep, it can’t do that.
- Stay positive! Negativity creates stress, which can weaken the immune system. Avoid anything negative in your life, and think positive thoughts!
“So this is all well and good, but if for some reason I do end up sick, what do I do?” I hear you ask. Well before we get into the nitty gritty of how to treat yourself, there are a few things you need to know.
These 2 Points Are Crucial to a Super Speedy Recovery:
The first is treat yourself AS SOON AS YOU THINK YOU ARE SICK!
It’s no good waiting until your glands are swollen, you’ve lost your voice and your eyes and nose are dripping everywhere before you take action. At that very first throat tickle, you should start arming yourself with anything you can get your hands on that will help your body heal itself.
I don’t know about you, but there have been plenty of times when I have felt the beginnings of a sore throat, then tried to convince myself that I imagined it. Nine times out of ten, I ended up sick. Remember that if you think you are sick, YOU PROBABLY ARE! Sometimes if you attack a cold as soon as you feel the first sign of it, you can totally kill it within a few hours. It is far easier to do this before the cold has taken hold, than to wait until the pathogen has multiplied all around your body.
The second thing to remember is to be aggressive with your treatment.
Too many people dismiss herbal medicine as ineffective, because when they had a cold and took two drops of a tincture, they stayed sick. You need to absolutely bombard your body with everything you have! That is the only way to shorten the length and reduce the severity of the cold or flu and get your body healed. Some studies show that you can half both the duration and severity of the cold or flu by aggressively treating it at first sign.
I remember when I was a child, I would hate it when I felt that initial swelling in my throat, because I knew it would mean that I would have a VERY sore throat for at least 3 days. I can honestly say that while I have had the odd cold here and there since I have made use of herbs and natural healing, I can’t remember the last time I had a sore throat! The reason for this is simple: when I was young, I would just let the cold take its course, rather than taking action. Nowadays, the approach I take is what I have outlined here—and it works, for me and my family.
Now remember that when you first feel the symptoms of a cold, you probably actually came into contact with the pathogen a few days before this. This means that the first hours when you begin to feel signs of illness are the most important. The quicker you can get the body to heal itself, the easier job it will have doing this.
Here’s how to get well FAST:
Remembering the two points I have just outlined will help as you take the following steps to getting well:
- Stop eating! If you have a pet, think about what it does when it gets sick. It stops eating. Babies do too. They do it because it is the natural thing to do. For some reason, when we grow up, we stop listening to our bodies. Digesting food takes a lot of energy from your body, and when you are fighting infection, your body should be using every last ounce of energy to get you well—not to process that slice of pizza you ate.
- Start drinking! Not eating doesn’t mean you have to starve yourself though. When you feel the first sign of sickness, get out the juicer and drink fresh fruit and vegetable juices, as well as clean, filtered water and herbal teas until you are well and truly better. It is important to keep hydrated and to flush the toxins out of your system.
- Take serious amounts of herbal medicine. Bombard your body with everything it can take. Below is my list of recommended herbs. I suggest that you keep these on-hand during winter so that they are there when you feel that throat tickle:
- Echinacea: Echinacea kicks the immune system into high gear and tells it to increase its production of white blood cells. It is the best thing to take lots of at the first sign of a cold or flu. For an extra, mega boost, you could try my Echinacea Plus, which has garlic and cayenne added to speed up the healing process. If you feel a sore throat, try applying it directly to the tonsils too.
- Supertonic: this tincture has a fantastic combination of herbs that will kill any pathogen you can think of. Take as much as you can, and you will be on the road to recovery in no time! Gargling with it so it directly touches your tonsils also helps, as your tonsils are your first line of defence.
- Mountain Nutrition: while it is a great idea to take this product all year round, if there is one time you really must take it, it is when you are getting sick. It floods your body with the vitamins and minerals needed to overcome illness. When you are sick, you can take a double dose (or as much as you want, really—you can’t overdo it!) for some extra fighting power.
- Vitamin C: Even medical doctors admit that vitamin C can lessen the severity and length of the cold and flu. Many vitamin C supplements on the market contain ascorbic acid and other synthetic ingredients which can actually harm the body. This is why we have put together Nature’s Vitamin C , with plant-based vitamin C. This includes Camu Camu, which contains the most vitamin C of any plant on the planet; Acerola Cherry, with 17,000mg of the vitamin per 100g, compared to only 50mg found in oranges; and rosehips, with up to 60 times as much vitamin C as oranges. This formula is one of the best things to help give your immune system the boost it needs to fight off sickness.
- Garlic: Raw garlic is by far the superior form of this herb. Yes, it may smell, but it WILL WORK! Besides, think of it as nature’s way of quarantining you while you are infectious! Garlic has anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral properties—in fact, research is proving it to be just as, if not more effective, than antibiotics, and without the side-effects! Raw garlic can be taken in a number of different ways:
- Swallow the cloves whole or cut in chunks, like a pill.
- Mince it up and chug it down on its own, or mixed with some raw honey (another very good natural anti-bacterial ingredient to take when a cold comes).
