Have you or family members started dropping like flies? I recently read an article that struck a chord with me about colds and flus and I would like to share it with you. The idea is that the common cold or flu can actually have a beneficial purpose. This will go against everything that you have been taught to believe about health. But let me ask you something – when you look around at our society has this model of health made us healthier? Chronic disease is on the rise according the WHO and by 2020 chronic disease will account for 75% off all deaths worldwide and are largely preventable.
This is what the article said in a nutshell…
“By and large, the viruses that cause the common cold and the flu infect mainly your weakest cells; cells that are already burdened with excessive waste products and toxins are most likely to allow viruses to infect them. These are cells that you want to get rid of anyway, to be replaced by new, healthy cells.”
The idea is that a cold or flu is the mechanism the body uses to eliminate cells that are overburdened and no longer healthy. Without these ‘helpful’ viruses it would take much longer for our immune system to find them and eliminate them. Therefore in the big scheme of things, a cold or flu is a natural event that can allow your body to purge itself of old and damaged cells that, in the absence of viral infection, would normally take much longer to identify, destroy, and eliminate.
“So you see, there never needs to be a cure for the common cold, since the common cold is nature’s way of keeping you healthy over the long term. “
The “soldier on” idea that permeates our culture has never sat right with me. Believing as I do that all illness has a purpose and is in fact trying to tell us something. Natural Medicine is also firmly against “suppressing” illness whether it’s a fever, a skin rash or auto immune condition. Many people take antibiotics for a cold or flu as preventative measure or a “just in case”. We know antibiotics are overprescribed and have created superbugs and yet Australia has one of the highest antibiotic prescriptions in the developed world. Don’t get me wrong… sometimes antibiotics are needed but that is nowhere near the amount they are currently being prescribed. I think the main problem is that people just do not understand the dangers and long term risks associated with taking them.
Did you know that after a single course of antibiotics your gut bacteria will never return to what it was? There are strains of bacteria in our gut we still don’t know the purpose of (think deep sea ocean here) that could be crucial for all aspects of our health. Kelly Brogan an American doctor specializing in mental health says –
“Up to a one-third reduction in microbiome (bacterial) diversity can persist longer than 6 months, even after one short course of the popularly-dispensed antibiotic, Cipro. This decrease in diversity can, itself, be a precursor to new illness. For instance, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is one of several chronic illnesses associated with low levels of beneficial bacteria. Dysbiosis (imbalanced gut bacteria) is also a precursor to autoimmunity, obesity, and weight gain.”
“As if that weren’t enough to slow your pace to the pharmacy counter, there is a growing body of literature focused on the non-microbiome-based risks of antibiotics. From slowed fracture healing to acute liver injury, antibiotics have effects at the cellular level beyond simply inducing dysbiosis. These include changes in up to 87% of gut metabolites functional in the gut, injury and destruction of mitochondria (the energy centers of the cell), and damage to gut tissue.”
I myself have seen at least one case of antibiotic induced chronic colitis (that is gut pain/diarrhoea that never goes away) and numerous cases of reactions to antibiotics that didn’t clear up in time but only with the support of natural medicine. I don’t think we can be complacent about this overuse of antibiotics and they should be used with far more care than our current model.
In Europe they often swab to see which bacteria is causing the problem then prescribe the appropriate antibiotic. Here in Australia many (but not all!) doctors will prescribe a broad spectrum antibiotic first and see if it works. I have seen so many children given round after round of antibiotics for ear infections (some have had up to 10 rounds!) without the doctor thinking about treating the cause. I know many of you are fed up and that is why you approach me or another Natural Medicine Practitioner. I know parents will try alternatives if they have a supportive practitioner behind them. Did you know the ear oil we sell in clinic for example has been trialed against antibiotics and can be more effective? See below for more information *
Of course I have taken antibiotics in the past. When I was a child I had numerous ear infections and they were routinely prescribed as unfortunately there were no other alternatives. This is why I am so passionate about it.
Now I know if I get sick it’s because I am either run down, low on nutrients or simply need a rest! I take my own advice and dose up on high dose Vitamin C and zinc, Immune supporting/antiviral/antibacterial herbs, Propolis for sore throats (Bees make it! It’s a by-product of honey production – the hive is the cleanest thing in nature, it sticks to the mucous membranes and is both antiviral and antimicrobial), probiotics, chicken bone broth and most importantly I go to bed. No use soldiering on and infecting my patients (even though they might need to be infected if you believe the above idea) 🙂
If you would like to avoid antibiotics this winter, need a pick me up or preventative immune support I am offering 20% off all winter health tonics and immune products.
Just call the clinic to enquire 02 99139781 or just pop in!
I will leave you with this final thought from Kelly Brogan MD…
“Make a Truce –It requires a mindset shift to stop fighting. Stop fighting each other, stop fighting nature, and stop fighting our own bodies. We need to break out of our patterned programs of control and domination and understand that this only strengthens our perceived enemies. We need to reconnect to the sacred complexity of pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding as the origin of our health resiliency rather than a time to throw pharmaceuticals into the black box of undisclosed risks. The microbiome itself has taught us – through the poetry of biology – that we are inextricably connected to and dependent upon the web of the natural world. And that it is not possible to simply pull one thread of that web while leaving the rest of it intact. Remember that symptoms give us an opportunity, and perhaps the next time you have an antibiotic prescription dancing in your sights, you might see what it feels like to bring your body love and support rather than the detonation of grenades.”
Happy Winter! I am heading to the snow… another article I read says that it can help to increase happiness but that’s a topic for another time!
Fin Mackenzie, Naturopath
BHSc(CompMed), AdvDipNat, DRM, MATMS
*EAR INFECTIONS – OTITIS MEDIA
Some facts about antibiotics and ear infections: 78-81% of cases resolve themselves without antibiotics. Only 6% less children had reduced ear pain after antibiotics compared to placebo (this means for every 16 children only 1 will be helped by antibiotics). Antibiotics have been shown to help children under 2 with ear infections in both ears. Increasingly we are finding bacteria resistant to antibiotics so a watch and wait approach is favoured. Giving analgesics for the pain can be a good idea if necessary.
A HERBAL EAR OIL containing Calendula, St. John’s Wort, Mullein, Garlic and Lavender was shown in a clinical trial to have the following results.
4 TREATMENT REGIMES WERE COMPARED
- Herbal ear oil alone, 5 drops in the affected ears 3 x a day (group A)
- Herbal ear oil + oral amoxicillin (antibiotic) 80mg/kg dose (group B)
- Topical anaesthetic alone (group C)
- Topical anaesthetic + topical amoxicillin 5 drops 3 x a day (group D)
- Herbal Ear oil group A had less ear pain by day 2 & 3 that group C
- Substantial reduction in pain within 30 minutes of treatment in all 4 groups
- All patients symptoms resolved in 3 days
- Antibiotic treatment alongside herbal ear oil did not improve outcome compared to herbal oil alone
Study by Sarrell, Cohen & Kahan 2003