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Prepare for Swine Flu

Posted by eibren z6PA (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 25, 09 at 3:00

I posted some information in the Hot Topics section about the swine flu threat--after killing several in Mexico City it has turned up in parts of California and Texas. They are not certain how virulent it is yet, but it is a new strain.

So, what remedies should we be stocking up on? If there should be a true epidemic, the two antivirals that are effective against it will be in short supply.

I used Sambucol, an elderberry-based syrup, and Chestal, a shotgun-homeopatic remedy against all sorts of bronchial conditions, when I had viral bronchitis last Spring, and they seemed quite helpful. I am also trying to grow horehound, but that is such a small plant....

Here is a link that might be useful: CDC Website


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

So not waste any money on Homeopathics. They do not work, there is no plausibility, its just marketing. Tamaflu might help, lets hope they get a vaccine figured out fast.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Here's a page for prospecting for herbal inhibitors of neuramidase, one of the key enzymes that influenza viruses use to infect and spread in the body - elderberry has five hits. Another herb with possibilities is scutellaria.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Found a list of "natural" ways to prevent colds and flu. The first is not yet available for the new swine flu (a vaccine). Some are common sense things like frequent handwashing and not putting your fingers to your face after touching things in public, doing aerobic exercise and getting necessary relaxation time and sleep. The following two might be of special interest to forum readers:

#8 Eat Foods Containing Phytochemicals

"Phyto" means plants, and the natural chemicals in plants give the vitamins in food a supercharged boost. So put away the vitamin pill, and eat dark green, red, and yellow vegetables and fruits.

#9 Eat Yogurt

Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. Researchers think the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease.

Personally, if this strain of flu spreads like they fear it might, I'll think also about limiting exposure to crowds and public places in general, wearing a protective mask on flights (avoiding flying in the first place when possible) and, while effectiveness may be in doubt, taking echinacea before any such potential mass exposures.

As to neuraminidase inhibitors that work against flu, there are proven drugs out there like Relenza and Tamiflu, but none in the herbal class that I'm aware of that show meaningful effects outside of artificial settings like the test tube.
Not to usurp the other thread dealing with homeopathy, but taking a shotgun approach to fending off flu with a homeopathic preparation is like loading your weapon with blanks. :)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> but none in the herbal class that I'm aware of that show meaningful effects outside of artificial settings like the test tube.

The eldberry extracts mentioned have been clinically tested and their ability to affect the course of viral infections are more than theoretical.

Here is a link that might be useful: Colds and Influenza: Review of Standard, Botanical and Nutrional Treatments


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

The section on elderberry in that article (written by a naturopath and a medical technologist), contains phrases like
"no clinical trials have been conducted" and "anecdotal reports indicate". It refers to two small studies, neither of which showed that elderberry extract prevented people from contracting influenza. Both involved small numbers of people who supposedly saw symptoms decline sooner than with placebo, but even with the trial the article focuses on, there's no indication from the authors' abstract that the people studied actually had influenza (reportedly they experienced "influenza-like symptoms"), no differences in antibody titers between the elderberry and placebo groups that would indicate a real effect on infection, and the authors close by saying a larger study is needed to confirm their findings.

Overall, enough to suggest more work can be done to see whether elderberry extract might have something real going for it, but not a reason to stock up on this particular product in preparation for a flu outbreak.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> there's no indication from the authors' abstract that the people studied actually had influenza (reportedly they experienced "influenza-like symptoms")

Actually, there was, but you are too eager to nitpick and discredit. The actual text included phrases like: "In one study, 27 individuals (23 with laboratory confirmation of influenza B) experiencing typical early flu symptoms" and "Serum from all subjects was analyzed for antibodies to influenza A and B at the initial dose and during the convalescent phase." These studies took place in a community setting where there was a defined influenza outbreak, so your dilatory attempt to raise FUD about it is easily dismissed.

>> no differences in antibody titers between the elderberry and placebo groups that would indicate a real effect on infection,

According to your 'logic', should the antibody titer be higher or lower?? Higher to suggest it boosts the immune system and more antibodies are created, or lower to suggest it reduced infection and the need for antibodies?? A reduction in actual disease could be associated with either, but you want people to confuse the disease with one simple measurement of antibodies.

For that same experiment, even though that one measure did not provide a clear picture, there was clear clinical improvement in those who took the elderberry: "Clinically however, significant improvement in flu symptoms was observed in 14 of 15 subjects in the treatment group two days after initial dosing, with complete symptom resolution in 13 of 15 subjects after three days. In the placebo group, complete symptom resolution was only achieved by 4 of 12 subjects within three days and 5 of 12 subjects after five days.

