Swine Flu finally hit India. Despite all the commotion of screening the air travelers it has struck with great intensity killing seventeen in less than a fornight. The media has been very liberal with information on swine flu explaining the symptoms, bringing all kinds of doctors to talk about the masks and treatment and telling us how to prevent further spreading of infection. The death toll and the number of infected are promptly flashed. But articles on the survivors are rare. I read another report that said out of the 1079 infected in India 55% have already been cured!

Pune (Maharashtra) is the worst hit in India so far. One morning, a Pune newspaper reported level 6 alert in Pune i.e, you can get infected anywhere in Pune and not just from the affected areas. The next day you see Puneites in all kinds of masks with consternation in their eyes. And the third day mask disposal was found to be an issue and handkerchiefs were encouraged. Media comes with doctors reassuring that there is no need to panic and that H1N1 is milder than the ‘normal’ influenza.

The symptoms of swine flu talked about in India and in the US websites are slightly different from each other. For example, if in India sore throat is reported to be a symptom of H1N1, some international sites mention it as the symptom of  common cold. To add, many people who tested positive did not even have a fever. I was totally confused. Reading more to clear my confusion killed my peace of mind. I read that even Tamiflu, used to treat H1N1 has dangerous side effects and that it was banned in Japan. And I stopped reading. At present, I am a stoic with a fatalistic attitude.

However, what you can do always is to boost your immunity. Only your natural immunity can help you during this crisis by resisting infection and thwarting the existing ones. An unhealthy body is a reservoir of illnesses while a fortified body is not virulent. If you google, you can get thousands of ideas on to boost your resistance. Protein-rich foods, lemons, raw foods and veggies, foods with zinc, vitamin A and C rich foods, garlic etc. are great immune boosters.

Giloy (Guduchi) is an Ayurvedic herb with strong immunizing properties. Herbal experts point out that Giloy (Tinospora cordifolia) may come handy in swine flu prevention. If you can believe that nectar can be found on earth from Mother Nature then Giloy it is. Ayurveda endears it as Amrita (nectar) because of its strong medicinal properties: a tonic, anti-helminthic, anti-arthritic, anti-periodic, anti-pyretic, blood purifier, diuretic , stomachic, rejuvenating, appetizing, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, cardiac, carminative, digestive and aphrodisiac. The juice of Giloy is found helpful in detoxifying the microcirculatory system while the root and bark with whey is used for respiratory troubles as in asthma and also cough.

A perennial climber it constitutes tinosporine, tinosporide, tinosporaside, cordifolide, cordifol, heptacosanol, clerodane furano diterpene, diterpenoid furanolactone tinosporidine, columbin and b-sitosterol. Other than chronic illnesses like jaundice and medical conditions like diabetes, Giloy is known to treat arthritis, food allergies and anemia. Piles, urinary disorders, skin problems, indigestion, diarrhea, conjunctivitis and more can find relief from Giloy alone or in combination with other herbs. Being a diuretic the juice of the plant is used in gonorrhea. Giloy can delay the degenerative changes in the body, protect the liver and help high-cholesterol and fever. It is also recommended for cancer patients.