By Dr. Hyun K. Lee

Contributing Writer

Your immune system is king when fighting off the flu or any viruses. With the annual flu season at hand, I want to let you know the importance of boosting your immune system to counteract these threats to our health and well-being. Your immune system is your major defense against getting sick or succumbing to viruses. 

A virus is a small collection of genetic code, either DNA or RNA, surrounded by a protein coat. A virus cannot replicate alone, it needs to infect cells and use components of the host cell to make copies of itself. Often, they kill the host cell in the process, and cause damage to the host organism. This is when we begin to develop signs that our bodies are being attacked and our immune system’s army begins a war within to eliminate the intruder cells. This is why we need a robust army to fight off the invading virus cells. 

If you consider your body as a country, then your immune system its military, landing the flu virus is like a declaration of war. Influenza is like a group of terrorists invading your body, and if your troops are weak and unprepared, you’re in for a fight. 

Viruses attack when your body is at a weak point. They are a crafty bunch of invaders, usually entering the body at times you don’t realize are prime.How your body reacts to the virus is in direct relation to how strong your immune system is at that time. If your immune system is strong, the terrorists will see that your military is tough, and vacate your country immediately. If your military is very weak, the war might be long and drawn out creating lasting conditions. 

However, if your military and the terrorists are similar in power, war ensues and fever, aches, and chills wrack the body. 

As a master herbologist I have studied herbs for many years and as an herbalist I have recommended the use of herbs in my practice as a Korean Constitutional doctor, in conjunction with acupuncture and various other modalities. Herbs serve as our soldiers.

Our herbs are very high quality, cleaned and boiled together to extract the essence of each. I design the mix and have them created especially for me, tailored to the individual constitutions of my patients and their specific needs. I primarily use liquid herbs, as they are distributed throughout the body quickly and easily. Taking these herbs several times a day for two weeks will substantially decrease any symptoms from viruses and build your immune system into a powerful and vigorous army to protect the body. 

The flu attacks each constitution differently, so knowing what your constitution is in advance of getting the virus can rescue you from weeks of recovery. It’s like knowing who you’re fighting, and designing a strategic elimination plan. (Constitutional typing needs to be done when the body is healthy. It is much more difficult to diagnose your type if you are ill. For about 80 percent of people, constitutional typing can be done on the first visit).

If you happen to get the flu, catching it in its early stages and visiting your doctor of Korean Constitutional Medicine can shorten your illness down to just a couple of days. Regular patients can call in advance, describe their symptoms, and pick up their blend of herbs (taken as a tea) at the office. 

Preventing the flu is your body’s best weapon of defense. Eating foods right for your constitution, getting enough rest, limiting stress, washing hands, staying warm and avoiding sudden temperature changes, and generally taking care of yourself, are the prime things you can do. But if you feel flu symptoms coming on, know that you have access to the best military for proceeding to victory. 

Dr. Lee’s office is located in the Viborg Medical Center, 2030 Viborg Road, Solvang. To make an appointment, call 805-693-5162.