Preventing Colds and Flu

by Andrea on September 20, 2009

preventing colds and fluA guest post by Cindy Black. For more from Cindy, stop by her blog at the Meridian Massage Institute.

There is plenty of concern these days about the H1N1 Swine Flu. I’ve been getting many questions about preventing colds and flu from friends and clients as they go to work in schools, public and private offices, retail, etc. So here we go…

It might seem obvious, but in order to prevent something, you have to act before the something strikes. Illness prevention and health support are hallmarks of alternative medicine.

The key to preventing colds and flu, as well as a host of other illnesses, is to be methodical and consistent in your use of alternative medicines.

This strategy is about health support rather than blasting away at an illness that has already taken hold. I use a combination of cell salts, herbs and essential oils.

The cell salts and herbs are things I take internally to support my already functioning immune system. The essential oils are applied externally to fend off microbes and support my respiratory system. This approach to prevention is “two pronged”–I want to keep my currently healthy self healthy while reducing the load of microbes I need to deal with. I am aiming at a strong immune system that has less to deal with, so I stay healthy and vibrant all year long.

Cell Salts

These are highly diluted mineral salts–based on the 12 essential minerals. The intention with cell salts is to supply the cells (the tiny invisible blobs that make up our bodies) with “bite sized” minerals that are essential to their functioning. The theory here is that happy cells are manifested as a happy, healthy body.

For preventing colds and flu: Ferrum Phos and Kali Mur are taken throughout the season.

Cell salts are diluted, so they are notated by the number of dilutions: 6X means that the original mineral was diluted with nine parts of lactose, then one bit of that dilution was again diluted with nine parts lactose. The “X” is the Roman numeral 10. One part mineral, nine parts lactose is 10. 6X means this dilution process was done six times. The result is a very diluted product.

From the point of view of the cell, the mineral is now bite-sized. Ever tried to eat a watermelon whole? Think about how many times you have cut down a watermelon to make it bite-sized. Cells need their food to be bite-sized too–hence the dilutions.

Each cell salt is described by its dilution. Ferrum Phos should be used at the 12X dilution, and Kali Mur at 6X. Take two tablets of each, three times a day for the entire flu season.

One great thing about cell salts is how easy they are to take. They come as little tablets. Just pop them under your tongue–they dissolve quickly, and are easily absorbed into your body. Or you can toss them into your water bottle and sip them throughout the day.


Herbs are our original medicine, used by every culture of the world for illness prevention and therapeutic purposes. There are many great herbs, formulas and companies out there. You can always consult a local herbalist for an individualized herbal recommendation that suits your needs uniquely. Another approach is to use an off the shelf product.

Planetary Formulas is a great company founded by Acupuncturists and Herbalists Michael and Leslie Tierra. Their formulas can be found in health food stores and on the web–and most importantly, they work!

The classic Chinese herbal formula for preventing colds and flu is called “Jade Wind Screen.” The basic idea is that the formula acts like an extra jacket, a “wind screen,” or “wind breaker” as we say in the west. This particular formula has been proven effective over thousands of years by the experience of herbalists and their patients. It is made of three simple herbs. Planetary Formulas call their version of Jade Wind Screen “Astragalus Jade Screen.” Astragalus is one of the main herbs in the formula.

Astragalus Jade Screen comes in tablet form, so you can easily take these with you wherever you go. I put a bunch in a little plastic bag so I can easily travel with them.

Essential Oils

These are highly concentrated plant oils from certain aromatic plants. Very potent and great smelling, essential oils are easy to use. For preventing colds and flu, I diffuse them into the air in my office and home, add to them the bath, apply to my skin diluted in jojoba oil, and use them for steam inhalations. Using small amounts every day offers a great deal of protection from microbes in the environment.

Recommended Essential Oils:
Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus
Frankincense, Boswellia carterii
Ravintsara, Cinnamomum camphora

The Plan

1. Cell Salts

  • Ferrum Phos (12X dilution) 2 tablets, three times a day.
  • Kali Mur (6X dilution) 2 tablets three times a day.

