It seems like we see this every year. The medical experts come out with the flu vaccine they think will be most effective for the current year, make a huge push to get everyone to take the vaccine, and then they announce that "the influenza virus circulating in the United States has mutated and this year's vaccine doesn't provide good protection against it."
This really shouldn't surprise us. Even the most ardent flu-vaccine supporters have to admit that it's not one of the most effective vaccines. One supporter explained it this way: "There are many strains of influenza, and the vaccine as currently formulated generally only covers a handful of strains. Basically, every year the World Health Organization, in collaboration with the CDC and other health organizations throughout the world, has to make an educated guess which strains of influenza will be circulating the following winter."
These "educated guesses" are a much bigger part of medicine than most medical professionals will admit. There's a lot we don't know about the body. And there's a lot we don't know about nature. Sometimes they have to connect the dots the best they can and draw a conclusion. Their training and education put them in a better position to make these guesses than most of us. However, they also have basic underlying presuppositions that greatly influence those guesses.
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Presuppositions are essentially previously held beliefs. So, yes, many of these guesses come down to faith. Conventional medical professionals have faith in their system. When the system works, it works well (such as emergency medicine). But when it doesn't work, it's hard for that faith to let go.
Alternative medical professionals don't put as much faith in the system. They have little faith in the vaccination system, especially flu vaccines. That's because there are known alternatives that work much better than the flu vaccines – and they don't rely on guessing. For instance, I've told you in the past about vitamin D's ability to prevent the flu. But it's not alone.
Another powerful flu fighter is a substance called andrographis. Andrographis is an Indian (Hindu) folk medicine that many Ayurvedic practitioners use. Many studies have found that andrographis can reduce the severity and duration of an active respiratory infection if you start it within 36-48 hours after symptoms develop. The standard dose is 400 mg taken twice daily. (Note: Andrographis can interact with prescription drugs. So, if you take medications, make sure you talk to your doctor or pharmacist before taking this herb.)
There's a lot more you can do to fight the flu. In fact, there's one substance that boosts your immune system so well that one study found it to be three times more effective than the flu vaccine. I'll tell you about it on Saturday.
Your insider for better health,
Steve Kroening is the editor of Nutrient Insider, a twice-a-week email newsletter that brings you the latest healing breakthroughs from the world of nutrition and dietary supplements. For over 20 years, Steve has worked hand-in-hand with some of the nation's top doctors, including Drs. Robert Rowen, Frank Shallenberger, Nan Fuchs, William Campbell Douglass, and best-selling author James Balch. Steve is the author of the book Practical Guide to Home Remedies. As a health journalist, Steve's articles have appeared in countless magazines, blogs, and websites.
Kulichenko LL1, Kireyeva LV, Malyshkina EN, Wikman G. "A randomized, controlled study of Kan Jang versus amantadine in the treatment of influenza in Volgograd," J Herb Pharmacother. 2003;3(1):77-93.