Many of us may be welcoming the cooler weather and the sweaters, hot chocolate and glowing fireplaces that come along with it. However, the end of summer and dip in temperature also signals the start of flu season. While there are shelves stocked full of flu remedies, many are expensive and ineffective.
Herbs for Flu
This flu season, turn to some all-natural herbal remedies to help protect yourself from the flu, and speed up recovery if you do fall victim.
A great herb that has been used for hundreds of years, goldenseal is also easily accessible and has a variety of other uses. Goldenseal can help address sinus and lung congestion, swollen lymph glands, sore throat, and fever. This herb is most easily taken in capsule form (4-6 grams per day), but should not be taken for long periods of time.
The key behind goldenseal’s efficacy lies in the alkaloids hydrastine, berberine, and canadine. Other options that contain these alkaloids include Chinese goldthread and Oregon grape.
There’s a reason why echinacea is a common ingredient in many cold and flu medicines that you typically find in the store, and that’s because it truly is effective. Echinacea helps the body fight viral and bacterial infections, and studies have proven its efficacy in fighting colds and flus.
You can take echinacea as soon as you begin to feel the symptoms, but for no longer than 7-10 consecutive days. You can consume the herb via tea, tincture, or capsule.
This herb works by promoting sweating, which will help a fever break. The flowers of the elderflower herb are also used to treat congestion. For best results, use 2 teaspoons of dried or fresh blossoms; steep in boiled water for 10 minutes, and drink. You can consume this drink 2-3 times per day.
Many herbalists consider boneset to be the best herbal remedy for flu-like symptoms. This herb helps rid the body of toxins and relaxes the mucous membranes, which can help with phlegm and congestions.
It is recommended to create an infusion by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb; let steep for 10-15 minutes; then drink. This can be taken every 30 minutes to help with cold and flu symptoms.
Yarrow acts as a diaphoretic, astringent, diuretic, and antiseptic; each of these properties helps address various symptoms of the flu. Make yourself a tea by pouring a cup of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoons of the dried herb; steep for 10-15 minutes, then drink. This tea can also be enjoyed up to three times daily.
Hailing from Southeast Asia, this herb is sometimes referred to as the “Indian Echinacea.” It has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries to help treat many ailments. Studies have shown that andrographis may help support the immune system and possess anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. Take in capsule or tincture form.
Other flu-fighting herbs:
- Slippery Elm
- Eucalyptus oil
- Licorice root
- Lemon Balm
- Red Raspberry
- Sweet Basil
- Sweet Orange
- Styrax benzoin
- American ginseng
- Wild indigo
- Bay laurel
- Pleurisy root
- Blessed Thistle
- Hemp Agrimony
- Balloon Flower
While this is certainly not an extensive list, this covers the most commonly used and most effective herbal remedies for combating the flu. Many of these herbs can be found either fresh, dried, or in capsule form in your local health food store. Keep them on hand to keep you and your family healthy this flu season.