Protect against the flu
There has been a media blitz on the dangers of swine flu, and I know that people are concerned about it. My first indication of people’s concerns were the questions: “What can I do to protect myself? Is this a real danger?” Whether or not the danger is real is beyond my ability to answer. I don’t know anything about influenza outbreaks. I do believe that our best protection is to build our own immune systems, and that is what we will talk about today.
My second indication was when I ordered a supply of a well-known homeopathic flu remedy and couldn’t get it. Sold out nationwide. I was able to get another homeopathic remedy that will work just as well, but I guess people are on high alert right now.
There are so many things you can do to build immunity that I could not possibly fit them into this column. Low sugar diet. Lots of rest. Lots of hand-washing. Onion garlic tea.
One of my favorite herbal immune supports is the reishi mushroom. Also known as Ganoderma lucidum, it enjoys special veneration in Asia where it has been used as herbal medicine for more than 4,000 years. Another form of the parasitic plant grows in the Amazon. The plant is described as the “mushroom of immortality,” with the reputation of being the “ultimate herbal substance,” according to Wikipedia.
Much of what we know about the plant is taken from traditional use rather than peer-reviewed studies. I do not disrespect traditional use; ancient people were much intuitive about their bodies and healing than we are today, and much of what they passed on to us has stood both tests of time and science.
Some of the folklore and science about reishi supports the idea that it possesses anti-tumor, immunomodulatory, and immunotherapeutic activities due to studies on the polysaccharides (complex sugars) and other natural constituents of the plant. It may help prevent certain forms of cancer and aid in the treatment of cancer. (The word “immunomodulatory” means that it helps the body respond appropriately to immune challenges. The word “immunotherapeutic” means, as you would suppose, that it conveys a therapeutic benefit to the immune system. )
According to one source that provides an overview of both folklore and science, reishi “is used for enhancing the immune system, lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, treating and preventing viral infections and tumors, treating inflammatory disease, cardiovascular disease, asthma and bronchial diseases. It is used for reducing stress, providing a kidney tonic, treating hepatitis and liver disease, and supporting chemotherapy.
So I am personally using reishi to prevent getting any type of viral or other diseases.
Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Fort. Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499.