Thursday, October 2, 2014

Ebola and Other Viral Illness Preparation

Please realize there is nothing that has been shown to protect people from Ebola. However, there are people who survive it and the question is why does one person survive it and another succumb to the disease. Although, there is no data to show what protects people from Ebola, I can share with you general information on how people protect themselves from infectious viruses in general. We know that our bodies have mechanisms in place to protect us from disease.  

Two Main Areas to Be Aware of: Barrier Method & Immune System
Our skin is our first barrier that protects us. However, there are multiple entry points that allow entry of germs if they come in contact with mucous membranes of the eye, nose, mouth, vagina, urethral opening, anus and of course any cuts or micro-cuts in our skin allow entry of germs. The immune system is of course our greatest asset. Learning to be aware of entry points for viruses and making sure you use barriers for protection such as masks, gloves or even whole body suits in some situations is your first line of defense. Supporting your bodies immune system and being in good health is your second line of defense. I suggest you work with a qualified health care practitioner to decide what will work best for you. I will give some ideas below that you can discuss with them. Realize that everyone is different. Some people will react to herbs/nutrients in undesired ways. Pregnant women and others with special conditions may not want to take these supplements. It is really best to work with a health care practitioner who can guide you appropriately. This is just educational information to discuss with your practitioner. Please do not take it as medical advice. It can not substitute for your health care practitioners advise.

I am going to tell you what I do when there are viral illnesses going around in my community. 

When I have friends and family with colds or flus they all know they are not welcome at my house. I love them but I ask them to stay home and care for themselves when they are sick. If they are so sick that I need to go to their home to help them, I wear a mask and gloves. This is just standard infectious control for some fairly easy to care for conditions. However, Ebola is a bit more serious than the cold or a standard flu. Our government should tell people who have passports from countries with active Ebola that they are not allowed to come into the United States until the outbreak is over. They should also say the same for people who have been in a country with an Ebola outbreak in the last 21 days. Additionally, they should have put out talking points on how people can protect themselves from getting Ebola. This is just simple 101 infectious control on a worldwide stage. Obviously, we can’t depend on our government to protect us, so you really need to consider what you need to do to protect yourself from coming down with Ebola or other infectious diseases if it is in your community. Once again, I suggest you discuss this with your health care practitioner.

So what if Ebola ends up in my area? How would I change my protocol as far as my first line of defense (barrier method)? I  would once again tell everyone to stay home if they are ill and not visit me. I would additionally limit my interactions with people to a minimum. No hand shaking, no hugging on greeting others. I would be careful about who I let into my house. I would treat any package or other item being delivered to my home as possibly being contaminated. With Ebola I would suggest people who think they have it, go to the hospital to be isolated from the community and cared for. If someone is sick with the flu and I need to help them I would completely cover my body with protective clothing that can be either thrown away or can be decontaminated each time I go to their home. If Ebola is in the area, I can’t be sure they have the flu, so when I go to their home this is a method to protect myself in case it is really Ebola.

What about decreasing your chance of getting viral infections at the work place?

When I owned an herbal company, we gave people health days to use, but there were those who would take them as fun days and come into work sick. I was always frustrated about this, but could not seem to change their behavior. I did what I could at work to decrease other employees and myself from getting the flu or other viruses they would bring in. Here is what we would do.

• Get the sick person to go  home if you are able to.

• If they are at work at least remove them from the vicinity of others or have them wear a mask if possible. It is best for the sick person to work in their office by themselves or off away from others if possible.

• Wash your hands regularly.

• Have people cough or sneeze into their shirts. People usually cover their mouths with their hands and then they shake your hand or they use the phone etc. The best thing to do is to pull the top of your shirt out and to cough or sneeze inside of the shirt. If you can’t pull the top of your shirt out, you should cover your mouth with your upper arm as you do not touch things with your upper arm usually.

• Clean instruments such as phones, door knobs, etc that are shared with others with some type of antimicrobial cleaner. I use a lavender spray or another antiviral essential oil spray during flu season. You can make a simple spray by starting with a base of 40% rubbing alcohol & 60% water or a Base of 20% grain alcohol and 80% water. Once you make your base put the base into a spray bottle. For each oz of base add 40-60 drops of lavender essential oil. Spray this on items you are sharing with others such as phones. Make sure you don’t spray it on anything you think will be damaged by the essential oil or the alcohol. (I spray this on most things with no problem, but it can damage wood and may damage some fabrics etc. You can test an area first to make sure it will not harm the item.)

