Infections

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Finding a good herbalist

Much of what's written in this article is entirely suitable for a person to work through themselves but, especially if things are quite bad, or you just know that you need further help, then there may be a great deal of benefit to you to go to whatever lengths necessary to find a good herbalist or truly holistic practitioner to guide you on to a safe and strong treatment program. There's a short write-up to suggest how you might go about finding such a person here

Immune health

Infections are both a truly horrible and utterly unavoidable part of being alive. Wherever you live and however healthy you are you will get at least some infections in your life. It is how well you deal with those infections that will give you a remarkably direct indication of exactly how healthy you and your immune system is at any given time.

What follows are firstly some links for certain types of infection and then also some general tips that will be highly likely to help anyone who applies these strategies in practice. However, before I get into any of that, if you are person who is getting recurrent infections or if you have an infection that is simply not getting better by itself in reasonable time, then you may have to face the fact that your immunity is too low and the article you may need to focus on is a much more detailed discussion on the whole subject of immune health found here.


Two white blood cells amongst red cells under the microscope

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Strategies for specific infections

On the other hand, if you do not have a chronic or re-occurring problem then the above linked article on immune health may be more information than you really need whereas what follows may be of much more practical and immediate benefit.

Sore Throats
I think this must be the number one infection people get and, in many cases, it never goes any further but if a person is not well enough in themselves there is certainly a risk of it going down into the chest and becoming something much more nasty. I have a technique using a certain herbal formula (sore throat formula no less!) that has been seen to be very effective at curing sore throats and stopping things from developing further - it is written up here.

Colds & Flu
There is (tragically) still no actual cure for the common cold and flu but there are a number of tried and true strategies that can help us to get out of a stuck infection and to at least ease the process along. These are described in detail here.

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Herpes infections (cold-sores, Shingles etc.)
Herpes is a particularly nasty little brute in the way it gets in and sticks around. There is no quick fix for it but the strategies discussed in detail here have been seen to be very effective in practice.

Ear infections
Anyone who has ever had one of these knows fully well how unbearable they can be. I have not been impressed with the speed of relief that people have reported from taking antibiotics for ear infections whereas the simple home remedies as written up here have been consistently described as rapidly and thankfully effective!

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Scabies
This is another frightful problem that quite literally drives people crazy. In this case I think there are some valid pharmaceutical options but they will not suit everyone or even work for everyone and I have seen a herbal treatment based on Tea-tree oil show clear benefits in a number of cases. This is described further here.

Urinary tract infections (Cystitis)
This is a huge problem for a great many women and can clearly be quite damaging to their quality of life on a number of levels. I have found a certain approach and a simple tea in particular to have an excellent success rate with this common issue and this is all described in practical detail here.

Gut infections
This is actually a really big area in my work, not so much the acute gastroenteritis problems (a short article on some natural management of this is here) but much more so the low-grade chronic infections from bacteria, fungi or parasites that is collectively given the name dysbiosis. This affects a great many people's overall health in a number of insidious ways and needs a concerted effort to correct - written up here.

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General strategies for infections

The following is a summary of several strategies that have been seen to reliably help a person fight acute infection. There are many other such strategies in the old world of natural health care but these ones are selected because they are easy to access, economic, and usually rapidly effective.

Sweating therapy
I talk about this in the article on colds and flu linked above. It is not something that will be appropriate for everyone but if your body has been trying to get a fever up to help you fight the infection (you might have felt this in the form of general aches and pains or a feeling of being chilled) then I think you should certainly at least consider using this ancient strategy to rapidly activate an immune system against an unwanted invader - it is written up in detail here.

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Echinacea & Astragalus
These two herbs are, in my opinion, the best natural allies we can use to rapidly boost an immune system that is struggling with an infection. Echinacea root is from the American plains Indians (much more detail about it here) and Astragalus root from the great Chinese system of herbal medicine (more details here). These two herbs form the cornerstone of most of my immune health programs and I have a great deal of confidence in their ability to restore even the most depressed immunity to much better health in quite quick order; you typically begin to see their benefits within mere days of their use...

If I am using these herbs in capsule form then for an adult I will give up to 4 capsules up to 3 or even 4 times a day in a very acute stage of infection! If I am using them in tincture form I will use up to 8 mls of these herbs (perhaps combined with some others) also up to 3 or 4 times daily. These are massive doses and are usually only needed for just a few days to see a condition turn around. I suppose it should go without saying that you use much less for children but people do not need to worry about any kind of toxicity or side-effects from these herbs - they are entirely safe!


Echinacea angustifolia

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Essential oils
The use of essential oils directly on the skin is a very powerful way to get an immediate 'antibiotic' type action into the body. The skin absorbs the antimicrobial ingredients in the oils in a matter of minutes; they go into the bloodstream exactly as if you had injected them into a vein! There are different oils that one could use but a particularly potent formula from the great English herbalist Thomas Bartram is:

25mls Eucalyptus oil
3 mls Tea Tree oil    
2 mls Thyme oil 
      

The technique is to apply approximately 20 drops of these combined oils somewhere on your skin (e.g. your arms, your legs, your front or back) as frequently as required until you are clearly winning the infection. In practical terms you could apply the one ml (20 drops) of oils every few hours without running any risk of harm or overdose. It doesn’t matter much exactly where you rub the oils as once they have entered in through your skin they are rapidly dispersed via your blood however you should vary the place you rub them in so as not to over-sensitise any one area of the skin.

I find that everyone can handle the smell of Eucalyptus oil but both the Tea-tree and the Thyme essential oils are very distinctively aromatic and if you know yourself that either of them are not smells that you could tolerate then take one or both of them out of the formula (a well-stocked herbalist or herbal dispensary should be able to make this formula for you and you could go there in person and check them out before they mixed them together). However if you don't especially mind the aromas of any of them then I recommend use the whole lot together in the proportions recommended. This is a very potent and very effective treatment!


Eucalyptus globulus

Constitutional Health Note

You might benefit from learning about your constitution to know what kind of foods, herbs, exercises etc. will work especially well for your health in general. Constitutional health is an old and fascinating way of understanding our differences and to briefly demonstrate how it works if you are one of the damp constitutions (a Bear or a Tiger) then you should rapidly respond to the sweating therapy whereas if you are a dry constitution (an Eagle or an 'EB') then the essential oil rub may be especially beneficial. There is a brief introduction to this great subject here and a more detailed section on working out which constitution you are here.

Please understand that I cannot personally advise you without seeing you in my clinic.
This living 'book' is my labour of love so, wherever you are, I wish you peace & good health!

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© 2011 R.J.Whelan Ltd