Posts Tagged ‘astragalus’

Chickenpox is caused by the varicella-zoster virus, a member of the herpesvirus family.  It is an issue that is hotly debated among all medical doctrine camps.  Vaccinate or don’t?  Expose your child to them or hide them from it?  Give them medications or don’t?

I, as you all know, am something of an extremist at times.  This is most definitely one of those times.  I do not believe that any child should ever be vaccinated against chicken pox.  Never.  Not one.  Why, you ask?  Well, let me just tell you…

~1 It is dangerous.  Period.  Consider these facts, taken directly from the National Vaccination Information Center(NVIC):  Please be aware that this is not a web site that promotes natural remedies.  It is simply an informational site that is relatively unbiased in either direction.

Reported complications from chickenpox vaccine include shock, seizures, brain inflammation (encephalitis), thrombocytopenia (blood disorder), Guillian Barre syndrome, death and infection with vaccine strain chickenpox or transmission of vaccine strain chickenpox to others

Mass use of chickenpox vaccine by children in the U.S. has removed natural boosting of immunity in the population, which was protective against shingles, and now adults are experiencing a shingles epidemic

I went to the VAERS website and looked up reactions to the live chicken pox vaccine so I could share some of their info with you.  Due to the size of their list, that was not possible….there were 52,513 events.  By ‘events’, they mean reported reactions to the vaccine.  What interested me was this ~ almost all of them that I waded through clearly state that none of the reactions was life threatening, though nearly all of them cited anaphylactic reactions.  Really? The Freedictionary.com says:



Anaphylaxis is a rapidly progressing, life-threatening allergic reaction.


Anaphylaxis is a type of allergic reaction, in which the immune system responds to otherwise harmless substances from the environment. Unlike other allergic reactions, however, anaphylaxis can kill. Reaction may begin within minutes or even seconds of exposure, and rapidly progress to cause airway constriction, skin and intestinal irritation, and altered heart rhythms. In severe cases, it can result in complete airway obstruction, shock, and death.
Somethin’ just ain’t addin’ up, my friends!  Even more frightening to me is that this report only contains the reactions from ONE form of the vaccine.

~2 It is only marginally effect.  More from the NVIC:

Chickenpox vaccine effectiveness is reported to be 44 percent for any form of the disease and 86 percent for moderate to severe disease

In all fairness, if you check out the MERCK site, they give a much better representation of the statistics.

In this trial, a single dose of VARIVAX protected 96-100% of children against chickenpox over a two-year period. The
study enrolled healthy individuals 1 to 14 years of age (n=491 vaccine, n=465 placebo). In the first year,
8.5% of placebo recipients contracted chickenpox, while no vaccine recipient did, for a calculated
protection rate of 100% during the first varicella season. In the second year, when only a subset of
individuals agreed to remain in the blinded study (n=163 vaccine, n=161 placebo), 96% protective efficacy was calculated for the vaccine group as compared to placebo.
There are insufficient data to assess the rate of protection against the complications of chickenpox

So, here is my questions…….Why did over 600 of the original participants drop out of the study (see bold, italicized statement in the above quote), especially if it was so effective?  You do realize that those study participants get paid, right?  Nearly 75% of the original participants declined the money and the miraculous 100% protection for their child because…….?

~3 Children need to be exposed to the virus to build a natural immunity to it.

Mass use of chickenpox vaccine by children in the U.S. has removed natural boosting of immunity in the population, which was protective against shingles, and now adults are experiencing a shingles epidemic. ~ NVIC

Chickenpox complications, such as bacterial infection of skin lesions (cellulitis), brain inflammation and pneumonia, are rare in children but more common in adults ~ NVIC

There are numerous studies that have shown the vaccine may work to help the cases of chicken pox, but it leads to the development of shingles in older individuals, which is a far more dangerous disease.

Okay, now that I’ve gotten that out of my system we can move on.

Let’s just say that, despite all of your best efforts your child gets chicken pox.  What are you gonna do?

First of all, you are going to make sure that everyone’s immune system is strong.  I, of course, would highly recommend the Tamara’s Herbes line of herbal supplements for healthy immune systems.  It contains herbs that have been used for centuries to help build and maintain strong immune system function. Herbs like astragalus, alfalfa,  golden seal,  ginseng, st johns wort and echinacea. Failing that, eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, drink plenty of water, get exercise and sunshine on a regular basis, practice safe hygiene habits.

Then, you need to set about making the child as comfy as possible.

