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Swine Flu…………

August 13, 2009

I am not big on writing about the “topic of the day” but Swine Flu is here and it is taking prisoners like a madman. Twenty-one people in India have died so far this season and many of them were children. Two of them were doctors. Yikes. That grabs your attention. Schools are closing and businesses are shutting down. Who is to say if it is over-reaction or simply caution. At any rate, I am (very) glad I am not the one to make the call on what to close and what to leave open.

This weekend Indians will celebrate Independence Day. That means lots of people celebrating very close together at parties and parades. So it is a good time for a Swine Flu prevention article to appear in the paper. And so…..

This article appeared today in the Times of India, a national newspaper. The very first bit of advice is very good. There is no need to panic. It is a flu and those more susceptible to illness are going to struggle more with it. The article goes on to list several homeopathic remedies to employ to avoid getting sick.

I am not a doctor – I am not recommending you follow or not follow any of these treatments. Please do not sue me if you choke on the 5 leaves of basil the article recommends you consider eating every day. Some of the suggestions sound more like isolation tactics than preventative measures – eat two cloves of garlic daily. That will ensure that no one who is sick comes around you, thus immediately reducing your exposure risk. It should also ensure that vampires with swine flu keep their distance. Or you can  take five tablets of Pyrogenium 200 and Inflenzium 200 three times a day. I don’t know what those are or what they do, but that sounds like a lot.

I am immediately taking “mix tumeric with warm milk” off of the list of things I am even willing to consider doing. Ick.

For me, I am taking my vitamins everyday (starting today – so wish me luck with remembering to do that) and following number 10. Wash hands frequently.

Here’s hoping you and yours remain safe from the swine flu and any other illnesses.

10 home remedies to avoid swine flu

Are the rising swine flu casualties giving you jitters? Not sure how you can avoid falling prey to the growing epidemic? First and foremost,

there is absolutely no need to panic.

Watching television to keep tabs on the progress of H1N1, particularly in the badly affected areas like Pune, is all right. But don’t let the hysterical anchors get under your skin and start wearing a mask each time you step out of the house, unless you are visiting a very crowded area. Then too, the mask will protect you only for a specified period.

Without giving in to the swine flu panic and creating a stockpile of Tamiflu and N-95 masks at home and enriching pharma companies, there are a number of other measures you can take to ensure that the virus is not able to get you, irrespective of which part of the world you are in.

It is essential to remember that all kinds of viruses and bacteria can attack you when your immune system is weak, or they can weaken it easily. Hence, building your own defences would be a better, more practical, long-lasting and much more economical idea.

Here are some easy steps you can take to tackle a flu virus of any kind, including swine flu. It is not necessary to follow all the steps at once. You can pick and choose a combination of remedies that suit you best. However, if you are already suffering from flu, these measures can help only up to an extent. And, if you have been infected by H1N1, visiting a hospital and staying in solitary confinement is a must.

1. Have five duly washed leaves of Tulsi (known as Basil in English; medicinal name Ocimum sanctum) everyday in the morning. Tulsi has a large number of therapeutic properties. It keeps throat and lungs clear and helps in infections by way of strengthening your immunity.

2. Giloi (medicinal name Tinospora cordifolia) is a commonly available plant in many areas. Take a one-foot long branch of giloi, add five to six leaves of Tulsi and boil in water for 15-20 minutes or long enough to allow the water to extract its properties. Add black pepper and sendha (salt used during religious fasts), rock or black salt, or Misri (crystalised sugar like lumps to make it sweet) according to taste. Let it cool a bit and drink this kadha (concoction) while still warm. It will work wonders for your immunity. If giloi plant is not available, get processed giloi powder from Hamdard or others, and concoct a similar drink once a day.

3. A small piece of camphor (kapoor) approximately the size of a tablet should be taken once or twice a month. It can be swallowed with water by adults while children can take it along with mashed potatoes or banana because they will find it difficult to have it without any aides. Please remember camphor is not to be taken everyday, but only once each season, or once a month.

4. Those who can take garlic, must have two pods of raw garlic first thing in the morning. To be swallowed daily with lukewarm water. Garlic too strengthens immunity like the earlier measures mentioned.

5. Those not allergic to milk, must take a glass of hot or lukewarm milk every night with a small measure of haldi (turmeric).

6. Aloe vera (gwarpatha) too is a commonly available plant. Its thick and long, cactus-like leaves have an odourless gel. A teaspoon gel taken with water daily can work wonders for not only your skin and joint pains, but also boost immunity.

