Herbal help for the Flu
So you have “the flu”…body aches/pain, nausea/vomiting, cough and fatigue. You feel horrible and will do almost anything just to feel better so you can get back to your normal routine, because there is just no time in your schedule for this!
Instead of suffering needlessly, or turning to an over-the-counter remedy, why not try herbs? Herbal remedies can help the body balance out the symptoms and assist it in regaining its natural state of well-being, instead of masking the symptoms and fighting against the virus.
My top picks for herbal support for the flu season:
1) Elder Berries and Flowers (Sambucus Canadensis).
Called “the tree of medicine”, Mother Elder will comfort you when you are ill, and will also help strengthen you when well again. Paul Bergner, a respected herbalist, reports: “In clinical trials, patients who took elderberry juice syrup reported fast termination of symptoms. Twenty percent reported significant improvement within 24 hours, 70% by 48 hours, and 90% claimed a complete cure after three days. Patients receiving the placebo required six days for recovery….”
The berries, made into syrup are a tasty and very effective remedy for both flu and colds, and seem to be well tolerated even when nauseous/vomiting. The flowers made into a hot tea, along with Yarrow and Spearmint will produce a healthy, healing sweat.
I have found that a tincture made of dried berries and flowers infused in brandy, along with spoonfuls of homemade elderberry syrup, make a quite potent flu remedy that the body quickly and readily absorbs.
2) Yarrow (Achillea millefolium).
A wonderful diaphoretic (sweat inducer) – opens the pores to let the heat out! Taken with Elderberry in tincture or tea, is quite effective at alleviating intense fever/heat. Yarrow seems to have an amazing way of getting deep into your liver to pull out the heat when taken right after a brandy hot toddie – the hot toddie gently “opens” the liver which allows Yarrow to get to the deeper heat and bring it to the surface.
3) Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum).
Eases those deep aches and pains, induces a simple sweat and rids your body of intermittent chills. Both homeopathic formula and herbal tincture are convenient and well tolerated during flu. Small, frequent doses of the tincture (10 drops) at 2-3 hour intervals are quite effective, and is only needed for a few days at most.
4) Catnip (Nepeta cataria).
A calming and relaxing herb; will ease fevers and diarrhea, and help prevent dehydration due to its high potassium content. Taken as a tea for best results.
5) Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis).
Also calming/relaxing, light sweat inducer, with anti-viral properties – very effective when fever is present. Will help soothe your nerves and reduce your stress (flu or otherwise), and is highly effective at reducing the duration and painfulness of fever blisters (herpes virus).