Bottom line: Eric again is dishonest in his interpretation of the science.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I know, is eric really an herbalist? Vaccines? Two of my great uncles suffered strokes shortly after receiving the swine flu vaccine. Regardless, I hate to say it, but the people currently infected should be separated, and treated. As for the rest of us, there's the best defense- healthy foods, rest, avoid travel, and take the right herbs to help our immune systems.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

The "larger" elderberry extract study (all of 60 people) that I was referring to did not cite laboratory confirmation of influenza infection. I note that apollog has not commented on the other points I raised about the preliminary and inconclusive nature of these reports on elderberry, including authors' comments that a larger trial is needed to confirm their findings.

About antibodies - the people who wrote the article you linked themselves commented on the lack of difference between antibody levels in the people getting elderberry or placebo. If the extract really had an effect on the course of the disease, one might expect a difference in antibody response (whether increased or decreased is not made clear, except that there was no significant difference in the limited number of patients studied).

One could run out and buy this product and all the other herbal medications the article mentions, or go "prospecting for herbal inhibitors of neuraminidase" from apollog's lengthy list of herbs that might or might not have any efficacy in this regard (in the test tube, mice or whatever), and wind up with lots of money spent to no good end. The common sense precautions cited by the Mayo article are a better bet.

I always know when apollog has run out of evidence - that's when the pointless personal attacks start.

The 1976 warnings about a possible swine flu pandemic turned out to be wrong, and the focus ended up on needless costs (financial and health) of the crash immunization program against the disease. About 1 in 1000 people developed a form of usually temporary paralysis (Guillain-Barre syndrome) after getting the shot (the risk of this with current flu vaccines is about 1-2 cases per million vaccinated)*. Contrast that with the risk of severe illness and death with a full-blown flu epidemic with a killer strain - the 1918-1919 outbreak is estimated to have killed between 50 and 100 million people around the world.

I hope the current warnings about swine flu don't pan out. If the worst happens, our best hope is that a good vaccine is developed, and you can bet that lots of antivaccinationists will be lining up for their shots. :)

*note: stroke was never a risk associated with flu shots.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

You don't need to "help" your immune system (or any other body system) unless it has been acutely--or is chronically-- compromised. Don't try to fix what isn't broken.

The best defense against anything that would create ill-ease is to simply be in the best shape you possibly can be. Once again, think of herbs as food and use accordingly as the need arises.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I went to the local Healthy Grocer today and bought tree bottles of Sambucol, two boxes of Boiron's Oscillocosium(?), and two bottles of Boiron's Chestal Cough syrup. The total cost was $79; this flu will boost the health food store and vitamin economy, at least.

My DH doesn't believe in any of this stuff, but last Spring when we both had viral bronchitis and he was being kept awake by his cough, he finally took some of the Chestal, and his cough subsided in about ten minutes. After that, he took it on his own. When he told our doctor what he had been taking, apparently the doctor couldn't believe it--most of his other patients had to go on antibiotics for the same thing. My DH had open heart a few years ago, so he has to be careful about chest infections.

Eric, try not to disillusion us too much; it may be all we have to lean on. They say if a real pandemic starts they will probably not have enough of the good stuff (antivirals) to go around anyway....

:o/

Let us have our peace of mind, misguided though it may be, while you medicos go about triaging....


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If spending $79 on this stuff gives you peace of mind, go for it.*

I'll plan on eating more fruits, vegetables and yogurt, getting sufficient rest and aerobic exercise (in the garden, at least) and avoiding crowds as much as possible. And getting immunized if the need arises and a vaccine can be developed in time.

*for the occasional poster who claims I must be getting payoffs from Big Pharma: ever consider that I might be receiving dough from Big Supplementa instead? I question a particular supplement, and people run out and buy it to show me up. Hmmmm.... ;)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> I note that apollog has not commented on the other points I raised...

That is correct. I merely posted enough information to show that you distorted the research - having done that, I see no need to refute each and every point. Some of what you posted is even correct - but your overall conclusions were not.

>> If the extract really had an effect on the course of the disease, one might expect a difference in antibody response ...

No, that is nonsense, unless you want to put the word "might" into bold and underline it. The "course of the disease" is measured by the severity and duration of the illness - not some arbitrarily chosen marker, which may tell us something, or may not. If a treatment were so effective that it stopped the virus nearly 100% early on, then perhaps the antibody levels would be lower. If something stimulated the immune response (and helped the body cut short the disease episode), it might be associated with higher antibodies. Or the antibody levels might be unchanged, but something else might change so that the fever didn't get as high, the inflammatory cascade wasn't as severe, and people recovered sooner with lowered risk of needing hospitalization.

