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So, You Got The Flu. Now What?


So You Got The Flu Now What? HerbalFarmwife

Flu season must have hit hard this year. I opened up my personal Facebook account to see post after post from friends talking about how they have the flu this past week. CDC has officially announced that the Seasonal Influenza (aka Flu) is now widespread in Nebraska.

These days, it seems like everyone gets the flu all the time. Statistically, one tends to get influenza less frequently than the cold. Each year, about thirty-five to fifty million people in the United States comes down with the flu. Although different in disease severity, the flu is caused by three types of viruses which include Influenza A, B, and C. In the Midwest, flu season can begin as early as October and last as late into May.

Common Flu Symptoms

With different types of flu viruses, you may have different symptoms for each kind. Listed below are some common flu symptoms:

  1. Abrupt: The onset of the Influenza is typically abrupt; while a cold is more “gradual” in symptoms.

  2. Headache: It is common to have a headache as a symptom.

  3. Fever: Your body may have a fever between 100F to 104F.

  4. Fatigue: You may feel fatigue or weakness for up to two weeks.

  5. Muscle Pain: You may “ache” or feel pain in your muscles.

  6. Lack of Appetite: You may either have a lack of appetite or may vomit if your stomach is unsettled.

  7. Cold Symptoms: With the flu, you may also have cold symptoms like a cough or chest discomfort.

Plan of Attack With Nature

Because the Influenza virus proteins can change, the flu virus “in a sense” can reinvent itself to appear to your body that it is a new virus. The immunity you thought you built up to your last flu is no longer effective. You will need to adapt two “flu” strategies. One strategy is building up your immunity in preparation for flu season; while the other is to help your body when it is infected with the virus.

Common “over the counter” medicine that are typically used during the flu include antihistamines, anti-inflammatories, anti-virals, acetaminophens, and decongestants. With the exception of anti-virals, most of the “over the counter” medicines only lessen the symptoms. Many people turn to natural herbs, spices, or foods to act as natural medicines to prevent, lessen, or end the flu and its symptoms. Listed below are some natural medicine sources you may want to consider:

Natural Anti-Virals

  1. Chinese Skullcap: Not often talked about as an anti-viral herb because it is hard to find plant medicines made with Chinese Skullcap’s root in the United States, Chinese Skullcap is considered a broad-spectrum anti-viral worldwide. It inhibits virus replication and reduces virus infected cells. Many times, it is found in tinctures and powdered root.

  2. Elderberry: Elderberries are from the Elder plant; which is known as nature’s medicine chest. Its berries were made famous by an Israeli researcher in 1995. The extract from Elderberries is now relatively available at your local pharmacy and is used as the natural “go to” anti-viral. Elderberries can strengthen the immune system also. You can find this in stores in syrup and even dissolving tablets for children. You can also use it as an infusion, tincture, and cream.

  3. Licorice Root: Although used in food for its ability to be sweet, Licorice Root is valued for its medicinal benefits. Licorice root raises interferon levels; an anti-viral component which, along with glycyrrhizinic acid, fuels the action of immune cells and aids in combating the infectious viruses and bacteria such as influenza A. Licorice Root is available in tablets, capsules, tea, and powder.

  4. Monolaurin: Monolaurin is a monoglyceride derivative of lauric acid, which is found in coconut and human milk. Preliminary research suggests Monolaurin may have anti-viral activity and immune system stimulus. When taking for a viral infection, adults can take one to two capsules of Monolaurin three times a day. Always check the supplement’s package instructions to ensure proper dosing for your body.

  5. Olive Leaf: Known for its unique tangy taste, Olive Leaf has the ability to eradicate viruses by breaking down infected cells. Research studies reveal that Olive Leaf can subdue a number of viruses including flu. Its extract, Oleuropein, reduces viral loads in colds, flus, hepatitis B, hepatitis C, HIV, and herpes patients. Most studies revolve around its extract; thus, Olive Leaf extract probably should be your first choice at flu defense.

  6. Oregano: Orally, Oregano is used for respiratory tract infections in relation to flus. Oregano has an active component called, carvacrol, which was found in a 2014 research study to effectively have an anti-viral impact. To get its benefits, drink a cup of Oregano tea, take a capsule, use it in your favorite culinary meal, take a bath, or try aromatherapy with it. To help your body fight off a virus, 200 mg of Oregano three times daily is a great starting point. If your body has problems digesting food for nutrition, Oregano comes in a great extract also.

