In this issue:
  • H1N1 Virus: Boost Immunity Naturally
  • How to Beat Allergies
H1N1 Virus: Boost Immunity Naturally

If you tune in to any news outlet these days, you're guaranteed to hear about the H1N1 virus, which causes 'Swine Flu' and has resulted in the World Health Organization raising a pandemic alert and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declaring a public health emergency.

The H1N1 virus, responsible for influenza in pigs, has mutated into a strain that also affects humans, causing a respiratory illness with many of the same symptoms of regular seasonal flu: headache, chills, cough, fever, appetite loss, muscle aches, fatigue, sneezing, watery eyes, throat irritation, and in severe cases, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This virus is believed to be transmitted from human to human in the same way that other viruses do, i.e. when germs, passed along after the coughing or sneezing of an affected person, enter our mucous membranes. People also may become infected by touching something with a flu virus on it, and then touching their nose or mouth.

Conventional efforts to combat H1N1 with antiviral drugs have so far met with limited success. The best defence against infection goes for flu prevention in general:

Take steps to avoid being exposed to and spreading germs, and support your immune system so that it can do its best in protecting us from the hundreds of viruses and other infectious agents that we're exposed to daily.

Wash you hands thoroughly with regular soap and water (avoid antibacterial soaps, which can create superbugs). Don't touch your fingers to your eyes, nose and mouth; they are direct entry routes into the body.

Drink lots of water. Dehydration suppresses immunity. The protective fluid around the eyes, nose and mouth is particularly rich in immune factors. When you're dehydrated, the fluid shrinks and loses the ability to fight viruses and bacteria.

Be conscious of germ spread. Use a tissue when you sneeze, or sneeze into your arm or sleeve, not into the air! If you're feeling poorly, by all means, stay at home. Your coworkers will thank you, as will your body for allowing it a real chance to rest and recuperate. Wipe telephones and door handles with cleaning fluids.

Eat as healthfully as you can. Poor nutritional choices don't provide the body with the nutrients it needs to protect us. The SAD Standard American Diet is one of the reasons that nutritional deficiencies are very common. Supplement with a good quality multivitamin/mineral like MULTISMART.

Avoid sugar. Did you know that one teaspoon of sugar suppresses immunity for up to five hours? Sweetened juices are one of the worst things you can drink if you're sick. Stick with clean, purified water and herbal teas.

Support a healthy immune system. Astragalus, ganopoly mushroom extract, zinc and selenomethionine enhance the immune system's ability to fight invaders (viruses, bacteria) by increasing the number and action of the immune system`s natural killer cells.

Pregnant moms and children should take Moducare. Moducare has been tested in pregnant women and children to support a healthy immune system. It is available in capsules and also a delicious chewable grape flavor that is sweetened with xylitol. Moducare is not an immune booster but helps the immune system seek, recognize and destroy viruses and bacteria.

Get more sun. Research shows that North Americans are deficient in vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin, which strengthens our immunity and fights infectious agents.

Practice deep breathing for stress reduction. When we're stressed, our body produces the hormone cortisol. High cortisol levels cause immune suppression and an inability to fight colds and flu. Also treat yourself to a regular stress-relieving bath. Add 1 cup (250 milliliters) of Epson salts, 1 cup of baking soda and 20 drops of lavender oil to a regular bath as a remedy against colds and flus.

Exercise, but don't over-exercise. Ten minutes of weight-bearing exercise per day, combined with regular aerobic exercise, helps the immune system thrive. Walking is a potent immune-enhancing activity, providing movement while clearing the mind.

How to Beat Allergies

Seasonal allergies are nothing to sneeze at. The symptoms of congestion, breathing problems, sniffling, runny nose and/or burning eyes that affect millions of us can be debilitating. Or maybe we react to a friend's cat or, on holiday, find ourselves exposed to unfamiliar grasses or pollens and end up having an allergy or asthma attack. All of this is the result of what's going on in the body.

When we're exposed to an allergen (pollen, pet dander, grass, etc.) that we're sensitive to, the immune system is triggered into releasing immunoglobulin. This antibody meets the invading allergen and further triggers the release of inflammatory messengers (including histamines) that attempt to kick out the invader. Depending on which area of the body that allergens settle in, they can initiate different symptoms. For example, you may find yourself sneezing with a runny nose if the allergen irritates the upper respiratory tract; in the lower respiratory tract, the allergen may induce wheezing or coughing.

Naturally, we want a healthy, fully functioning immune system. However, allergies represent an overactive or overly sensitive immune system. In asthmatics, the cascade of events in the immune response can result in even more serious reactions, including lung tissue damage and a reliance on conventional steroid medications and inhalers. Many people choose to use over-the-counter allergy pills that merely suppress symptoms and often come with unwanted side effects such as nervousness, headache and drowsiness.

The key to halting seasonal/environmental allergies in their tracks is treating the cause: an overactive immune response.

If you celebrated World Homeopathy Awareness Week last month, you probably know that the international theme was "Homeopathy and Allergies." Research indicates that homeopathic remedies stimulate the body into alleviating allergy symptoms. An early randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, published in the Lancet in 1986, showed that the 144 patients treated homeopathically had a significant reduction in patient- and doctor-assessed symptoms scores. This created in a 50 percent reduction in the need for antihistamine drugs. Since then, similar results have been reproduced and the evidence gathers in support of homeopathy for seasonal allergies. Homeopathic remedies for acute allergy symptoms are usually sold in singles or in kits.

There's one herbal combination that you should use every day to prevent and treat allergies: Aller-7. This proprietary blend of seven standardized herbal extracts has been clinically tested and proven to promote healthy respiratory and immune systems, to promote clear airway passages and easy breathing, to stabilize the immune system's mast cells (which promote respiratory health), and to neutralize free radicals, which can damage the body's respiratory and immune systems.

In one 12-week investigation, the Aller-7 formula was evaluated for its effects on chronic allergic rhinitis (hay fever) in 545 adult patients at 14 research centers. This double-blind, placebo-controlled trial was conducted with 171 patients at three clinical centers and 374 patients enrolled in an open-label trial at 11 sites. Patients were randomly assigned to receive either four capsules or placebo pills daily. Clinical symptoms and objective parameters were evaluated over 12 weeks.

Ninety-four percent of patients in the open-label trial and 92 percent of patients in the placebo-controlled trial treated with Aller-7 reported improved symptoms ranging from more than 40 to 100 percent.

In the open-label component, over 90 percent of the participants who received the Aller-7 formula experienced an improvement of more than 40 percent in sneezing, runny nose and nasal congestion. No serious side-effects were noted, adding to other research that establishes this seven-herb combination as an effective, well-tolerated aid for reducing allergic rhinitis.

There were also some children in this multi-center trial between the ages of 7 and 14. The researchers' experience with the Aller-7 formula indicates that it's also useful for children but at a reduced dosage. The adult dosage is based on a 100-pound person, so reduce the recommended dosage on the body accordingly for your child. For example, if your child is 35 pounds, give her a third of the recommended dosage in a divided dose per day. If she is 50 pounds, use half the dosage in a divided dose.

If you're currently suffering from allergies, start Aller-7 today and pick up allergy homeopathic remedies at your health food store.