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Don't overlook one of your best defenses against the bird flu and other viruses.

I'm not an alarmist, but I've been reading reports in medical and scientific journals about a coming bird-flu pandemic for a number of years. I must tell you that I'm worried. And when I hear that the bird-flu virus keeps mutating, rendering existing anti-virals ineffective, I worry even more.

Once limited to transmission from one bird to another, the avian flu is now jumping from birds to other animals. Including humans! The next step is human-to-human transmission. That's the real danger.

Flu shots are less than 40% effective. That's not very good. You need more protection. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has managed to stockpile two million doses of a flu vaccine that it thinks will be effective against the current flu strains. But even if it works, it isn't enough to protect the more than 300 million people in this country.

As scientists around the world work furiously to find solutions in time, an answer is already available in sufficient quantities for all of us. At least one possible solution to the coming flu season--whether the dreaded avian bird flu or another milder virus--can be found in specific homeopathic remedies.

In my opinion, homeopathy is an excellent line of defense against this winter's viruses. In the past, I've tallied about medicinal mushrooms and Usnea--immune-supporting supplements to take every fall, and to increase your dosage at the first sign of a cold or flu. (See the enclosed insert for details on my favorite medicinal mushroom formula.) But today I want to remind you that homeopathy--using tiny amounts of energy medicine to affect great changes--is a simple and inexpensive form of health insurance. Unfortunately, homeopathics are currently under attack.

The latest attack on homeopathy

A "scientific" article published in The Lancet announced last month that homeopathics don't work. It claims that homeopathics merely have placebo effects.

The World Health Organization (WHO) disagrees. So does renowned homeopath and author Dana Ullman, MPH. So do I. And, by the way, so do people throughout Europe, including the British Royal family, who regularly use the services of a number of homeopathic physicians.

Why would we all disagree? After all, The Lancet is a prestigious and well-respected British medical journal.

The first reason is, quite simply, bias. One of the authors of The Lancet study, Matthias Egger, MD, is a known critic of homeopathy. Not only was he involved in this anti-homeopathy article, he fed information to the doctor who wrote the editorial against homeopathy in the same issue.

Where were the experts who have found homeopathic effective? Where were the good studies that found it to be effective? Some of them conveniently disappeared.

You see, The Lancet article was based on an analysis of more than 200 studies. Half of the studies examined the effectiveness of homeopathics, while the other half concentrated on conventional drug therapy. The first analysis actually concluded that homeopathics work! So ... the authors eliminated a bunch of these studies and looked at only 14 of them. Then they were able to conclude that homeopathics were worthless.

The Lancet knew better. In 1997, it published an analysis of a number of studies that showed the effectiveness of homeopathy. And, most pertinent, four large-scale studies found value in using various homeopathics to prevent flu. In fact, homeopathy has been used throughout the world since the 1800s for one reason: It works.

Choosing anti-flu homeopathics

Prevention: Although there's not a lot of research behind it, homeopath Dana Ullman has personally seen that Influenzium 9C prevents the outbreak of flu. There are two varieties of Influenzium 9C. The remedy with this exact name contains the energy from this year's bird flu, as well as other viruses. The viruses came from the Pasteur Institute and were made into a homeopathic formula.

A product made by Dolisos, called Dolivaxil, which may be available through the Internet, does not contain this year's flu strain, but a different strain. Both remedies come in one-dose tubes. Whichever one you decide to take, make sure you purchase five tubes for each person in your family. Each of you should take one tube once a week for four weeks. Then, wait one month find take the remaining dose.

Influenzium 9C is available for $5.19 per tube through Homeopathic Educational Services (800-359-9051). Dolivaxil can be found on the Internet for as little as $10 per five tubes. For this year's flu protection, I'm using Influenzium 9C.

Treatment: The most popular and powerful homeopathic to use fit the first sign of a cold or flu is called Oscillococcinum. Three good human studies found this remedy works if you take it within 48 hours of flu onset. Homeopathics keep for years, so stock up on five tubes of Oscillo. Take it if you even suspect you're getting a cold or flu. It's cheap insurance. Oscillo can be found in just about all health food stores.

More homeopathic flu treatments

Gelsemium 6x: If you have the flu and feel exhausted, you'll want this remedy. This is especially true if your arms and legs feel tired, the back of your head aches, and you're not particularly thirsty.

Bryonia 6x: Take this remedy if you have the flu accompanied by aches, especially if you feel worse when you move, or have a frontal headache. A dry cough, being thirsty for cold water, find dry lips are also signs that this particular remedy may help you.

Eupatorium perfoliatum 6x: If you have muscle aches and pains in your bones or eyes, try this. You may also have chills early in the morning and still want to drink cold beverages.

Rhus tox 6x: This is a well-known remedy for poison oak. But it also is effective for the flu if your muscles ache when you first begin to move, but then lessen with more movement. If you're restless, have a sore throat, crave water, but can drink only a little at a time, it's time to reach for Rhus tox.

How to take homeopathics

Dana Ullman usually recommends potencies from 6-30 (in either "x" or "C" potencies). "Use the higher potencies the more confident you are with your selection of the remedy," he advises. Unless otherwise indicated, homeopathics should be taken every other hour for the first three doses. Then repeat only once every six to eight hours until you're better.

If you don't feel much better by the second day, try a different remedy. For the most up-to-date information on homeopathics, read Dana Ullman's e-book, Homeopathic Family Medicine, available through www.homeopathic.com. All of his books are excellent additions to your library. In between our monthly visits, be sure to check in online!

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Publication:Women's Health Letter
Date:Nov 1, 2005
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