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A life-changing breakfast?

The Watermelon Cooler at Le Pain Quotidien--made with cucumber, lemon and mint--is our new favorite way to hydrate and imbibe phytonutrients. One compound in watermelon promotes circulation; another--lycopene (most commonly associated with tomatoes)--was recently found to reduce stroke risk.

New research shows meditators place a greater value on being calm than non-meditators. However, the shift in values does not necessarily translate to reality.

Might a pill one day improve Alzheimer's in just hours? A new study offers hope.

The American Botanical Council criticizes report linking ginkgo biloba to cancer.

A new study raises questions about the safety of taking gingko biloba.
Watch the trailer for A Place At the Table, chef Tom Colicchio's film about hunger in America.

We love this video from the NRDC explaining the issue of toxic chemicals used in couch manufacture.  It's a gentle video for a scary topic. 

This image from a Brita water filter campaign says more about the benefits of using a water filter than 1,000 words. But as a consumer it's tough to judge which filter to buy. Now the Environmental Working Group Water Filter Buying Guide does the work for you. We give it a huge thumbs up.

Flu+You: Take a look at how much worse this year's flu is than last year's, from The Education Database Online.

Read about Jaimal Yogis, author of Saltwater Buddha, whose new book, The Fear Project, is attracting lots of buzz.

This may be an aggressive red, but RGB Cosmetics has come up with its carcinogen-free formula, which is gentle enough for sensitive souls. Read more about it.

Always on the lookout for hot drinks to sustain us while working on iwellville, Matcha Latte--find one recipe in this month's Bon Appetit--is a winner. We like it without sweetener. Tea fanatics we know like to drink it cold--just make sure to shake well.

Underberg Bitters, made from Gentian, an herb used for centuries in the Alps to stimulate digestive juices after a big meal, were the bestselling item of 2012 at Smallflower (one of our favorite sources of all things herbal.)  We are a big fan of bitters of all sorts, but could their popularity on Smallflower have something to do with this quirky video?

Watch Dean Ornish's definitive TED Talk on the pursuit of happiness and healing through diet.

Mark Lynas, journalist, author and an early anti-GMO activist has changed his mind, saying he "discovered science" and learned that Genetically Modified crops can be a force for good. Check out his NPR interview.

A non-profit initiative to unite, educate and mobilize the yoga community around the issue of sex-trafficing, Yoga Freedom Project (founded in conjunction with the Somaly Mam Foundation) holds its first master class in New York City. 

The Girl Scouts' new Mango Creme cookie contains shitake mushrooms, among other healthful ingredients. And the blogosphere disapproves.

Finally, mothers can outsource their nagging to a smartphone: The LumoBack is a new posture-correcting device that slips around the waist, and signals you (and your smartphone) when you are slouching. Watch how it works.

In a remarkable study, mindfulness meditation reduced sick days from acute respiratory infection (like pneumonia) by a whopping 76%.

We've just discovered the Cold Warrior from Juice Generation. It's a hot drink with green tea, orange juice, ginger, Echinacea, vitamin C and zinc--all good for the immune system. It's like a blankie and a hug in a cup.

A wristband that does more than trumpet a good cause; it might just change your life. The FitBit Flex monitors fitness and quality of sleep, among other things, and saves it all wirelessly to your smartphone.

Watch how this state-of-the-art digital globe brings global warming and other planetary phenomenon to life.

Might this friendly bacteria known as Lactobacillus GG save you from a life-threatening antibiotic side-effect? New research says it can.

A pain doctor who helped fuel the rise in the use of pain drugs changes his mind.

"If I were of child-rearing age now, or the parent of young children, I would make every effort to buy organic food," writes Mark Bittman, in his latest "Opinionator" blog for the New York Times.

Researchers are developing less painful shots, inspired by porcupine quills.

Should you have your genome analyzed? Here's one argument in favor, from an unlikely source.

The Hidden Costs of Soda graphically illustrates the intractable soda obsession of Americans, who drink an average 900 cups of sugary, bubbly syrup a year. 

