Influenza, also known as grippe or flu, is an infectious, upper respiratory, viral disease that is capable of affecting the throat, lungs, and nasal passage. Between 5% and 20% of Americans get the flu every year. Influenza is one of the most prevalent diseases worldwide.
Flu is caused by the influenza virus.
Common symptoms of influenza include; sore throat, fever, headache, chills/ high fever, dry cough, runny nose, body ache, body weakness, loss of appetite and, nasal congestion.
Most people with flu recover on their own. If you have mild flu, it is helpful to stay indoors and get a lot of rest. However, flu could degenerate into serious complications. Demographics at highest risk of developing complications when they have flu are;
- Kids below the age of 2 years
- People above the age of 60 years
- Pregnant women
- People living in long-term care/medical facility
- People with chronic lung, liver, heart, kidney conditions or with weakened immune system
- People with diabetes
Here are tips and good practices, to consider, when dealing with flu;
- Endeavor to stay indoors and rest for an additional 24 hours after the flu has gone.
- Avoid sharing eating utensils, cups, and plates.
- Use hand sanitizers often especially after touching your face
- Endeavor to cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing. Also, cover your nose with a tissue when sneezing. Discard the tissue appropriately after use.
- Endeavor to take lots of fluid such as tea, chicken soup, and water.
- Get an influenza vaccine.
- Drop the bad habit of smoking. Smokers are more susceptible to flu infections.
Below are natural remedies and treatments for treating influenza;
Turmeric is rich in curcumin which is a bioactive ingredient with exceptional medicinal properties. When turmeric is consumed, it inhibits the symptoms of influenza. Due to its antioxidant properties, turmeric is widely used to treat coughs, common colds, and congestion. For this natural treatment, add one spoonful of turmeric powder to your favorite tea and let it steep for five minutes. You could flavor it with organic honey.
2. Garlic And Onion
This remedy has been in use for thousands of years. When garlic and onion are crushed, they release allicin compound which helps to combat several respiratory infections. Unlike a placebo, the two can inhibit flu even when it’s at an advanced stage. Besides that, their antibacterial effect helps to boost your immune system. To alleviate flu symptoms, chew a garlic clove and swallow the juice. If you can’t handle the pungent taste, mince both onion and garlic and then mix in a cup of water. Drink the solution at least two times a day.
Clinical trials have shown that Echinacea fights infections by increasing the number of white blood cells. Furthermore, this herb increases the level of properdin which prevents the flu virus from replicating itself. When you take echinacea, you reduce your chances of getting flu by close to 60%. Echinacea comes in form of capsules, teas or tinctures. To fight flu, put the herb in a cup of hot water and let it steep for thirty minutes. Drink the solution at least two times a day.
If your immune system is under attack, oregano oil will treat both the symptoms and the infections. Oregano is effective in the treatment of cold and flu thanks to the high level of carvacrol compound. Furthermore, it’s rich in vitamin C which helps the body to produce white blood cells. To alleviate the flu symptoms, pour a few drops of oregano oil into a basin of hot water and inhale the vapor. Repeat this procedure until you get some relief.
5. Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract inhibits cold and flu after a few days of continuous use. Olive leaf contains polyphenol compounds which prevent the flu virus from replicating. Unlike most conventional treatments, olive leaf extract has no side effects. To strengthen your immune system, you should take 500mg of the extract until the flu symptoms subside.
6. Green Tea
Green tea contains catechins which help to ease discomfort and shortens the duration of flu. Green tea is not only a healthy drink, but it’s also great for your immune system. Also, green tea wards off all the symptoms associated with influenza. Just add one spoonful of green tea to a cup of hot water to enjoy. Follow this great regimen three times a day.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)
ACV prevents the onset of colds and flu. It keeps the body pH levels balanced and inhibits the flu symptoms. In a typical case, the flu virus cannot survive in an alkaline environment. Furthermore, it’s rich in antiviral and antibiotic properties which help to build a strong immune system. You should dissolve one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in warm water and then add some lemon or raw honey. For optimal results, drink three cups of ACV every day.
8. Cayenne Pepper
Cayenne contains capsaicin compound which makes it a powerful natural decongestant. It works by opening the nasal passageways and reducing nasal inflammations. To make this remedy more effective, you should combine the pepper with lemon juice or honey. Take one teaspoon of cayenne pepper every day until the cold subsides.
Black elderberry extract shortens the duration of flu. Other than that, elderberry is rich in anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. This herb is available in form of lozenges, syrup, and tea. Make sure you take elderberry within the first two days of the flu symptoms otherwise, it won’t be as effective. You can only use the flowers and berries for medicinal purposes.
