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The Best 13 Natural Remedies for Flu

Updated on February 17, 2019
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Daniel is an award-winning composer/author/publisher and public speaker. He speaks about life's difficulties in an inspiring way.

The Effect of Flu Pandemics

The great flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people than World War I. More than 20 million people died as a result of Spanish flu pandemic. The 2009 swine flu pandemic resulted in widespread outbreaks, but far less deaths, probably due to better education, vaccines, information.

Flu is most deadly to people between the ages of 20 and 40. People in this age range have immune systems which go into overdrive when flu attacks. What happens as the virus spreads into the lungs is that the body produces T cells and fills the lungs, releasing chemicals that cause inflammation which block blood vessels, resulting in reduced oxygen supply. In other words, it's not the virus that causes death in these circumstances, it's the body's immune system over reacting that causes suffocation.

Since scientists have discovered this, there has been much work in producing drugs that will reduce the number of T cells1 to the lungs to a safe level, allowing the body to still defend itself, but without the danger of suffocation.

Such a troublesome problem is a perfect example of the importance of allopathic medicine and research, since there are no known cures or remedies in alternative/homeopathic medicine for immune system going into overdrive.

Allopathic or Natural?

The spread of flu each year is real, and strains continue to morph and change, but there are still many, many ways that individuals can protect themselves in preventing and treating flu.

While arguments for and against alternative, natural and allopathic (medical) doctors and their cures rage on, there is evidence to support that both schools of thought are valuable and needed. The debate about whether or not alternative methods are effective will continue on because of quackery, misinformation, and superstition, but correct information and education become the greatest issue in making informed decisions for one's health. Often, a combination of allopathy combined with alternative methods will help to relieve symptoms of illness and ultimately wellness. In other words, a word to the wise is simply that one does not need to be without the other.

One report2 states that during the Spanish flu pandemic of 1918, allopathic doctors lost 30%–40% of their patients, compared to homeopathic/alternative doctors who lost only 1% of patients. While this information needs to be qualified and substantiated to be accurate, anecdotally, it does shed important light on the power of alternative remedies when administered with skill and education.

The purpose of this article is not to go into detail about allopathic medications to treat flu, since drug companies develop new products all the time and they are well advertised. However, effective alternative, natural remedies that work for treating flu have remained the same throughout time. Following is a list of some of the better remedies.

Natural Flu Remedies

Colloidal Silver: Silver particles suspended in water, colloidal silver was used before antibiotics were developed. Not only is it highly effective against bacteria, but also virus, fungus and many other ills.

Oregano oil: Highly effective against virus, bacteria, fungus and many other ills, oregano oil3 boasts a long list of health benefits and medicinal properties.

L-Lysine amino acid: An amino acid which the body cannot produce, L-Lysine is highly antiviral and is effective in treating most viruses including flu, herpes type 1 and shingles.

Oscillococcinum: Available in most groceries and pharmacies, this remedy must be taken within the first 24 hours, or first signs of flu in order to be effective, but most report effective relief from flu symptoms when directions are followed.

Zinc: Powerful antiviral mineral, zinc is often deficient in people aged 55 and older. In clinical tests, those who supplemented with zinc daily were 88% effective in avoiding infections over the course of a year.

NAC (N-acetylcysteine): A powerful antioxidant important in the synthesis of glutathione, which becomes an effective virus fighter.

Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide: Different than the hydrogen peroxide you find in a grocery or pharmacy, food grade hydrogen peroxide4 is 35% strength which must be diluted in order to be used. Can be safely ingested following directions for dilution and how to use internally.

Mustard Plaster: Powdered mustard is loaded with antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory agents. By creating a mustard plaster and placing it on the chest, those agents are inhaled through the vapors created by the plaster. To create a plaster, combine 1–2 tablespoons of dry mustard, 2 tablespoons of flour, 1 large egg and a small amount of warm water to form a paste. Use a square of cotton or similar cloth like a large handkerchief and smear the paste on to half the cloth, then fold over. Apply olive oil to the chest, and place the plaster on to the chest. The plaster will become warm, so check to make sure the plaster doesn't burn the patient. Leave on for 20 minutes to an hour or more, depending patient's response, and other conditions. Wash after removing the plaster.

Consumer Beware

The popular "natural" remedy Zicam5 is marketed for cold symptoms but is also used widely for flu. A zinc-based natural alternative commonly found in grocery and pharmacy stores, Zicam has been plagued with problems over its nasal spray products which apparently have caused some users to lose their sense of smell entirely. However, other Zicam products seem to have a safe track record of results among users.

Natural Teas for Flu!


Working through the upper respiratory tract, thyme tea loosens mucus, thus inhibiting bacterial growth by keeping things flowing and moving. Take one teaspoon thyme leaves and place in a pan of boiling water. Turn off heat and steep for five to ten minutes, then strain into a cup, add honey to taste and sip.

Lemon juice:

Lemons are highly acidic making mucous membranes intolerable for bacteria, virus, and fungus. Lemons also have strong anti-inflammatory properties. Lemon oil acts as an expectorant to loosen phlegm and congestion. Chop 1 lemon and place the whole lemon into a pan of boiling water. Turn off the heat and let steep for five minutes. Pour into a teacup and add honey to taste and sip.

Black Pepper:

Black pepper stimulates circulation and thus also the flow of mucus, preventing mucus build up bacterial growth. Place one teaspoon of pepper in a pan of boiling water, turn off heat and let steep for about 15 minutes. Strain tea into a cup, add honey to taste and sip.

Apple Cider Vinegar:

Loaded with enzymes from the apple and from the fermentation process, including minerals and other health benefits, apple cider vinegar also rebalances the alkaline condition of the body associated with cold and flu virus to a slightly acidic state—the natural PH level best for the human body. Two to three tablespoons of apple cider vinegar with equal parts of boiling water, and honey added to taste, a natural antibacterial agent, this tea is effective for treating many ills and establishing health and wellness.

A Few Other Helps:

Additionally there are other remedies for teas and plasters using garlic, ginger and onion. Each have potent virus fighters. Garlic and ginger capsules may also be purchased easily, and onion can be added more frequently to meals as a preventive measure. Additionally there are recipes for a garlic, ginger, lemon, honey tea, which is brewed in water, adding nearly equal parts of all ingredients. Honey would be a big factor in making such a drink palatable.

All things considered, being sick with flu is a perfect time to use such natural aids since they tend to cause a serious case of dragon breath, thus helping the quarantine necessary to prevent spreading the virus. [Wink.]

© 2013 Daniel Carter


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