Wednesday, June 10, 2009

What Happens When a Natural Remedies Guru Comes Down With Swine Flu?

Even a natural remedies guru can come down with swine flu. Sara Altshul's experience is a reminder that natural remedies don't work for everyone all the time - though they're safer and less expensive than pharmaceuticals when they don't.
When I wrote about ways to prevent the H1N1 flu virus last month, I never suspected I might actually catch the bug myself. I’m healthy, and I’m committed to my three-times-a-week gym workouts; plus, I eat well, and I take vitamins. So when, a few days ago, I started feeling flu-ish, I was pretty surprised.

Immediately, I took regular doses of echinacea, a known antiviral herb, and Sambucol, a black elderberry extract that’s been proven to kill 10 different strains of flu virus (though I don’t know whether H1N1 is one of them). I did not, however, order the two different Chinese herbs recommended by Martha Howard, MD, the director of Wellness Associates of Chicago, Center for Advanced Integrative Environmental Medicine, that I wrote about in my flu blog.

I was pretty disappointed when neither the echinacea nor the black elderberry staved off my symptoms, which came on with a bang: fever of 103, pounding headache—in fact, my entire body aches, a dramatic cough, no appetite, and extreme fatigue. Read more

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