There's a lot physicians can do to help people fend off the flu besides doling out flu shots. Roby Mitchell, MD, aka Dr. Fitt, offers some outside-the-box thinking and practical suggestions.
Once the epitome of public health success, childhood vaccine policies are under fire, owing to a growing concern that thimerosal, the mercury-containing preservative in many vaccines, may trigger autism, ADHD and other developmental problems. Federal authorities maintain vaccines are safe and thimerosal poses little threat, but an increasingly vocal movement of parents, politicians and physicians are unconvinced.
The essential oil of wild oregano has long been known as a traditional remedy for fending off colds, flu and other infectious conditions. Modern research methods have shown that compounds within oregano oil can block many human germs including Influenza Virus A.
Dolivaxil and Oscillococcinum are two of Europe's most popular products for prevention and treatment of influenza, and they are starting to catch on big-time in the US as well. Both are based on homeopathic principles, but are derived from very different substances and have different modes of action.
Honey contains substances that inhibit bacterial infections and when applied topically, can help speed the healing of wounds. In particular, honey produced by bees feeding on the flowers of New Zealand's Manuka trees is best at promoting wound healing.
A new nasal spray containing xylitol, a naturally occurring compound, can greatly reduce the ability of pathogenic bacteria to grow in the sinuses and throught. This can eliminate many ear and upper respiratory infections without the need for antibiotics.
Oil of oregano, a powerful natural antimicrobial, was able to eliminate human coronavirus, the virus thought to be responsible for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Overuse of antibiotics has led to a steady decline in their efficacy. Holistic therapies involving homeopathy, isopathic immune modulation, and administration of medicinal essential oils, can prevent or treat many infectious conditions by improving immunologic self-defense rather than destroying pathogenic organisms.
Silymarin, a mixture of compounds derived from Milk Thistle, is a popular herbal medicine for hepatitis C, cirrhosis, and other liver disorders. Clinical trials show that these compounds have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects that can slow the progression of these diseases. Researchers at the National Institutes of Health have begun a large-scale trial of silymarin in conjunction with conventional drugs for treatment of hepatitis C.