Colds & Flu Season
By Alex Strande, MS., Ph.D.


 “I have picked up a bug,” is the standard explanation for why a person is feeling off-color and has the sniffles or a dose of the flu. We are all “catching” disease-associated germs all the time, but most of us are not sick. Why? The popular conception that our immune system protects us is only part of the answer. There is much more to the cause of illness than merely lack of immunity. And what causes our immune systems to fail in the first place?

There is abundant evidence that the primary cause of colds and flu is the condition of our bodies: an accumulation of toxic waste products and chemicals, and an immune system that is denied the necessary nutrients and energy for it to function properly, along with being depressed by the effects of stress and man-made chemicals.

Micro-organisms are merely the secondary agents of disease, with a substantial body of evidence indicating that they are utterly impotent in a genuinely healthy person. Although new strains of viruses are often more virulent than the old and our immune systems less prepared for them, when our bodies are ready for a “cleansing” of toxemia, the germs already in our bodies will most likely “get us” before the germs from anywhere else.

It is more difficult to catch the cold virus than most people think, according to the University of California Wellness, newsletter, March 1992. In one experiment it took 200 hours of exposure to transmit the cold virus from one person to another. Even then, only half of those susceptible to a particular virus actually caught that virus in a family setting. Robert Ornstein and David Sobel in their book, “The Healing Brain,” point out that even when we come into contact with a contagious germ, a large majority of people do not become infected with the germ and further, even in those who do become infected, the majority do not get sick.

In his book, “Man Adapting,” Professor Rene Dubos of the prestigious Rockefeller Medical Center in New York, states that throughout nature, peaceful coexistence with pathogenic germs is the rule rather than the exception. Even father of the germ theory, Louis Pasteur admitted on his deathbed that he had been wrong about germs and said, “The germ is no-thing, the soil (internal environment of the body) is everything.”

So, if we do not catch colds from other people, why do colds or flu appear to be going around at certain times? The answer is probably a combination of the following: Firstly, in cold weather, we tend to stay indoors and have less activity; we shut the windows, producing stale air, and eat more cooked, starchy food that increase toxemia. (It comes to mind that during the last 20-30 years with high-rise buildings being built with windows one cannot open, the workplace for a lot of people is a much less healthy one).  

Secondly, people tend to be more depressed in cold, gloomy weather. Thirdly, when news bulletins announce that a particularly nasty virus is around this winter, many people get sick simply because they believe they will, the well-known placebo effect in reverse. Have you heard somebody say: “I catch at least two colds every winter.” They are already programmed for it.

It is very difficult to beat the efficiency of liquid herbal extracts if the intention is to conquer the cold or flu fast. I have frequently seen people being able to shake off such infection within a few hours if they start taking liquid herbal extracts as soon as the first symptoms appear. Depending on the symptoms presented, most selected extracts to fight the common cold or flu include elecampane, white horehound, pleurisy root, boneset, echinacea, red clover, golden seal, eyebright, myrrh and elderberry, just to mention a few.

After recovery, when there is post nasal drip, cough or allergies, preferred botanicals are such as astragalus, baptisia, wild cherry bark, mullein, ribwort, grindelia, bayberry, clivers, depending on the post-viral presentation. To fight a flu effectively it may also be helpful to increase consumption of water, reduce solid foods, rest, keep warm and take garlic and vitamin C.

Colds and flu are nature’s most common and safest outlets for build-up of toxins, and warrant being allowed to run their natural courses. They are self-limiting and, if properly treated as outlined above, will leave us health-ier and feeling revitalized, as though we have had a spring-cleaning — and we have!

So do not worry too much about the cold and flu germs you are catching periodically. They may be doing you no harm after all.

Alex Strande, MS, Ph.D., is a Naturopath and a Microbiologist. His office is in Irvine, California. He can be contacted for questions and appointments at (949) 553-1882. Please visit his website at

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