Flu Prevention - Top 5 Natural Remedies

This flu and cold season has been rough already and everyone wants extra advice to ward it off.  Aside from typical hygiene of avoiding exposure and proper hand washing we would like to share five things noted throughout this years healthy population of Health Through Nature.  There are many recommendations we could make however we do not want to overwhelm your mind nor pocketbook.  

  1. Proper and clean diet.  Without a good diet in play you might as well ignore the rest of the following recommendations.  Diet is essential to acute illness prevention.  Sugar can modulate your immune system’s ability to ward off infections and typically happens shortly after consumption up to a few hours.  Dairy is thick and moist from a constitutional standpoint just like your secretions.  It should be avoided as it can worsen you symptoms regardless of allergy.  
  2. Rest.  I know it is a new year; you have resolutions to keep, miracles to produce, and people to serve.  Save it.  Listen to an inspiring Podcast, an educational television program or documentary lying in bed.  There is no point in expending energy that you do not have - it is needed for your immune system.
  3. Elderberry syrup.  Research has shown 15 ml of Elderberry syrup four times a day for five days can alleviate Influenza A & B symptoms on average 4 days earlier than placebo treatment.  This year I’ve found Elderberry syrup more beneficial before the flu hits and recommend it regularly throughout the season.  Another benefit of Elderberry is its dark pigments known as anthocyanins act as free radical scavengers and decrease inflammation. 
  4. Vitamin C. Vitamin C has anti-viral and immune modulatory effects.  It seems have an affinity toward supporting the lungs, enhancing immune markers for fighting infection, and interestingly decreasing the overall stress generated from Influenza Virus.   The studies yielding these results administered Vitamin C throughout the active infection.  I have yet to find research optimizing Vitamin C prior to infection however clinically those who seem to load-up on Vitamin C before cold and flu outbreaks fair well.   We often forget that Vitamin C can be found in foods such as Hibiscus, strawberry, kiwi, mango, and brussels sprouts.  A wonderful herbal tea for the whole family is 1/4 cup Hibiscus, 2 tsp fresh ginger, 2 cinnamon sticks simmered on the stove for 30 minutes with 5 cups of water and stevia or honey to taste (adapted from The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar). 
  5. Oil of Oregano.  Oregano is a traditional medicinal food.  The essential oil has been studied with the primary active component being Carvacrol and has been shown to provide anti-viral actions directly on viral capsids.  I’m a big fan of herbal medicines used as a whole plants however sometimes the potency of a particular compound or oil from the plant is needed to counteract disease.  Additionally, oregano oil has shown anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-oxidant properties making it a good broad-spectrum anti-microbial.  Microbes have an amazing ability to mutate and become resistant to medicine; pharmaceutical and natural medicine alike.  This is why medicine like Oil of Oregano should not be overused.  Oil of Oregano should always be capsuled as it can be harsh on the cell walls of the esophagus.  A good time to bring Oregano oil into play is when someone has been exposed to an infection and are beginning to display symptoms. 

These Statements have not been evaluated by the FDA.  They are not intended to replace medical diagnosis or treatment.  If you or your family feel ill it is in your best interest to seek professional medical advice.