  7. Rosemary: Known for its memory evoking capabilities, students have used its invigorating piney fragrance when studying. But, Rosemary has much more far reaching benefits including anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant, and expectorant. It is celebrated for enhancing the immune system, combating bacterial and viral infections, and relieving respiratory ailments. Take one capsule of 500 mg up to two times daily. Please check the supplement package directions for your body’s proper dosage.

  8. Sage: This warm and spicy herb has a hint of a musky type taste. Made famous in your Grandmother’s homemade Thanksgiving dressing, this attractive herb leaves and its oil is responsible for its pharmacological activity. You can add this to your culinary meals, digest capsules, drink in a tea, or use in aromatherapy. Typically, an adult dose for medicinal purposes is about 500 mg taken three times a day; but I recommend that you follow your supplement package directions.

  9. Silver or Colloidal Hydrosol: According to alternative medicine folklore, Colloidal Silver is used as an anti-viral and a germicide. In 2013, a Boston University in Massachusetts research team found that silver makes antibiotics more effective when used at the same time. For adults, hold under the tongue for thirty (30) seconds 1 teaspoon then swallow. During a virus infection, you can do this action up to seven times a day. For immune support, decrease to five times a day. For maintenance, try one time a day. Please follow the package directions.

  10. Star Anise: Star anise is a commanding culinary and medicinal spice that has been used for centuries to treat anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal sicknesses. The shikimic acid in Star Anise is also used as the compound in the anti-viral drug called Tamiflu. Take note of this little powerhouse because it is much cheaper than Tamiflu and you don’t need a prescription. Alternative medicine folklore also has used Star Anise to decrease mucus and congestion because of its strong expectorant properties. Star Anise typically comes in its natural form where you can add it to your dishes or smoothies. It also comes in essential oil form also.

  11. Thyme: Native to Asia and the Mediterranean, this warm somewhat sweet herb has been used for centuries to cure a wide range of illnesses due to its Thymol properties. The Greeks and Romans must have known what they were doing using Thyme for anti-septic, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and expectorant abilities. Start taking at the first sign of the flu to help decrease the viral load in your body. It also has one of the highest antioxidant concentrations of herbs and helps clear out free radicals throughout the body to give your body an extra immune boost. You can add this to your culinary meals, digest capsules, drink in a tea, or use in aromatherapy.

Natural Immunity Support

  1. American Ginseng: Known for being native to the eastern part of the United States and Canada, it has been highly valued for its medicinal purposes and sweet taste. Although there is a few research studies to back American Ginseng up as flu deterrent, tradition has speculated that American Ginseng can decrease the development and the severity of flu symptoms if taken over a three month period of time.

  2. Andrographis: A flowering plant from India, it is known to prevent colds and flus because of its immune-stimulant properties. In alternative medicine folklore, taking Andrographis can reduce catching a cold or flu by half if taken for two to three months. There is some emerging research that shows taking Andrographis along with Siberian Ginseng significantly improves cold and flu symptoms if started within the first few days of the illness and continued throughout the duration.

  3. Astragalus: In folklore, Astragalus is sometimes considered a “miracle herb.” It comes from the root of a perennial plant family that typically grows in parts of China. There's some evidence Astragalus can stimulate white blood cell production (aka lymphocyte) for immunity boosting activity. Although research is emerging on its anti-viral ability, Astragalus may prevent the replication of viruses like Coxsackie B-3. Coxsackie B-3 is a virus that triggers illnesses ranging from mild stomach issues to the common cold. Depending on your preference, Astragalus can be taken as a decoction, dried root, tincture, or capsule. If taken by mouth, Astragalus is used for common cold, upper respiratory infections, flu, and to strengthen the immune system.

  4. Brewer's Yeast: If you have received the flu vaccine, two research studies suggest that Brewer’s Yeast may help reduce the duration of the flu symptoms. Interestingly, it had no impact if you weren’t vaccinated. (Note: If you are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), then you should not take Brewer’s Yeast. Please check with your health practitioner.)

