September 5, 2013 | Posted in Immune System, Inflammations / Infections, Nutrition, Respiratory

Most acute illnesses are viral (sometimes bacterial) infections which are by nature self-limited.

The most common acute illnesses are respiratory: colds, coughs, sinusitis, earaches, sore throats.

We seek to get relief of symptoms faster.  Common symptom relief is suppressive, working against inflammation and fever (anti-inflammatories, anti-pyretics).  See Acute and chronic illness, and Fever.


Side effects can result.

For example, aspirin is no longer recommended during an acute illness with fever because of the possibility of developing Reye’s syndrome.  Acetaminophen (Tylenol tm) can damage the liver.  Ibuprofen and aspirin can make asthma worse.

Using non-suppressive treatments allows the acute illness to become a renewal and strengthening experience. It becomes an exercise class, strengthening the immune system, like a gym workout strengthens muscles.

When a suppressive treatment is used, an opportunity for strengthening is lost.  Nature designed human life with acute illnesses as part of life.  What is the value of an acute illness?  Many holistic physicians feel there is a detoxifying and renewal that results from acute illnesses when they are not suppressed.

That does not mean acute illnesses should not be treated. Non-suppressive treatment as described here is valuable in all acute illnesses.  If the illness is life-threatening, suppressive treatments must be used.  Sound professional judgment is required.

Warmth, rest, and cleansing form the foundation of non-suppressive treatment of acute illnesses.  Then, natural remedies guide the immune system supportively through the illness to quicker resolution.  Symptoms are relieved without being suppressed.

Warmth, rest, and cleansing are the “Big Three” that strengthen the immune system to do its best.

Warmth: Dressing warmly both prevents illness and helps acute illness resolve faster.  See Warmth and health, and Warmth organism.

Rest: Rhythm in daily life, for example with regular bedtime and breakfast time as anchors to the day, promotes health, and extra rest during acute illness helps the illness resolve faster. This includes mental rest, as we cannot think ourselves through an illness. The life forces may be directed to mental activity — such as analytic thinking, decision-making, reading, watching TV, balancing the checkbook — or they can be left free to focus on the immune system effort underway during an acute illness. This is an unconscious process. We do not want to interfere with healing by encouraging mental activity, if we can possibly limit it.

“Live like a healthy kindergartener” is another way to say this.

Healthy kindergarten life is rhythmic, includes alternating rest and activity, is not mental (ideally no TV or reading b/c the eyes are an intimate extension of the brain), and the kindergartener is warmly dressed.

Rest is most difficult for adults to accomplish, because of the many responsibilities they carry. Often a person cannot rest fully, but can make getting well the priority, and choose to let go of the least important daily commitment (eg laundry, dishes, extra hours at work, meetings) for a few days.

Cleansing: Each day we fast overnight, and break the fast (breakfast) in the morning. During acute illness, we often lose appetite. We can choose to eat less, drink hot herb teas and soups and hot lemonade, during acute illness, and we will get well faster. Everyone knows to drink more liquids when he/she is ill. In addition, a sick person should have one more than his/her usual number of bowel movements every day, no matter how much or little is eaten. When we are sick, we make toxins, and increasing bowel movements removes toxins so we can get well faster.
The white blood cells are more active when a person is overwarmed and underfed.

Acute illness is often a time of bonding too, when a person who is vulnerable must open to and trust a caregiver. Resolution of the illness results in a feeling of increased power, and renewal. These human experiences are valuable life lessons in learning to work with the body’s wisdom.  See Healing environment.

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Once the Big Three are understood, and a sick person is trying to ‘live like a healthy kindergartener,’ remedies can be chosen in two steps:

1) general immune support;     2) specific symptom relief.


Echinacea, Goldenseal, Elderberry, Astragalus and other herbs are common valuable immune strengtheners that support fighting any acute infection.   Some researchers find Echinacea and Goldenseal work best for blood groups A, B, AB, but not for group O.

  • True Botanica’s Elderberry Thyme syrup for adults 2 teaspoons three to four times daily orally for general immune support in acute illness.
  • True Botanica Astragalus Pentas for adults 20 drops are valuable general immune support in acute illness.
  • Uriel Pharmacy Echinacea Thuja for adults 10 pellets four times daily orally for general immune support in acute illness.
  • Uriel Pharmacy Astragalus e rad liquid 1% for adults 10 drops four times daily orally for general immune support in acute illness.
  • Weleda Pharmacy Echinadoron for adults one tablet four times per day orally.


Please refer to articles on the symptoms you have for specific remedy recommendations.

ASK YOUR DOCTOR:  Practitioners value Weleda prescription Echinacea comp for adults 7 drops in 1/2 teaspoon of water four times per day orally for general immune system support during acute illnesses.

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The younger the person and the sicker the person is, the more urgent is the situation, and medical support must be sought.  Careful judgment guides choosing the correct approach for the situation at hand.

Diagnosis is your foundation. Working with a trained medical provider brings best results.

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Clinical Manual of Fever in Children, El-Radhi, Sahib, et al, Springer, 2008.

True Botanica +1 800 315 TRUE (8783) (in USA)  +1 262 912 0970 (outside USA)

Uriel Pharmacy +1 866 642 2858 (in USA)  +1 262 642 2858 (outside USA)

Weleda  +1 800 241  1030 (in USA and to obtain contact info outside USA)

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