Blossoming Health with Nanny Bee

By Linda Pecone
Editor's Note: The Lyons Recorder does not endorse the contents of this article as medical advice, and encourages readers with serious medical conditions to contact a professional health provider.

As traditional medications become less effective against today’s potent and aggressive viruses, natural alternatives are proving capable of fighting off many common viral threats. There are many herbal formulations to prevent

and treat infections and viruses such as influenza. These natural remedies may fight off disease and strengthen your immune system, keeping your family healthy and happy.

The new emerging viruses are intelligent, they mutate, and are becoming resistant to antiviral pharmaceuticals. Global crises such as SARS and dengue fever spread more quickly than we can develop medicines to fight them, and every season there are new flu strains that challenge the effectiveness of vaccines.

When the first antibiotic, penicillin, came into common use in 1946 it was lauded as the beginning of the end for infectious diseases. More and more antibiotics were discovered and they too were revered for their abilities to conquer more and more disease. Following on the tail of antibiotics came vaccines. More and more vaccines were developed to prevent many more viruses.

Due to antibiotic over use, and the ability of viruses to mutate we are struggling to find cures for common illnesses, and for the more aggressive viruses emerging. If you want a simple way to increase the disease-fighting power, be generous with your use of high-quality herbs and spices in your meals and drinks. This applies year-round, but as cold and flu season nears, you may want to consider spicing things up more than you might normally. There is no shortage of research showing that herbs and spices are among the healthiest you can consume. And they’re a “secret weapon” that just about everyone can take advantage of, regardless of your budget.

The four top herbal candidates as immune tonic, anti-viral herbals are elderberry, licorice root, ginger, and garlic. Elderberry syrup, which can be found at most health food stores and markets. This is an excellent herbal for children. Elderberry has a long history of use for upper respiratory ailments associated with the colds and flu. It is widely known among herbalists that elderberry inhibits viral replication. According to David Hoffmann, Medical Herbalist, “The herb appears to strengthen cell membranes to prevent virus penetration, possibly by inhibiting the viral enzyme that weakens the membrane.” It is important to begin taking elderberry at the first sign of a cold or flu.

Licorice is a potent antiviral agent and is also mildly antibacterial. It also is very synergistic with other herbs, especially elderberry. It is a broad spectrum antiviral by preventing viral growth and replication. It is great for fighting the flu, viral pneumonia and other respiratory illnesses. The root is mostly used and is made into a tea, capsules or a tincture. (Be careful to use the glycyrrhizin version. This version does not affect blood pressure, and it holds the antiviral capacity.)

Ginger is active against viruses by preventing the attachment of the virus to the cell. It is excellent in the treatment of colds and influenza.You can cut down on the sick days by up to 3 days by preparing ginger in drinks the at the very onset of symptoms. Ginger is most effective if using the fresh root and not the dried root. Try juicing it and adding it to tea.

Garlic has long been hailed for its healing powers, especially against infectious diseases like colds and flu. This is likely due to its immune boosting effects. It is also effective at killing antibiotic-resistant bacteria. Studies have shown that those who took garlic daily for three months had fewer colds than those who took a placebo, and, when they did come down with a cold, the duration of illness was shorter.
There are many strategies for preventing colds and flu, a good diet, plenty of sleep, good hygiene, and healthy exercise. Adding herbs can also be effective in helping prevent disease. Most important of these strategies is eating healthy, clean food. With winter around the corner, soups are more and more on the menu. This is one of my favorite winter soups which includes: garlic, ginger, and turmeric, another powerful immune building herbs.

1 thinly sliced garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
6 cups chicken broth
3 ounces gemelli pasta (or pasta of choice)
1 cup shredded cooked chicken
1 Italian sausage
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Microgreens and thinly sliced scallions, for serving

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, saute garlic, turmeric, and ginger in oil until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add sausage and cook completely. Add stock; bring to a simmer. Add pasta; cook 1 minute less than per package instructions. Add chicken; heat through, 1 minute. Remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice. Serve with micro-greens and scallions.

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