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Infection

General characteristics

General characteristics

An infection is said to occur when a so called disease causing agent, or pathogen, enters the body and begins to proliferate and gain strength and nourishment from its host and causes unwanted and often harmful side effects to the host as a result of its active presence.

It would not be termed an infection if the organism does not cause disease such as the 'normal' bacteria of the bowel, mouth, skin etc. Nor would it be considered an infection (at least in my opinion) if the pathogen is present in the body without causing any symptoms or side effects. Pathogens, in the form of viruses, protozoa and bacteria for example, surround us at every minute of every day. Exposure to the pathogen does not by any means ensure that 'infection' will ensue. People can carry pathogens in their body and not develop infection, whereas some will develop infection very easily. General health, vitality and resistance varies greatly from person to person and infection, even after heavy exposure to the causative agent, is never guaranteed.

Infective organisms can be transferred in a number of ways including inhalation, ingestion (via contaminated food for example), through the blood and body fluids or through physical contact with an orifice (eys, ears, open cut, mouth etc).

When the organism begins to thrive, it releases chemicals (effectively toxins) that produce a protective response in the body such as inflammation, fever, diarrhoea, increased watery mucous secretion or cough, depending on the type of infective organism.

Identifying which infectious agent is causing the symptoms can be very important in the treatment and outcome of the infection but much can be done to reduce the effects and duration of infection through dietary changes, natural healing techniques and herbal remedies.


Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

For acute infection:

During an active infection the body will need to be nurtured and supported with fresh organic foods such as vegetables, grains, fruits, seeds, nuts and the like.

Avoid processed foods of all kinds, especially those high in sugar, refined carbohydrates, artificial additives, hydrogenated fats and preservatives.

Avoid too much animal produce, especially dairy as these tend to thicken mucous and will prolong the infection and hinder the body's natural healing responses.

Drink plenty of water and liquids in the form of herbal teas or freshly pressed vegetable or fruit juices. Warm drinks are generally more useful and healing than cold drinks.

Lemon juice in warm water is beneficial and can aid the body in fending off the infection.

Eat plenty of raw garlic, onions, ginger and the warming spices like mustard, horseradish and black pepper. These will increase the circulation, thin the body fluids, generally aid the bodies fever response and most are either anti-bacterial, anti-viral or both. make homemade soups from fresh vegetables and grains and add some of these spices to them.

If infections become chronic then reform the diet over a longer term. Follow the advise for acute infections at first then gradually increase your intake of natural fats and oils through nuts, sprouted seeds, avocados, coconuts etc. Avoid refined foods, especially carbohydrates as these weaken the body over time. Avoid alcohol and smoking and carbonated drinks as these can acidify the body, leading it more open to infection.


Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Many herbs have anti-infectious properties that are suited to specific systems or parts of the body and are mentioned under specific infections in this site such as cystitis or chest infections and also under immunity.
A general herb to increase the immune response of the white blood cells is echinacea. It needs to be either fresh/dried root or a high strength tincture (1:2) made from the root and leaves. Take a teaspoon of tincture 4 times daily or a cup of the decoction made using a heaped teaspoon of root and simmered in a cupful of water for 20 minutes. take 4 cups daily for acute infection.
A general anti-infection tea could consist of thyme, plantain, elderflowers and berries, yarrow, boneset, peppermint and sage in equal parts, up to 4 cups daily.
Dandelion root can help to shift long tern chronic infection anywhere in the body. Use the dried root in tea form.
Centaury herb is another great plant for all kinds of infections and infectious diseases.
Many infections can be stopped by eating several cloves of raw garlic daily.
Burdock root can help to boost immunity by providing nutrients to beneficial bowel bacteria. Eat as a food or take as a tea.
 
Neem leaves are a very effective way to deal with many infections when taken short term.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Manuka or a good local honey has antibacterial and anti-viral properties so add a teaspoon to herbal teas each day.
Get plenty of bed rest in a well ventilated room and stay warm and stress free.
Take a warm bath each day with a few drops of 2 or 3 essential oils in it such as lavender, thyme, tea tree, oregano, rosemary, sage etc.

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