Being Out in Public
I have worn a mask to stores when there are infectious outbreaks in my area. I can’t be ill as I have too many responsibilities, so the inconvienence of the mask is worthwhile. I don’t get sick from air born viruses this way of from someone sneezing in my face. I also make sure I wash my hands a lot. Even when there are no infectious diseases in the community, the first thing I do after entering my house from having ran errands in town, is to wash my hands. If I am at someones house with an infectious disease (only if I am assisting them) I am masked and have gloves on. I take the gloves off either at or outside of their door and I am careful of disposing of them. You can also keep wet wipes in your car. The custom of shaking hands is just crazy and really should stop. If you have any epidemic taking place shaking hands, or any other of our greetings involving body contact is an activity that will make it more likely that the virus will spread. Some viruses are spread in the air while others such as Ebola are not. However, they can still be spread in droplets that someone has sneezed onto you or other objects that you might touch. They can sneeze into their hands and then shake your hand. Most people, especially sick people do this absent-mindedly. People really should sneeze into the top of their shirt (Just open it and sneeze inside.) or use their upper arm to stop their sneeze from sending out a mist of virus onto everyone. It is important to realize that contact with a person’s body fluids who is ill with a virus such as Ebola may transmit that virus to another person.  If the sick person wipes their nose with their hand and then push an elevator button and you follow by pushing the same button, that is not good news for you. Especially, if you have a tiny cut on that finger or use your finger to rub your eye afterward. The virus needs a way to get into your body and any opening on your skin will do. Other viruses can be spread even easier if they are air borne. At this time Ebola is assumed to be non-airborne. Viruses do mutate and it is always better to be safe than sorry.

So, this is not in depth but that gives you a brief idea of how to protect yourself from viruses by using barrier methods. Now let us look at how to make our own bodies stronger and able to withstand viruses. Our immune system is responsible for protecting us from viruses, so we can decrease our chance of getting a virus and increase our body’s ability to fight off a virus once we get it if we take care of our immune system.

Please realize that there are no vaccines, herbs, nutrients or anything else that has be shown to prevent Ebola. However, we can still make our immune system as strong as possible. We should keep our immune systems in good working order as a general rule. There are some people on immunosuppressant drugs who should not do this however. An example would be those with organ transplants.  However, as long as they consult with an appropriate practitioner prior to implementing any health routine their practioner can guide them as to the safety of the following material to their health.

The following below are some educational ideas we can use to increase our likelihood of protecting ourselves from infectious disease. Let’s start by examining some of the general things we can do.

Methods to support a healthy immune system include:
•    Avoid allergens or food sensitivities.
•    Eat a nourishing diet of whole organic or biodynamic foods with healthy oils and fats, adequate   protein, high-fiber, and complex carbohydrates. Eat plenty of fresh, ripe fruits and vegetables.
•    Eliminate chemical sensitivities in your environment.
•    Nourish, tonify, and enhance organ systems that are depleted or not functioning properly.
•    Discontinue recreational drug use.
•  Decrease prescription drug use as much as possible under the guidance of your physician.
•    Get adequate exercise.
•    Rest and meditation/prayer.
•    Drink 6-8 glasses of clean water each day.
•    Drinking fresh squeezed lemon juice helps maintain the body’s internal ph.
•    Breath clean air.
•    Get sunshine.
•    Enjoy the benefits of massage and hydrotherapy.
•    Include joyful activities in your day.
   Adequate sleep is very important.
  Avoid Stress
  Sanitation is very important: Wash hands
  Support your digestive tract: 80% of your immune system is in the digestive tract. Probiotics can help.
  Eat only Organic Food. Do not eat GMOs.

Free radicals can keep your immune system from functioning optimally. Free radicals are destructive molecules that lack electrons. They are formed as a natural result of normal metabolic processes like breathing. However, they can increase due to things like stress, infections, poor diet and environmental stressors. So antioxidant rich food can be helpful to protect your immune system and entire body from them.