  • Loose, light natural fabrics will help reduce irritation of the bumps and allow the skin to breath.
  • Soothing baths.  Cool or lukewarm baths with soothing herbs like lavender, oatmeal, cucumbers, calendula and chickweed are some of the better ones.    ~For a soothing bath, mix equal parts of any or all of the dried herbs in a small teabag or tie up in a piece of muslin or cotton and let float in bath.  Don’t throw away the teabag after the bath!  Instead, toss it in a 1 qt jar of distilled water mixed with 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar.  Use the teabag as a sponge to dab at the rash between baths.  This will not only sooth the itch and pain, but it will cool the skin and help prevent infection.   ~And yes, I realize you can’t find dried cucumbers.  I actually meant fresh ones.  Just slice one up and toss the pieces in the bath, peel and all.
  • The fever, while frightening, is actually a good thing.  I know the common school of thought is that we want to bring a fever down, but natural medicine dictates otherwise in most circumstances.  The fever is simply evidence that the body is working exactly the way it is supposed to.  The heat generated by the body kills the invading bacteria and causes the body to perspire, thereby pushing out the dead, toxic waste through the skin.  This is a completely natural, healthy response.  Cool baths, or cool packs placed at the throat, the back of the neck, the wrists, the forehead and the feet are effective and provide comfort.
  • Herbal salves are very effective at helping to heal, sooth and help prevent infection from scabs that have burst or been scratched open.  The same herbs that make a soothing bath also make a soothing salve. Herbs like comfrey, burdock, nettle, mullein and sage will help minimize the itching and pain.
  • Give them lots of water.  This will help prevent dehydration, and it will also help the body flush the nasty virus from their system.  Fruit juice is an excellent addition, but only if it is free of HFCS, sugar and artificial sweeteners, which are likely to make the itching worse and prolong the symptoms.

Most of all, be patient.  This is one of those things that just needs to run its course.  Overall, this is really not a dangerous disease.  Yes, there are exceptions and every parent should closely watch their child for unusual signs or symptoms, especially if other known medical conditions exist.  Otherwise, roll with it.  Try to keep them from scratching as much as possible.

Oh, and take lots of pictures!!!  They are so good to pull out when you meet prospective girlfriends/boyfriends.  My kids totally love it when I do things like that!

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Once more for the record:  I’m not a doctor.  I have no formal medical training.  I can’t diagnose, treat or heal any medical conditions.  The info provided is strictly my own opinion and the results of my own personal experience and research.  Always consult a medical professional if you suspect illness or disease.  None of these statements have been approved by any governing agency, domestic or foreign.

What do you really know about your immune system? If you are like most people, the answer is, not a lot. Everyone knows the basics. The immune system is what keeps us from getting sick. It’s the system that kicks out the bad germs, bacteria and viruses.

I’ve sat here for an hour now trying to decide the best way to simplify how the immune system works so that I can explain to you how to help keep it strong. What I’ve decided is that there is no easy way to break it down.  Instead, I’ll be pointing you to several other well-written, easy-to-understand websites. I suggest that you check out this article at Howstuffworks.com if you are interested in knowing how the immune system works. Otherwise, just understand that the immune system is affected by and/or related to every single organ of the body and requires some very specific things to keep it working properly.

First of all, it needs to be fed. Vitamins, minerals, elements, enzymes…all of these are necessary to keep your immune system strong and focused. So, is the answer a multi-vitamin or supplement? I don’t believe so. The body absorbs vitamins, minerals and nutrients from food sources much more rapidly and efficiently than when taken in the form of a pill. This is one of those rare facts that homeopaths, doctors, nutritionists and the universe can all agree on.

That doesn’t mean that you need to eat 50 different fruits and veggies a day to get all the nutrients that your body needs. Mother Nature is a multi-tasking expert. Most fruits and veggies contain a whole little package of vitamins and nutrients within them. A few, recently dubbed ‘Super-foods‘, contain a big package of vitamins and nutrients.

It has also been proven that organic foods contain higher levels of these vitamins and nutrients. I know all the arguments…organic costs too much, it doesn’t look as pretty, it’s harder to obtain….I’ve heard and felt them all. The truth is, though, they are cheaper over time. The few extra dollars a week spent on organic instead of non-organic will help ensure a stronger immune system, which leads to fewer sick days, less money spent on medicine and increased energy and productivity.

Many fruits and veggies also contain antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral elements. Imagine them as steroids for the immune system without the side-effects, if you will. Sometimes our immune system will get overloaded with processed foods, environmental toxins, viruses, germs and a gazillion other depressants. It’s hard work fighting off all those enemies! Whose system couldn’t use an extra bit of muscle?

