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Preventing Colds and Flu’s

sneeze cartoonThere is plenty of concern going on these days about the H1N1 Swine Flu.

I’ve been getting many questions about how to prevent the 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 deal before the something arises. Illness prevention and health support are hallmarks of alternative medicine. The key to prevention is to be methodical and consistent in your use of alternative medicines. This is a strategy of health support rather than blasting away at an illness that has already taken place.

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 dilute 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 body) 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 cold and flu prevention: 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 9 parts of lactose, then 1 bit of that dilution was again diluted with 9 parts lactose. The “X” is the Roman numeral 10. 1 part mineral, 9 parts lactose is 10. 6X means this process dilution was done 6 times. The result is a very diluted product.

From the point of view of the cell, it 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 2 tablets of each, 3 times a day for the entire flu season.

A great thing about cell salts is how easy they are to take. They come as little tablets. Just pop them under your tongue and they dissolve quickly. They are taken under the tongue in order to be absorbed easily 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 treatment. 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 cold and flu prevention 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 a 3 simple herbs. Planetary Formulas call their version of Jade Wind Screen “Astragalus Wind Screen”.   Astragalus is one of the main herbs in the formula.

Astragalus Wind 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 cold and flu prevention, 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, 3 times a day, Kali Mur (6X dilution) 2 tablets 3 times a day.

2. Astragalus Jade Wind Screen – first month, take 2 tablets 2 times a day. After that, try dropping back to 1 tablet 2 times a day for maintenance. If you will be traveling, around sick people, or under stress, go back up to 2 tablets 2 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 blend when you are going out into public
Steam inhalations 2-3 times per week
Add essential oils to warm bath 1-2 times per week

Eucalyptus globulus- diffuse 20 drops into the air

Frankincense- add 2-5 drops into hot bath and diffuse 20 drops into the air.

Ravintsara- diffuse 20 drops into the air. 1 drop into warm water for steam inhalation. 2-5 drops into a hot bath.

Essential oil blend to apply to wrists and neck:
Add the following essential oils into 1 ounce of jojoba oil:
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


Start the plan now in order to prevent colds and flu’s in the future.  I keep up this regimen during the fall and winter.

Where to purchase and more information:

Where to Purchase:

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 about using herbs to support your health: Healing With the Herbs of Life

Cell Salt information: Institute of Biochemic Medicine

To continue learning, check out the “Acupoints for Cold and Flu Prevention” video on demand.

About The Author

Cindy Black, L.Ac., LMT

Cindy Black is the Founder of Big Tree School of Natural Healing and the author of Meridian Massage, Pathways to Vitality. She is appreciated for her ability to make the complex accessible, fun, and practical.

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