As the winter season comes upon us, so does the cold and flu season. Without fail it seems to arrive every year, for some, even ruining the holidays. The typical solution for most Americans is over-the-counter medications, or prescription antibiotics. But these medications may actually make the problem worse.

Many people don’t realize that 90% of upper respiratory infections, including children’s ear infections, are viral, and antibiotics don’t treat viral infections. In addition, antibiotics have been over prescribed and therefore are not effective at killing various strains of bacteria. In fact, the overuse of antibiotics has actually helped to create new strains of bacteria that are resistant. 

And what about your alcohol-based nighttime sniffling, sneezing, stuffy head, fever medicine? They only serve to suppress your natural immune system and create a welcoming environment for toxins and bacteria, including the dreaded flesh-eating bacteria.

In regards to the flu shot, if the wrong strain is guessed, the shot becomes worthless. And with viruses such as SARS able to spread globally at lightning speed, vaccines would have to be developed and administered several times per year.

Antiviral medications have been linked with bone weakening, and they only serve to slow down the reproductive rate of the virus. The remaining virus cells can be driven even deeper into the body, causing anemia and kidney failure, while producing new mutated viruses.

This is where medicinal foods and natural remedies come into play. We’ve experienced a modernization of the old wives’ tales and grandma’s cures. We know chicken soup is good for you; it’s been researched and studied. We know certain herbs are good, why they are good, and how they work through research. Alternative medicine has stepped into the new millennium and is a very big and important player.

For several years now I’ve been researching the properties and effectiveness of spice oils, particularly oregano oil, against viruses, bacteria, fungi and even yeasts. Oil of oregano contains over 50 compounds which possess antimicrobial properties, the two active ingredients being carvacrol and thymol. Carvacrol is found in only a few herbs, notably oregano and savory, and oregano’s rich content of this antiseptic is one reason it is so unique. Phenols are potent antiseptics. In fact, synthetic phenol known as carbolic acid was for much of the 20th century used as the standard by which all other antiseptics were measured. Oregano’s phenol, carvacrol, is significantly more potent than the synthetic variety. Furthermore, oil of oregano contains small amounts (less than 2%) of yet another phenolic compound known as thymol. These small amounts of thymol work synergistically. This means oregano packs a double punch in antiseptic power and explains why it is infinitely more potent than commercial phenol in microbial-killing power.

In addition to active phenols, oregano contains a treasure trove of minerals. The major ones are calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, copper, zinc, boron, potassium, and manganese. However, not every type of oregano has these properties. The type I’ve researched is high mountain-grown oregano. It’s grown in rocky, calcium-rich soil. This type of oregano is a top source of vitamin E, containing primarily the highly touted gamma tocopherol, which has been found to be a more powerful antioxidant than the type found in a typical vitamin E pill. By weight oregano, contains more niacin than meat, and it’s a better source of calcium than milk, cheese, or dark greens. In fact, oregano is 16 times higher in calcium than milk and 7 times higher in iron than liver. So not only can it kill bacteria, viruses, fungi and yeast, but it contains a daily dose of vitamins and minerals that help keep the immune system strong.

Products containing high mountain oregano can be taken on a daily basis to protect yourself from the cold and flu. Unlike antibiotics, it would be pretty hard to take too much of it. On most products that contain oregano, such as Oregamax and Oregacyn, there is a recommended daily dosage of two capsules. This is a good amount to take. If one is already sick, you could safely double, or even triple that amount for a period of two to three weeks. There are many different products containing oregano and combinations of spice oils. It is important to make sure that the oregano is a high mountain grown variety that has been tested and researched. Some other suggestions for using oregano are to take the oil and put a dropperful in liquid soaps to ensure antisepsis. There is also a product called Germa Clenz that contains several spice oils, including oregano, which can be sprayed on surfaces and in the air as a disinfectant. 

Some other natural remedies you can use to combat the cold and flu are:

1. Clove and cinnamon tea, it will soothe a sore throat and eliminate bacteria.
2. Papaya, rich in enzymes can help eliminate stomach problems.
3. Have several bowls of homemade chicken soup!
4. Gargle with salt water or preferably vinegar, 3 to 4 times daily.
5. Eat mainly fresh fruits and vegetables.
6. Avoid solid foods such as meats or starches.
7. Avoid caffeine, sugar, and alcohol.

Dr. Cass Ingram is one of the world’s leading experts in natural remedies and the antimicrobial effectiveness of wild oregano and other spice oils. He holds a D.O. from the University of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences, and is the author of 13 books, including “The Cure is in the Cupboard”, “How to Eat Right and Live Longer” and “Natural Cures for Killer Germs” His books teach people how to strengthen their immune systems against killer germs. For more information on Dr. Cass Ingram’s research and books call 1-800-243-5242.