influenza, bird flu, swine flu, Sambucol, immunity take care, humic acid,

Bird Flu: Preparing to Hatch?

Bird Flu: Preparing to Hatch?

© 2006 Wellness Clubs of

Dateline Manila, Philippines, September 28, 2005: "A total of 250 million pesos (4.46 million U.S. dollars) was funded to address the potential bird flu threat to the Philippines, the Department of Agriculture said Wednesday.”

Dateline Jakarta, Indonesia, September 28, 2005: "Indonesia has formed a special team to prepare for any bird flu pandemic and coordinate foreign assistance and funding for the world’s fourth most populous nation, the health minister said on Wednesday . . . Experts greatest fear is that the H5N1 virus, which has the power to kill one out of every two people it infects, could set off a pandemic if it gains the ability to be passed easily among people.”

Dateline Jakarta, Indonesia, September 28, 2005: "At least 54 people were being treated on Wednesday for suspected bird flu in Indonesia, where the disease had already claimed six lives, said officials.”

Dateline Jakarta, Indonesia, September 28, 2005: "Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik said on Wednesday that the recent bird flu outbreak had not discouraged tourists from visiting Indonesia . . . The government has targeted six million tourist arrivals next year, and 10 million by 2009.”

The "bird flu” is making headlines, but few people understand why. How do the deaths of exotic birds and a handful of humans in the Far East affect those of us who live in the United States? Should we be concerned? Will it be possible to effectively deal with the disease if an outbreak should occur, or is severe illness or death inevitable?

To answer these questions it is necessary to understand the nature of viruses in general and the behavior of the influenza virus in particular. The past, it is said, is prologue. What has occurred before is likely to happen again. Influenza outbreaks have occurred in the past, and by analyzing their development we can anticipate the progression of today’s bird flu threat.

A virus consists of a fragment of genetic material, either RNA or DNA, surrounded by a protein coat. This is usually enclosed in a lipid (fat) layer that contains combinations of sugars and proteins, called glycoproteins. It is the glycoproteins that enable the virus to penetrate the cells of its host. The origin of viruses is uncertain, but it is believed that they arise from broken pieces of genetic material in their original hosts.

Because viruses are unable to reproduce themselves outside of a host cell they are generally not considered to be alive. They do, however, have genes and pass on their characteristics to subsequent generations. It is perhaps best to state that viruses exist in a state that is somewhere between "living” and "non-living”, having the potential to behave as a living organism, but unable to do so independently.

Viral reproduction is dependent upon several successful steps. The first, and perhaps most critical, is attachment of the virus to the host cell membrane. Once attached, the virus uses enzymes to make a hole in the cell membrane through which it injects its genetic material into the host cell or enters the host cell completely. Having gained access, the virus induces the host cell to begin producing all the components necessary to make new viruses. These components are then assembled and released to infect other cells.

To conquer a viral infection, the body must not only eliminate any circulating viruses, it must kill its own cells that have become infected and are manufacturing new viruses. Mounting such an attack is a complex process.

When viral particles enter the body, some are engulfed by specialized cells called macrophages. These cells carry the particles to immune centers where they are identified as invaders. Specialized cells then spring into action. Helper T cells stimulate the production of T lymphocytes, which produce Natural Killer cells whose function is to kill infected cells. Helper T cells also stimulate B lymphocytes to produce antibodies. These antibodies attach to viruses throughout the body to signal white blood cells to engulf and destroy the viruses and any cells to which they are attached.

This process of identifying viral invaders and mounting an effective defense can take several days to become effective. This means that an invading virus can become well-established and be in large-scale reproduction before the body can effectively strike back.
Specific forms of a substance called beta glucan have been shown to be highly effective in enhancing the activity of macrophages in the body.  A product called Beta-Immune Activator from Vitality Corporation is available.  (800-423-8365 or

Vaccinations are intended to introduce potential viral invaders to the body so that defense preparations can be completed in advance. Once the body’s immune system has been placed on alert, exposure to the virus causes memory cells to immediately begin producing and dispatching Natural Killer cells and antibodies to eradicate the invaders and prevent them from reproducing. This strategy works well when the potential threat can be clearly identified, but it is ineffective when the identifying characteristics of the virus are uncertain or unknown.

