Natural Remedies for Flu

The flu is a respiratory illness caused by a virus.

Image of a microscope view of a virus in green.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

PREVALENCE

According to WHO, there are three to five million cases annually worldwide.

ALLOPATHIC TREATMENT

Viruses do not respond to antibiotics. A doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication. Flu complications can be pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections or the worsening of underlying conditions.

SELF TREATMENT

The substances and suggestions here are offered to you for further research.

DIET

We may need more calories when we are ill in order to function, as well as to heal. A healthy immune system is always the first line of defense against bacterial and viral infections. To promote a healthy immune system, it is important to eat a balanced diet, with as much variety as you can manage, with lots of whole, fresh vegetables and fruits, quality protein and healthy sources of monounsaturated fat. The Zone is an excellent starting point.

FOODS THAT MAY PROMOTE HEALING

  • Bone broth
  • BRAT diet (bananas, rice, applesauce, toast)
  • Chicken soup
  • Garlic, raw
  • Ginger
  • Lemons

FOODS AND OTHER SUBSTANCES TO AVOID

  • Acidic foods
  • Alcohol
  • Dairy if it makes congestion worse
  • Fried foods
  • Refined sugar (depresses immune function)
  • Smoking
  • Spicy foods

TEAS AND OTHER LIQUIDS

  • Alfalfa
  • Apple Cider Vinegar in water
  • Chamomile
  • Ginger
  • Ginger water
  • Lemon juice
  • Nettle Leaf
  • Peppermint
  • Red raspberry leaf
  • Sage tea may help you sweat out toxins and soothe membranes.
  • Yarrow

HERBS AND SPICES

  • Astragalus root
  • Calendula
  • Cat’s claw
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Echinacea
  • Elderberry may boost production of immune cells.
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Goldenseal is antimicrobial.
  • Licorice root
  • Marshmallow root
  • Olive leaf
  • Oregano
  • Sage is antiseptic.
  • Tumeric
  • Usnea
  • Uva ursi
  • Yarrow

ESSENTIAL OILS

Essential oils can be administered via a diffuser for inhalation, administered topically in a carrier oil like coconut on the skin, or undiluted drops can be added to a hot bath.

  • Basil, diluted and rubbed on feet to induce sweating
  • Black pepper
  • Cinnamon leaf
  • Clary sage
  • Clove
  • Cypress
  • Eucalyptus
  • Frankincense
  • Ginger
  • Grapefruit
  • Juniper
  • Lavender
  • Lemon
  • Lemongrass
  • Lime
  • Oregano
  • Peppermint
  • Pine
  • Rosemary
  • Sandalwood
  • Tea tree
  • Thyme

OTHER SUBSTANCES AND SUPPLEMENTS

Most supplements should be taken, if you need them, before the onset of illness. Illness, however, will deplete some of your stores

  • Garlic
  • Ginseng
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Zinc (but don’t take too much of this nutrient)

HYDRATION

You need to pay special attention to hydration if you are sweating and/or vomiting. Water is essential and a main nutrient for the human body. Without it, you cannot survive for many days. Staying hydrated is fundamental for a healthy body, so how much is enough? There are so many differences in people (i.e., how much we sweat), as well as the diets we consume (a lot of water comes from healthy, whole foods), but a general rule is to consume enough water that your urine is clear, but not so much that you dilute your nutrients. If you are taking certain supplements that make your urine yellow, then you can start out with the formula of drinking ½-1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh. If you weigh 130 pounds, drink 65 to 130 ounces of water a day. Definitely drink when you are thirsty.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT

Stay calm. Anxiety undermines health. Practice relaxation exercises, talk to a friend. Do what works for you to keep mellow.

OTHER THINGS YOU CAN DO

  • Ask someone to give you a back rub.
  • Contrast showers (hot-cold). Research how to do this and beware that there are many contra-indications for people with various illnesses. Consult your doctor if in doubt.
  • Eat lightly and focus on foods that are easy to digest.
  • Electrolyte drinks if you are vomiting
  • Gargle
  • Get some fresh air, but not a cold draft.
  • Homemade cough syrup
  • Hot Fomentation is said to increase your circulation, reduce congestion and get rid of toxins. There are several contra-indications; consult with your doctor. This is quite a production, so you’ll need a friend.
  • Lemon juice
  • Lubricate nostrils with coconut oil or other natural lubricant.
  • Natural cough drops
  • Read the Self-Treatment entry for Fever.
  • Rest and stay home to avoid spreading infection.
  • Sage tea
  • Salt water
  • Salt water spray for your nasal passages
  • Steam inhalation
  • Use a humidifier by your bed at night if you have a cough or dry nasal passages.
  • Warm compresses over the sinus area
  • Warm footbath

ALTERNATIVE THERAPIES

CAUTIONS

  • If your flu is accompanied by vomiting, be sure you stay hydrated.
  • Visit a doctor if you have chest pains or difficulty breathing.

PREVENTION

  • A wholesome, balanced diet
  • Regular exercise
  • Low stress levels
  • Quality sleep
  • Avoid crowds, especially during flu season.
  • Don’t kiss someone who is ill.  It is best not to sleep in the same room with a person who is ill, as well.
  • Earthing
  • Stay out of the wet and cold.
  • Stop smoking and drinking alcohol which will impair your resistance.

 

 

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