Every year, around flu season, people rush to get a flu vaccination, believing the misconception that it may prevent them from falling victim to the dreadful virus. Even with its well-documented dangers, millions of flu shots are still given out by healthcare professionals. Despite our vaccination obsession, the influenza virus is still reported to affect between 5 – 20 percent of people annually, and this alarming percentage only accounts for the U.S. alone.
The good news is that you can significantly reduce your susceptibility to the flu with natural remedies that won’t poison you in the process.
Follow the remedies in this article and you’ll be able to build your own natural firewall of protection before flu season even arrives.
Boost Your Body’s Natural Flu-Killing Potential
The immune system contains two types of white blood cells cells — “natural killer cells” and “T-Cells”– that work to kill off viruses, disease, and even cancer. These cytotoxic cells actively search for mutating, harmful cells and kill them.
Nourishing these cells is the top priority if you want a fighting chance against the flu. Without healthy, strong cells, your body is open and vulnerable to disease, cancer, and of course, the flu.
Think of these fellows as your body’s personal army, guarding against enemies and fighting invaders. You wouldn’t send unarmed soldiers to battle and you certainly wouldn’t send them with faulty weapons, so why would the immune system be able to fight viruses without being supplied with necessary weaponry?
The key is to increase the number of helpful cells and activate them.
Vitamin C is a staple as it helps activate both T-cells and natural killer cells. An average dose for boosting your immune system is 1,000 milligrams daily.
Echinacea and beta carotene, found in carrots and sweet potatoes also boost these important cells. Echinacea should be taken daily during flu season. It’ll also prevent viruses from spreading to other cells in the body, fight off infection, and build your immune system at the same time. On the off chance you do end up sick, echinacea will relieve the misery of cold and flu symptoms.
Studies have shown that sea cucumber activates natural killer cells, stimulates the immune system, and is so powerful that it kills up to 95% of cancerous cells.
Turkey tail and reishi mushrooms are both powerful gems for overall health and during flu season. Taking turkey tail mushrooms will provide protection from viruses and increase the number of natural killer cells while the polysaccharides found in reishi mushrooms stimulate the immune system. Reishi mushrooms have also been useful in treating bronchitis.
Get Plenty of Vitamin D
Vitamin D may play as important of a role as Vitamin C when it comes to flu-fighting. Daily intake of Vitamin D increases the antimicrobial action within your respiratory tract and white blood cells. Without proper amounts of Vitamin D in your body, the Vitamin C products you stock up on every winter won’t do you much good.
People with lower Vitamin D levels tend to have a higher risk of catching the flu, so go absorb some sunshine or begin taking a Vitamin D supplement immediately.
Astragalus is known for improving respiratory problems and colds, but it comes with a hiden bonus — improving your immune system and stopping some viruses dead in their tracks.
If you enjoy the flavor sage brings to the table, now is the time to start consuming it regularly. It cotains anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties that could go a long way in keeping your system protected from the flu and other bugs.
Isatis root may not be your everyday herbal remedy, but it’s has a special place in Traditional Chinese Medicine for the prevention and treatment of the flu and respiratory infections.
Furthermore, 11,000 participants who’d been exposed to mumps were given a decoction of this herb and the result was no mumps. The most common method of consuming isatis root is in the form of a tincture called Ban Lan Gen.
Forsythia fruit, also a favorite in Traditional Chinese Medicine is virtually an all-in-one flu stomper because it guards against and treats the flu and common cold. This single plant acts as an immune system enhancer with anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and as an anti-inflammatory to relieve some of the suffering if you do get sick. Multiple other studies have shown forsythia fruit to be effective at inhibiting many deadly infections.
The warmth and spicy flavor of cinnamon, combined with its immune-boosting capabilities and antioxidant properties make it the perfect winter weather spice. Use plenty of cinnamon in your favorite comfort foods/beverages and enjoy a healthy winter.
When it comes to spices, turmeric has enough benefits that it’s considered an everyday health supplement by many. With it’s powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti- fungal properites, it’s no surprise that this spice makes the list as a cold and flu prevention remedy.
1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18800890 Journal of Medicinal Food, Immunomodulatory properties of frondoside A, a major triterpene glycoside from the North Atlantic commercially harvested sea cucumber Cucumaria frondosa., 2008.
2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2845472/ Journal of society for Integral Oncology 2008, Trametes versicolor Mushroom Immune Therapy in Breast Cancer,
3. Cannell J.J., et al, Epidemic influenza and vitamin D. Epidemiol Infect, 134(6):1129-40, 2006.
4. Ginde, AA. Association between Serum 25-Hydroxyvitamin D Level and Upper Respiratory Tract Infection in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Arch Intern Med. 2009; 169(4):384-390
5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22179315 In vitro inhibition of influenza virus infection by a crude extract from Isatis indigotica root resulting in the prevention of viral attachment., Zifeng Yang Clinical Virology Division, PR China, Mol Med Rep 5:793-9. 2012
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21221924 Antiviral activity of the effective monomers from Folium Isatidis against influenza virus in vivo. Zhao Liu College of Pharmacy, South Central University for Nationalities, Wuhan 430074, China Virol Sin 25:445-51. 2010
7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Studies+on+the+Antinociceptive+isatis+rootPhytomedicine. 2002 Jul;9(5):419-24. Studies on the antinociceptive, anti-inflammatory and anti pyretic effects of Isatis indigotica root. Ho YL, Chang YS.