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Remedies for Flu - What Works?



Look for a natural remedies for flu?

The flu is caused by the influenza virus infection. A person will experience high fever, severe coughing, headache, muscle ache, nausea and fatigue.

Often you are extremely weak and it makes you unable to get out of bed. It can be serious and can lead to other forms of infection in those with a weakened immune system.

Most of the natural remedies are designed to support your immune system to help it better fight off the flu virus. By doing so, it may shorten the duration and reduce the severity of the symptoms.

By far, keeping healthy (via diet and exercise), hand washing and staying away from people with the flu are the best method of preventing the flu.

Below is a detailed list of natural remedies commonly used to prevent and treat flu symptoms.
 


Natural Remedies for Flu

See Flu for just a quick list of the remedies for flu discussed below.
Natural Remedy What experts say about these remedies
Echinacea
(Echinacea purpurea)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal (What's this?)

Echinacea is shown to reduce the duration of the symptoms in clinical studies. This herb is known to boost the immune system and is one of the popular remedies for flu.

Dose: Take 300 mg three times daily. Tincture - Use 3 to 5 mL three times daily. Take it for up to 14 days with the first appearance of symptoms.

Avoid using it regularly as it doesn't seem to prevent you from catching the influenza virus. Experts suggest not using echinacea in children due to reports of allergic reactions such as rash.
 
Vitamin C leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Vitamin C enhances the immune system function by increasing white blood cells activities. In one study, subjects given 100 mg of vitamin C daily for 10 months were 28% less likely to catch the influenza virus. Moreover, their symptoms lasted 10% shorter.

Another study showed that mega dose of vitamin C reduced the duration of the influenza symptoms significantly. Other studies show similar benefits (although there are also studies that show it doesn't work).

Vitamin C is one of the most popular remedies for flu and cold prevention and treatment.

Dose: Take 1,000 to 2,000 mg (1 to 2 grams) three or four times daily.

Note: Click here to get details on megadose therapy with vitamin C. Ultra high dose vitamin C therapy (over 3,000 mg daily and usually much higher) should be supervised by a healthcare professional experienced in this area.
 
Vitamin D leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

In one study, children attending school has less risk of getting influenza infections when given 1,200 IU of vitamin D daily. (See this news release).

There is growing research to show that vitamin D can regulate the immune system. It is growing in popularity as a remedies for flu prevention.

This study was done during the winter seasons when there is less sun exposure needed by the body for making vitamin D.
 
Elderberry leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Elderberry is a rich source of anthocyanidins, tannins, flavonoids and rutin. These chemical substances are known to benefit and regulate the immune system in our body as well as acting as an antioxidant.

A small well-designed clinical study showed that subjects taking elderberry recovered from influenza faster than those taking a placebo. Similar results may be expected for treating influenza as well.

Dose: Typical dosage used is 15 mL (1 tablespoon) taken up to four times daily. Take within 2 days of the start of symptoms for maximum benefit.
 
Garlic

leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Some clinical studies show that taking garlic regularly seems to reduce the chance of catching the flu and the common cold.

Dose: Take 200 to 400 mg up to three times daily.

Go to Health Benefits of Garlic to see the comprehensive review on this versatile herb.
 

Ginseng leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Ginseng is shown to stimulate the immune system and may be helpful in preventing and treating the flu and the common cold.

Dose: Take 200 mg daily to prevent catching the flu. Higher dosages have been used. See Health Benefits of Ginseng to get the full review and other dosages for ginseng.
 
Andrographis
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Andrographis stimulates the immune system and increases the activity of germ-fighting white blood cells. It also seems have anti-allergic activities to help with symptoms such as running nose and watery eyes. Andrographolide is the main active ingredient found in andrographis.

Initial clinical studies suggest it may be helpful in treating flu symptoms and reducing the risk of complications. (Clinical studies have shown that it works in treating the common cold.)

Dose: Take 200 to 300 mg along with ginseng three times daily. Take for a duration of 3 to 5 days.
  
Astragalus
(Astragalus membranaceus)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

There is some evidence that taking astragalus may reduce the chances of catching the flu. Studies show that it can boost the immune system and have a positive effect on the immune cells in our body.

Dose: Suggested dose to use is 250 mg four times daily.
 
