The flu, or influenza, is a viral illness that affects the respiratory tract including your nose, throat, lungs and bronchial tubes (the airways that lead to the lungs). Mild cases of the flu can be confused with the common cold, however, the flu usually causes a more serious illness.
Symptoms of the flu can include coughing, sore throat, muscle aches, fatigue, and headache. Flu symptoms tend to start suddenly and be accompanied by a high fever.
What’s more is that the flu is extremely contagious. When someone infected with the virus coughs or sneezes, microscopic droplets can travel up to six feet and be inhaled by another person.
Plus, most people spread the flu before they experience symptoms. So it’s important to remember that a healthy immune system can fight off and prevent the flu virus from affecting you. And having a depressed immune system can lead to the flu.
Luckily, if you do happen to succumb to it – natural flu remedies can help!
Some studies show it helps fight viruses, like the cold. While zinc doesn’t appear to prevent colds, it may help shorten their length and lessen the severity if you take it within 24 hours of the first symptoms.
You should continue to take zinc for five days.
Vitamin C is well known for its immunity-boosting properties. It plays an important role in your body and has many health benefits. Along with limes, oranges, grapefruits, leafy greens, and other fruits and vegetables, lemons are a good source of vitamin C. Adding fresh lemon juice to hot tea with honey may reduce phlegm when you’re sick. Drinking hot or cold lemonade may also help.
Most outbreaks of influenza happen in the fall or winter, which is also when your vitamin D levels drop.
Dr. Gerry Schwalfenberg, MD. was alarmed by the side effects that his elderly patients were experiencing when they took antiviral drugs, so he turned his focus to vitamin D. Nursing home residents in particular can have very low levels of vitamin D, and when he started to give his patients vitamin D supplements he saw fewer cases of the flu.
Research has confirmed that catching a cold or the flu is often a direct result of Vitamin D deficiency. Having good levels of Vitamin D significantly strengthens your immune system against colds, influenza, and other respiratory infections. It is also an excellent antimicrobial agent.
Of course, the best source of Vitamin D is from the sun, but when that isn’t doable, it is recommend taking 1,000-2,000 IU daily during flu season. You can up the amount to 5,000 IU during the flu to optimize immunity for adults.
2. Hot Herbal Teas
Add fresh lemon juice and honey to soothe a cough or sore throat. Breathing in the steam relieves congestion, while swallowing the fluid soothes your throat and keeps you hydrated.
Black and green teas – Have the added bonus of being loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants, which may stave off colds, as well.
Chamomile – An absolute staple for our kids. Chamomile is calming and seems to help children sleep. It tastes great and is easy to get kids to take.
Peppermint – Great for all digestive disturbances and for calming a fever. It is antimicrobial and antiviral and kids usually love the taste.
Ginger – As far as the flu is concerned, ginger strengthens your immune systems and helps you fight off infection with its antimicrobial properties. (It even kills the germs that cause bad breath!) Plus, ginger is renowned for preventing nausea and vomiting– symptoms that can occur with a bad case of the flu! Also, ginger has the power to stop the spasm of coughing.
Yogurt & Probiotics
Probiotics are “friendly” bacteria and yeast that are found in your body, some foods, and supplements. They can help keep your gut and immune system healthy, and research indicates that probiotics may reduce your chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection.
For a delicious and nutritious source of helpful bacteria, include yogurt in your diet. Besides its potential benefits for your immune system, yogurt is a healthy snack that provides plenty of protein and calcium.
It's long been known as a germ fighter. In fact, over 5,000 studies have shown that garlic can provide a whole host of health benefits. Including naturally helping your body recover from a variety of illnesses and ailments.
Garlic also contains vitamins B1, B2, B3 and B6, as well as folate, vitamin C, and zinc, which all boost your immune system. Plus, the sulphur in garlic flushes toxins from your system.
Please note: The origin of your garlic is very important! Chinese garlic may be cheaper than local garlic, but it could be very damaging to your health. There have been reports of quality, consistency, and safety issues with Chinese garlic. In fact, some reports claim Chinese garlic is regularly bleached with chlorine and fumigated with pesticides. That’s not a cocktail of toxins you want in your body! To be on the safe side, we recommend buying local, organic produce whenever possible. To differentiate between Chinese & local garlic, Chinese garlic have roots removed, leaving a shaved look. Also, Chinese garlic doesn't have that strong pungent taste.
Oregano & Thyme
Although oregano is best known for giving pizza and pasta an extra kick, Patrick Fratellone, MD, a leading integrative medicine doctor and registered herbalist with the American Herbal Guild, recommends reaching for this herb to treat a hacking cough. “Oregano is a powerhouse of flu-fighting properties, since it’s antibacterial, antifungal, and an antioxidant, and it can also be used as an expectorant to treat lung or respiratory conditions,” says Dr. Fratellone.
Thyme is a lovely aromatic herb in the mint family that’s easily cultivated, and it is probably in your kitchen cabinet right now. “Thyme is a powerful antimicrobial remedy that has volatile oils, like thymol and tannins, which work for spasmodic coughs and for fighting sickness,” says clinical herbalist Arielle Hayat of the Alchemist’s Kitchen. “It’s antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral, so it can help you sweat out a cold, and also work on supporting digestion (like other herbs in the mint family),” she says.
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