For you to push such reasoning shows either that you know amazingly little about the immune system, or (as I suspect), you see your purpose here to raise fear, uncertainty and doubt about herbalism.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Eric oh, you are so quick to be so critical and tear everything apart, it's frustrating. I was making a joke- but regardless i just don't get the point of some of it. As people who use herbs, shouldn't we be supporting one another and remember that we are connected? Why is there so much criticism and doubt of herbalism coming from you?
Note: i said those two men had strokes after vaccine, and blamed it on that. Not that it's fact- sorry to not state the whole case. I'm not big on vaccines, i think they are overused, not that they are all bad. I think this is a whole other topic though. So I'm rambling now.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

The antibody count is not an arbitrary statistic, it's a simple and direct measure of the bodies response to an illness causing organism, and not subjective.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

"I merely posted enough information to show that you distorted the research"

Um, no. You referred to a different study, not the one the article was focusing on (and about which I was commenting). And oddly, you are criticizing me for mentioning a point that the study authors themselves thought was important enough to cite (antibody levels in treated patients not being different from those getting placebo) but which you believe is irrelevant. If you've got a bone to pick, it's with the study authors themselves, who also don't see their own results as conclusive without a larger trial being done.

It's a common theme with apollog's posts:

1. Cite a study as evidence an herbal treatment works, generally a tiny pilot trial or a project on cells in a test tube or rats.
2. Get upset when another poster points out the limitations of the research and contrary evidence.
3. Descend into personal attacks, hoping to cloud the issues.

What was that again about being supportive? ;)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Even if this is a false alarm it is always a good idea to have several weeks worth of supplies on hand rather than the 3 day's worth mentioned on most informational sites.

The medical type supplies maybe any that you like to use herbal or not.

If this does turn out to be a false alarm having several weeks worth of easily prepared foodstuffs is a good idea at any time of the year.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> Um, no. You referred to a different study, not the one the article was focusing on (and about which I was commenting). And oddly, you are criticizing me for mentioning a point that the study authors themselves thought was important enough to cite (antibody levels in treated patients not being different from those getting placebo) but which you believe is irrelevant.

Reading the original work, or reading my comments, one would get the gist: "Two randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies demonstrate the elderberry extract, Sambucol, effectively inhibits both influenza A and B strains when given orally to patients in the first 48 hours of influenza symptoms."

Your comments were designed to obscure this conclusion.

>> The antibody count is not an arbitrary statistic, it's a simple and direct measure of the bodies response to an illness causing organism, and not subjective.

I didn't say it was subjective - just possibly irrelevant. My point was that antibody levels can sometimes tell us something, but are not necessarily related to recovery from infection in any predictable way - the fact that antibodies go up, go down, or stay the same does not tell us if a person benefits. Bottom line is that people did benefit from the elderberry.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I'm sorry I was unclear, Symptoms, which are what your study measured, are subjective, and as such are more susceptible to any errors made during the study.


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Really??

Yes, self-reported symptoms are more subjective than blood parameters, but when conducting a double-blind, placebo controlled study, they can be meaningful. If most of the treatment group reports being completely recovered in 3 days, while the placebo group is still experiencing symptoms after 5 days, and neither group knows which treatment they are getting, then that may point to a real effect (depending on the statistical analysis).

I don't know of anyone who gets an antibody blood test to tell them if they should take a day or three off and lay in bed, and then another antibody test to tell them that they are well enough to get out of bed. How do you do things, brendan? Do you routinely rely on such unreliable measures as how you feel? Given your biases, you must admit that you are running your life in a very unscientific manner!


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

What's important in evaluating whether a medication works is not how brendan or any other poster "does things", but if the drug is shown to work in good quality trials, and especially by means other than highly subjective symptom scores.

The Department of Complementary Medicine at Exeter/Plymouth Universities in the UK recently looked at the small trials of alternative medications for flu and flu-like symptoms (including elderberry), and concluded the following:

"In conclusion, the effectiveness of any complementary and alternative therapy for treating or preventing seasonal influenza is not established beyond reasonable doubt. Current evidence from randomized controlled trials is sparse and limited by small sample sizes, low methodological quality, or clinically irrelevant effect sizes. For avian influenza, no data are currently available. These results strengthen conventional approaches for seasonal influenza."

So once again, it's not just me and brendan questioning the wisdom of making sweeping conclusions from these sorts of small trials - it's experts in the field of alternative/complementary medicine and the original researchers who did these studies as well.

If we are running true to form here, apollog will next volley insults at me and brendan while ignoring the expert opinion that backs us up.

The bottom line is that lots of drugs and treatments yield encouraging results in small pilot studies, but don't stand up to rigorous examination in quality clinical trials. If we "stock up" on every herb and supplement that's been mentioned in the links provided in this thread, we'll spend a fortune for stuff that hasn't been proven effective.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> If we "stock up" on every herb and supplement that's been mentioned in the links provided in this thread, we'll spend a fortune for stuff that hasn't been proven effective.