Ginger is rich in antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties which help to combat the flu virus. Also, the gingerol compound prevents infections by flushing out the toxins. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, mix one tablespoon of ginger powder with a half tablespoon of cayenne pepper. Pour the mixture into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for 10 minutes. After that, add some lemon juice or honey to taste. Drink the solution two times a day.
11. Vitamin D
Vitamin D is the only vitamin that is produced in our bodies in adequate amounts, especially when we expose our body to sunlight. Vitamin D helps to inhibit the spread of the flu virus. However, influenza usually occurs during the winter season when the level of the body’s vitamin D goes down as exposure to sunlight reduces. As such, it’s crucial that you take sufficient amount of vitamin D supplements during this period as directed by your doctor.
Goldenseal is one of the most valuable herbs for treating seasonal influenza. Goldenseal has astringent and laxative properties which help to soothe the mucous membranes. Furthermore, goldenseal ensures enough blood is supplied to the spleen. This herb should be taken for a short period (maximum of ten days). To get rid of flu, take ten drops of goldenseal oil twice a day.
Zinc helps to boost immunity and accelerate cell growth. Moreover, it aids in regulating the blood sugar. When you have a zinc deficiency, your body is at a higher risk of getting cold and flu. As such, you should eat foods rich in zinc such as poultry, oysters, unsweetened chocolates, and nuts. Alternatively, you can take 75mg of zinc supplements every day until the symptoms subside.
14. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has lauric acid which kills harmful pathogens. Coconut oil wards off symptoms of the flu by inhibiting the flu virus. To get the full benefits of coconut oil, you can either melt coconut oil into a hot tea or take it with food. As a flu preventive measure, you should take two tablespoons of the oil every day. This daily remedy should also be done when you notice the first signs of flu.
Dandelion is a powerful cleansing herb. It comes with a wide array of benefits that promotes a healthy immune system. Furthermore, dandelion has a high level of polyphenol compounds which inhibit the flu virus’ severity to your lungs. You can either blend the herb into a smoothie or make some tea. For the tea, simply take a dandelion root, boil in a pot of hot water for 15 minutes and then add some lemon. Drink one cup every day until you get rid of the flu.
Eucalyptus is effective in treating nasal congestion, coughing and other symptoms associated with flu. Furthermore, eucalyptus inhibits the flu virus by boosting your immune system. Apart from being a natural antibiotic, eucalyptus also works as a natural expectorant. You can benefit from this remedy by dispersing eucalyptus oil into the air using a diffuser.
The use of probiotics is considered as a natural approach to your immune support. Ideally, probiotics are the good bacteria that help to fight pathogens. Several clinical studies have shown that when you consume foods like yogurt, you can reduce the severity of the flu symptoms. Also, regular intake of probiotics will regulate the bacteria in the gut. You may also consider taking probiotic supplements.
18. Saline Rinse
Saline rinse involves unclogging of the nasal passage. A saline rinse is a more effective approach that offers instant relief to flu symptoms. Saline rinse works by soothing and moisturizing the mucous linings just like a neti pot. For this remedy, you should mix two spoonfuls of salt and one spoonful of baking soda in a glass of warm water. Use a dropper to rinse each nostril. For additional antimicrobial effect, add a few drops of oregano oil to the saline water. You could also use a neti pot to carry out the nasal rinse.
When you have flu-like symptoms like sore throat or runny nose, you can take honey to boost your immune system. Honey, especially manuka honey, has antimicrobial, antibacterial and antiseptic properties which can speed up the healing process. Just add two spoonfuls of raw honey in a cup of warm water and drink before going to bed. The drink will not only reduce throat irritation but will also promote mucus flow.
Mustard has been in use for centuries to combat cold and flu. For a quick relief, make some paste by mixing one portion of mustard with two portions of flour. After that, add one egg white and some water. Take a clean handkerchief and smear the paste. Open your chest, rub olive oil on your chest, then lay the handkerchief on your chest. Remove after 15 minutes and rinse your chest with warm water.
21. Take Homemade Chicken Soup
This broth gives your body enough hydration and helps to clear mucus. Chicken soup helps soothe the body and reduce the effect of inflammations caused by the flu virus. Chicken soup also boosts your immune system. Instead of buying readymade soup, it’s crucial that you make your own to ensure it has all the ingredients. Take this soup three times a day.
22. Drink A Lot Of Water
Drinking water is one of the natural ways of treating flu symptoms. Since the influenza virus attacks the respiratory system, you should take enough water to loosen the mucus. Drinking water is also a simple way of flushing out the toxins from your system. To get rid of flu symptoms, take lots of hot water throughout the day. Avoid taking sweetened and caffeinated drinks.
