With the cold weather fast approaching it’s vital to prepare for what may be one of the UK’s harshest winter’s in years – whether that be by caring for those that are elderly and vulnerable or preventing yourself from catching the flu.
Although there are lots of different ways to help prevent the flu, the natural remedies that are available are not often talked about.
Flu symptoms are most likely to develop within one to three days of you first becoming infected and can last as long as one to two weeks. In some cases you may experience a lingering cough and still feel very tired for a couple of weeks after the cold has subsided, however, this is not as common.
Flu can give you a range of different symptoms including a sudden fever or high temperature, a dry or a chesty cough, a headache, the chills, loss of appetite, sneezing, nausea and vomiting and difficulties sleeping.
With so many different symptoms affecting your day to day, the need to both prevent and treat is even more important. We have already talked about the importance of getting the flu jab this winter but did you know there are many natural remedies available too?
Vitamin D is produced in the body by sunlight and can help build the immune system, therefore helping to reduce the risk of catching the flu. With recent research showing that low vitamin D levels are linked to higher rates of cold, flu and respiratory infections, it’s important to keep your vitamin D levels at the recommended amount.
Taking 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C daily can help to ward off the flu as it helps the immune system to function and boosts white blood cells. Taking up to 4,000 milligrams daily when you are experiencing symptoms can help relieve you of any major discomforts.
A great way to boost your Vitamin C levels is to eat fruit and vegetables daily, including bell peppers, leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, berries, oranges, tomatoes and green peas.
Echinacea is a herb that can help your body fight off infections, however, it’s best to start taking it at the first sign of the flu developing. A recent study published in the April 2015 edition of Current Therapeutic Research showed that taking Echinacea when you have the flu has been proven to be as effective, if not more so, as Tamiflu at fighting respiratory infections. So if you’re feeling a lot of discomfort this may be one of the better options to go for.
Echinacea directly attacks yeast and other kinds of fungus, acting as an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the bronchial symptoms of the flu. There are many different ways to take Echinacea, including taking tablets containing 6.78 milligrams of echinacea extract two to three times a day, having 900 milligrams of Echinacea root tincture daily or five to six cups of echinacea tea on the first day of symptoms, and then 1 cup a day thereafter.
As oregano oil has a powerful antiviral effect, it is recommended by the Journal of Applied Microbiology that you take 500mg twice daily to help reduce the effects of a cold, as well as fight it off.
Zinc has been known to support the immune system as well as having an antiviral effect, which is why it’s recommended to be taken at the first signs of illness. Although zinc lessens the symptoms of the flu, taking excessive amounts is bad for you. The Cochrane Review recommend that you take 50-100 milligrams daily to ward off and treat the flu.
Many people believe that Elderberry is a herb that can help remedy the flu at the same time as naturally boosting your immune system. While some are sceptical, it is said the flowers and berries of elderberry can boost immunity, treat flu-like symptoms and ease sinus pain.
Dr Joe Feuerstein said that rubbing peppermint essential oil to either your neck or the bottoms of your feet could naturally help support the immune system, meaning they are often used when people are experiencing symptoms of the flu to help them recover.
Clove oil is also said to protect against infection, helping speed recovery from the flu.
Do you use natural remedies to prevent the flu? Have we missed any?