Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, is caused by a virus and primarily affects the respiratory tract. Common symptoms include coughing, muscle aches, and sore throat. Natural remedies for the flu are popular and may include frequent hand washing and herbal treatments like black elderberry extract, garlic, and green tea. It is important to note that influenza can progress to the point of becoming deadly, so if symptoms continue to worsen after beginning treatment with natural remedies for the flu, a doctor should be consulted.
Hand washing is the simplest and most effective of the available natural remedies for the flu. The influenza virus can be spread through water droplets released into the air or by hands that have touched the face of an infected person. If the infected person then touches an object, someone else touching the same object may become infected. Frequent hand washing, especially on the part of the patient, may help to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Black elderberry extract is considered to be one of the most popular natural remedies for the flu. This plant extract is considered to be a natural antiviral agent and is thought by many to be as effective as prescription medication. Black elderberry extract can be found in the form of syrups, lozenges, and capsules. Patients with diabetes should be sure to find a formulation that does not contain added sugar.
Garlic is another of the more popular natural remedies for the flu due to its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Odorless forms of garlic are available, but even though this form of garlic may be less offensive to some people, it is not recommended for use in patients with influenza. The process that removes the odor also removes the most important nutrients. An enteric-coated garlic pill is recommended for those patients who have difficulty adding a significant amount of garlic to the diet.
Green tea is yet another popular choice among those searching for natural remedies for the flu. While many patients enjoy drinking green tea, the capsule form of green tea is believed to have more potency. Green tea has been shown to boost the immune system and also has both antibacterial and antiviral qualities. It is recommended that the patient take two green tea capsules per day all year long in an effort to prevent disease instead of waiting until flu-like symptoms are present. Many patients prefer a decaffeinated version of green tea so that sleep is not hindered.