Sage leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Sage is shown to have antiviral activities in animal and lab studies. Mouthwash containing sage reduces the pain from sore throat. It is commonly used in Europe for treating mouth and throat inflammation. The German Commission E approves its use for treating a sore throat.

Dose: Infusion - Use 3 grams of the herb in 150 mL of water or use 3 drops of the essential oil in 100 mL of warm water. Gargle up to three times daily or as often as needed to get relief from sore throat.
 
Slippery Elm
(Ulmus rubra)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Slippery elm lozenges help treat the pain from a sore throat and the cough. It is a demulcent which soothes and protects an irritated mucous membrane.

Dose: As a lozenge, follow manufacturer's direction. A typical lozenge contains about 150 mg of slippery elm.
  
Boneset
(Eupatorium perfoliatum)
leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Boneset is shown in lab studies to be effective in boosting immune functions of the white blood cells. It has been traditionally used to help treat viral infections.

Dose: Steep 1 to 2 grams of the herb in 150 mL of boiling water. Drink three times daily as needed during the duration of the symptoms.
Extract (1:1) - Take 1 to 2 mL three times daily.
 
Goldenseal leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Goldenseal may provide relief from the pain of a sore throat. It possesses antiviral and immune boosting effects in laboratory studies.

Dose: Suggested dosage is 0.5 to 1 gram of the powder in capsules or tablet form taken three times daily. Extract (1:1) - Take 0.3 to 1 mL up to three times daily. Tincture (1:10) - Take 2 to 4 mL up to three times daily.
 
Oil of Oregano leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Oil of oregano shows potent activity against viruses and may be helpful in killing off the influenza virus.

Dose: Typical dosage used is 500 mg up to four times daily as per manufacturer directions.
 
Cordyceps leaf logo plant natural remedies herb herbal

Cordyceps regulates and boost the immune system. It can be helpful in treating viral infections such as with the influenza virus.

Dose: Take 500 mg two or three times daily.
 
Peppermint Oil Helpful

Peppermint oil seems to help treat sinus and chest congestion.

Dose: Use 3 to 4 drops of peppermint oil in 150 mL of hot water and inhale up to three times daily to help with nasal congestion.

Nasal ointment
- Use a 1% to 5% nasal gel applied into the nose up to three times daily to help with a stuffy nose.

Humidifier - Place several drops of peppermint oil (along with eucalyptus oil if desired) into a humidifier.
 
Eucalyptus Oil Helpful

Similar to peppermint oil, eucalyptus may be helpful with sinus and chest congestion.

Dose: Use 3 to 4 drops of eucalyptus oil in 150 mL of hot water and inhale up to three times daily.

Humidifier - The essential oil may be added to a humidifier along with peppermint oil.
 
Ginger
(Zingiber officinale)
Helpful

Ginger is helpful in treating sore throat, fever and pain. It will also settle the stomach and reduce coughing. Its sedative effect will help you sleep better at night.

Dose: Take 500 mg or use the tea formulation. Use up to four times daily as needed for the duration of the flu.
 
Catnip Helpful

Catnip is classified as a diaphoretic (promotes sweating), thus it may be helpful in treating colds with a fever.

Dose: Use prepared tea bags or make a decoction by boiling 1 to 2 teaspoon in a cup of water (250 mL) for 10 minutes. Drink three times daily.
 
Aniseed
Blackberry
Blueberry
Borage seed oil
Forsythia
Honeysuckle
Propolis
Stinging nettle
Yarrow
Helpful

The following herbs have been traditionally used to treat the symptoms of the flu and the common cold.

Some of these herbs have been shown to have antiviral activities and immune boosting activity in lab studies. Others, such as blueberry and blackberry show anti-inflammatory benefits and is traditionally used to treat sore throat and other flu symptoms.
 
See Flu for just a quick list of the remedies for flu.




Want answers to questions about the flu virus?

See our article Flu to get answers to your questions such as tips to prevent catching the flu virus, diet recommendations, and how long does the flu symptoms last.

Although there is no true cure for flu, there are many remedies for flu that you can try.
 
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Review - Natural Remedies for Boosting the Immune System

 




Return to Flu Home Page

References for Remedies for Flu
Revised: July 14, 2012


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