I’ve met a couple of people this week coming down with the Flu and doctors are reporting it will be with us for the next six to eight weeks.
As we all know flu is a virus and so antibiotics aren’t effective, unless a secondary infection, such as pneumonia, develops. While the flu shot is available for vulnerable groups, it mutates very quickly and this increases the complexity in trying to avoid it.
There are some natural remedies, however, which have been shown to be effective against the flu. And even if you are late starting them, they will at least speed your recovery from the virus.
The most important anti-influenza herb is Black elderberry – Sambucus nigra. And just in case you run off to the local liquor store – it’s not the alcoholic version! Sambucus nigra has been shown in scientific tests to be effective against the flu. Flavonoids within the berries block the H1N1 virus from entering the cells and taking them over. In another study Sambucus nigra suppressed replication by the virus and increased anti-bodies against the flu, thus helping with immunity.
Another plant which has been shown to have anti-influenza activity is licorice. It is also soothing and anti-inflammatory, helping with sore throats, dry coughs and chest infections.
Used traditionally, chicken soup has been proven to be effective in helping combat the common cold and flu. This is because it is high in carnosine, which is anti-inflammatory. It may not be that easy to have chicken soup if you are in the middle of a flu fever, but certainly consider it once the worst is over.
Finally, Echinacea, confirmed again recently in a study of 473 patients to be as effective as the standard influenza medication, but with less side effects.
So you can take action against the flu. All of the above herbs can be taken as teas, but for flu I would recommend tinctures as they are stronger and, therefore more effective. A word of warning also on licorice. Licorice raises blood pressure, so don’t take in large quantities.
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