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Why no Elderberry/Echinacea for this flu season?

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
So, I've been searching through old threads about what is good for immune system boosting and keeping healthy during cold/flu season, and I've read several times that this year in particular we shouldn't rely on Elderberry/Echinacea blends (Sambucol/Sambugaurd/etc.)....but nothing that says why....
I am just wondering why, especially because this typically is our go-to first line of defense! Yikes!
post #2 of 63
because of the strain and how it affects the body. Elderberry could induce a cytokine storm. This is usually only an issue for people with pretty robust immune systems when the response goes out of control and is unchecked by the body (which is why this flu is said to be most dangerous for healthy adults....infants and the elderly aren't being hit as hard.) In certain cases a healthy immune system can be dangerous. This is *supposedly* one of those times.
post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 
I see! Thanks for the info
post #4 of 63
So what is recommended instead?
post #5 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by Panserbjørne View Post
because of the strain and how it affects the body. Elderberry could induce a cytokine storm.
I've read conflicting things about elderberry and cytokine storm.

Basically because elderberry is an immune system modulator and not an immue system activator that there was no reason to believe it would induce a cytokine storm.

Secondly, I have read that elderberry itself is okay, but the commercial preparations like Sambucol are not.

Lastly I read that it was okay to use except if you already had the flu and the accompanying fever.


So I really don't know what to believe.

What about astragaus?
post #6 of 63
there is absolutely conflicting information on elderberry syrup and cytokine storms. There are reputable sources stating it can and does increase cytokines. There is also plenty of info stating that we shouldn't be worried as it's an immuno-modulator. In reference to my post that's neither here nor there. I'm answering why everyone is saying not to use it, not what I believe to be true . That's the reason.

If we got the swine flu I would personally be using other tools and given the ambiguity of the info I wouldn't recommend elderberry extract to anyone though I generally do like it. Nothing good comes from fear and any good it might do would be undone IMO if people were obsessing over the possibility of a cytokine storm!
post #7 of 63
I think elderberry is OK to use together with vitamin D, curcumin, and resveratrol. Most experts believe these four compounds together should do the trick. Elderberry in addition to raising cytokines prevents the flu virus from propagating by apparently doing something to its spikes. I have had great luck with elderberry from the real flu to stomach viruses. I swear by it, and I am taking it as we speak for some upper respiratory virus (no fever but feeling like I have the flu), so I guess it could be the swine flu but I doubt it. Real flu is a nightmare for me and it is never "mild" but with elderberries I am usually better in 3 days.
post #8 of 63
Just talked to my friend and she said her herbalist said to take elderberry but NOT echinacea
post #9 of 63
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies! I saw this and thought anyone reading this thread might be interested. It is about Cytokine storms and things that help!
post #10 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by highlandmum View Post
Thanks for all the replies! I saw this and thought anyone reading this thread might be interested. It is about Cytokine storms and things that help!
The link you provided states
Quote:
Turmeric, Fish Oil and Aspirin Provide Anti-Inflammatory Protection
However, I just read the complete opposite concerning asprin HERE......

Also HERE

Just google "aspirin 1918 pandemic"....a bunch of info comes up. If it strikes us, we will be using Tylenol, if anything.
post #11 of 63
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I actually didn't pay attention to that part, just because my kids are too little for aspirin, and I can't take it because of breastfeeding, and so I figured we'd use tylenol too.
post #12 of 63
I'm trying to stock up my medicine cabinet for the winter. Normally I would include some kind of elderberry product and some kind of echinacea product. Now, I'm seeing maybe we should avoid those things in the case of swine flu. But my questions are how would I know if I am dealing with H1N1 or some other strain, and if it is possible to know that, what do we take?
post #13 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by SageR View Post
how would I know if I am dealing with H1N1 or some other strain,
The only way to know for sure is to get tested.

Quote:
and if it is possible to know that, what do we take?
There are lots of suggestions here:
Natural Treatments For Swine Flu

fp
post #14 of 63
Anyone know the safety of curcumin and resveratol if pregnant? I'm trying to come up with a "plan" for if I do come down with H1N1, or think I may have it. I'm due in December and the thought of it really scares me.
post #15 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by 71newmom View Post
Anyone know the safety of curcumin and resveratol if pregnant? I'm trying to come up with a "plan" for if I do come down with H1N1, or think I may have it. I'm due in December and the thought of it really scares me.
CURCUMIN -
See precautions at the bottom of page:
http://www.mothering.com/discussions....php?t=1128379

Resveratol I haven't seen anything on.

