This year when someone asks me how our holidays were, I pause and consider whether or not to share that my eldest daughter had the flu in all its glory and I was up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve with her. Though I used to pick up every bug my kids brought home from pre-school, in recent years, I have been generally immune. What a surpise, then, when I woke up five days later with a rattly cough and fatigue sending me back to bed. After four days of taking copious remedies and laying in bed, my husband came in to the bedroom and suggested I go to a medical clinic to make sure I didn't have pneumonia because he was concerned about my level of exhaustion.
I dragged myself into the clinic that afternoon where the MD agreed that my cough sounded troublesome and ordered an X-ray to check for pneumonia. Fortunately, my lungs were healthy, no pneumonia, and he pronounced I had the flu. I have spoken with other people in our region who've had this year's flu and they have needed anti-biotics for some level of infection or pneumonia in the aftermath. I count myself fortunate that I did not develop pneumonia and attribute part of that to the fact that I took a formula called Bio-Botanical Research Biocidin in the week that I first had symptoms. This is my go-to formula when the early signs of a virus or bug do not go away (within 24 hours of onset). This formula helps prevent the microbes from developing a biofilm and establishing an infection. It did not stop the flu for me, but it did keep any bacterial or fungal component from developing into a medical level sinus or lung infection. It comes in another form, Biocidin LSF helpful for ear infections and sinus, specifically.
Despite this good news that the X-ray looked fine, my high fever continued and I drove myself home and went to bed without relief. I stayed in bed suffering for another day until I remembered Pokeroot tincture (Phytolacca americana). My husband and I have used pokeroot to help stave off various infections in ourselves and the kids when they were babies. It had been several years since I'd used pokeroot in an anti-viral scenario (it has many other benefits as one of the strongest lymphatic cleansers, and is beneficial for chronic skin issues and mastitis). I rummaged through the kitchen cabinet and found an old bottle of it. I took 5 drops with the Ultimate Echinacea tincture I'd been faithfully taking all week and within one hour, my fever had let up and I felt a little better. I kept taking a few drops every hour, continuing to feel better until bedtime. The next morning, I got out of bed and went to make myself breakfast. Pokeroot is what helped me turn the corner in what I would describe as the most extreme virus I have experienced in my adult life.
Herbalist Susun Weed writes:
Poke root tincture kicks the immune system into gear incredibly fast. I’ve seen chronic infection of many years’ standing resolve after only one dose, and acute infection subside in a matter of hours. Poke’s effect seems to be focused on the lymphatic and glandular tissues of the throat and chest, making it the perfect counter to inhaled anthrax, which attacks the lymph nodes around the lungs. Poke is a specific against pneumonia and a protector of the lungs. It contains an antibacterial alkaloid and a special antiviral protein. It magnifies the effects of Echinacea and they work wonderfully well together.
Pokeroot tincture is not found in most health food stores. This may be attributed to the fact that at high doses, it is poisonous. Too much pokeroot will cause loose stools. Most people do not tolerate more than 10 drops daily. I've worked with clients who can only tolerate one drop. Caution is warranted if you're going to add this to your cupboard and take as a remedy. I suggest starting with 2-3 drops per dose. If it's for a cold or flu, add 40 drops Ultimate Echinacea tincture in a little hot water or tea to this combo. If you are giving it to a small child who has a bug that is not resolving that you fear may develop into an infection, I suggest just 1 drop daily in fluids. (A note about the Echinacea. Do not take this if you have a severe ragweed allergy).
After feeling well enough to get out of bed, I still had a lot of congestion in lungs and sinuses to clear out. I relied on Elecampagne tincture as well as Lung Formula Cold/Damp for clearing the lungs multiple times daily. For sinus and general immune support, I favor Ortho Molecular Natural D-Hist taking 2-3 capsules as needed to keep the sinus congestion moving and minimized over time.
In the aftermath, it's good to re-assess what makes us vulnerable to acute illness. Certainly exposure to a family member can be difficult to overcome. My personal reflection on this experience is that I need to relax more. I began teaching dance fitness as a substitute instructor at my gym last summer. While I love it, in my already busy life, this sometimes pushes me to the point of being very tired, and I don't always let myself relax the next day. My lesson from all of this will be to take more time to recover.
I hope that you don't catch anything this winter, but perhaps these herbal remedies will keep you ahead of the game.