How To Protect Yourself Against the 'Flu

This year's (2009) 'Flu is fundamentally just like any 'flu. The common 'flu kills 4,000 people every year in Canada alone.

Viruses and bacteria are, of course, very dangerous to populations who have never been exposed to them. An estimated 90 million people in the Americas died of infections such as the common cold, spread by European explorers and invaders, just 500 years ago. The Spanish 'Flu of 1918 killed upwards of 50 million people worldwide. Those with underdeveloped or compromised immune systems are most vulnerable – flu can lead to serious illness in babies, children and seniors. 'Flu is also dangerous for those whose immune systems are compromised by poverty – chronic stress, malnutrition, lack of sanitation and clean water, and inadequate emergency medical treatment can be a death sentence in a pandemic.

The good news is that seniors may be experiencing protection against this version of the 'flu because they have developed antibodies to similar 'flu strains over the course of their lives – according to a MedBroadcast article.

For us in Canada, who live in relative wealth, the 'flu pandemic is not as dangerous as prescription drugs. Adverse reactions to prescription drugs cause 10,000 deaths a year in Canadian hospitals when drugs are used as prescribed, Oakville MP Terence Young said when his teenage daughter died suddenly apparently from prescribed digestive medication. Probably another 10,000 deaths occur outside of hospitals from prescribing errors and adverse reactions, he added, noting that less than one percent of reactions are reported.

Conventional drug therapies, in my view, are the last resort and may not be very effective. Our Canadian public health dollars are much better spent in my view on ensuring clean water in every community and promoting hand washing and immune supporting nutrition and lifestyles. I find the emergence of “Swine 'Flu” and the worldwide scramble to stock up on TAMIFLU highly suspect. As one comment to a CBC article reads: Guess which one person gets 10% of each Tamiflu dose sold? Give up? Answer: Donald Rumsfeld has an informative article on the political aspects of TAMIFLU For a conventional take on antiviral drugs please read this

Botanical (plant) medicine is, in my opinion, much more effective than conventional medicine against viruses. TAMIFLU's base is crushed aniseed. Antiviral essential oils, upheld by tradition and confirmed by laboratory, in vitro and in vivo, studies, include:
anise, bergamot, cinnamon bark, clary sage, clove, coriander, dill, eucalyptus, geranium, hyssop, juniper, laurel, lavender, lemon balm aka melissa, lemongrass, marjoram, niaouli, oregano, palmarosa,, peppermint, petitgrain, ravensara, rose, rosemary, sage, spearmint, tea tree, thyme

For details and references, see the article at Ananda

What can you do to protect yourself and your loved ones from 'Flu and other infections?

Wash Your Hands
No matter how sophisticated our medicine gets, the foundation of infection control is cleanliness – first and foremost, hand washing. Florence Nightingale reduced a hospital's mortality rates in the Crimean War by 45% simply by ordering the hospital to be cleaned. In my opinion, plain soap and water are enough. Antibacterial soaps strip our hands of their protective oils and acid mantle and may lead to antibiotic resistance.

Sleep 8 hours a night
Sleep is closely connected to the health of the immune system. If you sleep less than 7 hours per night, studies show that you are three to four times more likely to catch a cold or the 'flu than if you sleep 8 or more hours per night. For more info, read Less Sleep Linked To Cold And Flu (January 13, 2009)

Strengthen your immune system nutritionally
Eating raw fruits and vegetables every day is also key to supporting your immune system. I recommend buying organically grown produce from your local park's farmer's market, located all over Toronto from spring through fall. Supplements like zinc, vitamine A, astragalus, echinacea, ginseng, vitamine C and probiotics may help, but nothing takes the place of a healthy diet rich in nutrients to prevent all sorts of illness. For more explanation, read:

Support your immune system emotionally
Studies show that psychological stress, isolation from others, attitudes of helplessness and negative emotions will make you more likely to catch a cold or 'flu than if you are relaxed, connected to others, cope well and experience predominantly positive emotions. Stress and negative emotion seem to turn the immune system off, in fact, as your body then invests all its energies into escaping danger. For details, see

Use antiviral essential oils in perfumes, incenses, dish soap – wherever except directly on your skin!
Unlike drugs, viruses cannot develop resistance to essential oils because essential oils are, in fact, the plant's immune system that responds to the very same conditions that spawned the strain of the virus - temperature range, wind, rain, time of the harvest etc of that growing season. There is no dispute that specific essential oils are powerfully antiviral. This article sums it up:

Please consult with me or another qualified aromatherapist, however, before using an essential oil where it will contact the skin. To prevent infections, I recommend that you use a few drops of essential oil on a terracotta pendant, in an inhaler, or in a tablespoon or more of water in a diffuser. You can also add essential oil to vinegar, witch hazel, alcohol and water mix for a room spray, or directly into a non-SLS hand or dish soap. Cinnamon may be antiviral, but it will also burn your skin, especially cinnamon bark! So please just email to ask me how to best use your essential oil!

Read more: "Essential Oils Fight Cold and Flu: Boost and Strengthen the Immune System to Beat Bacteria and Viruses" -

For specific advice on how to take special care with your children, please read:

This month, I am developing an updated antiviral, 'flu-specific version of the essential oil Bandit's Blend that protected thieves from the European Plagues when they robbed victims. I'll be making it as pleasant smelling and non-irritating as possible, with an effort to cover all the antiviral and immune supporting actions of the possible essential oils. If you are interested, please contact me!

So wash your hands, sleep tight, have an apple a day and pull out that lavender from the back of the cupboard and enjoy it! Be well!