The Flu Treatment that Hippocrates Knew and Americans have Forgotten

December 27, 2014
Fundamental Medicine
Teresa Gryder, ND
The Best Treatment for the Flu (besides love) is What you Don't Do. This is on my mind because I just got a flu, and there's nothing like laying in your bed sweating and aching to remind you how nice it is to get it OVER WITH.

What DON'T you do?

Don't eat.  The simplest way to get yourself past a cold or flu in haste is to avoid food. That's right, I am suggesting a short FAST.

"WHAT?" she says, "My man is so skinny he'll dry up and blow away if he stops eating!!!!"

"No way" another person says, "I'll become weak and unable to fight the virus."

Not so. A skipped dinner or day of not eating will not hurt anyone who has been eating on an American schedule with three meals a day and ample opportunities to snack. Also, you can get calories and nutrition from liquids. Who says you need pizza when you can't even smell it?

Your grandmother most likely knew this.  Have you ever heard the old saying "Feed a cold and starve a fever"?  Grandma said that because it works.

"How on earth does not eating help?" you ask.  Well here's where I speak out of naturopathic tradition and personal experience, and not from what science has told me.  There are no big pharmaceutical companies investing in curing disease by not eating!  Our government doesn't promote this option either, when they can get paid fat sums to allow mass distribution of vaccines and antiviral drugs.  The CDC is recommending that anyone with flu symptoms go straight to their doctor and get Tamilflu or the like.  The science has shown that taking this drug reduces the duration of a flu by a few HOURS.  I can tell you from my own experience that a fluid fast will help most folks clear a flu better than that.

Here's how it works.  Some 75% of your immune system  (lymph nodes and ducts) are associated with your digestive system.  This is because your body needs to absorb food, and at the same time avoid being infected by whatever is on or in that food.  So there is a complicated system that involves churning food in acid, then enzymes, then transporting it across the intestinal lining where it is scanned for infectious material and blasted if it is determined to be dangerous.  Whenever you eat, your immune system if very busy sorting out and giving clearance to FOOD.  When you stop eating, your immune system has a chance to retrench and have a look around the body.  So fasting, even if only by skipping a meal or two, gives your immune system a chance to detect and really fight any infections that you have going!

Let us be clear, your immune system is what causes you to feel like hell and get a raging fever.  If you take something to lower the fever, you are also impairing the immune system's ability to clear the infection. What you really want to do is stop eating and keep warm and hydrated long enough to let your body GET THE FEVER and blast that virus out of there.  Then, instead of wallowing about feeling terrible for a week, you can get better in just days. Sound worth trying?

There's another reason why not eating helps. It has to do with the fact that when you are sick, your digestion doesn't work right. Warning: this is gross. The food you eat sits around in there and rots, making you sicker than you would have been if you hadn't eaten. This is what ancient naturopaths called "bowel toxemia". It is the reason why enemas were administered to sick people.  When your digestion slows down and your gut is full of carbohydrates, they ferment and can make you drunk, or hung over, without even drinking any alcohol. The fermenter is your intestine!  Proteins (meat, especially) break down into stuff that is really foul.  You know that has happened when you have one of those bowel movements that stinks so bad you have to flush it immediately.  You can avoid the need for enemas by not eating. If you have a fever, you should not eat.  If your nose is plugged and you can't even smell the food, how can you truly want it?  Eating for most of us is a habit.  If you don't have an appetite, you should not eat.

The idea of not eating is practically traumatizing to several generations of Americans for whom food is comfort, or worse, an addiction.  Fasting has been discounted by so many for so long that people tend to think that only nut cases do "cleanses" or "detox" in order to heal from illness or injury.  But the foundation for this behavior is as old as the hills.  Your cats and dogs know how to do it.  It's just Americans that have forgotten, and it is time that we remembered.

This email newsletter does not constitute medical treatment!  If you or your loved one is so sick that breathing is very difficult, the fever is high, or there is some other reason for concern, please get more help.  Fasting is good for a day or two, but not indefinitely.

What you are looking for is a good hot fever that naturally breaks, meaning the sick person starts sweating a lot to cool down and doesn't get any more chills.  When the fever breaks, they will start feeling MUCH better.  If a fever lasts for more than a couple days, start thinking about getting help.

Silver Linings

Just last night on the news I heard that here in the Portland area, 30% of those who are tested in hospitals for the flu are testing positive.  In other words, this year's flu has reached epidemic proportions.  I had it.  Lots of people had it, have it, or are about to have it.  No matter how strong your immune system, sometimes a new bug comes around that you are going to get.

There is a silver lining.  It is better to get sick sometimes. Some naturopaths call it a "tune up" for your immune system. If you NEVER get sick, that is a bad sign. It could mean that your immune system is suppressed.  If you get every single cold that goes around, that's not good either.  But if you occasionally get sick enough to generate a fever and some other strong symptoms, it is confirmation that your immune system is working the way it ought to work.  Healthy people do get sick.

The other silver lining in getting really sick is that once you have mounted a strong immune response to one particular infection, it can make you IMMUNE FOR LIFE.  This is why people try to get their children infected with chicken pox, instead of getting the vaccine.  Some vaccines are long lasting, but other times the immune response caused by a vaccine is weak and it does not last as long as it would if you got the disease.  So getting this H2N3 flu will increase your resistance to every H2 or N3 flu that ever crosses your path.  It won't protect you from an H1N1 flu, or a H3N4 flu, you'll have to either get the vaccine or the infection to be immune to those.
If you got the flu vaccine, too bad.
The flu vaccine this year missed the mark.  The trivalent flu vaccine is exactly the same as last years.  The quadrivalent flu vaccine has one new antigen it in, but it isn't a match for the flu which is circulating which is a H2N3.  Ooopsie.
(all are served HOT)

Mastercleanse mix: Into a thermos full of hot water, mix the juice of one lemon, 2 tablespoons of honey or maple syrup, and a dash of cayenne (to taste).  Drink liberally. Other citrus juices may be used but only fresh and very dilute!

Herbal teas: I suggest Traditional Medicinal Brand. They make several teas that are very helpful for colds and flu including: Herb Tussin, Gypsy Cold Care, Breathe Easy, and Throat Coat.  These teas cost more and are worth it.  They also taste so good you don't have to sweeten them.

EmergenC: If you are hooked on fizzy stuff, use this to satisfy your craving for fizz.  Mix a packet in a little cold water, and then top it with a mug full of HOT water, and guzzle.  Vitamins and fizz, YUM.  The Trader Joes version seems to be just fine for this purpose too.  If you don't mix it very well, a lot of the sugar stays on the bottom of the mug which is just FINE.

Chicken broth: I know you are tempted but DON'T load it up with noodles.  If you must feed them a little substance, puree in some cooked celery and carrots.  Or, and even better for flu treatment, squeeze a lemon in the chicken broth.  Lemon chicken is a wonderful cure!

Understanding Naturopathic Medicine

Here are the six tenets that are the foundation of the field.  No specific modality is required or banned.  The thing that unites naturopaths is a philosophy.

I. First, do no Harm

II. Prevent Illness and Debility whenever possible.

III. Identify and Treat the Cause of the Malady.

IV. Life heals itself Naturally if allowed to do so.

V. Educate the Patient so that they may help themselves.

VI. Treat the Whole Person (not just one system or a set of symptoms). 
Dr Gryder can be reached at 971-444-5584 for appointments in Portland, Oregon or telephone consults.  Prevent or treat colds and the flu at home with a naturopathic antiviral protocol.
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