Now you are being silly - no one here really believes that everyone should stock up on every herb and supplement mentioned... we are merely discussing which ones might be of benefit. I have elderberry growing in my yard (thanks to the neighborhood birds) ... it's easy to grow, makes an attractive shrub. I also thought about putting in a tamiflu tree, but decided against it.

>> "In conclusion, the effectiveness of any complementary and alternative therapy for treating or preventing seasonal influenza is not established beyond reasonable doubt.

Certainly the evidence is not iron-clad, beyond a reasonable doubt, chisel it in stone and electrocute the scumbag, where every doctor will start recommending elderberry extract, or where insurance companies will start paying for elderberry... which they presumably would do if there was 100% certainty (except that few people here believe that doctors and insurance companies would do that even if there was clear that it was safe and effective).

Actually, I think eric and brandon are giving all the right answers - the only problem is that the answers are to the wrong question. You two are ignoring what the original poster asked about, and what most people at this forum are interested in, and pretending you are the head of the FDA, and that you get to deny an application for elderberry because your standard is to only approve when there is absolute certainty. But individuals facing a possible pandemic with no vaccine option and a possible shortage of prescription medicines (which may or may not work on this virus) approach the situation differently than you do. In these situations, people are less pedantic and less interested in certainty ... this is a situation where decisions must be made with limited information. If you would rather rely only on washing hands, or eating more phytochemicals in general, that is your decision. Others might be interested in trying to see which particular phytochemicals or herbs and foods are likely to be of most benefit, as presumably, even people who eat a healthy diet can die from nasty strains of the flu.


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"no one here really believes that everyone should stock up on every herb and supplement mentioned... we are merely discussing which ones might be of benefit."

I counted 64 different herbs, other organisms and substances on your posted lists of things that might be viral neuraminidase inhibitors. Add in all the stuff in that linked article by the naturopath and med tech, and it's a pretty overwhelming list of things to "prospect" through (as you put it) - what they all have in common is they're not proven to fight flu.

"You two are ignoring what the original poster asked about, and what most people at this forum are interested in"

Thanks for fulfilling my prediction that you'd again try to personalize the discussion, attack brendan and me and avoid mentioning what experts in the field (and the original researchers whose study you touted) have said. I don't know how you assume that people are not interested in the natural ways to prevent colds and flu I previously linked to (post #4).

"But individuals facing a possible pandemic with no vaccine option and a possible shortage of prescription medicines (which may or may not work on this virus) approach the situation differently than you do."

Sure, people could be buffaloed into assuming the worst and buying a bunch of ineffective stuff over the Internet or at their health food store. The supplement companies would love that (look for massive promotion of remedies to "aid respiratory health" - or whatever language they think will keep them narrowly inside the boundaries of the law). While there is no vaccine yet, one could be ramped up relatively fast if the need arises. And in terms of proven antivirals, Relenza and Tamiflu have already shown effectiveness against this strain of swine flu.

It should be emphasized that while the government is preparing for the worst eventuality, we don't know if we're going to get a spate of relatively mild flu cases or something more serious. Common sense precautions make a lot more sense at this point than grasping at straws.

A "scientific herbalist" (as you've termed yourself) should know that small, inconclusive pilot studies are not the basis on which to recommend the use of drugs - whether herbal or non-herbal.


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"So, what remedies should we be stocking up on?" was the original question. Suggesting a "remedy" that lacks evidence to back it up is ignoring the question.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> #9 Eat Yogurt Some studies have shown that eating a daily cup of low-fat yogurt can reduce your susceptibility to colds by 25 percent. Researchers think the beneficial bacteria in yogurt may stimulate production of immune system substances that fight disease.

Some studies have shown this? Really - which ones?? Researchers think? How many researchers think that?? Does that mean they don't know for sure?? Is it really proven beyond all reasonable doubt, or is there merely 'some evidence' (which means a limited number studies, each with an inadequate number of subjects, relying on poorly designed methodologies, and based on subjective reporting of symptoms)?

Even though I personally think eating yogurt and other probiotics might help some people, if we apply the same rules of evidence that you insist on, then we must reject this yogurt idea as unproven, and conclude that you and the Mayo Clinic are behaving in a most unscientific manner.

>> I don't know how you assume that people are not interested in the natural ways to prevent colds and flu I previously linked to (post #4).

Very good - the Mayo Clinic says "Try Chicken Soup" - which I have no problem with. But should we apply the same standards to chicken soup as elderberry?? Where is the proof beyond all reasonable doubt that chicken soup can help with the flu? Hmm - came across one article titled "Chicken soup cure may not be a myth" from 2003 in a nursing journal. Saying that it "may not be a myth" is not really a ringing endorsement. I also came across a study from 1978 that found that chicken soup was no better than hot water or cold water for improving nasal mucus velocity and nasal airflow resistance (and these are very objective, scientifical variables). Unless you have other proof, I suggest that you and the Mayo Clinic are advocating UNPROVEN, UNSCIENTIFIC ideas and someone may die as a result, and that you have a clear double-standard ... things that sound good to you get a pass, anything else is nit-picked.

