Lying in bed, coughing, sneezing, and feeling generally rotten, does that sound familiar? Then you probably have the flu. The flu can completely zap your energy, leaving your confined to your bed for a full week. Luckily, there are several natural remedies that can help you beat the flu.
by Daisy Luther
Despite your best efforts at prevention, sometimes the flu just happens. If you work with the public or have children in school, you and your family will be exposed, and sometimes those viruses are simply tougher than your immune system.
Transmission rates are increasing to a worrisome point, according to the CDC.
When someone in your home is sick, one of your first goals is not to pass the illness on to other family members. The other priority is treating the sick people in the house with remedies that strengthen them rather than weaken them.
Containing the Illness
Its important to make an effort to contain the illness. Despite your best efforts, it may not work, but its worth a try.
Id like to note that antibacterial products are highly controversial. Its my belief that the problem is the overuse of antibacterial products that causes the issues. I believe that if used judiciously, …
Elderberry may also help reduce the symptoms of cold and flu and shorten the duration of the flu by as much as three days, according to UMMC. The product used in one study was Sambucol, a combination of elderberries and vitamin C, so it wasn’t clear if it was the elderberry alone, or the combination, that had the effect. In a study released by Retroscreen Virology in 2006, a British medical institute associated with Queen Mary College at the University of London, researchers determined that Sambucol was at least 99 percent effective against the avian flu virus H5N1 and significantly neutralized the ability of the virus to infect cells in culture.
Elderberry syrup or extract can be mixed with hot water to make a tea. It can also be added to sparkling water and served cold for a refreshing drink that will soothe a scratchy throat. Learn more about the benefits of elderberry extract.
Specifically, you want to stock up on raw honey, rather than pasteurized. When honey is heated during the pasteurization process many of its health benefits are either lost or diminished. If you don’t have raw honey, use what you have, but when shopping, look specifically for unheated honey.
Honey is antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. This means that before you know the source of an illness (virus, fungus or bacteria) you can still begin to treat the problem.
Sprinkle honey with powdered cinnamon and take a teaspoon 3 times per day as soon as you start to feel a little tickle in your throat. This can often prevent the illness from taking hold.
Instead of reaching for the cough syrup, try a teaspoon of honey before bedtime to soothe your cough. Honey taken this way is also very soothing to sore, inflamed throats. Learn more about the benefits of raw honey.
3. Hot Peppers
Not everyone can tolerate spicy food, particularly when they are sick. However, if you can, there is no better way to clear your sinuses.
Capsaicin is the natural compound that is found in hot peppers – it’s what gives them their heat. The capsaicin can help thin mucus, causing your nose to run, and thus clearing your nasal passages. You can get a similar effect from freshly cut onions.
A spicy bowl of chili or a fiery Asian stir-fry could be just what the doctor ordered for sinus relief.
4. Green Tea
Green Tea is the perfect beverage for someone suffering from the flu. A cup of green tea that has been steeped for 3-5 minutes is loaded with immunity-boosting antioxidants. This helps your cells to fight off the germs which are making you sick.
Any hot beverage will help warm up someone suffering from chills, and you can sweeten it with honey (mentioned above) to make the drink even more powerful. As well, it’s important to keep hydrated when you have the flu and tea (of any type) will provide you with needed fluids.
Mint tea is the classic herbal tea. Mint is an ingredient in many different commercial tea blends and is much-loved for its refreshing fragrance. There are all different kinds of mint tea available. The most common are peppermint, spearmint and wintergreen. They all contain menthol, a volatile oil. Menthol is the component that gives mint that “cooling” sensation. Mint tea is anti-spasmodic and has muscle relaxant properties that can help reduce vomiting. Mint tea is very multipurpose. Mint tea can be used to aid in the following situations:
- Reduce congestion in a cold or flu sufferer.
- Reduce pain and bloating from gas.
- Reduce cramping from diarrhea.
- Act as a mild expectorant for a chest cold or bronchitis.
- Induce sweating, the body’s natural cooling mechanism. This is a natural way to reduce a fever.
- Relieve nausea without vomiting.
6 & 7. Garlic and Onions
Both garlic and onions contain the compound allicin, a powerful flu fighter. Allicin has strong anti-viral and anti-bacterial characteristics. It is most likely the high content of garlic and onions in homemade chicken soup that gives it the reputation of a “bowl of penicillin”. In the 18th century in France, peasants drank wine with crushed garlic in it to ward off the Black Plague.
Similarly to the hot peppers, mentioned above, a fragrant soup loaded with these two ingredients can help to clear nasal passages making it easier to breathe.
Yogurt can’t be tolerated in all episodes of stomach and intestinal upsets. However, yogurt with active cultures can help to rebalance the “good flora” in your stomach and intestinal tract, making it especially valuable for treating diarrhea. Regular consumption of yogurt can actually prevent stomach viruses in the first place by making your digestive tract inhospitable to viruses.
9. Black Tea
Black tea is rich in tannins, which have been a longtime home treatment for diarrhea. You can sweeten your tea but leave out the milk until you’re feeling better.
Goldenseal capsules or extract can be used in the treatment of diarrhea. Goldenseal kills certain bacteria, like e coli, which can cause diarrhea.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory with a long history in traditional Chinese medicine for the treatment of nausea, motion sickness and morning sickness.
Ginger can be found in the form of tea, the root itself or in tablets. Keep in mind, though, if you are vomiting already, ginger, especially in the form of tea, can make the experience far more unpleasant because of worsened esophageal reflux.
Ginger tea, taken twice per day, can help relieve flu symptoms such as headache, sore throat, congestions and chills. Make the tea by steeping 2 tbsp of fresh ginger in a cup of hot water. It’s not recommended to exceed 4 grams of ginger per day – components in the herb can cause irritation of the mouth, heartburn and diarrhea if taken in excess.
When purchasing ginger tablets, read the ingredients carefully. Gravol makes a “Natural Source” ginger chewable pill containing certified organic ginger. I was really excited because you can find that in even the tiniest pharmacy. However, upon closer inspection, the ingredients listed “aspartame”. Ummm. NO, I won’t add a proven neurotoxin to my organic herbal remedy, thanks.
Several companies offer a ginger tablet remedy. However, if you go over to the vitamin section, quite frequently you can find Ginger Root. Buying it from the vitamin section, without the glossy anti-nausea advertising, can save you a hefty amount. I checked at my local pharmacy today and 90 Ginger Root capsules (500 mg) were the same price as the bottle of 20 “All-Natural Ginger” anti-nausea tablets. Both were $8.99. As well, the one in the supplement section had no additional ingredients aside from the gelatin capsule that encased the powder.
A gargle made from salt water can relieve a sore throat. As well, it can stop a budding infection in its tracks. Mix 1 tablespoon of salt with a cup of water and gargle.
Living a healthy lifestyle helps to build up your immune system so that when you do get sick, your body is able to overcome most illnesses. Eating lots of organic fruits and veggies help to ensure that your body has the essential vitamins and minerals to keep you healthy. Vitamins such a A, C, D and Probiotics help to protect your system and help to prevent and treat many sicknesses. Recent studies have shown that Vitamin D deficiency is detrimental to the body and can result in many diseases such as cancer, diabetes and even depression.