“When the snows fall and the white winds blow,
the lone wolf dies but the pack survives.”
~ George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones
Winter is coming.
The season for man flu is almost upon us, and predictions for this winter are especially dire.
We should be prepared for a higher than average number of the men in our lives to be forced to their beds by this boy-biased bug.
But what exactly is man flu, and are claims of a miracle cure legitimate?
Influenza, commonly called “the flu,” can be a debilitating illness caused by a tough little virus that spreads through the air via coughs and sneezes, despite bless-yous and excuse-mes! Symptoms, ranging from mild to severe, include runny nose, sore throat, coughing, high fever, headaches, muscle pains, and fatigue.
However, with man flu, the influenza virus specifically targets masculine XY chromosome cells. The mutated man flu virus is a particularly virulent strain that sweeps rapidly and prejudiciously through male populations, particularly in densely populated urban areas, decimating the male workforce.
But why should man flu hit men harder than women? Or is the lads’ lurgy just another urban myth, like “men can’t multitask?”
According to research, testosterone is shown to be an immunosuppressant, slightly reducing the immune system’s effectiveness in men compared to that of women.
It has been theorised that men—like the males of many species—are designed by the evolutionary process to be aggressive and protective, to live hard and die young. Consequently, because men, according to Mother Nature’s previous experience, are more likely to die from violent trauma injuries than a viral infection, she has sacrificed (or perhaps compromised) the effectiveness of the masculine immune system.
Oblivious to the science, it has been unfairly suggested by a flurry of snow queens that men often exaggerate the symptoms of man flu in the hope of soliciting sympathy, extra attention, and care from their partner, female friends, or family members.
Ridiculing and shaming men when they are ill merely perpetuates the macho stereotype—the lone wolf—making it more difficult for men to be open and honest and ask for help when they really need it.
Too many men deny or hide their illnesses for fear of being seen as weak, and so delay potentially life-saving treatments.
Although some faking may undoubtedly be true of the occasional wuss, most men hit with man flu require some genuine generosity of spirit from others, in the form of tender loving care. Far better, I believe, than any synthesised medicine available from the local pharmacy.
Which brings us neatly to the mooted miracle cure.
What Mother Nature has deprived men of biologically, she has conveniently provided us with in the form of plants and herbs that effectively strengthen our immune system.
These plants and herbs can be used in soups, teas, and infusions to help us recover from illness, as well as in our general cooking and preparation of food to help prevent illness.
The old proverb, “prevention is better than cure,” is too often repeated, and then ignored.
So what does Mother Nature have growing in her kitchen garden to help prevent or cure our coughs, colds, and contagions?
Ginger root warms the body and helps break down and eliminate toxins that make us susceptible to viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Ginger tea with honey and lemon is a personal favourite.
Garlic has effective antiviral compounds in its chemical structure that help combat influenza, pneumonia, thrush, and herpes, as well as help manage high blood pressure.
Oregano contains two powerful compounds: carvacrol and thymol. Carvacrol helps fight viral infections, allergies, and parasites, while thymol has substantial antibacterial and antifungal properties.
Other antiviral plants and herbs that can help boost our immune system include olive leaf, liquorice root, calendula, elderberry, echinacea, and astragalus root.
It’s recommended you consult a qualified herbalist or natural therapist for the proper and safe use of these plant-based miracle medicines.
As flu season approaches, it’s apparent there is much we can do to help ourselves and each other through the long winter ahead.
So gentleman, if you are unlucky enough to be struck down by the boy-bug, a few days in bed being lovingly fed with Man Flu Ragu (instructions included below) can work wonders.
And ladies, next time you see a guy struggling with his health, don’t tease him or tell him to “man up.”
Perhaps the more appropriate reaction is “man down,” and show him a little love.
Recipe for Recovery: Man Flu Ragu*
- Finely chop celery, carrots, and onions.
- Fry gently with olive oil until golden brown.
- Optional addition of organic free-range chicken, cut to chunks.
- Add fresh chopped tomatoes, basil, bay leaf, and tomato puree, water, sea salt, black pepper, and love.
- Mix well, cover with lid, and allow to simmer on a low heat for 30 minutes.
*Can be eaten as a soup with added water or with less water used as a pasta sauce. Enjoy! And be well.