Assuming that chicken soup may actually help, what is it in the culinary concoction that actually helps? The chicken, or the onions/garlic/herbs? Should we even consider onions or garlic or herbs by themselves, or is there a magic synergy that is broken if we don't follow the recipe? Is there a dose dependent response where more of the active ingredient is better, or does chicken soup work like homeopathy, where it doesn't matter how much you consume?

I have no doubt that if I had talked about the evidence on garlic and colds, you would have belittled it - test tube and rats are not humans, small study size, blah blah. But you and your article put yogurt and chicken soup into the pantheon of true knowledge!!


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

This product is unlikely to help you with anything except perhaps an overheavy wallet.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Is MMS the one that won't make me crash my car?


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

It will also raise the dead.

Oh Noes! Zombie swine flu!


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I bought six cans of Campbell's Chicken & Rice Soup, too.

:o/


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Yes, brothers and sisters, MMS will save you!!!

Actually, sodium chlorite is a fairly ordinary disinfectant which also is used in the textile and paper industries. In the minds of some alt med enthusiasts it is also a super fabuloroso miracle cure (its chief competition in this regard seems to be colloidal silver, which enthusiasts take internally with only the occasional side effect of one's skin permanently turning blue-gray).

Sodium chlorite a.k.a. MMS does pretty much everything, and more (if you are a believer) - treats cancer, heart disease, burns, infections, you name it:

"Using this at a maximum dose of up to 3 x 15 drops he writes: "MMS is producing some of the quickest results that I have seen with people's health, including cancer, diabetes, arthritis, shingles, warts going hard and dropping off, and many more." Also AIDS patients in debilitated conditions went back to work without any further signs of disease (1).

Basically all diseases associated with microbes and immune reactions respond very well...As an example of the unexpected results of using MMS, Humble relates the following incident: a teenage girl, overweight with depression and failure to develop breasts, was given MMS. The next day her breasts started to grow."

What more proof could we possibly need?

Better stock up!

I think I'll pass on this one though - all my spare cash is going into stockpiles of Italian Wedding Soup.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I like pork posole when I'm not feeling well. It's really easy to make too.

* 1 1/2 lbs. pork shoulder
* 1/2 onion stuck with 2 cloves
* 2 cloves garlic, peeled
* 5 peppercorns
* 1/2 teaspoon whole cumin seed
* oregano, pinch
* 1 onion, chopped
* 2 cloves garlic, chopped
* 2 tablespoon oil
* 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
* 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
* 1/2 teaspoon cloves
* 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
* 4 cups canned white hominy, drained and rinsed
* 3 to 5 cups pork broth from cooking pork shoulder
* 1 cup canned chopped green chilies
* Salt to taste
* 2 whole jalapenos, canned or fresh, chopped (optional)

This recipe requires a simple prep. Prepare the onion with the 2 cloves, peel the garlic, chop the onion, peel and chop the 2 garlic cloves, chop the green chilies and jalapenos if you are using them and get the hominy drained and rinsed. Now you are ready to cook.

Place the meat in a large saucepan and just cover with lightly salted water. Add the clove studded onion, 2 cloves peeled garlic, peppercorns, cumin seed, and oregano. Bring to a boil over medium heat, skim off any foam that rises, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes. Remove meat and broth, reserving both.

Saut the chopped onion and garlic in oil until translucent. Add the remaining spices, stir for a minute. Cut the reserved pork into 1 inch cubes and add to the pan. Stir in the canned hominy, pork broth (if there is not enough pork broth, add chicken stock), green chilies and jalapenos (optional).

Cook at a simmer, covered, for 45 to 60 minutes until the meat and hominy are tender. If necessary, cook for up to an additional 60 minutes until the chilies and onions are well blended into the broth. Degrease the stew, taste for salt, and serve in soup bowls.

If you make it the day before, this is a soup that tastes MUCH better the next day once the flavors have settled.

My testimonial is that it is excellent for a cold and makes a person feel much better. :)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I don't think I've ever made a pork stew...I always assumed you were a vegetarian!

00

I will have to study this recipe. Do you always add the chilis?

Probably a good meat to choose, since some will undoubtedly be avoiding pork just on principle.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Pork prices are going to be low for a few months, win


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

That's funny Eibren. No, not a vegetarian although I don't eat a lot of meat I do enjoy a nice steak, fried chicken, lamb chop now and again :) But I'm mostly a veggie girl. I had miso soup with tofu and a nice yam for lunch today. I eat meat like Asians do usually, as little pieces or side meals.

