Fall Tune Up

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      Even though California is sneaky about its seasons, your system knows they are coming and going. In Chinese medicine, each organ system is ruled by a season: fall rules the lungs, winter the kidneys, spring the liver, and while the heart is influenced by early summer, late summer takes on the spleen and stomach. Each season brings a particular health risk to the organ that it governs.

            With no other organ is this as clear as with the lungs. In fall, kids come together in a crowded classroom, bringing all the viruses they’ve collected over the summer to pass freely among their classmates. The flu season is arriving earlier this year. You can prevent a lot of that right now with your annual fall tune-up.

            If you read this column regularly, you know I’m not a fan of flu shots. Basic good health and preventive measures will protect you against many more illnesses than a single flu shot.  Take your usual preventive vitamins and supplements with extra vitamin C and omega fatty acids such as fish oil to keep you healthy.

            Use specific herbs to help balance the lungs. Astragalus strengthens the lungs and the immune system, and can be used safely for a long time. Even children can use it safely. Start now for early prevention and immune building. Host Defense made by New Chapter is a formula made of sixteen different medicinal mushrooms. You can take it all winter long without harm to your body. I recommend it to people who tend to get sick often in the winter.

            At the first sign of a winter flu or cold, begin to take some herbs. Wellness formula has many herbs you can use to get rid of a cold at the beginning. Several Chinese herbal formulas available over the counter can also help. Yin Qiao is good for flu symptoms. Gan Mao Ling is good for colds with scratchy throat and runny nose. All of these products should be taken several times a day beginning as soon as you feel symptoms. They don’t work if you just take one.

            Hydrogen peroxide is one of my favorite home remedies. I recommend that you make a gargle of hydrogen peroxide diluted either with water or a little mouth wash. Use it as soon as you feel a scratchy throat starting. Gargle with the solution as far back in your throat as you can get it. Hold it there for a minute if you can. Do that up to three times in an hour. You can interrupt the life cycle of the virus or bacteria if you catch it early enough.

             Last but not least, try to keep your stress levels down this season. If you remember to take it easy sometimes, especially when things feel their craziest, you won’t even need to take herbs to keep you from getting sick.

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