Natural Flu Remedies
What is flu?
Flu (or influenza) is a viral infection that is caused by influenza viruses. They infect the nose, throat, and sometimes the lungs. It is a contagious respiratory illness.
It can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes may cause death.
According to the CDC, the best way to prevent flu is by getting a flu vaccine every year.
Influenza (flu) can cause mild to severe illness, and sometimes may cause death.
The flu season can wreak havoc on many people. Caused by a virus, influenza affects people of all ages and not just necessarily in the flu season. There are a number of known viruses that can give you the flu, and over the years, the virus has evolved significantly to infect people with more and more severe forms of the flu. There is no proven cure for the flu, but there are many natural remedies that help alleviate the pesky flu symptoms and also help shorten the time you have the flu.
Some of the common signs & symptoms of the flu include:
● A runny nose
● A sore throat
● Blocked sinuses
● Body aches
Keep in mind that there is no natural cure for the flu, and neither is there any natural way of preventing the flu. It is useful to know how to get over the flu fast with natural remedies.
Natural ways to get over flu fast
There are many natural ways of getting rid of the flu:
1. Hydrate Yourself
The importance of hydration when you have the flu cannot be stressed enough. Drinking plenty of water and other fluids will keep your mouth, nose, and throat moist and also help the body get rid of the accumulated mucus and phlegm.
What's more, if you are drinking enough water or fluids when you have the flu, then it is still possible for you to become dehydrated. Fever and diarrhea, common symptoms of the flu, can lead to water loss.
Remain hydrated by not just drinking plenty of water, but you can also think of consuming the following:
● Coconut water
● Sports drinks
● Fresh juice
● Herbal tea
● Raw fruits and vegetables
You can get a good enough idea about whether or not you are drinking an adequate amount of water if you experience the following:
● You are urinating regularly
● Color of your urine is pale yellow to clear
If you notice that your urine is amber or deep yellow, then this could be an indication that you are dehydrated.
Also, avoid smoking when you have the flu, as this is only going to cause further irritation to your throat, lungs, and nose.
2. Load up on Zinc
Studies have found that supplementing with zinc when you have the flu or the common cold can help reduce the duration of the cold/flu and also reduce the severity of your symptoms.
Experts believe that zinc helps during the flu because zinc helps prevent rhinovirus, a virus responsible for the common cold, from multiplying inside the body. [3,4]
People can opt for taking zinc as a syrup, a lozenge, or in tablet form, but make sure to always follow the dosage recommendation on the packaging. Taking too much zinc can lead to stomach aches and nausea.
Zinc is also readily available online and in your local pharmacies as a nasal spray or supplements. However, keep in mind that using a zinc nasal spray may cause you to lose your sense of smell temporarily.
Honey is known for its many health benefits. Honey has potent antimicrobial properties that allow it to fight against many bacteria and viruses.
A study done in 2012 and published in the Pediatrics Journal, found that honey is effective in alleviating coughing as a symptom of the flu in children over the age of 1 year.  Remember that children younger than one year should not be given honey because there is a high risk of infant botulism.
If you have the flu, then try mixing a teaspoon of honey into hot water to help soothe a cough or sore throat. Adding some lemon to this mixture can bring that extra tangy flavor and a dash of vitamin C.
Honey can be easily found in any grocery store, online, and even in the local markets.
Many people have found that using herbal extracts from the plant Echinacea can help relieve nasal symptoms during the flu and also prevent the common cold.
Research carried out in 2014 by the University of Arizona, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that parts of Echinacea support and boost the functioning of the immune system.  Some components of Echinacea also have antiviral properties and help fight against some flu viruses.
However, another study, also done in 2014 by the University of Auckland in New Zealand, looked at the effectiveness of Echinacea in treating a common cold found mixed results.  The researchers concluded that Echinacea has no benefit in helping relieve the symptoms of the flu or common cold.
Several other studies have also found that some Echinacea products may help decrease the likelihood of catching a cold by 10-20 percent. One can buy Echinacea in the form of herbal tea or a supplement.
Garlic is also famous for the many health benefits it offers. Garlic is known to help fight against the flu because of its powerful antiviral and antibacterial properties.
A research study discovered that people who were on a garlic supplement for at least three months experienced fewer colds and coughs as compared to those in a placebo group.
Garlic has been used for millennia as a home remedy for cold and flu. You can either eat garlic raw or include cooked garlic into your meals. You can even take garlic as a supplement. Garlic is also considered to be safe to use for everyone unless you are allergic to garlic.
