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Peppermint, a very helpful herb for flu and many health promoting applications

Peppermint is classed as a stimulant herb, the most pungent of all the mints. Dr. Christopher also recommended it as a marvelous antispasmodic, which can give tone to the entire body as well. It is a soothing sedative for nervous and restless people of all ages, promoting relaxation and sleep--a wonderful combination of characteristics. On top of all that, it is a very delicious and welcome tea.


Peppermint is used for most of the minor ailments that plague people. It is a prime remedy for colds and flu. The classic formula for these ailments, which is said to break a fever quickly, is a combination of equal parts of peppermint and elder flowers. This is made in a tea and given hot to the sick person, who goes to bed and keeps warm until he begins to sweat. Sweating always breaks the fever (and that is why we hurry to make the patient sweat; dry fever kills, but a moist, sweating fever kills germs and brings the patient to better health than he was before the illness). You can also make hot cups of tea, as strong as you like, for the same purpose, without the elder flowers. The formula is soothing for restlessness and nervousness that often accompany the onset of illness; it can be used to calm people of any age no matter what reason their nervousness.

In place of aspirin or other inorganic, harmful painkilling drugs, take a cup of strong peppermint tea, lying down for a little while. It should relive the pain quickly; if need be, take two or three cups. This strengthens the nerves instead of weakening them as so many of the drugs do. Furthermore, it has been shown that aspirin destroys some of the bacteria-resistant protection in man; peppermint tea, on the other hand, only strengthens the person against disease.

For severe pain, Shook recommended a strong decoction of peppermint. This was made by mixing 3 ounces of peppermint leaves, cut, in 1 quart of hot distilled water. This was covered and let stand for two hours. Bring to a boil, then simmer slowly for five minutes. Add 4 ounces glycerine and again simmer for five minutes. Strain, cool, and bottle. This is given when a person suffers pains and feelings of discomfort in the stomach and abdominal region without knowing the cause.

This brings us to the other most common use of peppermint, the relief of gas in the system. Many people, because they lack sufficient enzymes, or do not chew their food properly, or eat improper combinations of foods or improper foods, suffer from flatulence. Some foods, such as the legumes, contain chemicals which cause gas formation in the system (although certain methods of cooking them can reduce the gas considerably). However, many people take a cup of Peppermint tea after meals as insurance against flatulence. Taken with meals, it will assist digestion generally and is much a preferable beverage for everyday use instead of coffee or tea, which hinder proper digestion and cause health problems generally. The mint will get rid of a queasy stomach and nausea; for this purpose it is often mixed with chamomile, which has pain reducing and relaxing properties as well. Many of us have experienced sudden, sharp pains in the abdomen, which are often caused by pockets of gas cramping in the system. Peppermint relieves these almost immediately; it is therefore a good remedy for colic in infants. The leaves can be slightly warmed and bound on the infant's abdomen, which is a good method especially in cases of small infants who cannot tolerate the proper amount of tea.

Peppermint is a powerful stimulant, and will bring the body to its natural warmth, helping in cases of sudden dizzy or fainting spells, with extreme coldness and a pale countenance.

It is given in cases of diarrhea, and some doctors consider that it is one of the surest, as well as the simplest, remedies for this complaint. As soon as the diarrhea appears, drop 15 drops of essence of Peppermint in a cup of hot water, and sip with a spoon as hot as can be borne. Repeat every three hours until cured. The essence of Peppermint is also valuable in a nervous sick headache, such as a migraine. To a cupful of water add one teaspoonful of the essence; saturate a cloth with it and apply to the head and temples. For many persons this gives quick relief. As soon as the cloth becomes dry, wet the cloth again. This is one of the few herbs that the oil and essence are used without danger of overdosing, although they should always be mixed with water for internal use.

The oil of Peppermint can be applied, straight, to an aching tooth while awaiting a trip to the dentist. It works, like oil of Cloves, to relieve the pain.

To make an excellent liniment for reducing the pains of rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, stiff and swollen joints, congestion of the chest, sore throat, and so on, including sores, even purulent sores and gangrene, Dr. Shook recommended making Liniment of Peppermint. To do so, heat 1 pint of pure olive oil, and add to it 1 dram (teaspoonful) of oil of Peppermint, 1 dram, menthol crystals, and 1 dram of flowers of camphor. Mix in a warm jar or bottle, shaking until dissolved. Let stand until cool, then keep in a cool place. This can also be used to reduce varicose veins, clear up acne, boils, abscesses, eczema, etc.

