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Flu Prevention and Care - Part II

In my last article, I discussed how Vitamin D increase or supplement may be a good substitute for the flu shot if, like me, you are concerned about the ingredients in the vaccine. In this article, I’ll list some unique herbal remedies you can turn to if you do happen to get the cold or flu. All of these herbs should be available at your local health food store or order online. Take as prescribed on the container at the earliest sign of onset. Keep a few herbs in your kitchen pantry so you have remedies on hand.

1. Echinacea

This is one of the most popular Native American medicinal plants. The studies that demonstrated the best effect at shortening the length of a cold occurred when you drink two to three cups of Echinacea tea per day starting on the first or second day of your cold.

2. Ginseng and Andrographis

Ginseng is a tuber plant and Andrographis is a plant native to South Asia. Double-blind studies have demonstrated that specific Siberian ginseng and andrographis reduce the length and severity of colds when you take it within 72 hours of the start of your symptoms.

3. Pelargonium Sidoides

Research has demonstrated that this obscure herb can reduce the severity and length of the common cold. Scientists theorize that the herb up-regulates the cytokines in protecting host cells from viral invaders.

4. Raw Garlic

Studies have found that raw garlic can prevent colds and reduce the severity of the cold or flu you already have. Test this for yourself at home (be sure to crush the garlic cloves before eating to release their active medicinal properties).

5. Oil of Oregano

This concentrated oil of the oregano plant has potent antibacterial and antiviral effects. Oil of oregano should not be used by children, women who are pregnant or nursing or who plan to become pregnant.

6. Licorice Root

Licorice root is a traditional herbal remedy to treat colds and upper respiratory infections. While part of the Ayurvedic pharmacy for colds and flu, in the West there is no research that supports the use of licorice root to reduce the length of a cold.

7. Olive Leaf Extract

Widely known as a non-toxic immune system support, a few studies have demonstrated its effectiveness at reducing the infectivity of the virus and reducing the inflammatory response in the body.

8. Herbal Medicinal Teas

Herbal teas from Goldenseal, elderberry, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint and ginger may help support your immune system, soothe a sore throat and shorten your flu by up to one or two days.

9. Curcumin

This is a powerful antioxidant that lowers the levels of two enzymes that cause inflammation. There is evidence that curcumin fights the cold virus in the test tube. Further, it supports the immune system and is effective in the prevention and treatment of several other diseases.

10. Propolis

This is a substance collected by bees from leaf buds and tree bark. This extract may be helpful in the reduction of the length and severity of your cold or flu. Some clinical trials have reported reduced number of upper respiratory infections and a reduction in the length of the viral illness.

11. White Willow

The use of willow bark dates back to the time of Hippocrates when people were advised to chew on the bark of the tree to reduce pain and fever. The chemical properties of the bark are similar to aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid). Pain and fever relief comes more slowly than aspirin but lasts longer. This is a symptom reliever and will not change the length of your flu.

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