Smallpox, for example, was eliminated through an intensive vaccination campaign. The last case of smallpox in the United States occurred in 1949 and the last known incidence of naturally acquired smallpox in the world was identified in Somalia on October 26, 1977. The eradication of smallpox was possible because the smallpox virus did not change in any way over time.

Influenza viruses, unlike the smallpox virus, change constantly. This makes them a moving target. The influenza strain that was prevalent one or two years ago is unlikely to present the greatest threat this year. Influenza vaccines, therefore, are based upon the "best guess” of experts regarding which strain of influenza virus will appear each year. More often than not, the experts guess wrong and the influenza vaccine (flu shot) is only marginally effective or, in many cases, totally ineffective in preventing the disease.

In temperate regions influenza cases tend to concentrate during the winter months, peaking during epidemics that characteristically last from 3 to 6 weeks. Scattered cases are usually seen approximately 3 weeks before through 3 weeks after the epidemic. In tropical regions the disease is seen throughout the year with peaks in midwinter and midsummer.

Epidemics are caused by mutations of a dominant strain of the influenza virus. Three types of the virus exist: Type A, Type B, and Type C. Type A viruses infect mammals and birds. Type B and Type C viruses affect only humans.

Type A mutates much more often than Type B, and so is more difficult to control. In contrast to the local or regional epidemics caused by mutation of an existing human Type A or Type B virus, a mutation of a Type A bird virus that facilitates human to human spread is often followed by a worldwide outbreak called a pandemic.

Influenza pandemics have been documented since the mid 19th century, occurring on average every thirty years. The most famous was the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918. This was called the Spanish Flu everywhere except Spain, where it was known as the French Flu. The origin of the virus, however, has been traced to the farming community of Haskell County, Kansas, where several cases were diagnosed in January, 1918. In March an outbreak of 522 cases occurred at Fort Riley, Kansas, where several draftees from Haskell County had been assigned. In August outbreaks began around the world. By July, 1919, twenty percent of the world’s population had been affected. It is estimated that between 25 and 100 million people died over the six month period - 2.5 % – 5 % of the population. The only area with no reported cases was the island of Marajo at the mouth of the Amazon River.

In many affected areas everyday life came to a stop as the number of citizens infected became too numerous for business to proceed. Mass graves were dug and bodies buried without coffins in many communities. The magnitude of the pandemic comes into focus when it is compared to the AIDS pandemic of today. Over its first twenty-five years 25 million people died from complications of infection by the HIV virus. The influenza virus of 1918 killed at least that many in just 25 weeks.

The source of the pandemic remained uncertain through the remainder of the twentieth century. Finally, in 2004, two groups of researchers reported how subtle changes in the shape of a protein molecule had allowed a virus initially confined to poultry to move into the human population with catastrophic results.

Influenza viruses are classified by the type of proteins on their surfaces. The H1N1 virus of the 1918 pandemic remains the most common variant to this day. Pandemics also occurred in 1957 (Asian Flu H2N2) and 1968 (Hong Kong Flu H3N2). The Swine Flu predicted for 1976 failed to reach pandemic proportions. Fears were raised over the Russian Flu in 1977 and the Hong Kong Avian Flu in 1997, but a major pandemic did not emerge.

Past experience has demonstrated that several stages of viral transmission are observed before a pandemic breaks out. These are:

  • Human infections with a new viral subtype, acquired by exposure to an animal host
  • Small clusters of limited human-to-human spread in localized areas.
  • Larger clusters of localized human-to-human spread suggesting that the virus is adapting to human hosts.

The current bird flu, H5N1, passed from poultry to humans in Hong Kong in 1997. Eighteen people were infected and six died. All chickens in the area were slaughtered. In January 2004, however, a major outbreak occurred in poultry in Vietnam and Thailand. Within weeks the virus had spread to ten countries in the region. In February 2004 the virus was detected in Vietnamese pigs, signaling further mutation. In July 2005 the first human case of avian flu in Indonesia was confirmed. That 54 Indonesians were simultaneously being treated for bird influenza virus H5N1 in September suggests that the virus is in the final pre-pandemic phase (larger clusters of localized human-to-human spread).