I don't usually add the chilis because my family doesn't like hot stuff. But pork posole is now my favorite soup. Usually it's served with corn tortillas, shredded green cabbage, onions and cilantro on the side with a wedge of lime. Really good to squeeze the lime in the soup, then add the rest of the sides and eat the tortilla all warm and rolled up. It's Mexican for "Chicken Soup" if you know what I mean.

After I posted this I thought... a little "hair of the dog" perhaps? Maybe if we eat pork we won't get swine flu? Homeopathy, anyone?


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One forgotten herb for influenza that I'm now revisiting in understanding is Boneset: Eupatorium (well, now they've split that family botanically, but..)perfoliatum. It was used last century to help with flu, but, you'd be hard put to find any commercial tincture. One reason, perhaps; it's extremely bitter and nasty tasting. Another, there are some issues with long term toxicity, but, as with Tamiflu or Relenza, the dosage would be about a week, so not that much a concern with proper use.

Below is a link to Paul Bergner's respected Medherb site. I'll post here as I find more useful info. Hope y'all will do some research on it as well.

Here is a link that might be useful: Boneset information


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Try the northern New Mexico addition to the posole smoked ancho peppers. Almost any of the smoked peppers add just a nice flavor difference.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Silversword, That receipe sounds like a winner except i hope you forgive me IF i dump the jalppenas. You do realize its the herbs in the receipe that helps the flu.LOL :)
Am also a big beleiver in chicken soup.Always have at least 5 cans in my pantry and the ingredients to make homemade.
My pantry is always stocked for about 6 months in basic foods. No special reason. just makes me feel better.
always keep ibuprobin for kids and asprin for adults, make my own cough syrup.
I also think this flue thing is probably overated and if it is'nt, what can one really do about it.
Nothing!
I do reccomend everyone stay far away from doctors offices and hospitals cause thats where most of the flu. people are going to be. Has anyone ever seen a common sense -procedure separating suspected flu cases from heart failure victems in a hospital or drs office. I have'nt.
I'm going to try the elderberry tea. I also drink more fruit juice now. More fluids always helps your body.Most of us don't drink enough fluids anyway.

I read in the AMA that the proper amount(8hrs) of sleep does more for the body than most people think.So get plenty of rest.
Avoid stress. Stress is a killer. So don't worry about the flu. Worry about Ebola mutatng and coming over here.

Eric and brendon will probably argue this but you can't get swine flue from a pig.Unless you live with one and the virus mutates.
Hog prices are always up and down.

eric is definately not an herbalist. I think a couple of herbs grow wild in his back yard.But you have to admit the man would argue with a fence post. Oh well it takes all kinds.
Hope everyone avoids taking this post too seriously.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

It's only homeopathic in the sense that no active ingredient in the pork is leading to no effect preventing the symptoms you are trying to counter (and yes, homeopathy is the only form of medicine ever conceived based entirely off of symptom relief). It does look delicious, if only I had some pork on hand...


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

goshen: "I read in the AMA that the proper amount(8hrs) of sleep does more for the body than most people think.So get plenty of rest."

From the link I previously posted on natural ways to counter flu:

"A poor diet and poor sleep both lower your immunity and make you more vulnerable to infections. A balanced diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and small amounts of lean protein works best for most people. On the other hand, the amount of sleep needed for a healthy immune system varies from person to person. In general, adults seem to do best on seven to eight hours of sleep a night. Older children and teens need more rest between nine and 10 hours every night."

See, we and the folks at Mayo agree. Hope you don't find that too upsetting. ;)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Brendan, I was joking when I said it may be homeopathy.

Goshen, I don't make it with the peppers either :) but that's the recipe so I thought I'd post it in its entirety. They are just too hot for my family. I like the heat, so I usually serve peppers on the side. I also have chicken soup always on hand. I am a firm believer in its healing properties.

I try to avoid doctor offices anyway. But yes, my DD and I have had talks about washing hands, not touching our eyes, nose and mouth, stepping away from those who are coughing, sneezing into our elbow or inside our shirt rather than into our hands, etc.

I'm in San Diego, so it's particularly frightening here. But like you said, there's not much anyone can do but keep up good health practices and try to stay away from sick people.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I figured as much :)

I wrote that at 3:08 in the AM, I was half dead, thats why I was not funny.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> I'm in San Diego, so it's particularly frightening here.

If it continues spreading the way it has, I don't think geography will ultimately provide much protection for anyone. On the other hand, it could burn out, and we don't really know how many in Mexico were infected or how lethal this will be ... the initial estimates suggested 7%, which appears to be on the high side ... it is likely that many people in Mexico who were infected were never recorded or reported. Some epidemiologists have suggested that this may not be any more lethal than a typical strain of flu - a real threat for some people, but something that happens every year. We shall see.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

What with alarmist headlines, rumors and Web entrepreneurs attempting to cash in on the situation, it's good to know there are sources with accurate and up-to-date information on this developing story.

