Originally published April 29 2009
Use Natural Remedies and Treatments for the Flu
by Melanie Grimes
(NaturalNews) There are no known cures for the common flu but many natural flu remedies can ease the symptoms. From herbal remedies to homeopathy, natural remedies can provides relief. Vitamins, herbs, homeopathy, and some common foods can all help heal. With the late flu season in 2009, and the occurrence of the Swine Flu, these natural flu remedies from nature can reduce pain and suffering. Many of these natural flu remedies have been used for generations.
Vitamin C daily can help prevent the flu. Clinical studies have shown that large megadoses of Vitamin C are bit absorbed by the body. Vitamin C is concentrated in the white blood cells that fight disease. Vitamin C is a free radical scavenger and helps protect the white blood cells. Research has shown that vitamin C taken daily can prevent a cold or flu or shorten the duration. It is best taken daily as prevention. A 1999 study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics indicated that 1,000 mg of vitamin every hour for 6 hours and 1,000 mg three times daily afterward can effectively relieve or even prevent flu symptoms.
Warnings: If you take vitamin C with a calcium supplement, you will not get diarrhea. Reduce dosage if there is a history of kidney stones. Megadosing can also interfere with diabetes testing and blood clotting.
Dosage: 500 and 1,000 milligrams daily, up to 10,000 milligrams daily when fighting the flu. A possible alternative is to start with 3000 mg and then 1000 mg an hour until symptoms decrease.
Use of the Pelargonium sidoides plant was discovered in 1897 by an English traveler to South Africa who called it "Steven`s Consumption Cure". This remedy is made from a species of geranium traditionally used by Zulu healers for respiratory and digestive ailments. Research has shown relief of respiratory symptoms as well as shortened duration and reduced severity of sinus and bronchial irritation. The remedy is made from the roots and prepared homeopathically. Missionary doctor Adrien Swchehaye in Switzerland published cured cases as far back as 1929.
Dosage: 1 tsp 4 to 5 times a day.
This herb is known to support the immune system and to stimulate the body`s ability to fight viruses. Elderberries have been used in medicine since the Fifth Century, for treating the flu and ill effects of the chills, and have been referred to by Hippocrates, Dioscurides and Plinius. Even Shakespeare mentions it in his play The Merry Wives of Windsor: "What says my Aesculapius? My Galen? My heart of Elder?" Studies have shown elderberry to inhibit replication of human influenza virus type A, type B and animal strains from swine and turkeys in cell cultures and to reduce the duration of the flu by approximately four days.
Studies conducted on elderberries show a reduction of flu symptoms. During a Southern Israel flu epidemic in 1992-93, improvement in flu symptoms was noted within 24 hours in 20% of participants. This included a reduction of fever, muscle ache, pain and coughing. By the second day, 73% felt better compared to the 6% who were not treated.
Dosage: one teaspoon, four times daily at first sign of a cold or flu.
Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)
Olive leaf has been shown to be an excellent antibacterial. This herbal supplement fights bacterial and viral infections.
Dosage: 500-1000 milligrams every few hours or two capsules four times a day.
After using antibiotics, or even Olive Leaf Extract, take acidophilus to restore the intestinal flora, as antibiotics and OLE can upset the healthy bacteria in your intestines.
Dosage: one capsule a day before meals.
This is best taken in capsules as it can be bitter. Research has shown grapefruit leaves to be effective as an antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and antiparasitic.
Vitamin A increases immunity by promoting T-lymphocyte activity and Beta carotene, one of the components of vitamin A; it increases thymus gland function and stimulates the growth of the white blood cells that fight disease. Vitamin A increases the production of mucus, thereby aiding in cleansing. It is also an antioxidant.
Garlic is great as a preventative and as a treatment. Take two tablets three times a day until the mucus production has slowed down dramatically, or until the color of mucus becomes clear rather than yellow or green. Garlic can also help treat ear infections. Squeeze a garlic clove until the juice runs into a cotton ball and place the cotton ball in the ear. Raw garlic has antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. Researchers in England found that garlic can speed up recovery from a cold and increase resistance. Study participants had half the number of colds and made a more rapid recovery.
Echinacea has powerful antiviral and immunity-boosting effects. It is used to rev up the immune system at the first sign of a cold. Echinacea has been found to work better before you get sick, to build up immunity. It has not been found as effective for treating a cold or flu.
Dosage: take daily according to manufacturers instructions. Take daily during the fall and winter months.
NAC is an amino acid that naturally stimulates glutathione, an antioxidant enzyme. People who have autoimmune problems are often deficient in glutathione. NAC has been used to raise immunity to the flu, and also to treat chronic respiratory problems. A recent study was conducted in which most of the subjects were over 65. Results showed that only 29 percent of those taking NAC developed flu symptoms, compared to 51 percent of those who took the placebo.
Dosage: 300 mg. per day.
Zinc inhibits the reproduction of rhinovirus, and has been found to be especially good for treating viral sore throats. A recent study on the effectiveness of zinc showed that taking a zinc lozenge every 2-3 hours, shortened the duration of cold symptoms. Overdosing with zinc can have side effects, such as an effect on the uptake of iron.
Dosage: one lozenge every 2-3 hours for duration of the cold or flu. Keep in the mouth for 5-10 minutes. Or 30 to 50 milligrams a day.
The patients who received ginseng had a lower incidence of influenza and colds, higher antibody titers, and higher natural killer cell activity levels. Also know as an adaptogen (a substance that helps the body fight stress) it has been shown to shorten the duration of a cold. One study used 200 mg of ginseng extract a day for four months and found a reduction in the length of symptoms. Another study found that ginseng may prevent influenza-caused acute respiratory illness (ARI) in elderly patients.
Dosage: Extract -200 mg per day of extract, or dry root (tea) up to 2 mg per day.
Astragalus membranaceus or milk vetch has been used in Chinese medicine for over 2,000 years to strengthen the immune and respiratory systems and to fight the flu. Astragalus belongs to a class of herbs called adaptogens, and helps the body handle stress. Astragalus also fights pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Dosage: one dropper of tincture of Astragalus (standardized to 15 percent polysaccharides) to a hot liquid like tea or soup three times a day. As tablets, take 350 to 400 milligrams three times a day.
Seek medical help if symptoms persist of if you develop a high fever.
About the authorMelanie Grimes is a writer, award-winning screenwriter, medical journal editor, and adjunct faculty member at Bastyr University. She also teaches homeopathy at the Seattle School of Homeopathy and the American Homeopathic Medical College.
A trained homeopath, she is the editor of the homeopathic journal, Simillimum, and has edited alternative and integrative medical journals for 15 years. She has taught creative writing, founded the first Birkenstock store in the USA and authored medical textbooks.
Her ebook on Natural Remedies for the Flu is available at:
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