I had some discussion with one of my contractors today who lives in southern Russia. There is quite a bit of panic in his city over the H1N1. He says that there is no vaccine and that the government is saying it is not effective in case of an epidemic. Although the reported is 3000 cases in population of 300,000 with 34 deaths, he feels it is much higher. That the government as "stopped reporting" H1N1 incidences. I asked him what he was doing - if he used any folk medicines, but he says no. He doesn't really believe in them and there is not much in the way of herbs available there. I asked specifically about Elderberry - or Elder Flower (which studies have shown to be an anti-viral) and Oil of Oregano as an immune booster and those are not things he could get. I asked if I could send him anything but he said no, if it was intercepted that he might be criminally investigated for using "drugs".
I find it ironic that herbs and "folk medicine" are considered both ineffective and also dangerous drugs.
Here of course in the U.S. we have ready access to herbs and homeopathics. They are inexpensive, although generally regarded by most who don't practice alternative medicine as weak and ineffectual. In our home we are using Elder as a preventative along with other herbs and practicing "staying balanced" nutritionally, emotionally, and with sleep and exercise. I also follow the ideas of an old Vermont doctor, Jarvis who advocates things like, as simple as they seem, hot foot baths and apple cider vinegar. He did some interesting studies with his own patients that are more than anecdotal, but not of course strictly monitored scientific studies of the sort scientists like.
I am curious if any of you want to chime in, what is the H1N1 situation in your area, and if any of your populations are turning to local folk wisdom to ward off the flu? What is the predominant attitude toward plant and "peoples" medicine?