Here's one good one on H1N1 (a.k.a. swine) flu (note the extensive and pertinent links available).


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Paying attention to early symptoms is important.

BTW the reason I started studying herbalism was to investigate how to improve my health because I had developed asthma and every headcold turned into an infection that required antibiotics (two or three times a year). I started taking echnicacea teas, and this seemed to help very much, and in one season my tendency for asthma and bronchial infections turned around.

I have had step throat a few times since then (twice or three times in the past 10 years), but generally my bronchial health has been great.

I now take the echinacea tubers from my flower garden and make a tincture in the autumn. I have a recipe if anyone wants it, but it takes a couple of months to develop, and should be started with mature tubers. I usually make mine in the fall, but if you had flowers, you could probably get the most mature-looking bunch in your garden, and it is probably over two years old.

I'm sure everyone knows this, but taking a dry echinacea pill is not very effective. It should be in a tea or a tincture. When my throat STARTS feeling sore, I get extra rest and start the echinacea routine. Before I started making the tincture, as I said, I made teas: I would buy the capsules, and open one into hot water. It doesn't taste bad, but doesn't taste good: I pretend I have a bowl of chicken soup because it is kind of sagey in flavor.

An appropriate herb to pair with echninacea, which taps the adrenal system, is ginseng, which restores the adrenal system. Either Russian or Korean ginseng will do. They are different, but they will essentially perform the same function.

ALSO: The Koreans claimed that with that last very bad flu in China, that it did not get to Korea because they ate KIMCHI, which is a very spicy cabbage dish. I don't have a recipe, but it will be easy to find online these days. I personally don't care for the dish, but... I am simply passing on info.

ALSO ALSO: A friend of mine (doctorate but not medical doctor) who is versed in public policy, etc. gave me new perspective in this issue today. She said that the reason this flu is getting high attention is that it has a 50% transmission rate while most flus have 10% transmission rates. She was talking about one of the historical pandemics, I think the one in 1918 or whichever, the problem is that it kept returning in waves, and each wave was worse than the last. It started in late spring, like this one, but when it came back in the autumn, that is when the real problems started. The virus kept re-inventing itself.

The main thing to do at this point is pay attention to our bodies, and stay home if we're not well. Wash your hands a lot. At work, our "floor level" doors are usually kept closed for fire code; however I'm leaving them open for minimal touching/viral transmission. An unnofficial answer and a safety conundrum you will have to balance out for yourself. Viral transmission vs. fire code.

I don't need anyone slamming me. Looks like this forum is pretty argumentative. I'm not pushing a product. I'm not an alarmist. I'm not a "non-activist." I'm just sharing what I've heard and experienced personally. If you disagree, fine. Whatever.


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also also also

Most of our cooking herbs and spices are nicely anti-viral, so SPICE UP YOUR LIFE. From sage, basil, rosemary, onions, garlic, to the pumpkin pie spices. Same with spicy peppers, etc. Remember that one of the things about spices being such a commodity in the middle ages was not just that they tasted nice. They were health promoters that, in many cases, assisted in food preservation, etc.

So have pesto & bread (heavy on the basil: Classico makes a nice pesto that is affordable and available everywhere)((i don't have stock in classico)); make a pumpkin pie and add extra spices and go light on the sugar.

Like that.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

KIMCHI, which is a very spicy cabbage dish can be found in many grocery stores either in the produce, vegetable, or pickle areas. May be a mix of any vegetable, mostly green, rather than cabbage.

The oak trees are covering everything in pollen. Pity the person(me) that goes somewhere and sneezes. I will be testing this tomorrow when I go to a local art fair. If I sneeze in front of a booth will I clear the whole tent? Will report later.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

lapiz9lazui I would be interested in your recipe for echinacea tincture! Please post it. Thank you :)


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

I won't be doing much differently because of this H1N1 flu scare. I always have a supply of tea tree essential oil as well as other immune boosting/anti-viral EO's. I also always try to eat and live in a way that keeps my immune system healthy.

I'd probably cancel if I had planned a trip to Mexico or possibly any large city but here in the back-of-beyond I'm probably less at risk. If I feel any symptoms I'll for sure be having a nice long soak in the tub with some tea tree oil.

While I like to see the health agencies get all concerned about such news and keep us all informed, I think most of the hype is greatly exaggerated. Possibly to generate interest in vaccination. I plan to never be vaccinated for infections like flu. And I do understand the dangers. One of my relatives died in the 1918 epidemic. However, maybe his immune function was compromised by poor diet or whatever. No one else in his large family succumbed.

