(NaturalNews) It`s flu season again. During this time of year, flu shots and over the counter drugs seem to be lurking around every corner. However, many are becoming increasingly uncomfortable with relying on Big Pharma for their flu prevention and treatment needs. Fortunately, research continues to demonstrate that natural remedies are perhaps the most effective (and obviously more economical) options available. A recent study in Japan revealed the power of green tea in fighting the flu.
Green tea has been considered a health elixir for millennia. Chinese legend speaks of a man named Shien Non Shei who was out walking and accidentally tasted the juices from the leaves of a tea plant. He felt these leaves had potent medicinal properties. A second version of the legend credits the discovery of the goodness of green tea to a time when a blossom fell into a cup that Shien Non Shei was drinking from. Shien was feeling ill at the time, but after drinking the liquid his health suddenly improved. Either way, green tea has been used to heal and prevent illness long before modern medicine was born.
Scientific research is just now catching up to the benefits of green tea. It has been linked to increased satiety, decreased risk of certain cancers, and increased fat oxidation. Now green tea is proving to be an effective way of preventing colds and the flu.
Researchers at the University of Shizuoka studied nursing home residents who were at a particularly high risk for catching colds and the flu. The residents were asked to gargle with green tea three times a day. At the end of the study, the residents who had gargled with green tea showed a considerably lower rate of contracting flu and cold viruses.
Green tea contains compounds called catechins which are able to boost the immune system`s ability to fight the flu. The study showed that gargling with the green tea was more beneficial than simply drinking the tea: the theory being that by gargling the tea, the subject exposed the catechins longer to the viruses which can linger in the throat. Green tea today comes in many forms, from supplements to extracts to plain old tea bags. You can even find green tea in cough drops. If you`re looking to prevent or treat colds and the flu this season, drinking green tea on a regular basis should top your list. Just don`t forget to gargle.
Elizabeth Walling is a freelance writer specializing in health and family nutrition. She is a strong believer in natural living as a way to improve health and prevent modern disease. She enjoys thinking outside of the box and challenging common myths about health and wellness. You can visit her blog to learn more: www.livingthenourishedlife.com/2009/10/welco...