The rise of tourism in Indonesia is highly significant. The rapid spread of the Great Pandemic of 1918 was due in part to the new mutation, but it occurred largely because of the gathering of young men from around the world on the battlefields of Europe. With the number of tourists visiting Indonesia at 6 million a year and climbing, a H5N1 influenza strain fully adapted to human-to-human transmission could be carried around the world in a matter of days.

Virologists are in agreement that a pandemic would be far-advanced before the mutant strain could be identified and an effective vaccine prepared for administration. Additionally, the H5N1 strains identified thus far have proven to be resistant to two of the four antiviral medications approved by the F.D.A for prevention and treatment of influenza. Without an effective vaccine or drug effective for prevention of the disease what can an individual do to prepare for and deal with the virus should a pandemic arise?

First and foremost it is important to recognize that as horrific as the pandemic of 1918 was, only one-third of the population was affected in most locations. Of those infected only a fraction died of the disease. Those most likely to succumb were infants, young adults, and the elderly. Infants and elderly are most vulnerable in all influenza outbreaks. The rise in the young adult death rate during the 1918 pandemic is felt to have been due to the weakening of soldiers’ immune systems by intense training, living in close quarters in barracks or trenches, and exposure to chemical warfare agents.

The lesson to be learned is that it is important to support the immune system on a regular basis to be prepared to respond should a viral threat arise. This is accomplished by drinking pure water, eating whole foods, getting adequate rest, and taking comprehensive nutritional supplements. For a review of basic wellness strategies read the article "Back to the Basics” from the January, 2004 issue of Health By Design, which is currently available at

In addition, have supports on hand for immediate consumption should symptoms of influenza, which include high fever, severe headache and body aches, dry cough, sore throat, and extreme fatigue, appear. One that has a proven track record of stopping any influenza virus in its tracks is Sambucol. While Sambucol contains compounds extracted from elderberry it is not the same as other elderberry products. 

Sambucol was developed by an Israeli virologist, Madeleine Mumcuoglu, as a part of her doctoral research. Knowing that elderberry had been traditionally used to treat coughs, colds, and influenzas she analyzed the proteins found in elderberry and tested each for activity against the influenza B virus. Two of these proteins proved to be extremely effective in preventing the virus from gaining entry to living cells. They were able not only to coat the spikes the virus uses to attach to the cell membrane, they also inactivated the enzyme used to dissolve the membrane and gain entry to the cell.

Because viruses must gain entry to cells if they are to reproduce, keeping them from successfully doing so brings quick recovery from infection. The extracted proteins were first tested in human subjects during an influenza outbreak in the winter of 1992-1993. Twenty percent of those receiving the active extract were markedly improved within 24 hours and nearly all of the test subjects felt fully recovered by the end of the second day. In contrast, only 16 % of those receiving a placebo felt better within 48 hours and most required a minimum of six days to feel fully recovered.

Sambucol has since been tested against a wide variety of viruses, including other strains of influenza, and found to be effective against all of them. I have personally observed its effectiveness in viral infections ranging from the common cold and influenza to chicken pox and mononucleosis. It is most effective when started when the first symptoms of illness appear. This prevents cellular invasion of the virus. Since the body does not need to contend with multiple generations of the virus while gearing up its immune system, recovery proceeds quickly and smoothly.

Sambucol is available in several forms. If taken to prevent infection the recommended dosage is 2 teaspoons or 2 lozenges daily for adults and 1 teaspoon or 1 lozenge daily for children. When taken at the onset of symptoms the dosage is 2 teaspoons or 2 lozenges 4 times daily for adults an 1 teaspoon or lozenge 4 times daily for children. Two days use is generally sufficient to bring about recovery.


2013 Addendum:  Additional viral blocking supplements are Immunity Take Care and humic acid. 

Vitamins A and vitamin C are needed by the body’s immune system to effectively combat viral infections. For routine support I recommend 10,000 IU of vitamin A daily and 1,000 mg. of vitamin C twice daily for adults. Children can safely be given 10 mg. of vitamin C per pound of body weight daily. It is best to divide the total amount of vitamin C into two servings.