Of course, one of the nicest uses of Peppermint is culinary. Euell Gibbons pointed out that to him Peppermint wasn't a medicine, but a delightful food. He had samples of wild mint analyzed for vitamins A and C and found that the freshly picked plant, had, on the average, approximately as much vitamin C as the same weight of oranges, and more carotene, or provitamin A, than do carrots, making this herb an excellent source of both vitamins (Gibbons:74). Instead of just an occasional garnish or flavoring you can use mint freely in your diet. In the near East, it is the main ingredient of salads, some of the best Gibbons has ever eaten, he said. Add a quantity of finely-chopped mint to almost any tossed salad, for it seemed (to him) to combine well with all salad materials. It must be chopped very fine, and the salad must be thoroughly tossed, but don't be afraid to add enough mint. When it is tempered by oil and vinegar and mingled with the flavors of other greens, it takes at least a half-cupful of chopped mint to properly flavor a big bowl of salad.

Peppermint vinegar is made by filling a bottle with clean, freshly picked peppermint. Cover with apple cider vinegar and let steep for two weeks; strain off the vinegar. A small fresh sprig of mint can be added to the final bottles for beauty and quick identification. In small, decorative bottles, this is a lovely Christmas gift.

A good beverage is made by mixing cold Peppermint tea with apple juice and chilling. Mint ice cubes, frozen with a small sprig of mint in the center, make this a party drink.

Some people add cold Peppermint tea to their pie crusts instead of using Ice water. It makes a good flavor, subtle but pleasant.

Finely-chopped mint is wonderful added to fresh-fruit salads. You can garnish the combination with a few mint leaves.
I am a health care professional and I am not in favor of flu shots. Consistently I see that people who get them are the ones that get sick and when they do they are just plain more sick that others not having had the jabs.

If so few health care workers defer on the shots, perhaps the frustrated Dr. Schaffner might try thinking about just why that is rather than blindly following a CDC directive.

It is sort of the same in terms of the high percentage of health care workers who would not choose standard chemotherapy for cancer treatment.

The key point is to keep your immune system strong and healthy so you do not contract the flu. There are many effective ways to do this and starting with sound nutrition and proper hydration is the ground floor to your success.

Related to flu is not to get antibiotics if you think you are sick. Let you health care provider help you make this decision but remember that viruses do not respond to anti-biotics and it opens the door to your reduced immune function.

Discovering new anti-biotics in the lab is of course the standard approach, and while this may be effective, we are not addressing the core issue that's been around as long as I can remember since I join the health professionals in the 1960s.

The core issue is how do you change the culture of over exposure to anti-biotics and leading to resistance, one more time.

Think about what you can do for your health. Maybe you should ask why it is that that want you to keep getting additional shots when years ago only one was sufficient for life.

Consider too that the inhaled vaccines, especially flu, make you contagious for about 10-14 days so you really have to quarantine yourself as not to expose others to the risk of contracting flu.

There is a lot you aren't told.

But thank goodness some one other than me decided Airborne was not beneficial. Things that are really helpful include vitamin C, vitamin A, echinacea, peppermint, ginger, garlic, oregon grape root, high quality nutritional yeast, Millenium CF, and other natural remedies. Sound nutrition and more than average hydration count too.
Flu shots a tough sell to health care workers
By Associated Press Writer Melanie S. Welte, Thu Oct 16, 2008
DES MOINES, Iowa – Operating room nurse Pauline Taylor knows her refusal to get a flu shot is based on faulty logic.

But ever since she got sick after getting a shot a few years ago, she's sworn off the vaccine.

"I rarely get sick. The only thing I could narrow it down to is that I had gotten this shot," said Taylor, who works at University Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City. "I know that it's not a live virus. It just seemed pretty coincidental."

Such stories frustrate Dr. William Schaffner.

As chairman of the Department of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University, he hears that kind of talk frequently and knows it's in part to blame for a surprising statistic — nearly 60 percent of health care workers fail to get a flu shot.

That's despite recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all health care workers get vaccinated, from hospital volunteers to doctors.

"It is a professional obligation on the part of health care workers to make sure that they are as protected against influenza as possible," Schaffner said.

Schaffner argues that getting vaccinated for the flu should be standard for doctors and nurses, just like washing their hands. That's because the flu virus can be spread so easily.

"Being in close proximity to patients, having conversations with them, bending over their bed, seeing them in the clinic while you're doing procedures, you would be breathing out viruses and spreading influenza into your patients," said Schaffner, who is also president-elect of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases.

The nonprofit group educates the public and health care industry about the causes, treatment and prevention of infectious diseases. It gets about 75 percent of its budget from major vaccine makers, but executive director Len Novick said the money comes with no strings attached.

