206.388.5881 melissa@blackpinehealing.com

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Flu shots: A sure thing?

It can feel rather devastating to learn the flu shot was only 42% effective in preventing any A or B viral infection in people of all ages, last 2016-2017 season. Children aged 6 mo to 8 yrs did best with the shot, with 61% efficacy. For folks over 65, the flu shot came in at only 25% effective. It’s understandable that people question whether or not to get the shot. I don’t plan on telling you here what to do; so don’t read on for the answer to that question! I do, however, hope to introduce you to more options available to you as you move forward into winter, and the impending cold and flu season.

My Top 3 Herbal Remedies for Preventing Colds and Flu

Elderberry

In a 2011 study, Elderberry was shown to inhibit the replication of influenza A and B viruses. It also demonstrated antimicrobial effects against Strep. Even after one’s caught a bug, Elderberry still works to shorten the cold’s duration and symptoms. The great news, researchers found no unwanted side effects after 12 weeks of a 500mg/d daily dose. Yay!! I admit this is one of my go-tos for a daily boost. In short:

  • Use as a preventative at least 10 days before the season or travel (and up to 5 days after traveling)
  • Use throughout cold/flu to limit duration/symptoms
  • Consider making your own syrup to save some money

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Astragalus

For us Chinese herbalists, it’s not common to prescribe a single herb; it’s more common that we prescribe a formula. One of our most famous formulas for preventing cold and flu (which contains Astragalus) is Yu Ping Feng San, aka Jade Screen Formula. This formula has been shown to prevent viral infections (including even SARS) and enhance cellular immunity. These are also easy to transport and swallow (~5mm in size). In short:

  • Use as a preventative at least 10 days before the season or travel (and up to 5 days after traveling)
  • If cold/flu symptoms present, switch to a different formula
  • Caution with headaches; best to have an assessment before using if you are prone to these

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Medicinal Mushrooms

A number of medicinal mushrooms have been shown to demonstrate anti-viral effects. So, similarly, you’ll find these best serve when taken in a formula, such as Stamets’ MyCommunity or Stamets 7. In an ideal world, combine it with Elderberry for a daily tonic. In short:

  • Use as a daily preventative
  • Use throughout cold/flu to shorten duration
  • Caution with low blood sugar/pressure; avoid if you have a mushroom allergy 🙂

Melissa Dana, Reiki Master/Teacher, EAMP, LAc

In 2007, Melissa founded her private practice Black Pine Holistic Healing, offering services in Reiki bodywork, acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine and energy work classes. She maintains a private practice in Wallingford, Seattle; and sees clients remotely. Her mission is to help sensitive beings safely awaken their intuitive abilities, so they may know their true inner-beauty and strength.

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