As flu season approaches and people line up all over the country for this year’s widely-advertised flu shot, it is a comfort to remember the many components nature has to offer to combat yearly flu viruses. Maybe the most comforting part of that thought will be the fact that the herbs and natural remedies that fight the flu have virtually no side effects, are beneficial for your entire body, and in some cases may even be free of charge, growing in your back yard or the countryside nearby.
In addition to availability, the method of delivery is also far superior to a flu vaccination. A nice cup of hot tea certainly provides more comfort than a shot of unknown antibodies from a myriad of unknown sources at your local grocery store or physician’s office. Who really knows the content or origin of the magic serum that has just been injected into your arm or ejected up your nasal passages?
When choosing herbs to treat the flu, there is quite a variety to choose from. There are, however, a few rock stars in the bunch that outshine the rest. One of the forerunners for warding off flu altogether is elderberry. In syrup form, the berries of this herb have been shown to avert or at least reduce the severity of the onset and duration of a host of viruses. Elderberry has been known for centuries for its ability to fight illness. It is most effective when taken at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms. Some people take it regularly at a maintenance dose to keep viruses at bay. It is a valuable soldier in the fight against seasonal virus.
Oregano is also a valuable fighter. Another benefit in the use of herbs is the variety of forms they are available in. Oregano can be taken as tea of course, but is also available in capsule form, as a tincture, or mixed with oil. In particularly difficult bouts, it can be taken in several forms at once: orally in capsules, mixed with oil in drops under the tongue, or as a tincture rubbed on the soles of the feet. Oregano has been known as a powerful aid against illness for centuries.
Garlic has a myriad of valuable properties, fighting everything from invading bacteria and viruses to heart disease. It also comes in a delightfully tasteful form, even for those of us that are a little garlic-shy. Chicken soup cooked with a large quantity of fresh garlic added is comforting as well as functional. As many as four heads, not cloves, of garlic can be added to chicken pieces and set to simmer for an hour or more until the chicken is tender and can be separated easily from the bones and skin. The flavor and body of this medicinal soup is remarkable and very effective. Taken throughout the illness, it provides an immune boost as well as some easily digested liquid nourishment. Years ago, a study found that there is real benefit to mother’s chicken soup during an illness. The study suggested that the benefit may lie in the heated, salted broth. The addition of garlic to that beneficial liquid is a definite bonus, and the taste is surprisingly mild. If you’re worried about the potential for garlic-scented breath odor, deodorized garlic also comes in capsule or pill form.
Echinacea is a reliable activator of the immune system. Experts have not been certain just exactly how it accomplishes this, but it appears to send the human immune system into overdrive. As with all herbal remedies, Echinacea is best taken frequently, at least every four hours to provide continuous coverage and launch the most effective assault. The roots of this plant are even more powerful than the aboveground portion. It is easily taken in capsules by mouth and is widely available in retail stores.
These are but a few of the major players in the battle against sickness and flu. There are many others, such as mullein, hyssop, yarrow, eucalyptus, olive leaf, cayenne, ginger and grapefruit seed extract. They are all safe. They are all readily available for purchse or in the outdoors. They build up the body enabling it to effectively fight off an attack of flu without harmful side effects or pharmaceuticals. The average person can use them, gauge their effectiveness, and find relief.