  5. Cat’s Claw: Cat Claw is a climbing vine native to tropical rainforest. Its stem bark is typically used. Like Echinacea, Cat Claw has been used for centuries to treat a weakened immune system and stimulates the immune system.

  6. Echinacea: If you are new to the world of medicinal herbs and spices, I bet you have still heard of using Echinacea. It has been used for hundreds of years to help build up the immune system and keep people healthy. Tradition has used Echinacea to thwart upper respiratory infections, colds, and flus. Research has shown Echinacea stimulates the immune system by triggering macrophages to produce tumor necrosis factor, interleukin-1, and beta-interferon.

  7. Garlic: In the movies and books, Garlic was supposed to ward off Vampires. Maybe the villain should have been a virus epidemic. Something so smelly actually has the ability to ward off a cold using its immune-stimulant activity. Alternative medicine folklore and some beginning research shows that it might also have an anti-viral impact. Taken regularly, a garlic supplement might also help deter getting the flu or reducing its duration the season. Consider adding it into your homemade chicken noodle soup.

  8. Goldenseal: Originating from the Native American tribes, Goldenseal was used as a dominant immune system enhancer. Because of its berberine and canadine, this perennial herb has mild immune-stimulating effects. Goldenseal is great for sore throats that are a result of irritated mucous membranes.

  9. Panax Ginseng: Panax ginseng: Native to northeastern China and Russia, this perennial herb is very famous for its extraordinary therapeutic benefits including its immune stimulant effects. Some evidence suggests that it might protect against colds and flus by taking 100 mg a day before the cold and flu season begins. Typically, Panax Ginseng comes in capsule and pill format for colds.

  10. Vitamins C: Tradition has suggested that Vitamin C may prevent colds and flu. The majority of research shows that taking high doses of vitamin C orally might decrease the duration of cold symptoms by one to one and half days in some. To prevent a cold or flu or to help assist during a case of the cold or flu, one can take up to 1,000 milligrams three times a day.

  11. Zinc: Using Zinc has been shown in research to show a significant decrease in the duration of symptoms of the flu. Although the delivery mechanism of Zinc (aka capsules, liquid, lozenges, etc.) may vary the effectiveness; overall, Zinc may be beneficial for modestly reducing the duration of symptoms of the flu by about one and half days. I prefer Zinc in liquid form because my system doesn’t seem to process the capsules as well. No matter what form you take of Zinc, please follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

DIY Natural Remedies

Are you looking for some easy natural Do It Yourself remedies to take while you have the flu or to fend off any nasty viruses? Listed below are a couple of solutions you may want to try.

Fight A Cold or Flu With This D.I.Y. Drink!

When you starting feeling sick, the first line of defense in my house is to start drinking my favorite immunity building drink. It is quick and simple to make.

Recipe:

  • 1 Tablespoon of Sovereign Silver (Silver or Colloidal Hydrosol)

  • 1 Dropfull of liquid Ionic Zinc

  • 6 ounces of water

  • 1 packet of Emergen-C Vitamin C

Mix the ingredients together and drink. If you dislike the taste of Zinc, using a straw is helpful to overcome this. You can drink this up to three times a day while feeling under the weather. For immunity maintenance, drink once a day.

Build Your Immunity With This Astragalus Root Immune Builder Broth

Typically, Astragalus is not used in standard culinary dishes. Many people use it in drinks like a tea, soup, or broth. But, one normally doesn’t use it as a flavor enhancer. Its role tends to be more medicinal in nature then as a seasoning. Below, I have included a broth recipe that uses Astragalus Root in it. I prefer using herbs and spices in their natural state. But, if you are like me and you don’t have access to Astragalus Root at the local grocery store and a health food store isn’t around the corner, then you may want to consider an Astragalus Root extract. You can find Astragalus Root extract online, at an herb store, or at your local health food store. For prevention of a cold, one teaspoon of Astragalus Root extract is commonly used. You can also buy Astragalus powder in capsule form also. Follow the dosing direction on the bottle.

Recipe:

• 3 Cups of Water

• 2 Beef Bouillon Cubes (or Beef Broth)

• 1 ½ Teaspoons of Fresh Minced Garlic

• 8 Inches of Astragalus Root

Combine the water, beef bouillon cubes, garlic, and Astragalus. Simmer mixture for two hours. Drink the broth if you start feeling like you are getting an infection or drink one cup of broth a couple times a week to prevent an infection.