A USDA study analyzed the antioxidant content of commonly consumed foods. Researchers tested over 100 foods. Here is a ranked list of the top 20 fruits, vegetables and nuts:

   1. Small red bean (dried), 1/2 cup
   2. Wild blueberry, 1 cup
   3. Red kidney bean (dried), 1/2 cup[br[
   4. Pinto bean, 1/2 cup
   5. Blueberry (cultivated), 1 cup
   6. Cranberry, 1 cup (whole)
   7. Artichoke (cooked hearts), 1 cup
   8. Blackberry, 1 cup
   9. Prune, 1/2 cup
  10. Raspberry, 1 cup
  11. Strawberry, 1 cup
  12. Red delicious apple, 1
  13. Granny Smith apple, 1
  14. Pecan, 1 ounce
  15. Sweet cherry, 1 cup
  16. Black plum, 1
  17. Russet potato, 1 cooked
  18. Black bean (dried), 1/2 cup
  19. Plum, 1
  20. Gala apple, 1

For a comprehensive list of Nutrients ingested for their antioxidant effects go to:

What about herbs that are antioxidants. Here is a list of a few from "Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth" You will notice some of them are also listed in the research above.

•    Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
•    Chaparral (Larrea tridentata)
•    Fo ti (Polygonum multiflorum)
•    Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
•    Ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba)
•    Ginseng (Panax ginseng)
•    Hawthorne (Crataegus spp.)
•    Ligustrum (Ligustrum lucidum)
•    Milk thistle (Silybum marianum)
•    Propolis
•    Rhubarb (Rheum officinalis)
•    Sage root (Salvia miltiorrhiza)
•    Schisandra (Schisandra chinensis)
•    Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
•    Tumeric (Curcuma longa)


Some of the more important nutrients and  herbs used to support the immune system are listed below. If you want detailed descriptions on any of these herbs you can get them at this link: http://www.herbaltransitions.com/MateriaMedica.html

Nutrients to Support the Immune System

• Eating antioxidant rich foods (lots of bright colored fruits and vegetables), which is also a diet rich in Vitamin C, beta-carotene and essential minerals is helpful. See above.

• Increase immune system supportive nutrients such as vitamin C with bioflavonoids 500 mg in the AM and PM at minimum. If someone is sick they usually take vitamin C up to bowel tolerance. (This is the amount that causes your stools to become slightly loose.) Once they reach bowel tolerance they lower the dose slightly so they don't have loose stools. Also zinc, about 15-30 mg per day. If taking zinc for more than 3 months you should take copper in a ratio of 8 parts zinc to one part copper. So if taking 15 mg zinc per day you would take 2mg copper also unless you have Wilson’s disease or some other reason for high copper levels. (Why you consult your practitioner.) Last but not least consider vitamin D (sunshine, supplements such as cod liver oil) (need to check D3 lab levels to decide on amount to take-see below). A multiple B vitamin can be helpful in addition for general cellular energy production.

• Getting a 25-hydroxy-vitamin D test is a good idea as many people do not have adequate levels of vitamin D, and often these people find they can prevent flu with just this one change. Research shows that low levels of vitamin D predispose one to getting the flu as well as the common cold. Until recently there was not a reliable measurement of vitamin D available. The vast amount of new research has shown we need much more vitamin D than thought previously. People who test low in vitamin D usually need to use D3 supplementation to raise their levels to within normal limits. The amounts necessary are often between 3000 IUs to 8000 IUs per day. One should not take large amounts of Vitamin D without testing occasionally to check for toxicity. Although it is best to work with a professional health care worker, many cities have independent labs that will let you order this test without a physicians order.

Selenium is another supplement that is helpful if you have a low selenium diet. Selenium is a mineral that can be problematic in large amounts, so I suggest eating foods with selenium or asking your practitioner for a suggested dosage.

Selenium: brazil nuts, tuna, beef, poultry, fortified breads, and other grain products.

Zinc: oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, nuts, seafood, whole grains, fortified cereals, and dairy products

Vitamin D: sunshine, cod liver oil, mackerel, shitake, sockeye salmon, herring, sardines, catfish, tuna, eggs (Not as much as the fish.)