At the onset of symptoms the amount of vitamin A (as beta-carotene) should be increased to 50,000 IU twice daily and vitamin C to 1000 mg. every 4 hours while awake. As the symptoms subside the amount of beta-carotene may be dropped to 25,000 IU twice daily and vitamin C to 2,000 mg. twice daily. This level should be maintained for an additional two weeks.

Immune system boosters such as Echinacea are also beneficial, especially when introduced at the onset of symptoms. A recent study was widely heralded as proving the ineffectiveness of Echinacea. In the study a group of volunteers was given Echinacea and a second group was not. Both groups received an intensive exposure to the cold virus and both groups subsequently showed antibodies demonstrating that infection had occurred.

Based upon the results, the study authors concluded that Echinacea does not provide benefit in fighting viral infections. Their conclusion is not supported by the study design, however. Echinacea stimulates the immune system and helps it respond quickly when an infection occurs. No one who understands the action of Echinacea would suggest that it prevents an infection from taking place. Studies designed to compare the severity and duration of viral infections with or without Echinacea have demonstrated a significant response.

I personally prefer to use combination products such as Immunazyme, which is manufactured by Vitality Corporation. This is a combination of Echinacea, hydrastus, astragalus, vitamin A, and vitamin C. Two capsules are taken every four hours until symptoms ease. The amount is then reduced to two capsules twice daily for the duration of the 60 capsule bottle.  (800-423-8365 or

The bird flu does represent a serious threat. The final pre-pandemic phase of H5N1 appears to be developing in the Far East. The virus is perhaps one mutation away from becoming highly infectious by human-to-human exposure. Tourism and jet travel are capable of spreading the disease as effectively as the war and troop transports of 1918.

This is not cause for panic, however. Maintaining a healthy routine today and having a bottle of Sambucol (or Immunity Take Care) alongside beta-carotene, vitamin C, or Immunazyme in a cabinet ready for immediate use should allow for a speedy recovery if or when the bird flu takes flight. If the bird flu threat fails to materialize the measures above are worth remembering. Unlike vaccines, they should be effective in fighting any virus that may come your way.

2009 Addendum:  The "Bird Flu" has not mutated to allow human-to-human spread and the anticipated pandemic has not occurred.  We do, however, face the threat of a pandemic from a new H1N1 virus that has been referred to as the "Swine Flu".  This label is not accurate.  What is being called the swine flu actually appears to be a human influenza strain into which genes from a North American bird virus, an European swine virus, and an Asian swine virus have been inserted.  It is clear that this virus did not follow the classical pattern of animal to human spread I described in this article, since no epidemic was reported among pigs and the the individuals who were the first found to have gotten influenza from the reported no contact with pigs or pig farmers.  In fact, the World Organization for Animal Health has stated that the virus has never been isolated from swine. 

In addition to the measures detailed above (Sambucol, Immunity Take Care, Beta Immune Activator, humic acid, and Immunazyme) angstrom minerals and essential oils have been used effectively to stop the influenza virus.

For many years I have treated influenza and similar viral infections by having the patient drink 2 ounces of angstrom calcium followed in five minutes by 1 ounce each of angstrom silver, zinc, and copper.  I have seen individuals recover within as little as 30 - 45 minutes with this protocol.  Angstrom calcium and a combination of angstrom silver, zinc, and copper are available through E-Water in Dallas texas -

A number of essential oils have been shown to kill viruses on contact.  Three of the most effective are Thyme, Cinnamon (leaf), and Clove.  Place 3 or 4 drops of each in a small amount of water, heat the water to a temperature that generates steam, and slowly inhale the vapor for about 2 minutes.  This may be done daily during an influenza outbreak, but as little as once or twice a week may be effective in preventing infection. It is unlikely to be effective in stopping influenza if the virus has spread beyond the mucus membranes lining the respiratory tract.  The procedure is helpful if a secondary sinus or bronchial infection develops and may be repeated every 2 hours as as symptoms of sinusitis or bronchitis are present.

It is not necessary to use all of the options described.  I recommend that you purchase one or possibly two of the products so that they are available to you should you develop symptoms of influenza.  It is quite possible that supplies will run short if the expected pandemic materializes.

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