Influencing Influenza

Influenza, commonly known as the ‘flu, is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus, which affects people of all ages and occurs more frequently during the colder months. It is transmitted from person to person through the respiratory tract, by means of inhalation of infected droplets resulting from coughing and sneezing. 

Symptoms occur some 24 hours after exposure and are marked by chills, fever, headache and a generalised feeling of weakness/pain in the muscles, together with varying signs of soreness in the respiratory tract, head and abdomen. 

At the onset of cold weather, take Echinacea root (extract or capsules), as a powerful immuno-stimulant to help maintain a healthy immune system. Aid your body’s resistance by employing a few simple preventive measures, such as a healthy diet, regular hand washing, avoiding crowded places and contact with others who have the ‘flu. 

As soon as symptoms begin, drink plenty of water, keep warm, rest as much as possible and enjoy the benefits of a tea made from equal parts of the following herbs: 

  • Camomile
  • Plantain
  • Thyme

    Directions: Prepare as a hot infusion and drink 2-3 cups of this mixture daily (1 cup before breakfast). 

Also, drinking 1-3 cups of Willow Bark tea can control fever and muscle pain, as this herb contains salicin of which aspirin is derived. 

FOOT BATHS are an old remedy for infective disorders of the respiratory tract. Start with warm water at first and add hot water to reach 40C. Keep your feet in the water for fifteen minutes and repeat regularly. 

INHALATIONS are excellent for the respiratory mucous membranes. Suitable herbs are Camomile, Peppermint, Rosemary, Thyme and Lavender – simply place the herb/s into boiling water and inhale the volatile oil/steam. Onion inhalations are especially beneficial for their disinfectant and healing properties – just chop a large onion, boil it in water and inhale the steam.

As the ‘flu virus weakens the body’s defences, there is a risk that the infection may spread to the lungs, causing acute bronchitis or even pneumonia, so prevention is definitely better than cure!


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