Do Teavana teas have pesticides?

How refreshing! In "The Antidote" British journalist Oliver Burkeman challenges the notion that having a positive attitude leads to happiness. Watch his video.

A bicycle that churns ice cream from Peddler's Creamery in L.A.

Writer Hannah Brencher is trying to harness the healing power of love letters. Watch her rage against the digital age.

The One World Futbol, an indestructible soccer ball, is saving childhoods, one goal at a time.

In the hopes of unlocking medical mysteries, The Swedish Twins Registry has some 45,000 DNA samples of twins (though probably not from these particular Olsens) in its biobank freezers, collected over the last half century.

This physician says she reversed her MS by eating a diet that includes organ meats (kidneys, tongue gizzards!) and copious fruits and vegetables. Watch her TEDx talk. 

Instagram your every bite? Here's one woman who begs you to stop.

It may come as no shock to women everywhere, but the FDA just figured out these products don't live up to the hype. Read the story.

Lycopene, an antioxidant in the vitamin A family abundant in tomatoes, helps protect against stroke. Read about the study.

The new movie about the mess that is modern medicine. Watch the trailer.

In the latest issue of Bazaar, Rihanna says dieting has jeapordized one of her more valuable assets.

Miniature pigs have their own rescue fund, Lil' Orphan Hammies. 

It's not all in their legs: New study finds soccer players rank as high as brain surgeons in executive function, multi-tasking and creativity.

Stinging Nettle for dinner? In Foraged Foods, a chef and his muse tell us this weed has a deep herbal flavor with hints of celery and mint.

Sharapova: In fine form at the French Open, talks about her workout.

Turkey Tail Mushrooms: Read about Andrew Weil's favorite mushroom guru's adventures with this mushroom and its ability to help the immune system attack cancer.

On viewing the Transit of Venus.
An update on a classic cookbook - warning, not all of the recipes are vegetarian.

Beyonce's return to fighting form.

One secret to Hemsworth's physique.

Andre Agassi, a new gym class hero.

Nature's Art: an extremely thin slice of Kohlrabi root.


Calling all carcinogens: California regulators force Coke, Pepsi and other colas to change the way a common coloring agent is made. 

The garden at Esalen, where organic farming has been sustained for half a Century.

Just five months after surviving a horrifying goring, one of Spain's top bullfighters returns to the ring.

Fitness pays.

Flatworms may hold a secret to immortality.

Alcohol and Xanax, both found in Whitney Houston's hotel room right after she died, inhibit the central nervous system and depend on the same enzyme for bodily clearance. Read more.

A new study says investment bankers have more health risks than others.

Jeremy Lin at the peak of of his game, is lifting others with him.

 Organic famers are mad and they're not going to take it anymore. Read about the revolt against Monsanto.

Here's a breakfast cookie recipe (using almonds, cranberries and quinoa) from Bon Appetit that satisfies morning sweet cravings and provides decent nutrition...even the pickiest in our household loved it. 
Ancient Grains for Modern Meals by Maria Speck is an innovative cookbook for those who are made sick by wheat or who are just plain sick of wheat.


Bed of nails? These plastic discs embedded into a yoga mat are said to stimulate acupressure points and promote relaxation.

Take a tour through Virginia Tech's Lumenhaus, a solar-powered-home that won the 2010 Solar Decathlon Europe.

Did becoming a Vegan--and getting off drugs--soothe this once savage beast?

Vitamin C, viewed through a microscope with a polarizing lens, from Modernist Cuisine: The Art and Science of Cooking (The Cooking Lab, 2011) by Nathan Myhrvold, Chris Young and Maxime Bilet "This book will change the way we under­stand the kitchen.” — Ferran Adrià

A new map gives a view of the "Diabetes Belt" in the South, suggesting the U.S. contains micro-cultures that promote diabetes.