Here are a few foods that will help keep your immune system strong and healthy:

carrots, cucumbers, leafy greens (lettuce, spinach, kale, etc), eggplant, tomato, broccoli, asparagus, peppers, onions, garlic, oranges, avocado, honey, apples, berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries), lemons, limes, grapefruit, papaya

Raw veggies are best, but really, who wants to munch down on a raw onion? Any form you eat them in (except canned) is great, just don’t microwave them or over-cook them. Try steamed asparagus drizzled with fresh lemon juice and dash of sea salt. A fresh fruit salad sprinkled with some freshly grated coconut, raisins or nuts and a hint of fresh mint. Add some extra onion and garlic to your meals. It doesn’t have to be complicated and you’ll feel so much better!

Our immune system also requires a constant, fresh source of oxygen to function properly. How often do you take the time to just sit and breath? Do you know the best way to breathe? Did you even know there was a ‘best way to breathe’? This is one reason that I always recommend yoga. The combination of breathing and movement helps stimulate the organs of the body, which promotes better function and a stronger overall health.

The skin, too, plays a part in the immune system. It is our first defense against a whole army of deadly bacteria and germs. It is the largest organ of the body and is capable of absorbing just about anything that comes in contact with it. That is why it is incredibly important to have a good skin-care regimen that is free of chemicals and unnatural ingredients that the body often sees as ‘foreign material’.

While your skin will fight it as long as possible, eventually it will catch up with you and suddenly you have a rash from your soap, dandruff from your shampoo and a nasty case of acne from the same kind of makeup you’ve used for years!

Check your labels when you go to buy your next bottle of face cleanser. Remember that just because it says ‘made with natural ingredients’ doesn’t mean it’s made with ALL natural ingredients. Here are a few ingredients to avoid:

mineral oil,  lanolin, PABA, formaldehyde, phenol acid (urocanic, salacylic and others), propylene glycol, parabens (methyl, propyl and others), Sodium lauryl sulfate (also Sodium Laureth , Ammonium Lauryl, and other “sulfates”)

Some natural ingredients to look for that contain antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal and other immune-boosting properties ( and many other beneficial characteristics including moisturizing, healing and protecting) include:

shea butter, kokum butter, cocoa butter, mango butter, grapeseed oil, olive oil, sesame oil, aloe vera, honey, beeswax, tea tree, lavender

There are times, though, that even the healthiest diet and a proper amount of exercise aren’t enough and our immune system goes on the blink. What then? Then you make a doctor’s appointment and gladly snatch the prescription he hands you for an antibiotic, right? Well, you could do that. It’s not my first course of action, though. Here is what I do for myself and my family. I’ve gotten a few friends hooked on it lately, too, I’m afraid. Are you ready? It’s kinda complicated…

~I take a lemon and squeeze it til there’s not a drop of juice left. I leave the seeds and pulp in it because they have their own healing characteristics, but you can filter them out, if you prefer.

~Then I add a teaspoon full of some local honey that I always keep on hand.

~I add to that 1 dropper full of astragalus extract. I prefer Teeter Creek Herbs for extracts.

~I stir it all up, then drink it.

Does it work? I think so. It’s been years since my daughter’s last ear infection, which she used to get at least twice a winter. My last bout of strep throat, which used to happen every year in the spring and fall, hasn’t made an appearance in over five years. We haven’t had a sore throat, a cough or the flu in years. For general health and prevention, I take this 2-3 times a week. At the first sign of any illness, even if it’s just that yucky I-don’t-feel-sick-but-I-don’t-feel-good stage, I take a dose every 6 hours until I feel better. I’ve never had to take more than 2 doses. Usually within hours I am back to feeling good.

Why would it possibly work? Well, several reasons.

~Lemon is an antiseptic that helps kill of germs and bacteria while ‘sanitizing’ the system. It cleanses the throat and the stomach, stimulates the digestion and helps keep the system clean.

~ Honey. This is often called a ‘miracle food’ for good reason. It was mentioned as far back in history as the Egyptian Hieroglyphics for it’s ability to heal and nourish the body, both inside and out. Besides being antibacterial, it is also anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, helps heal skin cells, moisturizes, speeds healing, stimulates growth and much more. Read more about honey here!

~Astragalus. Many studies have been done on this Eastern herb and they all show the same thing. It is a valuable herb for stimulating the immune system. This herb seems to not only strengthen the immune system, but it actually helps the body produce immune cells. For more info on some of the studies and effects of astragalus, check out this site.

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