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Avian flu

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Hmmm. I got this in my email:

From: Jonathan Byron
"Why black elderberry may make avian flu worse, why turmeric and scutellaria my be beneficial."

I haven't checked the science at all, but if what Jonathan says is valid then all our usual flu meds are dangerous, when it's avian flu.

One thing which made me go "hmmm" was that "Nitric Oxide is produced".
If I remember my cell physiology correctly (I might not) then nitric oxide is produced all the time. Constantly. Without pause. Sure, it disappears in far less than a second, but still, it's one of the cornerstones of cell biology.

Dunno if I remember things right, though.

Less alarmist information: Bird flu


His logic is a bit too "can't see the trees for the leaves" 'y for me. In fact, it borders on "can't see the forest for the tree's leaves." I'm reminded of similar cancer and AIDS arguments.

I definitely will not be taking any of the medico treatments proffered. History speaks in the herbalists' favour.

It is true that nitric oxide is a needed metabolic product - in the right amount, at the right time. Too little, and circulatory problems like angina result. But too much nitric oxide is inflammatory and can trigger migraine or cluster headache. Nitric oxide stimulants include nitroglycerin, viagra and ginseng - nitroglycerin releases nitric oxide in the blood famous for inducing headache. Viagra can (among other places) stimulate too much nitric oxide in the eyes, where it causes a shift in color vision and temporary blindness. Ginseng is the most balance nitric oxide stimulant as some ginsenosides stimulate nitric oxide (and interferons and other inflammatory compounds) while other ginsenosides block the same. But in Chinese herbology, ginseng is never given when an excess of heat is present, as it does have a net effect of stimulating heat.

Too trees for the forest, and too leaves for the trees? Let me restate.

The H5N1 bird influenza is Different from other influenza viruses. While ordinary influenza can be fatal, the victims are overwhelmingly the very young, the very old, and those with an underlying condition. With H5N1, 30% to 70% of all people infected die.

While other influenza viruses stimulate the moderate production of inflammatory cytokines by the body and those viruses are susceptible to these cytokines, the H5N1 virus triggers the massive production of those cytokines, and that virus is resistant to them. There is evidence that when faced with this virus, the body kills itself via overproduction of inflammatory compounds.

I am raising these questions to the herbal community because most herbalists are assuming that H5N1 is just another flu virus, and should therefore respond to standard herbal antivirals. This appears to be an error of faulty generalization. It is known that some herbal antivirals (like elderberry extract) do the same thing as the H5N1 virus - it increases interferon, TNF, nitric oxide and other compounds that are already overproduced and part of the problem. While things like elderberry help with ordinary influenza, the H5N1 is not at all ordinary. History does often speak to the herbalists' favor, but only when their theory and practice are reconciled with the natural phenomena they are seeking to treat.

J Sun: That's all very nice, but it's still not a human-to-human transmittable disease, and it's anybody's guess what the to-be-mutated virus will look like - and respond to.

And no, tamiflu isn't the answer, no matter how hard you're pushing it.

Well, in my family, almost all the males were wiped out in 1919 by the Spanish Influenza epidemic (it seems very real to me because my aunt many times described how the wakes were done right in the living room in those days) including my grandfather (who was in his mid 30's), and two uncles. The lucky survivor, another of my uncles, had undiagnosed hypothyroidism and ended up being institutionalized for depression for the rest of his life (I'm supressing a deep desire to build a time machine, go back, and hit those doctors over the head with a good herbal book).

So, I am very afraid of an Avian flu outbreak. Luckily, thanks to the Internet, I know that my salvation probably lies in herbs and most certainly NOT in any government sponsored vaccination program or Tamiflu.

I realize we don't know enough yet about what form the mutated virus that eventually will infect humans will take but I'm stocking up on some Lomatium in the possibility that that might be of help.

Many thanks to Madame H. for providing this site.
I know if any useful information is learned, it will probably be here first.