2. Herbs

  • Astragalus Jade Wind Screen — first month, take 2 tablets two times a day. After that, try dropping back to 1 tablet two times a day for maintenance. If you will be traveling, around sick people, or under stress, go back up to 2 tablets two times a day. Notice how you feel in order to find you optimal dose.

3. Essential Oils

  • Diffuse essential oils daily into the air.
  • Apply essential oil blends when you are going out into public.
  • Steam inhalations two to three times per week.
  • Add essential oils and a teaspoon of jojoba to a warm bath one to two times per week.

Eucalyptus globulus — diffuse 20 drops into the air.
Frankincense — add 2-5 drops into 1 teaspoon of jojoba in a hot bath, and diffuse 20 drops into the air.
Ravintsara — diffuse 20 drops into the air, add 1 drop into warm water for steam inhalation and 2-5 drops into 1 teaspoon jojoba to use in a hot bath.

Essential oil blend to apply to wrists and neck:
Add the following essential oils into 1 ounce (30 ml) jojoba wax:
3 drops: Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus globulus
5 drops: Frankincense, Boswellia carterii
5 drops: Ravintsara, Cinnamomum camphora

4. Wash your hands frequently.

5. Get plenty of rest.

Where to purchase these items, or just get more information:

Cell Salts — Hylands brand is reliable and available in many health food stores and on the web. Check out for good prices. Be sure to get the correct dilutions for each cell salt.

*Be sure you are purchasing cell salts rather than homeopathy. Homeopathy also uses the same dilution notations as cell salts, and has similar products.

** If you are having trouble finding FerrumPhos in 12X, you can email me to purchase it.

Planetary Formulas Astragalus Jade Wind Screen — can be found in many health food stores and on the web. Check for good prices on these products also.

Essential Oils — for essential oils.

More Information:
More ways to use essential oils: Free online Introduction to Aromatherapy course

More recipes for immune support with essential oils

Planetary Formulas Website

Leslie Tierra’s fantastic book (Healing with the Herbs of Life) is about using herbs to support your health.

Online Introduction to Alternative Medicine Class (This class costs $35 and is not to be missed!)

Want to learn more about essential oils and get certified? Try the Aromatherapy Certification Program at Aromahead Institute in Sarasota, Florida!

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Owner/Instructor at Aromahead Institute
Aromahead Institute, owned by Andrea Butje, is a premier resource for online aromatherapy classes. Andrea offers her inspired approach to online aromatherapy certification through essential oil videos and original education materials. Check out her book, Essential Living: Aromatherapy Recipes for Health and Home, on Amazon!

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Margaret September 22, 2009 at 5:36 pm

Thank you Cindy! What a fantastic and informative post!


smilinggreenmom September 21, 2009 at 4:49 pm

These are wonderful tips! I have been wanting to add in some more natural precautions, as we already take our daily Vidazorb chewable probiotic. I have read lots of info on how beneficial probiotics are being shown to be for us from helping with skin, Eczema, allergies (which ours did for our son), boosting immunities and digestion. They are amazing and taste yummy too.

I really believe that herbs and oils have lots of great benefit too and I cannot wait to try some of your tips. I was thinking about making my own soaps with oils in them…what do you think? What about homemade hand sanitizer?

Thanks again for the tips!


Admin September 21, 2009 at 4:55 pm

Hi smiling green mom!

I love putting essential oils in my soap, I use castile liquid soap and add oils. I also make a hand sanitizer with aloe vera gel and oils, works great!


Patricia Morello September 20, 2009 at 5:16 pm

Great information. Thank you so much! Working in the health field, I try and stay on top of prevention. These are great things to add to the arsenal. And although it is very elementary, hand washing, handwashing, handwashing! I also like to keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer with me when I go shopping. After touching a shopping cart handle, money and doors, I like to clean my hands right away!

Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings


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