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Viral infections

Viruses are the smallest known infectious microbes, they are a hundred times smaller than even bacteria. Scientists have found about 1500 types of viruses so far, about 400 of which are known to cause disease in humans. Though they come in many shapes and sizes, viruses all share a very simple basic structure: a protein coat that surrounds strands of either DNA or RNA protein, the virus particles genetic machinery. Unlike other micro organisms, viruses cannot proliferate on their own. Instead, they hijack otherwise healthy cells, nesting in them and replacing the host cells genetic material with their own. Often within hours, the infected host cells begin to generate thousands of progeny, which then go on to infect other healthy cells. Viruses are very hard to combat because, unlike other disease causing microbes, they often cannot be killed without also hurting the host cell. Natural medicine offers various gentle ways to fight viruses directly. Other forms of natural therapy aim to boost immunity and thereby ward off viral infection before it starts.

Tea-tree oil to combat viruses

Tea tree oil, one of the most popular essential oils, is an especially effective remedy against viral infections. This is thought to be because it kills viruses and other pathogens, such as bacteria and fungi, without injuring the host cell. Place a few drops of tea-tree oil in a diffuser as part of an aromatherapy treatment. You can also add 10 drops of the oil to a hot bath in the evening for the same virus fighting effect.

What you can do
Viruses are transmitted in a number of ways: in infectious droplets ingested with food, by insects bites or through direct contact with skin or mucous membranes. Keeping your immune system strong will help you fight off viral invasion. Herbs, vitamins and other natural remedies can all help prevent viral infection or shorten a course of viral illness.

Vitamin C as immune booster
Adults should get at least 60 mg. of this powerful immune protector every day. Several types of synthetic tablets contain natural forms of vitamin C. preparations made from rose hips or from acerola cherry, grapefruit, orange, sea-buckthorn or elderberry juice are all good sources of natural vitamin C.

Tea as a first time remedy
At the first sign of virus, make a tea using equal parts elderflowers and linden flowers. Drink 2 large, hot cups of it and rest. The tea will cause you to sweat, helping bring down your fever. It also stimulates immunity and promotes the excretion of wastes and toxins.

Propolis drops as a viral defense
Propolis, a resin like substance that bees collect from tree and leaf buds and then process in their bodies, protects bee colonies from disease. The material contains substances that prevent inflammation, strengthen the immune system and kill germs. Slowly eat 10-20 drops of propolis tincture on half a slice of bread.

Extra tip : Add 1-2 tbsp. of ground mustard seeds to a warm footbath. The essential oils in the seeds are a strong circulatory stimulant. Remove your feet from the bath after about 10 min. and put on wool socks. This footbath will help to mobilize your immune system's defenses.

Natural remedies for fever

Suppression of fever
Fever is the body's way of fighting viral infections, because viruses are sensitive to temperature. Thus, only try to reduce a fever when your body temperature rises above 102 deg F. at that point, attempt to lower it by wrapping your calves in cold compresses. When the fever ends, eat prunes soaked in water or linseeds, whole or crushed, as a fever can cause constipation.
Caution: if any fever lasts for more than 3 days, in a row, you should always consult a doctor.

Double spike fevers
Viral infections cause predictable symptoms. These include fever, joint pain, headache and exhaustion. Occasionally, nausea or vomiting may also be present. The fever usually follows a characteristic course: initially, it is fairly high, then it quickly subsides before rising again. With a fever, always take time out to rest; undue physical strain can damage the heart.

Lasting immunity
The immune system often "remembers" viral infections, protecting the body from a second attack by the same virus. However, some viruses, such as those that cause the flu, can mutate and elude the immune system. Thus, a flu vaccine offers only limited protection against subsequent infection.

Drink Fluids
The body usually responds to a viral infection with loss of appetite. This response is actually a protective mechanism, because it takes energy away from the digestive process and focuses it on fighting disease. Drink plenty of fluids, such as tea and fruit juice, to prevent dehydration.

A natural expert
Grape fruit seed extract may be effective against some viruses. Add 8 drops to a glass of water and sip this drink twice a day.