Vitamin C: Raw, or consume liquids cooked in as you loose vitamin C in the cooking water. Peppers, horseradish, parsley, kale, leeks, tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprounts, potatoes, onions, orange, papaya





Now, lets take a look at herbs that are used to support the immune system. I have taken out “low dose” botanicals from these lists for safety sake. Below is a list of immunomodulator herbs. Immunomodulator is a term used for herbs that enhance the body’s natural defense system to assist in infectious conditions or other situations which tax the immune system.

Immunomodulators:
•    Ashwaganda (Withania somnifera)
•    Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)
•    Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus)
•    Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
•    Cedar (Thuja spp.)
• Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) - see the pdf on Echinacea athttp://www.herbaltransitions.com/herbalresources.html
•    Elecampane (Inula helenium)
•    Garlic - fresh (Allium sativa)
•    Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
•    Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis)
•    Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)
•    Lomatium (Lomatium dissectum) – Very useful herb but beaware it can cause problems in some folks, so should be used by trained practitioners.
•    Monarda spp. 
•    Oregon grape root (Mahonia spp.)
•    Osha (Ligusticum porteri)
•    Paracress (Spilanthes acmella)
•    Prickly ash (Zanthoxylum clava-herculis)
•    Propolis
•    Red root (Ceanothus americanus)
•    Reishi mushroom (Ganoderma lucidum)
•    Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria )
•    Wu wei zi (Schisandra chinensis)

 Lymphagogues are also used when someone has an infectious condition.

Lymphagogue: Supports the lymphatic organs or stimulates activity of the lymph system.
Examples:
•    Burdock (Arctium lappa)
•    Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
•    Cleavers (Galium aparine)
•    Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)
•    Ocotillo (Fouquieria splendens)
•    Red clover (Trifolium pratense)
•    Wild indigo (Baptisia tinctoria)

For details on each of the above herbs, go to:  
Each herb can be looked up here under either it's common or latin name. The information is completely free. There is updated newer data in my book. Sorry, it is not online.

Your Gut & Your Immune System
Now remember, I mentioned above that 80% of your immune system is in your gut. So, take good care of your gut. 

Do not eat GMOs. If you want to know why, read these articles I wrote:







Consider gut microflora replacement. They are also called probiotics or your microbiome. Additionally consider increasing your consumption of prebiotics. Prebiotics are food for the gut bacteria.

Around 100 trillion of these beneficial bacterial cells populate your body, particularly your intestines and other parts of your digestive system. In fact, 90 percent of the genetic material in your body is not yours, but rather that of bacteria, fungi, viruses and other microorganisms that compose your microflora.

The composition of this microflora has a profound impact on your health. For example, we now know that your intestinal bacteria influence your immune system as well as genetic expression, weight, brain development, memory, mental health, as well as the risk of various acute and chronic diseases.

How to Optimize Your Gut Flora

The good news is that positively influencing the bacteria growing in your body is relatively easy.

Reserve antibiotics for serious cases of bacterial infections only.

Eat a healthy diet that is low in sugars and processed foods and devoid of GMOs. Eat only organic food.

Eat fermented foods and drinks.

Feed your gut bacteria herbs that are considered probiotics (food for good gut bacteria). Those herbs with high inulin are good sources. These include dandelion root, and burdock root. Inulin is usually higher in the roots in the late autumn. These two roots are used as a food source in general. Another herb (not used as a food and only as an herbal medicine) is called elecampane. It too is high in inulin.

Most water soluble fiber is "good food" for your good gut bacteria. Examples of foods/herbs with water soluble fiber is oats, apples, marshmallow root and slippery elm.

One last thing I would say regarding infectious disease. If there is an infection such as Ebola in the United States and it appears to be spreading. (We do have one case in Dallas Texas now.) Then, I suggest you have reserve supplies on hand. Food, water, herbs, medicines and anything else you need. People will be quarantined in their own homes as the Dallas family of the man who currently has Ebola. You also might want to quarantine yourself for your own safety at some point. Having supplies on hand will allow you to do that. It is always a good thing to have supplies in case of electrical outages, storms etc anyway.






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