Natural flu fighters can help stop the flu in its initial stages and help build a healthy immune system
As the end of winter approaches and viruses abound, it’s good to review some natural flu fighters that you can recommend to your patients. Many know about elderberry and ginger, but there are others as well.
“Although natural therapies can help stop the flu in its initial stages, it is essential that chiropractors remind their patients that the best flu fighter is a healthy immune system,” says Lauri Grossman, DC, CCH, RSHom (NA), who in addition to having her own chiropractic practice in Manhattan is a professional homeopath and president-elect of the National Center for Homeopathy.
“Patients of all ages must be encouraged to rest, exercise, and eat well during the winter months. Occasional drinks of hot water mixed with lemon and honey warm both adults and children on cold days. Whole grains, a varied mix of fruits and vegetables, occasional servings of nuts and beans, as well as organic meat, chicken, fish and eggs enhance the health of toddlers, teens, and parents alike. There’s a good reason why family kitchens have been serving soups during the winter months for generations. They hydrate the body and provide a hearty serving of vitamins and minerals. Adding ginger, onions, or garlic to favorite family recipes might be all one needs to give mom dad and all the children the edge they need to stay at the top of their game this flu season.”
Grossman answered questions about other natural flu fighters that chiropractors can recommend to their patients and why and how they work.
How can elderberry help?
Elderberry is one of the most effective herbal remedies for the flu. It alleviates coughs and sinusitis so it is a great option for people whose symptoms include a cough or sinus pain. Elderberry has no potential side effects when taken properly, so chiropractors can recommend it with confidence for patients to use with the entire family.
The recommended adult dosage is 1 tablespoon four times daily. Children need only take 1 tablespoon two times per day.
Elderberry acts by inhibiting influenza virus replication. As with all supplements, one should use a reputable provider.
What can ginger do?
Ginger is one of the most popular herbal medicines because it has so many benefits. In addition to relieving flu-like symptoms, it stimulates digestion and reduces gas. It alleviates sore throats, chills, and colds and it acts as an overall anti-inflammatory.
It can be taken as a tea, tincture, or in capsule form. So it is quite versatile and appealing to patients with varying needs as a natural flu fighter.
To experience the greatest benefit, drink the tea or take a 500 mg capsule four times a day. During the first days of the flu, when symptoms are usually the worst, it is best to eat lightly. So this is when ginger teas and soups containing ginger can do the most good. Fluids help to cleanse away toxins and keep the respiratory tract moist. This greatly speeds healing.
What else can patients take as natural flu fighters?
Before flu season even starts, I tell all my patients to have a box of Oscillococcinum in their medicine chest. Taking Oscillo at the very first sign of headache, chills, or fever can reduce the intensity of symptoms and shorten the length of the flu so that one can return to work or school far sooner than expected.
Oscillo is so effective it has become one of the most popular homeopathic remedies, and is easy to find in your local drugstore. Simply follow the directions on the box, allowing the quick dissolving pellets to melt on or under the tongue three times a day and away from food or drink or the brushing of teeth.
If patients ask if there have been studies, the answer is yes, two studies show that Oscillococcinum lessens both the intensity of symptoms and the number of days one is ill. There are no contraindications, and Oscillo does not interfere with any other medications or supplements.
Most people are familiar with oregano as a common cooking herb, but most do not know it is also a powerful natural flu fighter. Local health food stores carry oregano oil in 500 mg capsules that, when taken four times a day, will bolster the body’s ability to fight the infection.
Just be aware that it is contraindicated during pregnancy — so this is one natural flu-fighter to recommend only to men and post-menopausal women.
These patients may report that in addition to the flu, other infections clear after taking the oregano, as it is a powerful anti-fungal herb and has been found to speed the healing of abscesses, diarrhea, parasites, and vaginitis.