Studies have shown that organic chlorella helps to combat flu symptoms by increasing the body’s level of (Ig) A antibody. This is because (Ig) A antibodies tend to inhibit the flu virus. Since more than 90% of the flu symptoms are initiated through the nose, you must have natural antibodies to fight them. Furthermore, chlorella contains key ingredients like amino acids, fatty acids, vitamins and most importantly it’s packed with antioxidants. This makes chlorella a valuable agent in enhancing your immune system. To get rid of flu, take the chlorella supplement as directed by your doctor.
Peppermint works by opening the nasal passage. Also, peppermint is loaded with antiviral properties which help the body to fight infections. Other than that, peppermint has menthol which helps to relieve the congestion. To make peppermint tea, put some fresh leaves in a cup of hot water and let them steep for ten minutes. Drink this tea 3 times in a day. You can also make peppermint leaves part of your daily salads.
Apart from fenugreek’s strong antiviral properties that help inhibit flu symptoms, it also soothes the mucous membranes. Just make a decoction by boiling fenugreek seeds in a pot of water. Make sure the water is reduced by a third. Add some honey for flavor. Drink one cup every day for one week. If you have a sore throat, soak the seeds in hot water for 12 hours and then gargle the solution in the morning.
26. Orange Juice
Fresh orange juices are rich in vitamin C which helps to boost the immune system. It will not just keep your body dehydrated, but will also thin the mucous secretions. If you have access to fresh oranges, the better. This remedy is most suited especially in winter months.
27. Use A Humidifier
When the air in your house is dry, you can use a humidifier to ease congestion and coughs. Medical experts recommend that you keep the humidity level below 50% to ensure the flu spread is inhibit. Furthermore, a humidifier would moisturize your nasal passage which makes it easy for air to pass through. A humidifier can also emit heated mist for extra comfort. You may also consider adding your favorite essential oils for therapeutic benefits.
When you have flu, the best way to swap your morning coffee is with a cup of lemon juice. Lemon is a healthy addition to your flu treatment thanks to its amazing antibacterial properties. Just extract some juice from a fresh lemon and then add to a cup of hot water. For extra flavor, add some honey. Continue with this treatment until the flu symptoms subside.
29. Steam Inhalation
Hot steam helps to open your airways. Boil water in a pot and then add a few drops of oregano oil. Cover your face with a towel and inhale the hot air for five minutes with short breaks in between. Repeat the procedure until you get some relief. Make sure the hot air does not get in contact with your eyes.
30. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile herb contains antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties that help to alleviate flu symptoms. It also boosts your immune system to keep infections at bay. Unlike most herbs, chamomile tea tastes good and helps children to relax their mind to ensure they get a good sleep. It’s more effective when combined with honey or ginger. The only downside to this treatment is that it should not be used by pregnant women.
31. Stinging Nettle
Stinging nettle helps to inhibit type A influenza. It’s packed with potassium, manganese, iron, calcium and a large number of vitamins. These nutrients help the body to stay hydrated. When combined with raspberry leaf, stinging nettle works as a strong immune booster. To make stinging nettle tea, put a handful of its leaves in a cup of hot water and let it steep for about 10 minutes. Drink the tea once a day until you get rid of the flu symptoms.
32. Get Some Rest
In most cases, flu is accompanied by shivering at night. Other symptoms may include nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, cough, and fatigue. During this period, you should give your body enough strength to fight the virus by resting. Being active when you are still sick will only weaken your immune system which could lead to further complications.
33. Red Ginseng
Numerous studies have shown that red ginseng is effective in treating a number of respiratory infections that affects the breathing passages. In addition to that, red ginseng has unique antioxidant powers that boost your natural immunity. Also, the herb is a potent anti-inflammatory agent. You should take red ginseng every day as a preventive measure against flu. Consult your doctor before taking any supplement.
34. Foods To Avoid
When you have the flu, certain foods could exacerbate your condition. For this reason, you should know the foods to avoid that could worsen your condition. First, you should stay away from sugary foods. A high sugar diet only weakens your immune system and provides a good environment for the virus. Secondly, avoid fatty foods especially the dairy products. Instead, take lean proteins to boost your immune system.
Cinnamon is a powerful herb for colds and flu. To begin with, cinnamon contains calcium, manganese, and fiber. It’s also rich in anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties which help to fight the flu infections. To use this regimen, mix one tablespoon of cinnamon powder with two tablespoons of organic honey in a glass of water. Drink once a day until the flu dissipates. You may want to add some lemon to taste.
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