The question arises every year when the season changes.
Should we vaccinate or not against the flu?
I choose not to vaccinate because I believe a strong immune system is best, not just to avoid catching the flu but also to allow my immune system to fight and prevent more long-term illness like asthma, arthritis, cancer, allergies, heart and lung diseases.
What is the Flu Vaccine?
Studies have been conducted on the side effects of influenza vaccine and up to 20% experienced muscle pain and headaches. The influenza vaccine contains viruses that have been grown inside eggs and then chemically altered. It is good to understand exactly what is contained in these vaccines before making your decision See the 2016 Influenza vaccine datasheet here
Personally, I have not had a cold for more than 24 hours in the last 10 years and I believe that is due to regular detox programs and lots of herbs in my diet. In this article, I want to share a couple of negative points about Vaccination and a couple of positives with regard to Herbal Medicines. I suggest further research by following the links and references in this article.
Let’s start with the negatives
More Illness after Vaccines
The fact that vaccines produce more illness has been proven. Longitudinal survey studies comparing the health of vaccinated versus unvaccinated children have repeatedly shown statistically significant vaccinosis – illness produced in an individual after receiving a vaccine. In a 1997 study in New Zealand, 1265 children were surveyed. Twenty-three percent of the vaccinated children experienced asthma and thirty percent suffered from allergies, while the unvaccinted children did not have a single incident of these illnesses. (1)
Immune System Dysregulation
The changing of our immune system is the most concerning issue in regards to vaccines. Our immune systems, after the changes induced by repeated vaccines, can lose the ability to respond properly in the face of illness, causing a specific set of diseases that have become more prevalent since the introduction of vaccines. Epidemiological studies (statistical surveys) show poorer long-term health is more common among the vaccinated who survive without serious injury than children who are not vaccinated. (1,2, 3)
Other side effects from Vaccines
In vulnerable children, vaccines may cause autism, seizures and mental retardation. One must also take into account the fact that for every severe reaction, vaccine provokes less acute effects like confusion, language difficulties, memory issues, irritability, mood alterations, combativeness, difficulty concentrating and behavioral problems. (4)
Promotion in New Zealand
A national approach to promotion, coupled with local initiatives, has been key to raising vaccination coverage to 64% including people aged 65 years and older. Influenza vaccines are recommended for people at risk of developing complications following infection because of their age or because of underlying chronic conditions and are available free each year. (5)
You will notice in the chart below that hospitalizations for influenza have continued to increase. Yes, there have been new viruses and so-called pandemics, but the fact remains, vaccinations have not reduced the flu in New Zealand. (5) Every year there is a new stronger strain of the virus, and those who have been vaccinated have less ability to adapt because their immune systems have been dysregulated. This explains why the population is getting a worse effect from the flu as time goes on.
Now let’s look at the positives
The control and treatment of influenza depend mainly on chemical or biochemical agents and to date, some anti-influenza agents have been isolated from plants as a result of chemical and pharmacological studies. These agents include a variety of polyphenols, flavonoids, saponins, glucosides, and alkaloids. (10)
Herbs with antiviral effects are many and include:
The antiviral activity of dandelion extracts indicates that a component or components of these extracts possess anti-influenza virus properties. (6)
Results of one study suggest that Angelica Polysaccharides could not only inhibit virus replication but also improve the immune function. (7)
Elderberry liquid extract is active against human pathogenic bacteria as well as influenza viruses. The activities shown suggest that additional and alternative approaches to combat infections might be provided by this natural product. (8)
Tests showed that Echinacea extract inhibited the receptor binding activity of the influenza virus, suggesting that the extract interferes with the viral entry into cells. (9)
Herbs for immunity
One review highlighted the importance of garlic (Allium sativum), green tea (Camellia sinensis), ginger (Zingiber officinale), purple coneflower (Echinacea), black cumin (Nigella sativa), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra), Astragalus and St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) as natural immune boosters. These plants are bestowed with functional ingredients that may provide protection against various menaces. Modes of their actions include boosting and functioning of immune system, activation, and suppression of immune specialized cells, interfering in several pathways that eventually led to improvement in immune responses and defense system. In addition, some of these plants carry free radical scavenging and anti-inflammatory activities that are helpful against cancer insurgence. (11)
Regular use of Vitamin C is known to build immune function. One study proves the importance of the vitamin C concentration at the initial stage of influenza virus infection. That is to say, damages through the replication of influenza viruses can be effectively prevented, when vitamin C concentration is sufficiently high at the initial stage of viral infection. (12)
Results of one study suggest that supplementation of the diet with garlic may enhance immune cell function and that this may be responsible, in part, for reduced severity of colds and flu. (13)
The argument for using herbs to boost immunity appears to be strong and the argument for vaccination is weak in contrast. When you look at the long-term benefits of using herbs there is a lot more to be gained by this approach. General health, immune strength, and longer life can be gained by not pumping your body with chemicals, many of which have not been assessed for long-term side effects. Herbs, on the other hand, have thousands of years of historical use and safety.
By performing a Herbal DETOX at the change of season you give your body a huge boost and clear any build up from last season. By cleansing your liver, colon and flushing the blood with superfoods (high in Vitamin C) and herbs, your immune system is given a huge boost.
This explains why people who complete a Herbal DETOX each year report less cold and flu.
Brett Elliott ®
(1) 6 Kemp, T et al. Is Infant Immunization a Risk Factor for Childhood Asthma or Allergy? Epidemiology. 1997 Nov 8: 678-80. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9345669
(2) 7 Christensen, I et al. Routine Vaccinations and Child Survival: Follow Up Study in Guinea-Bissau, West Africa. British Medical Journal. 2000, 321:1435-
(3) 8 McKeever TM et al. Vaccination and Allergic Disease: A Birth Cohort Study. American Journal of Public Health. June 2004, Vol 94, No. 6, pp 985-
(4) World Association for Vaccine Education. Reactions and Conditions http://novaccine.com/reactions-conditions/
(5) SHIVERS Report, Influenza surveillance in New Zealand https://surv.esr.cri.nz/PDF_surveillance/Virology/FluAnnRpt/Influenza%20in%20New%20Zealand%202012%20FINAL%20Updated.pdf
(6) Anti-influenza virus effect of aqueous extracts from dandelion. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22168277
(7) Antivirus and immune enhancement activities of sulfated polysaccharide from Angelica sinensis. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22155400
(8) Inhibitory activity of a standardized elderberry liquid extract against clinically-relevant human respiratory bacterial pathogens and influenza A and B viruses. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21352539
(9) Anti-viral properties and mode of action of standardized Echinacea purpurea extract against the highly pathogenic avian influenza virus (H5N1, H7N7) and swine-origin H1N1 (S-OIV) PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19912623
(10) Anti-influenza agents from plants and traditional Chinese medicine. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16619359
(11) Immunity: plants as effective mediators. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=24564587
(12) Vitamin C Is an Essential Factor on the Anti-viral Immune Responses through the Production of Interferon-α/β at the Initial Stage of Influenza A Virus (H3N2) Infection PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3659258/
(13) Supplementation with aged garlic extract improves both NK and γδ-T cell function and reduces the severity of cold and flu symptoms: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled nutrition intervention. PubMed http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22280901