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AUDIO: Dr. Mao - H1N1 Insight And Natural Ways To Boost Your Immune System

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U.S. health officials, Thursday, announced that six million doses of swine flu vaccine will be available by the first week in October. Now most of the vaccine will be the flu mist nasal spray which is recommended only for people ages 2 to 49 and not for pregnant women or people with health problems. Because an ounce of prevention is still worth a pound of cure, EmpowHER wanted to check in with a member of our Medical Advisory Board Dr. Maoshing Ni to discuss natural things that women can do for themselves and their families to protect against the N1H1 swine flu. Hi, Dr. Mao.

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Hi, Todd.

Dr. Mao, what can women do to help prevent catching the N1H1 swine flu? There’s got to be some preventative secrets that you hold.

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Well, you know, I just want to remind everyone that the swine flu is not, you know, it’s not something that’s new. It’s been around. It’s been around; in fact, back in the ‘50s, ‘60s, it came through America and it certainly has been circulating for many, many, many years prior, and so here we have, you know, I’ll talk in general about viruses and colds and flus, and then I’ll zero in on the H1N1–the particular one.

But it’s very common; I mean, the way that the viruses move around the globe obviously has increasingly become at a rapid pace as transportation increases. You know, our ability to move from one place on the globe to another at such rapid speed only hastens the spread of these viruses, and because we are in close proximity with one another, we will naturally share the good and the bad. In this case, the bad, right?

So, and it’s interesting. Most people, you know, really get impressed with this figure: one in three Americans suffer a seasonal cold at least once a year. That’s a lot of people, and particularly vulnerable populations are of course kids, the elderly, and people who have compromised immune systems such as HIV or people who are on immunosuppressant drugs.

Now Dr. Mao, because my math skills are so sharp, one in three Americans, if there’s 300 million, let me see that I can do the math, that’s about 100 million people.

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Hundred million people, at least once a year, I mean that is, you know, and again, it’s just very, very common, and the cold viruses and flu viruses are definitely more likely to occur during fall and winter seasons, and the reason is two-fold.

One is the human body becomes more vulnerable and deficient in fall and winter. Naturally our human body goes into cycles along with nature, and so as fall and winter the weather gets colder, you now have less resistance, meaning, your body during the summer and spring when the weather is warm, you don’t have to protect yourself as much, right?

The fall and winter, you really need to because temperature actually affects the body’s performance. Your immune system is not as effective and…

I’m sure sunlight has to play in it, too.

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Absolutely, the less vitamin D that’s produced in your skin and you are less active. You exercise less; you eat more–all these things. So, so we just have to understand that happens, right? But there are many things that you can do to help improve your resistance, your immune system so that you can resist the common cold virus and flu virus.

And then specifically, of course, H1N1, now this virus is really no different than other viruses. The reason why the World Health Organization is very concerned and raised the alert level to like six, which is like really close to the maximum, close to like the plague, is because of the speed by which this thing travels and spreads. You know, it started out in Mexico and then it came to America, and it spread to other countries. So it’s very rapid.

However, so far, the reactions from the H1N1 have been relatively mild. It’s kind of like a cold, and most people get over it. College kids–I mean, it’s hitting universities across the States right now. My nephew, who I just talked to, he is in Emory, and keep in mind Emory is in Atlanta, Georgia right next door to CDC, and he said just about everyone in his dorm got sick with the H1N1.

But, you know what, they just rested up and got better–all of them. None of them took Tamiflu; none of them took any FluMist or got the vaccine. They just got over it. All right, so we know that so far this thing hasn’t mutated to such degree that it’s scary, but it might, and that’s why there is the vaccine that’s ready to go.

Okay, so, now let’s talk about what you can do to stimulate your immune system. I have got some very simple things that you can do to strengthen. The first and foremost, you know,we need to keep in mind that, you know, if you overdo anything, if you over-exercise, if you get yourself exhausted, don’t get enough sleep, smoke and drink excessively and eat lots of sugar, you are going to deplete your immune system. So, if you could just avoid doing those things for the most part, okay? Eat lots of leafy greens and fruits and vegetables and drink a lot of water, take vitamin C rich fruits such as oranges. That would be helpful.

But let’s say if you are feeling like you are getting a little sick, the first thing you can do is, I have got this great remedy and it involves some garlic, ginger, scallions, basil and some cinnamon. And the way you do is you make a tea and you boil one chopped garlic clove, put three slices of ginger, one chopped scallions and pinch of basil and a pinch of cinnamon, three cups of water, and you boil it for five minutes. You strain it, and you drink it hot.

Then get into bed, cover up, and what will happen is you sweat, and as soon as you sweat, it’s amazing. The immune system gets involved here when you sweat, all right? And it just starts to fight the viruses and you get rid of it. So that’s something you can do very simply.

Now as far as sort of daily supplements to help you kind of reduce your predisposition, well, vitamin C–this is something that’s very useful. Studies have shown it to reduce duration of a cold as well as prevent. So, 3000 mgs of vitamin C on a daily basis would be excellent, and you should try to take the buffered kind so it won’t upset you stomach, some people may be sensitive to it, and if your bowels get a little loose, then you just cut back on a little bit. That’s vitamin C.

Another supplement you should take is zinc. Anything from 25 to 50 mg a day can definitely help boost your immune functions and reduce symptoms of a common cold as well. So those two I think are key.

Now, how about some herbs? There are herbs that have been shown to be quite useful, and you should definitely explore this area, and it’s very useful. For example, there’s a Chinese herb called astragalus. Astragalus is a immune modulator. What that means is that if your immune system is low-functioning, it will bring it up. If your immune system is high-functioning, now when we talk about high functioning we are talking about overacting, as in the case of autoimmune disease, it will bring it down. So what’s really nice about this herb is that it can actually balance the immune system.

Where do you find it?

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
At herb stores, health food stores, Asian markets, online, I mean, it’s very widely available, and so that’s one thing you can do to help yourself. Another herb that perhaps people are more familiar with is elderberry.


Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Elderberry is, you can make a tea out of it, and you can drink that on a regular basis during flu season–one cup a day for prevention and three cups a day to treat, reduce symptoms of colds and flus.

So those are some of the kind of highlights of things that you can do to help yourself, but most importantly, I think, is to maintain peaceful mind and lower your stress levels because, number one, cause of low immunity in our daily sort of busy, modern life is stress, no question about it. As that stress hormone cortisol goes up, your immune functions will become compromised. And so, be peaceful, fill your heart with joy and happiness, eat well, sleep plenty, and move, you know, on a regular basis, and you should be fine. And of course, try to wash your hands and stay away from sick people.

And if you want to find out more about Dr. Mao’s secret foods to boost your immune system, you can watch his healing food videos on EmpowHER, or one of his many books talks about healing foods, right?

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Yeah, I have got a book called “Secrets of Self-Healing”, which you can find a lot of this information in. I also have a book called “The Dao of Nutrition”, and that’s all about food.

Well, we have both of them at home. It’s a great resource for us, and he is Dr. Maoshing Ni. He is a 38th generation doctor of Chinese medicine. He is also on EmpowHER’s medical advisory board. Thank you, Dr. Mao.

Dr. Maoshing Ni:
Thank you, Todd.

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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