7. Take homeopathic medicines — Pyrogenium 200 and Inflenzium 200 in particular — five tablets three times a day, or two-three drops three times a day. While these are not specifically targeted at H1N1 either, these work well as preventive against common flu virus.

8. Do Pranayam daily (preferably under guidance if you are already not initiated into it) and go for morning jog/walk regularly to keep your throat and lungs in good condition and body in fine fettle. Even in small measures, it will work wonders for your body’s resistance against all such diseases which attack the nose, throat and lungs, besides keeping you fit.

9. Have citrus fruits, particularly Vitamin C rich Amla (Indian gooseberry) juice. Since fresh Amla is not yet available in the market (not for another three to four months), it is not a bad idea to buy packaged Amla juice which is commonly available nowadays.

10. Last but not the least, wash your hands frequently every day with soap and warm water for 15-20 seconds; especially before meals, or each time after touching a surface that you suspect could be contaminated with flu virus such as a door handle or a knob/handle, especially if you have returned from a public place or used public transport. Alcohol-based hand cleaners should be kept handy at all times and used until you can get soap and warm water.

(The author is an avid reader and follower of alternative therapies including spiritual healing, ayurveda, yoga and homeopathy)

8 Comments leave one →
  1. Anil permalink
    August 20, 2009 4:15 am


    There has been research on how curcumin in turmeric blocks the swine flu virus from causing a cytokine storm for healthy people when they die due to the over response of the immune system .Curcumin is most potent at preventing this cytokine storm inside your lungs , so guys dont really condemn the awesome potency of turmeric to guard against swine flu . serach the internet for articles and scientific papers which shows how effective curcumin is .Use turmeric daily to be healthy, but use in very less quantities.

  2. August 14, 2009 7:38 pm

    Hmm, I think the warm milk and tumeric is something I’ll try. I love tumeric!!!!

  3. boston123 permalink
    August 14, 2009 10:47 am

    Warm milk and turmeric is a great Analgesic.. I do not use any other remedy for common colds,and I live in Boston!
    But Turmeric has a whole host of other benefits, including reducing chances of getting Alzheimer’s. It can be used in cooking very easily.. in fact most Indian dishes( vegetables or meats)use some amount of turmeric.

  4. August 13, 2009 10:46 pm

    Enchanted – I am sure they work – and I know you would find things odd that Americans do – my grandfather swore that horehound candy could cure anything that ailed you and many, many American children were forced to drink Castrol oil. Talk about ick.

    Georgia – now you are talking

    Mamabear – I will take your word for it. 😉

    Sharmishtha – I didn’t even think about the correlation to monsoon season – that makes perfect sense.

  5. Sharmishtha permalink
    August 13, 2009 8:27 pm

    The monsoon season (July to late August) is India’s flu season, equivalent to the fall-winter flu season in the US. It’s damp and hot, ideal breeding grounds for bacteria and viruses. I’m not surprised at all that the swine flu is gaining ground right now. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine yet, although hopefully they will have one ready by late this year (in time for the US flu season, yay!). So, all you can do is avoid too many crowded situations (parties, gyms, malls, etc.), maintain some personal hygiene (wash hands and feet as soon as you return home) and hope for the best. Good luck!

  6. mama bear permalink
    August 13, 2009 5:57 pm

    I second the comment made by Enchanted…

    Turmeric seems to have boatload of good antibacterial qualities.. even the western medicine is coming around on this one..

    It’s antiinflammatory– turmeric & warmwater paste is applied to swellings. (yes it turns everything under the sun yellow, but….)

    The haldi & Milk remedy is utilized for fevers, stomachaches –it’s indian equivalent of American Chicken soup..

  7. j.georgia england permalink
    August 13, 2009 12:20 pm

    I think some of these “preventions” have more of a superstisios flare then anything…I will try the the warm milk . but I heard dark rum works much better then turmeric

  8. August 13, 2009 12:19 pm

    I read that article today. A lot of things mentioned in there are already followed religiously in my house in India. Swine flu or no swine flu my FIL never fails to do pranayam daily and eating basil or garlic or aloe vera or Amla are practiced regularly as well. Regarding the milk and turmeric drink, it really sound Ick, but you will rarely find anyone in India who has not been made to have that drink as a remedy for cold. All these things are actually very common in most households.

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