Natural Flu Fighters

Every year when the official “cold and flu” season rolls around, it can feel like the bell ringing for the start of a wrestling match. Between antibacterial hand gels and soaps, plus the constant nagging to “get your flu shot,” you might feel overwhelmed.

In my opinion, flu shots are notoriously ineffective and can even cause harm in some people, and the flood of antibacterial products everywhere has, more than likely, simply served to create stronger bacteria. In addition, most commercial antibacterial soaps contain cancer-causing chemicals. Hand washing is good prevention, but good old natural soap and warm water are the best way to go.

The reality is, you can catch a flu or cold any time of year. So what can you do to avoid the lost work time, inconvenience, and discomfort?

I have found a natural solution that works, using the concentrated oils of herbs that have long been considered to be some of the best bacteria and virus fighters around. Concentrated plant oils are up to 100 times more potent than botanical extracts, and are some of the most powerful agents known in natural medicine for increasing immunity and killing pathogens. In this Terry Talks Nutrition®, we will look at a formula that succeeds where others fail.

Plant Oils for Internal Use – Powerful and Concentrated

Concentrated plant oils, also known as essential oils, have long been used topically for a variety of health issues. However, there are some specially prepared concentrated plant oils that are safe for use internally, and have amazingly potent effects in the body. These plant oils are verified for correct plant, species, botanical markers, and human safety. I would not use a plant oil internally unless it has been verified. In this group of potent plant oils, there are very effective flu and bacteria fighters. A great combination to battle viruses uses Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora), Myrtle (Myrtus communis), Thyme (Thymus saturoides), and Bay Leaf (Laurus nobilis) concentrated plant oils.

All of these flu-fighting herbs are exciting and work well together, but one in particular – Ravintsara – has tremendous benefits. Ravintsara is a variety of Cinnamomum camphora, introduced to Madagascar over 150 years ago. This evergreen tree grows up to 90 feet tall, and is typically found in the highlands and southern tip of the island nation. While the Asian varieties of this tree are used to provide camphor oil, the trees in Madagascar have naturalized over time, and the difference in soil, growing conditions and climate have given their oils a different chemical profile. In this case, ravintsara oil contains high levels of 1,8 cineole (giving it a scent much like eucalyptus) and provides powerful immune support.

Unlike herbs that work by stimulating the immune system, ravintsara actually destroys bacteria and viruses, ridding the body of these invaders altogether. Ravintsara is even being considered as a commercial antifungal agent for other natural products and foods, because it is so powerful and much safer than synthetic chemicals.

There is emerging research on the Asian varieties of the plant that show strong anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor potential, so it will be exciting to see if the Madagascar ravintsara shows some of the same effects.

Of course, for the immune system, ravintsara oil is one of my top recommendations for treating all types of bacterial and viral illnesses – from common colds and the flue to yeast overgrowth, pneumonia, ear infections, sinus infections, and more.

I recommend using ravintsara oil that has been proven safe for consumption internally, combined with other strong botanical ingredients that help fight viruses and bacteria. But should you need to use this herbal powerhouse topically, simply open a softgel and apply.

Myrtle (Myrtus communis) is another botanical used in traditional medicine throughout the Mediterranean. The leaves from this evergreen shrub produce a powerful essential oil that is a strong antioxidant, has been used as an antiseptic and antibacterial agent, and is excellent for treating bronchial and lung infections.

Myrtle essential oil has been well-studied and sold in Europe for more than 75 years. In fact, during placebo-controlled trials, people with sinus infections treated with myrtle concentrated oil felt significantly better within an average of six days.

Myrtle provides some of the same key compounds found in ravintsara, including 1,8 cineole. The cineole stimulates tiny, fluttering projections in the sinus cavities called cilia to move mucus along more quickly, helping clear out mucus and drain the sinus passages.


Myrtle essential oil is strong. In a scientific study, it held its own against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the primary cause of tuberculosis, which has made an alarming comeback. Additionally, myrtle oil has been tested as a natural food preservative for lettuce and tomatoes, reducing Salmonella counts and opening up a whole new opportunity for organic growers. So here again, myrtle shares something in common with ravintsara, being a powerful natural preservative. What a great opportunity for our health! After all, who wants to use chlorine on food when you have something this good and natural instead?

The thyme I recommend in this combination, Thymus satureioides, is a different species than the thyme you may use as a seasoning or, for that matter, as a natural medicine for digestion and other ailments. This species is another strong botanical to have on your side during cold and flu season.

As a concentrated essential oil, Thymus satureioides is also a strong antibacterial, fighting a variety of strains, including Staphylococcus aureus (the cause of staph infections) and Escherichia coli (the cause of food poisoning and many emergency room visits by the very young and the elderly).

Bay, also known as Laurel (Laurus nobilis), is an evergreen shrub that, like thyme or myrtle, is native to the Mediterranean region.

Bay has been shown to fight methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and vancomycin-resistant enterococci (VRE). This is important, because MRSA is a huge concern in hospitals. Most people carry some Staphylococcus aureus on the surface of their skin, but it can enter the body from cuts or even breathing tubes. When you hear about people with staph infections who have recently been in the hospital, this is what has usually happened.

Vancomycin-resistant enterococci are another bacteria that results from people being on antibiotic treatment for extended periods. While enterococci are found naturally in the intestines, they can cause infection, too. If someone is treated with vancomycin and develops a resistance, they are even more at risk. The fact that humble bay can have an effect here is just further evidence of how truly valuable our herbal medicines are.

I think it’s fascinating – but not surprising – that the herbs that were held in high esteem by our ancestors as both food and medicine (“Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food” as Hippocrates said), are beginning to be appreciated by modern science. In some ways, we are slowly catching up and in others, we’re offering more advancements in natural medicine than our forebears could have dreamt of.

Fighting the flu, stopping colds, and battling bacteria doesn’t mean you have to opt for dangerous over-the-counter drugs, vaccines of limited value, or buckets of sanitizer. These four simple ingredients give you a strong defense for the season. I recommend a 200 mg combination of ravintsara, myrtle, thyme, and bay concentrated plant oils in a softgel that you can take once daily, or up to three times if need be.

Remember, concentrated oils are strong – up to 100 times more powerful than herbal extracts, and they’ve been certified to be safe for internal use and contain the beneficial key compounds you need.

This time of year you can’t be too prepared, so picking up this combination is a must. After all, 1 in 5 people get the seasonal flu, and some estimates say that about 1 billion people suffer from colds each year. You can beat the odds this year with these tremendously powerful essential oils, naturally.


Terry Lemerond Author and Educator, has 40 years experience in the health food industry as an owner of several health food stores and nutritional manufacturing companies. Follow him at Terry Talks Nutrition.

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