Sandy
post #16 of 63
When it comes to Elderberry...are they just talking commercially available (and likely standardized) extracts or preparations (like Sambucol) vs whole herb preparations (like the Elderberry Syrup I make at home). Elderberry is one of our main herbs around here - it's one of the main tools in my kit. Just wondering if they were making the distinction.
post #17 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by pampered_mom View Post
When it comes to Elderberry...are they just talking commercially available (and likely standardized) extracts or preparations (like Sambucol) vs whole herb preparations (like the Elderberry Syrup I make at home). Elderberry is one of our main herbs around here - it's one of the main tools in my kit. Just wondering if they were making the distinction.
I do not think it makes a difference--both do the same thing in the body, rev up the immune system and apparently prevent the flu virus from replicating too efficiently.
post #18 of 63
Quote:
Originally Posted by dessismama View Post
I do not think it makes a difference--both do the same thing in the body, rev up the immune system and apparently prevent the flu virus from replicating too efficiently.
Except that one is extracted, standardized and removed from the matrix of the plant. The other is found within it's context - the berry, flower, or leaf - that contains both the active constituent that we're aware of and very likely a host of others that we're not. One exists within it's traditional checks and balances - the other does not. I'm just wondering if there might be protective mechanisms in place with something like a whole herb preparation that might ward off against some of the troubling results of something like Sambucol (like a preparation of Sassafrass from the whole root bark or high doses of safrole).
post #19 of 63
I second the question of a pp who asked what to take at the beginning of the flu, b/c how are you really going to "know" what strain you have--it is worth consideration to ask this and really think about it. And if you treat the early symptomes with echinacea and black elderberry extract in the early stages, could you possible prevent a (theoretical) cytokine storm before it even starts? I have to wonder. The researchers and scientists don't really know all that much about cytokine storms. Important questions to ask.

I know one can be tested for flu but how soon can one be tested after start of symptoms, how accurate are those results, how much is the test going to cost, etc. And are you really going to go in and get everyone in your family tested at every sign of the flu over the next several months? I know I won't.

My plan, which I have researched and feel confident in, is to focus on boosting everyone's immune systems so we are more prone toward health than disease. I am also not concerned with suffering deaths from the flu, and I have already had one child have pneumonia as a complication from catching whooping cough two years ago (he was under 1 year at the time), so I guess I am not as prone to worry as we have had pretty much "worse case" scenarios over here related to common illnesses. Complications mean hospital, which means medicines and then you come out of it eventually.

I will have on hand ingredients for a weekly soup of miso, veggies and immune-boosting mushrooms, codonopsis and astragalus root. (based on Aviva Jill Romm's recipe from one of her books). At the first sign of flu symptoms, I have homeopathic Oscillococcinum to help reduce the severity and duration of the flu symptoms, as well as calming herbs and ones specifically to address the lungs and nourishing teas. Garlic lemonade helps, too.

As for other homeopaths for flus, I found this info. interesting regarding homeopaths and the 1918 flu epidemic (link)

I side with the NVIC and Barbara Loe Fisher that there is no evidence at this time to suggest there is in reality an imminent epidemic on the horizon that would be any worse than any other flu season we've had in most recent years. Cytokine storms are not even proven to accompany all cases of the swine flu. As Wikipedia states:

"Recent reports of high mortality among healthy young adults in the 2009 swine flu outbreak has led to speculation that cytokine storms could be responsible for these deaths.[8] However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have indicated that symptoms reported from this strain so far are similar to those of normal seasonal flu,[9] with the CDC stating that there is "insufficient information to date about clinical complications of this variant of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus infection." (Bolding is mine)


Because of the lack of solid evidence that Sambucol and black elderberry extract preparations like it are linked to cytokine storms, I am taking the chance of using it during the flu season. There is more evidence in support of it for differing strains of flu that against it. (From Sambucol's site)
post #20 of 63
If you suspect you have the swine flu, you can and should be tested right at the onset of symptoms. If you're looking to get a dose of the tamiflu, then that needs to be taken within the first 24-48 hours, so it is encouraged to be tested early. SO I would probably wait until being tested to take sambucs or echinacea until after you get the results. I think that we will continue to using echinacea (I use the Sweet Echinacea drops for young children) for things like run of the mill colds and such. But if dd gets a fever, I will definitely hold off giving her anything until having her tested.
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