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Flu Remedies: Safe, Simple and Effective

Posted on January 23rd, 2013 by | 1 views
by Anne Salazar-Dunbar, Therapeutic Herbalist


First off, lets talk about remedies that help with prevention. Prevention is much easier to handle, then full-blown flu symptoms. The key here is take them as soon as symptoms begin to manifest or you feel you have been exposed. Some of them, as you will see, can be taken on a regular basis just for simple prevention. Many of them are considered foods.

I hope it goes without saying that a diet high in unprocessed, whole, organic foods is mandatory for strong immune function. Sugars, junk food, and nutrition-challenged foods will only weaken and create vulnerability.

Garlic: Not enough can be said about the power of this common herb. It has antiparasitic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Eaten on a regular basis, it is excellent preventative medicine. The closer to its raw form, the more effective it is. You can juice it with veggies like carrot, tomato, and celery, you can eat it on toast, you can blend some with olive oil, fresh herbs, and lemon and drizzle on rice and other dishes, or you can simply cut some up and swallow them with water.

In addition to its immune enhancing properties, it is also great for cardiovascular health. It seems that supplemental forms of garlic are effective for this. The raw form is more effective for immune building.

Echinacea: I feel as though I am repeating myself here, but it bears repeating. Echinacea is safe and very effective. It is best used at the onset of symptoms and is important to use regularly until a while after symptoms abate. My favorite form of echinacea is in tincture- it stays fresh and powerful this way.

Probiotics: The friendly bacteria that should be living and thriving in our intestinal tracts is constantly threatened by stress, poor eating habits, chlorine, alcohol, and antibiotics. Friendly bacteria are essential for a healthy immunity.

Mineral rich herbs: It is easy to say, Eat your vegetables. It is not always easy to do, especially for the little ones. This can be helped by regularly ingesting mineral rich herbs in a tasty tea. This way you can drink your vegetables! A great combination is nettle and red raspberry leaf tea- high in nourishing and protecting minerals and vitamins.

Another excellent idea is to add nutrient rich green foods to your diet. They will cleanse the blood (chlorophyll), feed the body in a deep way, and protect with immune enhancing properties. My favorite that hits on all three fronts is wild blue green algae. It is taken in supplement form.

Immune boosting soups: It’s easy to add things like onions, burdock root, astragalus, ginger, and cayenne, to vegetables high in anti-oxidant power like broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage. And adding shitake mushrooms completes the picture for a tasty immune-building soup.

This is by no means a complete list. There are many other things one can do to stave off infection. But it's a start.

Now, how to deal with a full-blown infection? Here are a few ideas:

Keep in mind: consistency and regularity are imperative for healing!!

Teas, tinctures, and herbs that are helpful for flu symptoms:

  • Echinacea, ginger, goldenseal, pau d‚Äôarco, slippery elm, yarrow, cinnamon, lomatium, turmeric, and elder are good for influenza. Combining any of these with peppermint will help to open up nasal passages as well as fight infection.

  • Flu tea:
    1 part Yarrow
    1 part Peppermint
    1 part Elder Flowers

  • Cayenne pepper helps to get mucous flowing, aiding in prevention and headaches. Add a bit to soups and other foods.

  • If it is necessary to lower a fever-catnip, elderflowers, and yarrow are effective.

  • Essential oils of thyme, eucalyptus, rosemary, and pine are antiseptic and can be used for inhalations and to disinfect a room.

Specific herbs work for specific symptoms:

  • Nasal Congestion: elderflowers, yarrow, peppermint
  • Sore throat: osha, cleavers, marigold, burdock
  • Tonsils: comfrey, marshmallow, mullein
  • Lung congestion: mullein, elecampane, sage
  • Nausea: chamomile, lemon balm, lavender, peppermint
  • Diarrhea: blackberry leaves, meadowsweet, peppermint

Lemon Throat Spray:
This powerful antiseptic spray will help beat a cold or flu.

15 drops lemon essential oil
5 drops peppermint essential oil
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup lemon juice

Combine ingredients and pour mixture into a spray bottle. Shake well, and spray gently into your throat several times a day.


For specific use of these herbs, and for more information contact your local herbalist. There are also some great books available to help you. You can find a comprehensive list on my site at Be sure to get your herbs from a reliable source. The fresher the better! And make sure they are either organically grown, or wild harvested (with consideration for threatened species).

Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional and will not diagnose or prescribe. Anything you read in this article comes from personal experience and is not intended to be taken as medical advice.

Anne is a second generation native San Diegan, and mother of three. She is a certified clinical herbalist with training and experience in both Western and Eastern modalities. She is a graduate of Self Heal School and the East West School of Herbal Medicine. Along with a private practice specializing in women and children (though not exclusive to them), Anne also teaches classes in herbal medicine and nutritional health. In addition she works as the Lead Practitioner at Pharmaca, La Jolla. She is happy to join the Natural BabyPros team, and to assist our membership in finding balance in their health, and learning how to use herbs and nutrition for the overall well-being of themselves and their families.

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