Q. I am a teacher and have a classroom full of students who either had or have terrible colds; sniffling and sneezing. Is there anything you can recommend to prevent me from catching the flu from them?

A. Indeed the flu season is upon us and as always prevention is always easier than cure. One of the most important ways to support your immune system is to get at least six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. Our bodies need enough sleep to recuperate  from the previous day and to prepare for the coming day.

Especially as a teacher, learning to deal with high levels of stress can be just as essential since stress can have a profound effect on our immune system. Try calming exercises such as yoga or meditation or even a brisk walk just to take you "away" from the thoughts of the classroom.

Make sure you keep a bottle of Vitamin C (3 grams) in your kitchen cupboard. Vitamin C is a fantastic immune booster especially needed during the winter months.

Fill your thermos flask with green tea and try to drink about two or three cups a day. Green tea is a potent immune system booster, with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties.

One particular herb that has received a tremendous amount of publicity is Echinacea; an absolute essential during the flu season. Extracts from the Echinacea Plant increase our body’s level of properdin. Properdin activates the part of the immune system which is responsible for increasing defense mechanisms against virus and bacteria attacks. If you feel a cold coming on you can take echinachea capsules or tincture daily to prevent from the full onset of the flu.

Garlic combines well with echinachea to boost the immune system. You can find "odorless" garlic capsules at most good health stores. Try to use more garlic and onion in your cooking to help fight infection.

Q. Shalom Natalie, I got strep throat and after a course of anti-biotics it came back. I have since had strep throat five times each being treated with a course of anti-biotics. My doctor has recommended I try natural medicine. Can you recommend anything to prevent the strep throat from returning?

A. The most important issue here is strengthening your immune system to be able to fight infection. Since you have been on so many courses of antibiotics, your first port of call should be probiotics. Probiotics are essential in order to replenish the healthy bacteria which is lost when taking antibiotics. There are different types of probiotics. The strain of bacteria BLIS K12 is known as an oral probiotic and helps specifically to prevent cases of strep throat. This probiotic supplement will work by preventing the pathogenic forms of Streptococcus from getting into your throat.

Try also to minimize your intake of sugar. White sugar can neutralize our white blood cells, weakening our immune system, making it hard to fight disease.

Another wonderful remedy to carry around with you is a combination of Echinacea and Goldenseal. Goldenseal has been shown to stop the attachment of streptococci bacteria to the lining of the throat. Echinacea and its bioflavonoids can stop this enzyme production. This can be taken as a tea, tincture or in capsule form.

Lastly, if possible, treat yourself to either a deep tissue or a lymphatic massage. Both these massages help to support our immune system by promoting the flow of lymph, therefore helping to rid the body of bacteria.

Q. I am seeking advice on gallbladder stones. Following an MRI, I was diagnosed with gallbladder stones. My physician suggested surgery but I am very reluctant. Is there something natural that can be done to eliminate or minimize gallbladder stones? Thank you!

A. The "6-Day Apple Juice Treatment" was developed by Dr. Lai Chiu Nan. It suggests people drink four glasses of apple juice every day for five days while maintaining a normal diet. On day six, instead of eating dinner you are instructed to mix a glass of warm water with a tablespoon of epsom salt, stir it together and drink it.

A few hours later, this should be repeated with another glass of epsom salt water. Two hours later, drink a half cup of olive oil mixed with a half cup of fresh lemon juice (three freshly squeezed lemons). You are then directed to lie down on your right side and wait for a bowel movement. The apples work to soften the stones, the lemon juice helps remove the stone from the bile duct, and the olive oil helps make the stones pass more fluidly.

Curcumin is the main chemical ingredient found in turmeric and it works to stimulate the flow of bile and the breakdown of dietary fats. It helps both to dissolve and prevent gallstones. Turmeric can be taken in capsule form daily and you can even start cooking more with the powder.

As a qualified homeopath, my number one remedy for treating gallstones has been China Officinalis. If you are experiencing gallstones along with nausea, bloating, diarrhea and flatulence then China is usually the indicated remedy. Take a 30c potency of China daily for two weeks.

One of the wonderful properties found in artichoke is cyanarinth. This helps increase bile salts and will help to dissolve gallstones. You can buy artichoke tea or find the capsule form in any good health food store.

Lastly I suggest you try Dandelion Leaf (Taraxacum officinale) since it helps promote bile excretion from the liver. This will allow the body to efficiently process foods and liquids while purging harmful toxins. Dandelion Leaf also has a stimulating effect on the gallbladder, helping to promote blood purity and therefore filtering out toxins.

This column is brought to you as general information only and unless stated otherwise is not medical advice nor is it based on medical experiments.
This column is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment for specific medical conditions. For more information about specific problems, please contact a doctor.

Ask Natalie: If you have a health query and would like an alternative answer then email Natalie with your question at nateopath@gmail.com.

Someone Once Said: "Leave your drugs in the chemist’s pot if you can cure the patient with food." - Hippocrates, 420 BC

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