“I go into my library and all
history unrolls before me.” Alexander Smith
In Western tradition, boneset is perhaps the single most important
herb for combating the flu. There have been six major influenza pandemics (worldwide
outbreaks) since 1889. The 1918 influenza pandemic (“Spanish flu”) was the
deadliest pandemic in history. Approximately 5% of the world’s population was
infected, and the number of deaths has been estimated at 50 million (CDC).
Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) might
be the single best herbal remedy for influenza. During the severe “Spanish Flu” pandemic, boneset was one of the safest
and most successful remedies employed and contributed much to the successful
management of the disease under the Eclectic treatment.
Long before the advent of modern conventional medicine, traditional
doctors in the East and Western herbalists from the Vitalist and Eclectic
traditions were using plants to help people overcome infectious acute diseases.
The constellation of symptoms that the patient presented with were considered
to be caused by the entrance of pathogenic influences into the body, and
appropriate herbal remedies were administered to alleviate symptoms while
addressing underlying constitutional imbalances.
Over the last few months, headlines around the world have focused on the Ebola epidemic sweeping West Africa. In early August of this year, the World Health Organization defined the outbreak as a Public Health Event of International Concern. Closer to home, the focus has been on the recent outbreak in the US, with calls for special hospitals equipped to handle Ebola and for specialists to recognize and treat the disease as well as to be trained in monitoring travelers at airports.1
I’ve recently had numerous inquiries from people who are concerned about Ebola. It’s important to understand that the possibility of an Ebola epidemic in the United States is extremely low.2 However, because of increasing concern about the disease, I’m presenting information from my research and guidance as far as what I personally would do if I was inadvertently exposed to the virus, or if I actually contracted the disease. Although I have no factual scientific data on any of these recommendations, based on the etiology of Ebola, I would look to the herbal toolbox I have used for decades as my first line of defense.
In my blog post last week I talked about why I’m opposed to flu shots, and outlined a holistic approach to supporting the immune system and increasing the body’s ability to resist pathogens. Because botanical medicine is central to my healing practice, I’d like to address in more detail the herbal protocol I use for protection during the changing seasons.
Just this past week, the CDC stated that the flu has officially reached epidemic proportions. If you follow the recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), you’ve probably already gotten your flu shot for this year. You might even be congratulating yourself for being proactive in defending yourself from what’s being called “the worst flu outbreak in the past decade.”