Unfortunately it’s that time of the year where the flu virus is just hanging around and can pounce at any time. The flu is a viral illness that can have symptoms similar to a common cold, but it can also cause more serious issues, affecting the nose, throat, lungs and bronchial tubes, and may even lead to bronchitis or pneumonia.
Common symptoms of the flu virus include a sore throat, coughing, muscle aches and pains, headache, sudden fatigue, and a high fever. While this post is going to explore some natural remedies that can help ease your flu symptoms, it’s important to also remember that the flu lead to serious illness, and a doctor should always be consulted prior to trying any home remedies, or if your symptoms worsen.
Oil of Oregano
Oregano extract has been used as a natural remedy to treat many respiratory illnesses since the ancient ages. It contains an antibacterial compound called carvacrol, which can have an almost antibiotic-like effectiveness against certain viruses.
In addition to helping treat coughs, colds, sore throats and flu-like symptoms, oil of oregano can also help calm upset stomachs, aid digestion, and promotes sweating — which can be especially useful during the flu in breaking a high fever.
Add about 4-5 drops of oil of oregano to a small glass of water, and swish or gargle it around your mouth. Be warned: it has a very unpleasant taste. You can also take up to 150mg of oregano herbal oil in capsule form, or use it in a steam diffuser throughout your house. Oil of oregano is very strong, so it’s always best to start with a small dosage and see how your body reacts first. Also, do not exceed the recommended dosage per the bottle instructions, or talk to your doctor for guidance.
If your flu symptoms have left you feverish, or have caused vomiting or diarrhea, you’re likely to be dehydrated and have lost electrolytes, which are naturally occurring compounds in your body. Electrolytes need to be maintained in an even balance throughout your body in order to function properly, so a loss of them has the ability to make you feel even worse (if you even thought that was possible while having the flu!)
Replace lost electrolytes with your own natural drink, made from ingredients you’re likely to have handy in your house.
Homemade Electrolyte Drink
3 cups coconut water
1 cup water
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
NAC (N-acetyl L-cysteine)
A solid home remedy for the flu is N-acetyl L-cysteine, which can be found under the common name “NAC” at your local grocery or health food store. NAC is a powerful antioxidant that helps to boost immunity, and can reduce mucus in the respiratory system and improve lung function.
Studies have shown that taking NAC can reduce both the severity and duration of your flu symptoms. It’s a pill you can take daily to be preventative, or even during the flu to reduce the amount of time you’re sick. The recommended dose is 600mg twice a day for adults, and 300mg twice a day for children, during flu season.
Honey, Lemon & Ginger
The three of these ingredients mixed together in a cup of hot water are a dream team to help you kick the flu. Lemon is full of vitamin C, which will boost your immunity and energy, honey will be useful in coating your throat and relieving your cough, and ginger works wonders as a natural way to fight nausea and vomiting.
Simply boil some water and pour it over some freshly sliced ginger root, and let steep for about 3 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the honey and lemon juice together in a mug, until the honey dissolves. Pour the ginger and hot water mixture over the lemon and honey and stir well. Continue to add more honey or lemon to taste, and enjoy how instantly it will warm and sooth your sore throat.
Here are some other tips that can help you prevent getting sick with the flu or a cold to begin with!
- Drink plenty of fluids – water is best!
- Keep it clean. Stay away from germ and bacteria-ridden surfaces, like restaurant tables or airplane trays, with a quick clean using cleaning wipes.
- Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can lower your immunity, making it easier for these viruses to take hold.
- Wash your hands frequently, or use a hand sanitizer if you don’t have access to soap and water throughout the day.
- Try to get regular exercise. Even a brisk walk a day can help boost your immunity.
- Maintain a healthy diet. You know what they say: an apple a day….
- Decrease stress. Stress is well-known to be a factor in lowering your immunity.
Hopefully these tips can help you prevent an illness this winter season, or to heal up faster than normal. Best of luck staying healthy!