Supplements are usually preferred by people who do not like the taste of garlic. Garlic supplements can be easily found online.
Ayurvedic remedies for flu
Ayurvedic Influenza Treatment
Ayurveda views flu as resulting from an imbalance of the Kapha and Vata Doshas (Ayurvedic bio-energies representing Air and Water respectively). Excess Vata lowers the body's digestive fire, so you have the chills. A cold develops in the body when there's too much Kapha's cool, moist characteristics, causing a stuffy or runny nose and sneezing.
The Ayurvedic treatment for flu is composed of strengthening digestion and boosting immunity. The integrative therapies are also used pacifying aggravated body energies, expelling excess mucus, restoring peripheral circulation and bringing the doshas in balance.
Ayurvedic Diet & Lifestyle Advice
- Be certain that you get at least 7-8 hours of sleep each night. This will boost your immune system and boost the ojas (energy) in the human body.
- Try Panchakarma therapies -- technical Ayurvedic massage techniques -- which are extremely helpful in cleansing the body and giving it renewed vitality.
- Keep yourself well hydrated by drinking a minimum of 8 glasses of water every day to flush accumulated ama or toxins out of the body.
- Eat a healthy and well-balanced diet to keep your body well-nourished, and prepared to fight infection. Consume whole grains, vibrant vegetables, and fruits loaded with vitamins.
- Support your immune system with regular moderate exercise in your daily routine. It aids in increasing blood flow and removing the congestion in body channels.
Ayurvedic home treatment for flu
- Take 5 gm each of ginger, black pepper, cardamom, clove, cinnamon and garlic with 30 gm of sugar. Create a powder of all of these products. Take half to one teaspoonful and combine it well with honey. This type of recipe can be taken twice daily.
- Take powders of 1 gm cardamom, 1gm black pepper and 1/2 gm dry ginger in a spoon of honey and eat 2-3 times per day.
- Chew 3-5 new leaves of neem leaves (margosa) daily to purify your blood. Additionally, it aids in relieving airborne diseases and all types of flu.
- Require 1/2 teaspoon each of ginger powder, fennel seeds, and cinnamon and a pinch of clove powder to a cup of warm water. Allow the herbs to seep in the water for ten minutes before straining them from the tea. Drink a few cups of this herbal tea.
It can take up to 2 weeks to start feeling better after the flu, with symptoms being at their worst for the first 2 to 3 days. If you find no improvement in your flu symptoms after ten days, then you should consider seeing a doctor to rule out any other infection. You should also contact your doctor or visit the hospital if you experience any unusual symptoms or if your symptoms are very severe.
These natural remedies can help relieve symptoms of the flu and also reduce its duration. At the same time, try to get plenty of rest, stay warm, catch up on your sleep, and opt for taking over-the-counter pain killers, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, to reduce any aches and pains. Remember that rest can have a huge impact on helping you get better faster.
1. Smith, D.J., Lapedes, A.S., de Jong, J.C., Bestebroer, T.M., Rimmelzwaan, G.F., Osterhaus, A.D. and Fouchier, R.A., 2004. Mapping the antigenic and genetic evolution of influenza virus. science, 305(5682), pp.371-376.
2. Singh, M. and Das, R.R., 2015. Zinc for the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (4).
3. Türk, S., Bozfakioglu, S., Ecder, S.T., Kahraman, T., Gürel, N., Erkoc, R., Aysuna, N., Türkmen, A., Bekiroglu, N. and Ark, E., 1998. Effects of zinc supplementation on the immune system and on antibody response to multivalent influenza vaccine in hemodialysis patients. The International journal of artificial organs, 21(5), pp.274-278.
4. Sandstead, H.H. and Prasad, A.S., 2010. Zinc intake and resistance to H1N1 influenza. American journal of public health, 100(6), p.970.
5. Cohen, H.A., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovitch, M., Uziel, Y., Kozer, E., Pomeranz, A. and Efrat, H., 2012. Effect of honey on nocturnal cough and sleep quality: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. Pediatrics, 130(3), pp.465-471.
6. Karsch‐Völk, M., Barrett, B., Kiefer, D., Bauer, R., Ardjomand‐Woelkart, K. and Linde, K., 2014. Echinacea for preventing and treating the common cold. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews, (2).
7. Allan, G.M. and Arroll, B., 2014. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. Cmaj, 186(3), pp.190-199.