Every year when the official “cold and flu” season rolls around, it can feel like the bell ringing for the start of a wrestling match. Between antibacterial hand gels and antibacterial soaps, plus the constant nagging to “get your flu shot”, you might feel overwhelmed. In my opinion, flu shots are notoriously ineffective and can even cause harm in some people, and the flood of antibacterial products everywhere has, more than likely, simply served to create stronger bacteria. In fact, there are cancer-causing chemicals in most commercial antibacterial soaps. Hand washing is good prevention, but good old natural soap and warm water are the best way to go. And the reality is, you can catch a flu or cold any time of year. So what can you do to avoid the lost work time, inconvenience, and discomfort? I have found a natural solution that works, using the concentrated oils of herbs that have long been considered some of the best bacteria and virus fighters around. Chemotyped plant oils are up to 100 times more concentrated than botanical extracts, and are some of the most powerful agents known in natural medicine for increasing immunity and killing pathogens. In this week’s Terry talks Nutrition, we will look at a formula that succeeds where others fail.
The Best Plant Oils
Concentrated plant oils, also known as essential oils, have long been used topically for a variety of health issues. However, there are some specially prepared concentrated plant oils, called “chemotyped oils” that are safe for use internally, and have amazingly potent effects in the body. “Chemotyped” means the plant oil is verified for correct plant, species, botanical markers, and human safety. I would not use a plant oil internally that is not chemotyped. In this group of potent plant oils, there are very effective flu and bacteria fighters. A great combination to battle viruses uses Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Thyme (Thymus saturoides), and Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) concentrated plant oils. All of these flu-fighting plant oils are exciting and work very well together, but one in particular – ravensara – has tremendous benefits.
Ravensara is a tree native to Madagascar where it grows in evergreen forests on mountainsides. It was first noted by European traders on Madagascar in the 1640s, being used – like so many of the most effective herbs – as both a seasoning and a medicine. The people of Madagascar consider ravensara a “cure all” and there’s little wonder why. Unlike herbs which work by stimulating the immune system, ravensara actually destroys bacteria and viruses, ridding the body of these invaders altogether. One common use for ravensara, is to “clean” the lungs and bronchial airways by inhaling the vapors after the oil is added to a vaporizer or diffuser. Its scent is similar to eucalyptus, and while that is very refreshing, it is not always convenient. Applied topically, (or more accurately, as an aromatherapeutic spritzer) ravensara has been combined with two other botanicals, Melaleuca viridiflora and Citrus bergamia (from the Bergamot tree) in a 5% solution and shown to be quite effective against cases of shingles. Ravensara oil taken internally as a chemotyped plant oil is one of my top recommendations for treating all types of bacterial, viral, or fungal illnesses – from common colds and the flu to yeast overgrowth, pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and more. Grown in the forested hillsides, ravensara can be very sustainable – it simply takes extra care to carefully harvest the material from the trees. Younger twigs and leaves make up the raw material for the oil, and as long as the tree isn’t stripped, or bark along the trunk “girdled” (removed around the entire circumference of the tree) harvests can continue for generations. Like so many of our precious botanical resources, there is a great effort in cultivating ravensara so that wild species can remain unharmed. I recommend using ravensara oil that is chemotyped and proven safe for consumption internally, combined with other strong botanical ingredients that help fight viruses and bacteria. But should you need to use this herbal powerhouse topically, simply open a softgel and apply.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis) is another botanical used in traditional medicine throughout the Mediterranean. The leaves from this evergreen shrub produce a powerful essential oil that is a strong antioxidant, has been used as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent, and is excellent for treating bronchial and lung infections. As a commercially available product, myrtle essential oil has been well-studied and sold in Europe for more than 75 years. Myrtle provides some of the same key compounds found in ravensara, including 1,8 cineole, alpha pinene, and limonene. The cineole stimulates tiny, fluttering projections in the sinus cavities called cilia to move mucous along more quickly, helping clear out mucous and drain the sinus passages. Myrtle essential oil is strong. In a scientific study, it held its own against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the primary cause of tuberculosis, which has made an alarming comeback. Additionally, myrtle oil has been tested as a natural food preservative for lettuce and tomatoes, reducing Salmonella counts and opening up a whole new opportunity for organic growers. After all, who wants to use chlorine on food when you have something this good and natural instead?
Thymus saturieoides is a different species than the thyme you may use as a seasoning or, for that matter, as a natural medicine for digestion and other ailments. Thyme has been used traditionally as an aromatic to make people feel more energetic, physically and psychologically. As a chemotyped essential oil, Thymus satureioides is also a strong antibacterial, fighting a variety of strains, including Staphylococcus aureus (the cause of staph infections) and Escherichia coli (the cause of food poisoning and many emergency room visits by the very young and the elderly.)
Bay, also known as Laurel (Laurus nobilis), is an evergreen shrub that, like thyme or myrtle, is native to the Mediterranean region. Bay has been shown to fight methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). This is important, because MRSA is a huge concern in hospitals. Most people carry some Staphylococcus aureus on the surface of their skin, but it can enter the body from cuts or even breathing tubes. When you hear about people with staph infections who have recently been in the hospital, this is what has usually happened. Vancomycin-resistant enterococci is another bacteria that results from people being on antibiotic treatment for extended periods. While enterococci are found naturally in the intestines, they can cause infection, too. If someone is treated with vancomycin and develops a resistance, they are even more at risk. The fact that humble Bay can have an effect here is just further evidence of how truly valuable our herbal medicines are. I think it’s fascinating – but not surprising – that the herbs that were held in high esteem by our ancestors as both food and medicine (“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” as Hippocrates said), are beginning to be appreciated by modern science. In some ways, we are slowly catching up and in other ways; we’re offering more advancements in natural medicine than our forebears could have dreamt of. Fighting the flu, stopping colds, and battling bacteria doesn’t mean you have to opt for dangerous over-the-counter drugs, vaccines of limited value, or buckets of sanitizer. These four simple ingredients give you a strong defense for the season. I recommend a 200 mg combination of chemotyped oils of ravensara, myrtle, thyme, and bay in a softgel that you can take once daily, or up to three times if need be. Remember, chemotyped oils are strong – up to 100 times more concentrated than herbal extracts, and they’ve been certified to be safe for internal use and contain the beneficial key compounds you need. This time of year you can’t be too prepared, so picking up this combination is a must. After all, 1 in 5 people get the seasonal flu, and some estimates say that about 1 billion people suffer from colds each year. You can beat the odds this year with these tremendously powerful essential oils, naturally.
|Terry recommends products with these ingredients. Look for them at your local health food store.|
|Proprietary Formula Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Thyme (Thymus satureioides), Bay (Laurus nobilis)||200 mg|