Pandemics and Preparedness

This is not my sciencey viral intervention post.  That one is going to take me a few days to fact check and I am honestly dreadfully dreary of reading scientific journals and sitting through WHO modules. We have the first three confirmed cases of this blasted virus in our town and not surprisingly all contracted it on a cruise ship.  I am reminded of a story I heard once about the cnotan na gall – the “strangers’ cold” that came in on a vessel from a far away land. Continue reading “Pandemics and Preparedness”

Targets of Viral Interventions

But first I want to address the many emails I got about the history thing.  My other (much neglected) blog focuses completely on historical herbalism.  I teach history classes at conferences and I have a lot of history articles on this blog.

That’s kind of my area of expertise.  I only dabble in the science stuff enough to be able to support my use of traditional remedies.  Sending emails  calling me out for being a “young  person who doesn’t know anything about tradition” are a little foolish.  It made my eight-year-old granddaughter laugh when I read that to her. Continue reading “Targets of Viral Interventions”

ICHWB’s Affordable Apothecary Project

When I was in college they asked me to teach a workshop on working in low-income populations, because of my experience witht hat.  I work in those populations because I have lived in that population for most of my life and learned from a very early age how to be poor.  Although I will be the first to admit that country poor is different than city poor and it took me awhile to adjust my thinking to that. Continue reading “ICHWB’s Affordable Apothecary Project”

When Not to Use Elderberry: An Example of Using Discernment in Your Formulation

I’ve been struggling with how to start this next installment on viral illness and then I found the following statement on a website. 

“Elderberry also upregulates IL-6, IL-8 and TNF, suggesting an indirect effect on viral immune response in the body. Interestingly, elderberry was shown to have this effect but not its major bioactive compound, cyanidin 3-glucoside.”

To begin with, I don’t consider that anthocyanin to be the major bioactive compound of this plant.  I only use elderflower for influenza, and I consider its major bioactive constituent to be pectic polysaccharides, but that’s absolutely not important to this conversation.

Also, none of this is meant to say you should never use elderberry. I am just using it as an example to illustrate some of the questions you should be asking yourself about every herbal adjunct you use.  How does it work, when shouldn’t a person use it, and are there safer alternatives?

Basically what I have decided concerning the use of elderberry is that while I can’t  prove that any of these things will be a problem, I can’t prove that they won’t  be.   That should be a deciding factor of any  risk-benefit analysis.

Continue reading “When Not to Use Elderberry: An Example of Using Discernment in Your Formulation”

Stages of Acute Illness: An Integrative Perspective

I spend a lot of time wrestling with false binaries, but the one that is particularly annoying during cold and flu season is the idea that natural health modalities  and conventional modern medicine are on opposite ends of a spectrum.  The two modalities can and should be working together to create the best outcomes for people.

I really don’t know what fuels this divide?  I mean some of it is undoubtedly marketing competition and some of it is probably ego driven dogma and a lot of other nonsense.  None of that is in the best interests of the people I serve. Continue reading “Stages of Acute Illness: An Integrative Perspective”