It's that time of year again... flu season. So far the flu has not been as bad as last year but many are still suffering. Fortunately, there are natural ways to prevent and fight the flu.
1. Astragalus is an herb I often recommend to students and teachers to take during the flu season. I love astragalus because it boosts the immune system and also helps the body adapt to stress. Therefore, this herb is ideal for people that have a poor immune response related to stress.
2. AHCC (active hexose correlated compound) is a mushroom extract that can be taken daily to prevent the flu. Some studies have shown that it can be as effective in preventing the flu as the flu vaccine. Furthermore, one study showed that AHCC given with the flu vaccine actually helped the vaccine work more efficiently (1).
3. Weekly exercise promotes optimal immune function. Minimally I recommend 30 minutes of cardiovascular exercise three times a week to see benefits.
Fighting the flu:
1. REST! This is often difficult for many people but it is important to rest when we are sick. Our bodies do the majority of repairing and recovering when we sleep.
2. Drinking clear liquids (water/herbal tea/broth) help move the lymphatic fluids. The lymph fluid is one of the ways our bodies dispose of waste materials and infections. Also, hydration promotes circulation which help the immune cells get where they need to be.
3. Lomatium is an herb I recommend that is very effective in decreasing the severity and length of the flu virus.
4. Garlic is a wonderful anti-microbial herb. I often recommend drinking warm broth with crushed garlic when people have the flu.
5. The wet sock treatment is a hydrotherapy technique that can clear out the virus more effectively. The cold socks will improve circulation and cause your body temperature to increase. The flu virus dies when your body temp increases. That is why your immune system causes a fever in an attempt to kill the virus. To do the wet sock treatment it is best to do at the first signs of illness. First you take a pair of cotton socks and dampen them with cold water. Ring out the socks and place them in the freezer for 5-10 minutes. Next put the cold socks on your feet and then put a pair of thick wool socks over the cold socks. This is best done before bedtime. In the morning your feet will have warmed the socks.
***This information is for educational purposes and not intended to diagnose or treat. Please seek a medical professional for treatment of any and all illnesses.***