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Elderberry Outshines Prescription Antivirals in Influenza Studies

Tamiflu and Relenza, the most commonly prescribed antivirals used to shorten the duration of the influenza virus have been shown in an independent study by the Cochrane Institute to be ineffective- Tamiflu (the antiviral drug oseltamivir) shortens symptoms of influenza by half a day, but there is no good evidence to support claims that it reduces admissions to hospital or complications of influenza. This is according to the updated Cochrane evidence review, published today by The Cochrane Collaboration, the independent, global healthcare research network, and the BMJ. Evidence from treatment trials confirms increased risk of suffering from nausea and vomiting. When Tamiflu was used in prevention trials, there was an increased risk of headaches, psychiatric disturbances, and renal events. Although when used as a preventative treatment, the drug can reduce the risk of people suffering symptomatic influenza, it is unproven that it can stop people carrying the influenza virus and spreading it to others. Compared with a placebo, taking Tamiflu led to a quicker alleviation of influenza-like symptoms of just half a day (from 7 days to 6.3 days) in adults, but the effect in children was uncertain. There was no evidence of a reduction in hospitalizations or serious influenza complications; confirmed pneumonia, bronchitis, sinusitis or ear infection in either adults or children. Tamiflu also increased the risk of nausea and vomiting in adults by around 4 percent and in children by 5 percent. There was a reported increased risk of psychiatric events of around 1 percent when Tamiflu was used to prevent influenza. Evidence also suggests that Tamiflu prevented some people from producing sufficient numbers of their own antibodies to fight infection”. Cochrane research link



Elderberry has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat influenza, colds and sinusitis, and has been reported to have antiviral activity against influenza and herpes simplex. We investigated the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry syrup for treating influenza A and B infections. Sixty patients (aged 18-54 years) suffering from influenza-like symptoms for 48 h or less were enrolled in this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study during the influenza season of 1999-2000 in Norway. Patients received 15 ml of elderberry or placebo syrup four times a day for 5 days, and recorded their symptoms using a visual analogue scale. Symptoms were relieved on average 4 days earlier and use of rescue medication was significantly less in those receiving elderberry extract compared with placebo. Elderberry extract seems to offer an efficient, safe and cost-effective treatment for influenza. These findings need to be confirmed in a larger study.  Elderberry study

Elderberry in the form of Sambucol used in the following:

“A significant improvement of the symptoms, including fever, was seen in 93.3% of the cases in the sam-treated group within 2 days, whereas in the control group 91.7% of the patients showed an improvement within 6 days (p < 0.001). a complete cure was achieved within 2 to 3 days in nearly 90% of the sam-treated group and within at least 6 days in the placebo group (p < 0.001)."

No satisfactory medication to cure influenza type A and B is available. Considering the efficacy of the extract in vitro on all strains of influenza virus tested, the clinical results, its low cost, and absence of side-effects, this preparation could offer a possibility for safe treatment for influenza A and B.”  Three Scientific papers on Sambucol, elderberry extract and influenza

Of course, prevention is key. Social distancing from infected persons (if possible) hand washing, and adequate rest, along with:

Vitamin D; Making sure your vitamin D levels are optimized (remember Vitamin K2- either take 1/2 ounce natto or MK-7- an vitamin K supplement to keep calcium deposits from forming in arteries while on Vitamin D supplement)

Sugar; Eliminate all sugar from the diet

Vitamin C; Add 1000-3000 mg Vitamin C,  lipolized is the best form otherwise Vitamin C with bioflavonoids are good

Zinc; Only take during the flu season and no more than 50 mg- excessive use of zinc can lead to a copper deficiency

Green Tea; Drink organic green tea it is proven to inhibit many different viruses, including the flu

Garlic; Add fresh garlic 1-4 cloves a day it is  a very powerful antiviral

Olive leaf extract; Excellent to use for respiratory tract infections – which influenza usually has as a symptom

Adequate hydration; Upon arising (year round) drink two full glasses of filtered water with either half a tablespoon organic raw apple cider vinegar added or half of a juiced lemon. This is a practice I advocate year round to kick start your cleansing and detoxification pathways and maintain health.

The above information is for educational purposes only. This is not to replace the care of your primary care provider. Use your own judgment when utilizing the education presented in this article.

Guest Blog Post by Brooke Lounsbury RN
  Brooke Lounsbury, Registered Nurse, has over 23 years in the medical field. Her primary field was in Home Health and Hospice until she left the mainstream medical field in 2008 and started Health Begins at Home, a website devoted to helping people empower themselves through education, public speaking engagements, classes and coaching -online and in person. She holds twice a year 10 day detoxification events, both online and in person. She also gives talks on seasonal affective disorder, thyroid health and stress management skills. She is a member of American Holistic Nurse Association, (AHNA) and is currently completing her functional medicine certification. Brooke has an avid interest in the functional medicine medical model, which addresses the underlying causes of disease, using a systems-oriented approach and engaging both patient and practitioner in a therapeutic partnership. She incorporates stress reduction techniques, diet, exercise and supplements in her practice as a holistic approach to attaining and maintaining health. 

Brooke has written 3 online continuing education courses for Pedagogy, to learn more about each course click on the course title:

Hashimotos Thyroiditis From A Western Medicine And Holistic Perspective

Thyroid Gland; An Overview

Posted: 1/8/2015 2:20:36 PM
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