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Germ Theory: 101 Cold and Flu Prevention

Strong immune system to fight off the cold and flu

When the germs are strong, but the environment of the host (you) is stronger, the disease will be resisted. If the host is weak, however, then your environment can become a hospitable refuge for viruses, germs, bacteria and other microbes to set up shop.

Why do some people always catch a cold, and others don’t?

Viruses, germs and bacteria are everywhere. They are in the food we eat, the air we breathe, and the water we drink. According to Chinese medicine, they do not cause disease. When a certain organ system is already weak and unable to resist outside invasion, it is therefore prone to attack by germs, such as viruses and bacteria. Illness and disease can only result when our body provides a hospitable environment.

For example, let’s say you inhaled influenza virus. Just because these germs are present, does not mean you will get the flu. There are several factors involved such as the health of your lungs, the vitality of your immune system, and your overall health.

Germs gather and thrive only in weakened parts of the body. When there is an imbalance of Qi, the normal functions of your body will ultimately be affected. This can change the normal immune system response and lead to illness.

A disease requires both a pathogen and a host. These nasty critters can only survive and flourish if circumstances are ripe. When the germs are strong, but the environment of the host (you) is stronger, the disease will be resisted. If the host is weak, however, then your environment can become a hospitable refuge for viruses, germs, bacteria and other microbes to set up shop.

Your Meridian channels control the flow of healing energy throughout your entire body, including your organs. The function (health) of your lungs, and the strength of your immune system all depend upon the quality, quantity and balance of Qi which flows within your meridian channels. The “true cure” of disease is simply NOT to kill germs, but to reestablish and build up the body’s amount of healing Qi. This will ultimately provide the adequate amount of Qi in order to restore the integrity of your meridian and organ system. Germs simply cannot attack a strong and healthy body.

Kiss Sick Goodbye

Along with frequent acupuncture treatments, here is another way to boost your immunity in order to stay well through spring.

  • You can begin by taking astragalus throughout the winter. This is an herb that is revered for its first-class immune support. It is also useful if you feel tired, weak, or apathetic.
    • Modern research suggests that astragalus is a “biological response modifier,” increasing the function of the adrenal cortex, helping us adapt to stress easier, and increase the production of white blood cells.1
    • If you have been around folks who are sneezing and coughing, try using maitake. This little mushroom can also help to stimulate the immune response. You can use this regularly, after being exposed to some nasty bug. For more information on maitake, check out the American Cancer Society’s information sheet.
  • If you have already caught a cold, you can try echinacea. This herb can help to shorten the duration of a cold. Start using it as soon as you feel under the weather and then stop use as soon as you feel well again.
  • Vitamin C and Quercetin: provide anti-inflammatory properties as well as boosting immune system to keep invaders at bay.

Herbs are a powerful medicine. It is helpful to consult with an herbalist to make sure you are getting the right type of herbs.

References
1 Between Heaven and Earth, Harriet Beinfield and Efrem Kornngold, 1991.

Fu, J. et. al. Review of the botanical characteristics, phytochemistry, and pharmacology of Astragalus membranaceus (Huangqi)Phytother Res. 2014 Sep;28(9):1275-83.

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Dr. Ellie Heintze, ND, LAc

  • Master’s Degree in Acupuncture
    Bastyr University
  • Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine
    Bastyr University
  • Master’s Degree in Chemistry
    Northern Arizona University
Doctor Ellie Heintze

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