I'm sure that worry stresses the immune system so let's all stay positive and healthy.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Why not get vaccinated? Flu vaccines are very safe and typically effective.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

"Below is a link to Paul Bergner's respected Medherb site. I'll post here as I find more useful info. Hope y'all will do some research on it as well."

Thanks, Phylla, that is an interesting article and a great website link!

I would never have thought of trying Boneset for flu.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Influenza vaccination is typically moderately effective, limited as it is by 1) the difficulty in a typical season of accurately predicting which strains will be around, and 2) flu viruses' ability to drift and change antigenic makeup (and occasionally shift their genetic structure markedly enough to manifest in a dramatically different way). The article I saw yesterday also talked about the possibility of three separate shots being needed for protection against this swine flu, which I hope they will be able to condense into less of a hassle.

Still, flu vaccination beats anything else out there for prevention by a mile, and stimulates the body's natural immune defenses instead of medicating with outside substances. If this strain starts acting ugly, I'd put up with some inconvenience in order to have vaccine protection.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

If a reasonably safe vaccine becomes available, that would of course be the first pick for most.

I have heard quite a few people say, though, that they were ill more after a flu shot than normally. Coincidence?


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

>> I have heard quite a few people say, though, that they were ill more after a flu shot than normally. Coincidence?

No, a mild fever and swelling around the injection site are relatively common side effects of a vaccine.

In rare cases, there can be an extreme immune reaction, like Guillain-Barr Syndrome.

Personally, I think it is clear that not getting immunized and getting a bad virus infection is far more likely to cause Guillain-Barr Syndrome than a vaccine. I would much rather expose myself to a small dose of killed virus in vaccine than a large dose of active virus from an infection. Letting the virus run amok is far more dangerous, and a vaccine is a good way to give the immune system a 'heads-up' warning to intercept it.

Investigation of the temporal association of Guillain-Barre syndrome with influenza vaccine and influenzalike illness using the United Kingdom General Practice Research Database.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

What killed so many people (25?) after the last swine flu shot, I wonder? Was it that?


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

eibren, yep, boneset has really fallen off the herbal map, and too bad, because it is remarkably easy to cultivate, and found as a wayside weed. I'm planning on tincturing it this week, as it grows wild on the side of our pond, and rains have been good this spring, so lots of growth. It's a littele too early by the book harvest time, but, going to do some in light of this current flu.

Another herb deserving attention is Andrographis paniculata, which is an herb of favor now in Sweden, on par with echinacea for colds, at least. I've grown it, and it's an annual here, quick growing, about like basil in ease. Seed was hard to come by when I last grew it, much more available now. I was very impressed in tincturing it by how quickly the menstruum darkened to deep vivid green---exceptional in that regard!

Below is a basic article on use. This would be another herb to research.

Here is a link that might be useful: Andrographis


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

Thanks for that reference. It's good to know it should not be used while pregnant, and the dangers of immune system stimulants in general.


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Two Want the Echinacea Tincture Recipe

"lapiz9lazui I would be interested in your recipe for echinacea tincture! Please post it. Thank you :)"

Lapis, if you are still here, that makes two of us wanting the recipe!

I have had negtive reactions to the dry form of echinacea; would like to try a tincture.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

25 people? The seasonal flu kills 40,000 people a year.


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RE: Prepare for Swine Flu

There were roughly 30 deaths in the U.S. from Guillain-Barre syndrome in 1976. GBS can be caused by a variety of things (typically infection), which stimulate the body to produce antibodies not just against the infection, but which also attack the nerves, producing (usually) temporary weakness and paralysis. It's thought that many of the GBS cases that year were linked to the swine flu vaccine. Nobody knows exactly why, since the flu vaccines used in the decades since 1976 have not caused the problem.
I made an incorrect statement earlier in this thread about the incidence of GBS during the 1976 swine flu - it was much less common than the figure I gave:

"In all, the vaccination resulted in nearly one extra case of Guillain-Barr for every 100,000 people immunized, which would translate into roughly 450 cases for the 45 million people who got the shot."

Obviously, even those numbers were unacceptable (particularly when the flu strain in '76 did not turn out to be an especially dangerous one). Given the continued advancements in vaccine science and the good health record since 1976, I'd expect far fewer side effects from a 2009 vaccine, and given the choice between the vaccine and taking my chances with a full-blown deadly flu outbreak, I'd go for the vaccine, no question.

apollog is dead on target, by the way, when he contrasts the risks of getting an immunization with a small quantity of killed virus, with the far, far greater hazard of having large amounts of virulent virus coursing through your system.
Many of us have forgotten or never known what it's like to actually face a deadly epidemic of infectious disease in our community. When such a thing happens (and I hope it doesn't in this case), the current climate of alarmism about vaccines will change rapidly.


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