Influenza, better known as ‘the flu’, is a highly contagious viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Symptoms include body aches, headache, head and chest congestion, hot and cold sweats, cough, nausea, and fever. In the case of stomach flu (acute inflammation of the lining of the stomach due to a viral infection) symptoms may also include diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramps.
There are no known ‘cures’ for this common ailment, but many natural remedies can ease symptoms and shorten their duration.
Even though you may not feel like drinking or eating anything, it is important to consume plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration and flush the body of toxins. Herbal teas and fresh juices (listed below), hot soups and broths, and plenty of clean water will assist your body in its’ defense.
Mom’s Chicken Soup
An old time remedy that still works today. Chicken and turkey soup has been found to have anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce congestion and soothe sore throats.
Vitamins and Supplements
Vitamin C: Taking Vitamin C daily can prevent influenza or shorten the duration of symptoms. Daily doses of 500 mg. have been proven to reduce the risk of contracting colds by 66%. see research
Of course the best method is prevention, but if you start coming down with symptoms you’ll want to increase your dosage. The 1999 study which was published within the highly reputed Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics showed that 1,000 mg of vitamin C taken every hour for six hours whilst suffering acute symptoms and then 1,000 mg three times daily following can effectively relive symptoms and speed you to a faster recovery.
A Special Note: In order to receive all the benefits that Vitamin C has to offer; without negative side effects, it is important that you take a whole food Vitamin C supplement. Do not take it as an isolate or in synthetic form as these can cause diarrhea, intestinal upset, and will mostly be passed out of the body through the urine.
Zinc: Zinc inhibits the reproduction of rhinovirus, and has been found to be especially good for treating viral sore throats. A recent study shows that taking a zinc lozenge every 2-3 hours (100-120 milligrams daily) for two days shortened the duration of cold symptoms. Reduce dosage to 80 mg or less daily until symptoms are gone. Taking zinc daily is an effective preventative.
Note: Do not take zinc with citrus fruits or juices as this will diminish its’ effectiveness.
Vitamin A: A powerful antioxidant and immune booster, take 15,000 IU daily during acute symptoms.
Boneset: The herb Boneset has a long history of being used in the treatment of influenza, particularly when treating fever. Taken warm it has a diaphoretic effect (agent that promotes perspiration) thus helping the body to break a fever. Native Americans used boneset in the treatment of aches and pains and in healing broken bones as well as in treating colds and flu. Infusion: Use 1 level tsp. herb with 1 cup boiling water; steep for 30 minutes and strain.
Elderberry: This herb is known to support the immune system and to stimulate the body’s ability to fight viruses. Studies have shown that it inhibits the replication of human influenza virus and relieves symptoms within 24 hours. Dosage: one teaspoon four times daily with the first signs of cold or flu.
Olive Leaf Extract: Olive leaf extract is an excellent antibacterial and antiviral. Dosage: 500-1000 mg every few hours.
Garlic: Garlic is a great preventative and can assist in slowing down mucus production and is also used to treat ear infections. Raw garlic has antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properites. Use in freshly made juices, or squeeze a garlic clove until the juice runs into a cotton ball and place the cotton ball in the ear. Garlic can also be taken in capsule form.
Echinacea and Goldenseal: An alcohol free Echinacea and goldenseal extract formula can be very effective if taken at the first sign of flu or cold. It can also be given to children. There are limits to the duration of time that both these herbs can be taken so follow specific product guidelines.
Astragalus: 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 viral and bacterial infections. Astragalus belongs to a class of herbs called adaptogens, and helps the body handle stress.
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.
Cayenne Pepper: Add cayenne to soups or fresh juices to help cleanse the blood and loosen congestion.
Fresh Juice Recipe to combat an active infection
* Two cloves of garlic
* 1/4 inch slice of ginger
* Handful of parsley
* 4 Carrots
* 1 apple
* 1 cup Jerusalem artichokes (optional)
(slice apples and carrots and mix ingrediants in juicer)
Herbal Teas: Astragalus, Echinacea, ginger, goldenseal, yarrow, pau d’arco and black cherry teas work well for treating the flu. Peppermint tea helps to open up nasal passages.
Here’s a wonderful blend that you can make on your own:
• Eucalyptus Globulus
• Eucalyptus radiata
• Eucalyptus citriadora
Mix in equal amounts and diffuse, apply on Chest, neck, ears and bottom of feet. Dilute with a carrier oil and massage on chest and back. Use as a hot compress. Inhale deeply from a bowl of hot, steaming water. May be irritating to sensitive skin. Avoid eye contact.
Oregano oil is a highly potent antiviral but must be used with care. Oregano oil can be applied topically and taken internally. Add to food or rice milk when taking internally.
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