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Influenza, also known as flu, is the clinical condition that results from infection with influenza viruses. The main effects of the influenza viruses are on the upper respiratory tract, the nose and throat, with possible spread and involvement of the lungs and bronchi. The disease is highly contagious and it has the potential to cause a widespread epidemic, affecting a sizeable portion of a population at any time.
Influenza strikes suddenly. It usually begins with chills, fever, headache, and severe muscular pains. The patient feels miserable and weak. There is an inflammation in the nose and throat, which may spread down the windpipe to the lungs, resulting in a sore throat, cough, and running of the nose and eyes. In milder cases, the temperature rises to 390C or 1020F and in severe cases, it may go up to 400 C or 1040 F. The consequent weakness and fatigue may continue for several weeks.
Influenza is a viral disease. It generally affects those with a toxic and run-down condition. Such a state is brought about by dietetic errors and a faulty style of living such as worry, overwork, lack of proper exercise, living in stuffy rooms, and keeping late hours. No disease germs can find lodgement and become active in the system of a person who is perfectly healthy in the true sense of the term. Influenza is passed on with ease from the affected person to many others who are also in an equally low vital state.
The use of long pepper is one of the most effective remedies in the treatment of influenza. Half a teaspoon of the powder of long pepper, mixed with two teaspoons of honey and half a teaspoon of juice of ginger, should be taken thrice a day. This will help greatly if taken in the initial stages of the disease. It is especially useful in avoiding complications which follow the onset of the disease, namely, the involvement of the larynx and the bronchial tube.
Garlic is an excellent remedy for influenza. It is useful as a general antiseptic and the patient should take as much as he can bear.
Turmeric is valuable in influenza. A teaspoon of turmeric powder should be mixed in a cup of warm milk and taken three times a day. It will prevent complications arising from influenza, and also activate the liver which becomes sluggish during the attack.
Onion is also an effective remedy for influenza. Equal amounts of onion juice and honey should be mixed, and three or four teaspoons of this mixture should be taken daily in the treatment of this disease.
Ginger is an excellent remedy for influenza. A teaspoon of fresh ginger juice, mixed with a cup of fenugreek decoction and honey to taste, is an excellent diaphoretic mixture which increases sweating and reduces fever in this disease. The fenugreek decoction may be prepared by boiling one tablespoon of fenugreek seeds in half a litre of water, till it is reduced by one third.
The juice of grapefruit has proved useful in this disease as it tones up the body and the digestive tract
Another effective remedy for this disease is the green leaves of the basil plant About one gram of these leaves should be boiled along with some ginger in half a litre of water till about half the water is left This decoction should be taken as tea. It gives immediate relief.
Fumigation of the burnt flour of finger milIet is useful in influenza. It should be inhaled gently in the treatment of this disease. It will increase the blood circulation in the nasal mucosa, reduce local congestion, and open up the stuffed nose.
In the acute stage of influenza, the patient should abstain from all solid foods and only drink fruit and vegetable juices diluted with water on a 50:50 basis for the first three to five days, depending on the severity of the condition. After the fever subsides, the patient may adopt an all-fruit diet for two or three days. This may be followed by a fruit and milk diet for a further two or three days. Thereafter, the patient may adopt a well-balanced diet of natural foods, with emphasis on fresh fruits and raw vegetables. He should avoid spices and condiments, alcohol, tobacco, strong tea and coffee, highly seasoned meats, over-boiled milk, pulses, potatoes, rice, cheese, and refined, processed, stale, and tinned foods.
A warm-water enema should be taken daily during the first three to five days of the treatment.
During the course of the fever, the natural way of reducing temperature is by means of cold body packs, which should be applied several times a day. The pack is made by wringing out a sheet or a large square piece of linen material in cold water, wrapping it right round the body and legs of the patient, and then covering it completely with a blanket. The pack can be kept for an hour or so, and the body should be sponged with tepid water after removing the pack. The patient should be kept in bed and should stay there till he is well again.