- Add it to soups. Remember that it should be put in at the very end though, as it is best raw.
- Bunker down! You can’t get well if you’re running around like a headless chook. Take time off work, cancel appointments or other plans, and take it easy. Make sure you have everything at home that you need to fight this bug—herbal teas, fresh fruits and vegetables to juice, and any other herbs or tinctures you may need.
- The power of hydrotherapy. Do this the first two evenings after the first signs of infection. There are many forms of hydrotherapy, but the easiest for most people is a hot and cold alternating shower:
- Turn the shower on as hot as you can stand it; run it for a few minutes.
- Psych yourself up to turn off the hot water and blast yourself all over with cold water for as long as you can stand it. Aim for 15-30 seconds.
- Turn the hot water back on, and run it all over you for 30 seconds to a minute.
- Repeat the process, to complete 7 repetitions.
- Finish off with hot water for around 2 minutes.
This works so well because hot water brings the blood to the surface—hence the red skin we get after a hot shower. Cold water does the opposite, driving the blood to the body’s core. This hydrotherapy routine causes the blood to circulate quickly from the centre of the body to the surface, and back to the centre. As I explained earlier, good circulation is essential for good lymphatic function. After the shower, dress yourself in natural fibre pyjamas and keep warm.
- Arrange your bedroom: have at hand everything you will need for a good night’s rest:
- Herbal teas
- Any juices you would like to consume
- Some extra blankets in case your body temperature changes in the night.
- Some eucalyptus or essential oils to spray around
- Menthol ointment to rub on your chest and clear the airways (stay clear of Vick’s though: it is petroleum-based)
- Keep the colon working: when you have a cold or flu, your body tries its hardest to beat the infection. That’s why it develops mucous—this acts as a way of cleaning out the gunk that has been sitting inside. If your colon isn’t working well, there is probably junk and toxins sitting in it, unable to exit the body, and waiting to make you sick again. Taking some colon detox #1 can get things moving and get you on the road to recovery.
How I Killed the Flu in 24 Hours and Made it to my Wedding:
After having grown up in America, I met my now-wife, an Australian, and moved to Australia.
I made the move 4 days before my wedding.
The day after I got off the plane, I felt my tonsils swell. My glands began to hurt, and my temperature was up.
My big day was hanging in the balance. I had relatives flying over for it, and the last thing I wanted was to mess up all the plans and have to postpone it.
I knew that if I didn’t take action, I would be a runny-nosed, red-eyed, coughing mess for my wedding–and I don’t mean due to getting emotional!
Read how I managed to kill the infection that was threatening my wedding day, and make a complete recovery!
If you have a SERIOUS ILLNESS, or suspect there’s an impending epidemic, you should combine the following ingredients:
- 25ml Super Tonic
- 50ml Echinacea Plus
- 500ml Distilled Water
- 500ml Apple Juice
You should drink this HERBAL BLITZ throughout the day, so that you have drunk it all by the evening. You should also take 25ml of Nature’s Vitamin C, with 4 heaped teaspoons of Mountain Nutrition on this day, in the morning and evening.
That night, take some of my cayenne pepper, 200,000 heat units, and take a hot shower with lots of steam. This builds up heat in the body, creating an artificial fever. This encourages the immune system’s macrophages to eat up the bacteria or virus that has begun invading my body, before it multiplies and becomes harder to shake. If you try this, it is very important to avoid dehydration, and drink plenty of herbal teas, juices and distilled water.
On the 2nd day, combine and drink the following ingredients:
- 15ml Super Tonic
- 25ml Echinacea Plus
- 500ml Distilled Water
- 500ml Apple Juice.
Drink this throughout the day so you have drunk it all by the evening. Continue to take this drink until you are well, or the epidemic has passed.
9 times out of 10 when I have used this method on my colds, this has stopped it in its tracts. It even saved my wedding day!
The Essentials for Beating the Flu:
Based on my family’s experience with what works to keep us well, the following products are a must-have for maintaining health through the cold season, or limiting the damage of any illnesses you succumb to:
- Mountain Nutrition: to flood the body with nutrients, helping to build its strength and fight the invader, and to prevent illnesses in the first place!
- Nature’s Vitamin C: to boost the immune system and improve its strength.
- Echinacea or Echinacea Plus: particularly when taken at the first sign of infection, these boost the production of white blood cells. They are also great for preventing illnesses.
- Lung Formula: in the event of lung infections or coughs, this clears the mucous and inflammation from the lungs and encourage easy breathing.
- Supertonic: with a combination of germ-busting ingredients to kill any infection you are faced with.
With this ammunition, my family intends to escape with winter illness free, and yours can too!
About the Author
Stephen Mocko is a natural herbalist and healer, as well as the founder of Aussie Herb Shop, a health and wellness centre in Australia, which highlights the importance of a raw, whole foods plant based diet as well as juicing, exercise, clean water and air, as well as herbal supplementations from a plant based source in their whole form.
Aussie Herb Shop works with clients whom the doctors have dismissed as incurable. Stephen’s specialty is with late stages of diseases such as cancer, and helping patients to take control of their health once more. You too can have hope
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