Yesterday the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology issued their estimate of the possible impact of H1N1 swine flu on the American population: Up to half the population infected and up to 1.8 million hospitalizations required! This is much more than a normal flu season—we’ll find out in the next few months how accurate their estimate is. This H1N1 flu variety is relatively new and people have built up less immunity. Unlike most influenzas, predictions are that older people will have more immunity and that this flu will disproportionately infect younger school age people.
Here’s a link to the Center For Disease Control’s H1N1 Swine Flu site with lots of good information: http://www.cdc.gov/H1N1Flu/
I’m certain the mainstream media will be sufficiently alarmist so the real issue becomes what should we do to prepare for the impending flu season. Disease is always an interaction between the strength of the pathogen and the strength of our immune system. How can we strengthen our immune systems to better resist these new pathogens?
The vaccine which may help prevent infections won’t be ready until the flu season is well underway. Vaccines have their own problems as well, and I’ll discuss these in a future blog post.
The basic recommendations for strengthening the immune system are still primary: stress reduction, regular acupuncture, good diet along with steps to improve digestion, good hygiene (frequent hand washing, etc…)
I also teach patients various acupressure techniques that are effective for immune building and disease prevention. In addition, I’ve been dispensing two different supplements to patients to help build their immunity and one supplement to keep in reserve at home in case a cold or flu starts. We dispense only to current patients since no formula is indicated for everyone.
Two supplements that we often give to patients to boost the immune system:
The first supplement is a Chinese Herbal Formula called Yu Ping Feng Wan, “Jade Wind-Screen Pills”. This is a very old formula in continuous use at least for the last 700 years in China. It contains Huang Qi (Astragalus), Fang Feng (Siler), and Bai Zhu (Atractylodes). The action of this formula is to build up your immunity, hence the name: create a precious (Jade) Screen around your body to shield you from pathogenic influences (Wind). Yu Ping Feng San is a good formula for almost everyone to take as we enter cold and flu season.
We also sometimes give patients another good modern formula that combines enzymes, Chinese Herbs and Western Herbs called ProSol™ Immune. Here are some of the ingredients of this formula: PHysioProtease™ is an enzyme blend that activates the immune system to promote healing and seeks out areas of inflammation and tissue damage. Astragalus root extract – An antioxidant that helps protect the liver, has many known immune stimulating properties. Goldenseal root – Contains several alkaloids shown to have anti-microbial and antibacterial properties. Echinacea angustifolia root – Has antiviral, anti-fungal and immune-stimulating effects
What do we do when our immune boosting preventive measures are not adequate and we feel ourselves starting to get a cold or flu?
I’ve been recommending to patients a Chinese Herbal Formula called Gan Mao Ling to keep on hand for just that time. This formula has antibacterial and antiviral properties and can be very effective at helping the body overcome an initial disease onset. This formula is not as effective at building the basic protections as Yu Ping Feng Wan or ProSol™ Immune, but is more effective for initial disease onset. Here are the ingredients of Gan Mao Ling Wan: Ge Gen (Pueraria Root); Da Qing Ye (Baphicacanthus Leaf); Bo He (Mint); Ju Hua (Chrysanthemum); Jie Geng (Platycodon); Xing Ren (Apricot Seed); Lian Qiao (Forsythia) Gan Cao (Licorice). Gan Mao Ling Wan, if taken at the onset of a cold or flu, can often help your immune system throw the disease off quickly.
Be prepared for flu season! If you wish to maintain optimal health through this coming flu season, please schedule an appointment. We dispense only to our patient base, so if you are not already a patient, you will need to make an initial appointment. Our best wishes for your good health this flu season!