The best childhood predictor of longevity, according to these authors, is a quality best defined as conscientiousness: "the often complex pattern of persistence, prudence, hard work, close involvement with friends and communities" that produces a well-organized person who is "somewhat obsessive and not at all carefree." Read more...

A rare display of one of Kobe's secret weapons.

Watch the story of Bluefin Tuna; learn about a food choice you can make to help the planet.

Chocolate lovers eagerly anticipate the first bars made from this recently discovered rare cacao variety.


Read about Chess-Boxing, a hot sport in Europe that some social scientists in the U.S. believe may hold exciting potential for the future of aggression management.

Lab Notes: New stem cell strategy cures diabetes in mice.

Secret NFL Play: Acupuncture

 The fat-busting properties of herbs and spices.

The retrovirus that causes chronic fatigue? Scientists want it out of the nation's blood supply. 

In pursuit of artificial flavoring.

Mark Bittman's Butternut Squash Salad: Once the squash has been tamed, it's the easiest, healthy Fall dish you can make. Watch the recipe.

A new cookbook by a French Culinary Institute chef offers sophisticated recipes that don't cause heartburn.

The Runaway Success of the Barefoot Shoe.

Hunting Clones in the Caucuses.

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Find iwellville on ArchetypeMe.com, a cool daily magazine that provides content based on your archetype. For example, Kathy is a Caregiver + Creative + Intellectual.  To find out your archetypes, take the quiz.

« How About Some Wire Mesh With That Annie's Pizza? | Main | Keeping the Flu At Bay; Dr. Merrell's Guide to Prevention »
Thursday
Jan102013

What to do When You Have the Flu: Dr. Merrell's Guide to Treatment

By Woodson Merrell, M.D.

My integrative approach to conquering the flu tackles the problem from two angles, with the conventional approach of targeting the virus and the complementary approach of strengthening the immune system. The goal is always to treat as gently as possible with medicines and supplements that help the body's natural tendency to heal itself.

For all of these remedies, you must contact your health care provider first to make sure of the safety and appropriateness for your use.

Attack the Influenza Virus 

The drug Tamiflu can help kill the flu virus if taken in the early stages.See Your Doctor for a Prescription of Anti-Viral Flu Medication: These medications are helpful for reducing the virus's severity and duration. Ask your doctor about Tamiflu (preferred), Flumadine, Relenza (inhaled formor Amantadine. The earlier you can get one of these medications on board the more effective they will be.

Help Your Immune System Recognize and Kill the Flu Virus with the Homeopathic Remedy, Oscillococcinum:  Much like a natural vaccination, Oscillococcinum--homeopathic pellets available in most drug stores--provides an infinitesimal dose of a non-threatening flu-like molecule that prompts the body to mount a response. In order to work it must be taken at the first sign of symptoms. One vial of pellets under the tongue three times a day for the first two to three days of symptoms.

Gird Your Immune System for the Fight

For general immune support, in order of preference; more than one supplement from each category at a time may be used synergistically (see note, below, for supplement purchasing resources): 

Chinese roots, barks and mushrooms are powerful immune system stimulants.Look to China: Combinations of foods, herbs, roots and barks--including medicinal mushrooms--identified for their immune-strengthening properties through literally hundreds of years of trial and error by Chinese herbal masters. From American companiesCold Away by Health Concerns and Viragraphis by Xymogen. If you live in or near a big city it's possible to find a Chinese herbalist offering standardized preparations of Chinese patent formulas, Gan-Mao-Ling or Yin Chiao. Chinese herbs are often more powerful than Western herbs, but an excellent formula that combines both is Wellness Formula by Source Naturals. Use any of the above for a week or two while your defenses need bolstering.

Echinacea: This member of the daisy family boosts the immune system only when paired with other similar herbs.Flower Power: a member of the daisy family, by itself Echinacea is not as effective as it is in combination with other immune strengthening herbs. It does not work for prevention or with long-term use. But taken at the first sign of the flu, a good Echinacea compound formula can strengthen the immune system. Take Echinacea three times a day in capsule or tincture form. Reliable brands: Esberitox by Enzymatic Therapy and Insure Herbal by Zand. Echinacea is an immune stimulant; it is not recommended for people with auto-immune conditions.