Master Flu Tonic

Although you may not feel like eating or you are unable to keep anything in your stomach, here is a great flu tonic drink to help you.

Recipe:

  • 1 Cup minced or chopped garlic

  • 1 Cup minced or chopped onion

  • 1 Cup grated ginger root

  • 1 Teaspoon of dehydrated Rosemary

  • 1 Teaspoon of dehydrated Sage

  • 1 Teaspoon of dehydrated Olive Leaf

  • 1 Teaspoon dehydrated Oregano

  • Apple cider vinegar (With the “Mother”)

Mix all vegetables, herbs, and spices together into a mason jar and then top the jar off with Apple Cider Vinegar. Shake this tonic and let it rest for at least a day. Drink two ounces of it about five times a day until you are feeling better.

Elderberry Flu Syrup

If you decide to make Elderberry Syrup at home instead of buying it at the store, here is a “Do It Yourself” recipe. I add in Star Anise to give it some additional virus kicking ability!

Recipe:

  • 3 Cups black Elderberries

  • 2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

  • 1 Teaspoon of crushed Star Anise seeds

  • 8 Cups Water

  • 2 Cups Honey

  • 1 Teaspoon of lemon or lime

Bring to boil the elderberries, cinnamon, and star anise in a saucepan on the stove. Cover and reduce to low or simmer for one hour. The liquid should have reduced by half or about four cups. Remove from the stove and cool. Mash the ingredients then pour through a strainer into a mason jar. After the liquid cools, add the honey and lemon or lime. Place the lid on the jar and shake. Please mark the contents and store in the refrigerator.

If you are considering taking any new herbs and spices, it is better to start with taking one herb at a time than to start taking multiple herbs all at the same time. This will give you the ability to see how your body reacts to each herb. Taking only one herb or spice is extremely important especially when considering taking sedative herbs and spices.

With any herbs or spices that you may consider digesting or using for medicinal purposes, please consult a healthcare practitioner FIRST before adding anything new to your health regime. Depending on your current diet, nutritional support, and prescription medicine, you could have interactions or adverse reactions to other herbs and spices along with prescription medicine. In addition, long-term use many not be recommended. It is better to check first with a medical healthcare practitioner first before beginning something new. If you are pregnant or nursing, please DO NOT take herbs and spices for medicinal purposes.

Blessings, Herbal Farmwife

For additional “Do It Yourself” natural remedies using herbs, spices, vitamins, minerals, and healing foods, please visit HerbalFarmwife.com.

DISCLAIMER: HERBALFARMWIFE.COM DOES NOT PROVIDE ANY MEDICAL ADVICE. If you have or suspect that you have a medical problem, you should immediately contact your health care provider. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking professional advice because of something you have read on HerbalFarmwife.com. The Herbal Farmwife is not a licensed medical doctor or other formally licensed healthcare professional, practitioner or provider of any kind. HerbalFarmwife.com does not render medical advice or treatment, nor does it provide or prescribe any medical diagnosis, treatment, medication, or remedy. Information on HerbalFarmwife.com or associated social media sites should not be considered to be healthcare advice, medical diagnosis, or treatment. None of the information on HerbalFarmwife.com should be considered a promise of benefits, a claim of cures, a legal warranty, or a guarantee of results to be achieved. This information is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other healthcare professionals, or any notifications or instructions contained in or on any product label or packaging. You should not use this information for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should always speak with your physician or other healthcare professional before taking any medication or nutritional or herbal supplement or adopting any treatment for a health problem. The information provided on and accessible from HerbalFarmwife.com is not guaranteed to be correct, complete, or up-to-date. The HerbalFarmwife.com and any associated social media pages are not intended to create a client relationship. Herbs and spices in medicinal doses may cause adverse reactions when used with other herbs and spices or prescription medicines. Always consult a healthcare professional first before trying any herbs, spices, vitamins, or minerals referenced on HerbalFarmwife.com. This information is merely a discussion of “thoughts” among friends. Please note that none of these statements have been evaluated by the USA’s Food and Drug Administration. Please do not take any herbs and spices in medicinal doses if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

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