Despite the attention given to the problem, there are few well documented cases of flu outbreaks caused by health care workers.

Schaffner said that's because it's tough to prove sick health care workers are to blame for hospital outbreak.

According to the foundation, likely cases of flu outbreaks between health care workers and patients include:

• 19 babies in a neonatal intensive care unit in Ontario, Canada, infected in 2000; one died. Health care workers, only 15 percent of whom were immunized, were the likely source.

• 65 residents of a nursing home in New York got the flu during the 1991-1992 flu season, and two died. Only 10 percent of health care workers had been vaccinated before the outbreak, according to a report by the CDC.

Schaffner said health care workers opt not to get vaccinated for the same reasons others are hesitant. Some also don't realize how easily they can spread the disease, sometimes before they know they're infected or even if they have only a mild case.

And, he said, there's the "myth" that you can get flu from the vaccine.

The CDC recommends that health care facilities offer free flu vaccines to employees annually at work, and that hospitals obtain signed statements from workers who refuse.

The CDC also recommends a flu shot for people age 50 and over, the chronically ill, and women who will be pregnant during the flu season. This year virtually all children from 6 months to 18 years were added to the list.

Several states have laws requiring hospitals to make the vaccines available.

In Iowa, University Hospitals requires documentation that all health care workers were offered the vaccine, but workers are free to decline, as Taylor, the ER nurse, did. Dr. Patrick Hartley, who heads the hospital's employee health clinic, said in the last flu season, 84 percent of employees got their flu shots.

At Allen Hospital in Waterloo, Iowa, the flu shot is mandatory for those with direct patient contact and recommended for everyone else. Those with allergies to the vaccine or other conditions can take a pass, but they must supply a note from their doctor. The hospital says the vaccination rate is 93 percent.

Some hospitals take a tougher stand on vaccinations.

In Seattle, at Virginia Mason Medical Center, even sales reps, vendors and volunteers must be vaccinated unless they seek exceptions for religious or medical reasons. Even then, those who don't get a shot must wear a mask whenever they are in the hospital during the flu season.

About 99 percent of the hospital's more than 5,000 employees were vaccinated.

Dr. Joyce Lammert, the hospital's chief of medicine, said they lost around seven employees when the policy took effect four years ago.

"A lot of reasons we heard about people not wanting flu shots was all about them — it's my freedom, I don't want to get it, I get sick when I get it," Lammert said. "Now, the culture has really changed to thinking about patients. This is what we do to protect our patients."

Lammert said patients should ask their doctors if they've gotten their flu shot.

"I wouldn't go to anybody who didn't," she said.
On the net: CDC flu information:
U.S. study points to strong new class of antibioticsThu Oct 16, 2008
CHICAGO (Reuters) – Three naturally occurring antibacterial compounds hold promise for a new class of antibiotics, offering hope for fresh weapons against infection at a time when older drugs are losing their punch, researchers said on Thursday.

The new agents, reported in the journal Cell, may even provide a quicker cure for tuberculosis, which could help people stick to the prescribed therapy better and reduce the development of resistant strains.

"The three antibiotics are attractive candidates for development as broad spectrum antibacterial agents," said Richard Ebright of Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Ebright and colleagues showed how the three antibiotic compounds -- myxopyronin, corallopyronin and ripostatin -- block the action of bacterial RNA polymerase, an enzyme needed by bacteria to unlock genetic information from DNA needed to make proteins.

Blocking this enzyme kills the bacteria, they said.

All three compounds are naturally produced by some bacteria for use in a kind of chemical warfare against other bacteria. The agents work by taking advantage of a design flaw in bacterial RNA polymerase.

"RNA polymerase has a shape reminiscent of a crab claw, with two prominent pincer-like projections," Ebright said in a statement.

"Just as with a real crab claw, one pincer stays fixed and one pincer moves -- opening and closing to keep DNA in place."

All three antibiotics work by jamming the pincer hinge, keeping the bacteria from letting DNA into the enzyme. Without the needed genetic code, the bacteria cannot make proteins.

This understanding has allowed the researchers to find ways to tinker with the chemical structure of the antibiotic targets to make them even more potent.

The compounds appear to work against a broad range of bacteria, including the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, which infects about a third of the world's population.

Current TB drugs known as rifamycins also act on RNA polymerase, but they do it in a different way.

"As a result, these antibiotics can function simultaneously with rifamycins and can be co-administered with rifamycins for more rapid clearance of infection," Ebright said.

(Reporting by Julie Steenhuysen, editing by Will Dunham)
Copyright © 2008 Reuters Limited

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