Natural Remedies for the Flu

Discover these natural remedies for the flu. Boost immunity, nip illness in the bud, and relieve dreaded symptoms of fever, body aches, and coughs simply and naturally.

| November/December 2001

These natural remedies for the flu relieve dreaded symptoms of fever, body aches, and coughs naturally.

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Natural Remedies for the Flu

Pandemic. The word describes maladies that aren’t just regional in scope (epidemics) but those with a global impact. Of the great pandemic diseases of the Middle Ages, plague, St. Anthony’s fire, leprosy, and typhus are now uncommon. What survives? Influenza. Fortunately, it’s the mildest of these infectious diseases. Even so, during the flu outbreak of 1918, about 20 million people (including more than 500,000 Americans) died from the disease. Now, when influenza strikes, far fewer people die, largely because of modern medicine’s ability to control complications.

During the Middle Ages, people called the disease influenza coelestia, reflecting the belief that heavenly bodies and natural disasters strongly influenced the affairs of humankind. Now we know the enemy is an invisible one: the influenza virus. The most common types are A and B. This virus is transmitted through the air, such as when someone sick coughs or sneezes. Other respiratory viruses such as parainfluenza can produce flu-like symptoms. Those symptoms include teeth-rattling chills, headache, muscle aches, malaise, poor appetite, runny nose, sore throat, and cough. Because resistance is lowered, bacterial infections such as sinusitis, middle ear infection, and pneumonia may follow.

Prevention: Fending off the flu

How can you avoid getting the flu? You could scrupulously avoid contact with anyone who has it. But given how common and how highly contagious the virus is, such a strategy is impractical, unless you’d like to become a hermit during the winter months. The keystone of prevention is a healthy immune system. Francis Brinker, N.D., botanical medicine preceptor at the Program in Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson and the author of Formulas for Healthful Living (Eclectic Medical, 1998) and Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions (Eclectic, 1998), has several recommendations.

“To prevent flu, the focus should be on a balanced lifestyle: good nutrition—whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, and water—and elimination, plus ample exercise, sleep, relaxation, social interaction, private time, recreation, and spirituality,” he says.

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