Christopher Lepisto, N.D.MEDICINAL ROOTSGrand Junction Free Press Health & Wellness Columnist

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January 30, 2013
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LEPISTO: Kicking colds and flus to the curb

The sheer number of sick people these days is almost comical, if it weren't for the absolute drag of well, being sick. There is a particular virulence to this season, which I suspect has to do with a heavier than usual inversion, a particularly nasty breed (or breeds) of virus, and the sure-to-germinate tactic of having so many so sick at once.As a recent sick-o myself, having been affected for an entire week, I'm quite sure there are a few other sick-os out there who wouldn't mind hearing again how the heck to get rid of that cold or flu. I wrote an article in December about using water therapy for colds and flus, which are done to artificially induce a fever, nature's own internal remedy. This is done by increasing the body core temperature in order to stimulate the immune system and assist in destroying viruses and bacteria that are sensitive to increases in body temperature. It also promotes detoxification/elimination through the skin via sweating.I'll send you all that way for more details of that long-standing and effective tradition of hydrotherapy and focus here on making sure you're addressing the basics. If you're sick and reading this, chances are you're probably not in your right mind, and wouldn't mind someone walking you through what to do, step by step. And if you're the one caring for the one who is unfortunate, then you might like the following checklist:1. Drink more water, lots of it. That whole argument about water toxicity is hogwash, unless you're an ultra-endurance athlete.2. Wash your hands. Every nurse, mom, and nurse-mom knows this.3. Sleep. This is a tricky one for those of you who are already sick, so see my section about "magic socks" in the hydrotherapy article. It will help.4. Unless you're absolutely down, get some activity, even if it is just walking to the mailbox. It will help clear your lungs and sinus, and always spit out whatever you cough up.5. Stop doing the thing that you know is not helping. Seriously. Knock it off, for now. I'll bet for some of you there are a few cans of something sneaky sweet, a late-night TV habit, or a pizza that found its way out of the freezer. If you happen to have done none of these, then congratulations, you're better than the rest of us.6. Take it easy on conventional dairy as it has a tendency to form more mucus. I'm not talking about raw dairy, which has its own set of health benefits.7. Drink as much tea as you like. Add elderberry for serious flu prevention, or to break a fever. I carry an amazing organic elderberry syrup blend in my office, which is amazing on cheesecake (unless you're sick, and the latter is really the last thing you need.)8. Add lots of Vitamin C, as much as you can take without getting loose stools. Your tolerance for more C will be increased whenever you're actually fighting a cold or flu.9. Add 30mg zinc daily for an adult, especially those tasty zinc lozenges for a sore throat. Potently anti-viral.10. Use a little extra raw garlic and onion in your meal, but skip it for the first date.11. Add the herb thyme right from your spice shelf if you have a sinus infection, in a pot of hot water with a towel over your head. The volatile oils will help clear you out quick.12. Get some chicken noodle soup made by mom. If this is not possible, I highly recommend Thai Chili's pho, which is a hot and plentiful Vietnamese soup that comes with thai basil, bean sprouts, your choice of protein, and jalapenos to spank any cold.Also consider a nice herbal immune formula with well-researched herbs such as echinacea, Oregon grape (an herb much like goldenseal that is not endangered), osha and elderberry. In multiple trials, echinacea has proven to stimulate immunity at the onset of initial symptoms, but if a full-blown cold has developed, the stronger anti-viral properties of elderberry flowers or osha root are better indicated. Osha grows here in our area, and the herbalists in our valley can easily make a chew by letting it soak in honey for a few months.And remember that sometimes we're just going to have to ride it out. A cold of flu is a very purging, cleansing experience, even thought it certainly isn't much fun. Do you best to make sure you're taking care of the basics, and find your favorite flick for those low points. I swear there is an innate instinct that says "go watch it" when you're down for the count, even if you've already seen it a hundred times.Dr. Christopher Lepisto graduated as a naturopathic doctor (ND) from Bastyr University in Seattle, Wash. He is a native of Grand Junction and opened his practice here in 2004. Previously, Lepisto lived and worked in New Zealand, where he developed a special interest in indigenous herbal medicines. For more information, visit or call 970-250-4104.

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The Post Independent Updated Jan 30, 2013 05:53PM Published Jan 30, 2013 05:52PM Copyright 2013 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.