The G Tales. Echinacea & the Swine Flu

Serena Anderlini's picture

Note: This is a fictional dialog and its contents do not constitute any kind of advice. Each person is different and responses to remedies vary accordingly.

Tale # 4: Echinacea & the Swine Flu (Part 1 of 2)

By Serena Anderlini

“when we see things in [a Gaian] perspective, it becomes very easy to understand the basic principle of holistic health. If an individual is a cell in a superorganism, his or her disease cannot be a foreign agent, for all agents are part of the larger entity of which that individual is an element”

from Gaia and the New Politics of Love

The periodo lectivo is approaching and G tells me her classes are starting again. She was at the school office and found it plastered with notices discouraging people from kissing on the cheek and shaking hands.

“It’s the swine flu” she told me on the phone, “nobody wants to be held responsible for someone getting it, and so they post those disclaimers so that if you do get it, you can’t blame them.”

“But people are getting the swine flu, G,” I replied, “they’re even dying from it, haven’t you heard?”

“Of course I have” she said, “but do you think that those disclaimers really help?”

“Well, what’s wrong with reminding people to wash their hands, keep from getting too close to someone who could be contagious? I got friends who almost got it, it was scary, loads of tests, anxiety, we all got a bit nervous and wary. It was hard to keep one’s cool. But nothing really bat, it turned out everyone was ok. How about you? Anybody you know?”

“Oh yeah, my massage therapist got it, she had to quit her job. She was abject. She got depressed. She called me and I spent hours with her, then I went out and got a bottle of Echinacea for her.”

“Your massage therapist? The one who calls you mi abuela postiza, my pretend grandma?”

“Yeah, and imagine, a week earlier I had a two hour massage with her. As soon as I get into the parlor, we hug and she tells in how much pain she is. I sit her on the table and ask her to show me where it hurts. Then I work and work and work on her, the neck, the chest, the shoulders, the back.” “You mean you start massaging her?”

“Yeah, what else? She was sick, she needed the help.”

“But this was your massage time, no?”

“It was, and there I am, giving a massage to my massage therapist. Getting her well enough that she can do me, eventually. And telling her not to worry, that it’s just fine--I had offered to exchange with her many times because I knew she was overworking.”

“OMG! What a situation. And then she gets the swine flu?”

“Well, I found that out later. Meanwhile, I didn’t get anything--so no harm done. And when I hear she has it, I go out and get Echinacea for her. A little bottle.”

“Oh, yeah, I got that too. A special dosage, even though this time, with the swine flu being so potent, I didn’t really have a lot of trust in these flimsy remedies.”

“Flimsy? You know we’ve been taking it for years now. Once in a while--just so enough of it is in circulation that the immune system can respond before anything happens, before any microbe has its way.”

“Don’t tell me that you have such faith in it. I take it too, but it’s more as a way to touch wood for good luck--a superstition if you want.”

“Really? But don’t you know that it’s indigenous knowledge. Echinacea comes from the center of a daisy, it’s the powder found in there. It has been used for immune system strength by generation after generation. This has been known for centuries. It’s time-tested knowledge. Better than laboratory, because there’s so much history of it having been effective.”

“Nobody knows why though.”

“If you consider that a problem.”

“Could be a problem. Perhaps one could run some experiment as to why.”

“Or, those ultra-scientific all-knowing health authorities could simply collect data from people who regularly take Echinacea, and find out how rare the flu is among them compared to those who don’t.”

“Are you sure that’s so?”

“It is well known in the holistic health community. Everybody knows and takes it. And take a look at them—I mean people who do holistic health--they don’t call the doctor every day, they’re not afraid to get sick, they often radiate health and resist pathogens much better.”

“Yeah, I must admit their lives are not as medicalized as those of some other people I know. In any event, it sure would be worth trying to get some data. I know I don’t get the flu often. How about you, G?”

“I used to get it. Before Echinacea. When I used antibiotics. Now I don’t. And I use all kinds of remedies--there’s one for every situation, once you get the knack of it. And my daughter. A flu after a flu after a flu. Lots of antibiotics. Until she was ready to go to college. And then I said, ‘what’s the point of sending her to college if she’s always in bed?’ So we stopped antibiotics, and did Propolis topically to quench throat infections, and Echinacea when she was well, as a preventative. It was quite effective. She graduated on time and with good grades!”

“But then, why do you think people still do antibiotics so often?”

“They’re afraid, they’ve been taught not to trust their immune system. They’re used to depend on meds. Sometimes it’s as banal as the taste of these remedies. People are used to pills. A potion--with its own taste and flavor--scares them, it appears medieval to them, a witch’s brew.”

Giggling over the phone . . . “A witch’s brew” we giggle together.

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