Almost Magic Mushrooms: Medicinal mushrooms--Reishi, Maitake and Shitake--are among the most powerful immune stimulating substances on the planet. They are incredibly safe, and because they are food, you can take them every day as opposed to most other medicinal herbs that are meant to be used episodically. Among other beneficial substances, mushrooms contain lipopolysaccharides that elicit a strong immune response in people and animals. Cook with the whole mushrooms or take the purified capsules of the whole food such as Host Defense by Organic Mushrooms and Life Shield Immunity by New Chapter. Take three times daily immediately upon exposure to flu. You can also take once a day through the flu season preventively. 

Elderberries pack twice the antioxidant load of blueberries.Blue Fruits: Anthocyaninsflavonoids found primarily in the pigments of dark blue and deep purple fruits, have been shown to stimulate the immune system. Black elderberries pack twice the antioxidant load of blueberries. Black Elderberry Elixir by Sambucol is the gold standard, and a good choice for children.

Turbo-Charge with C: In a highly publicized study, reported flu symptoms in a test group of 252 students decreased by 85% with hourly doses of 1000 mg of Vitamin C for the first 6 hours and then 3 times daily thereafter. In practice, this regimen seems to help some more than others. Try 1000 mg vitamin C a day of either EmergenC, Ester-C or Ola Loa Sport. 

Treat Symptoms Gently and Effectively

Keep the Mucus Moving: For chest and sinus congestion use an expectorant such as plain Mucinex (Robitussin) tablets that thin the mucus and keep it from stagnating in one place. (Avoid the combination product MucinexD, containing the decongestant pseudoephredine, which can over-dry mucus membranes.) Use gentler nasal decongestant, Nazanol by Metagenics, which does not dry or stimulate the nervous system like Sudafed.

Steam Away the Symptoms: Use a personal steam inhaler or a bowl of just-boiled water and a towel to make an essential oil inhalation: Use Vick’s, or preferably a combination of two or more organic essential oils of rosemary/eucalyptus/camphor/menthol.  Young Living Thieve’s Oil is a good combination of all of those herbs along with cinnamon, which is quite comforting. You can also use tea tree oil, one of the most powerful anti-microbials on the planet, but be forewarned its turpentine-like smell can be hard to bare when you are feeling fluish.Use an essential oil inhalation to soothe congestion.

Give an Assist to Your Lymph Glands: Homeopathic Lymphomyosot sublingual drops by Heel help clear the killed viral particles that are shunted to the lymph nodes on their way out of the body.

Attack the Germs in Your Throat: For the sore throat, gargle with an anti-microbial dilution of 3/4 water to 1/4 hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil (dilute, gargle and spit out.) In a pinch, simply gargle with Listerine Antiseptic

Alternate Anti-Inflammatories to Avoid Side-Effects: For headaches, pain, fever: alternate ibuprofen (Advil, etc.) with acetaminophen (Tylenol) every six hours to minimize the side effects of each. Too much ibuprofen can irritate the digestive tract while too much acetaminophen can irritate the liver, which is already working overtime to process the flu virus.

A Note on Antibiotics: Flues and Colds are caused by viruses. Antibiotics only treat bacteria not viruses and are NOT helpful for pure viral illnesses (occasionally the infections occur in combination or bacterial infections present similar to colds or right after colds – but this is the exception, not the rule.)

Where do you get these things? As with all recommendations on our site, the shout-outs in this story reflect our research and experience--not any financial arrangement with manufacturers (we don't get paid to tout products!) We offer the following web sites that may stock the supplements mentioned in this story: VitahealthWillner ChemistsSmallflower and The Natural Apothecary (see Author Affiliation). 

For all of the above remedies, you must contact your health care provider first to make sure of the safety and appropriateness for your use.

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