There are little things we can do everyday to stay healthy. Sometimes, despite our best efforts, we catch a cold or flu. Antibiotics are ineffectual in treating viruses. However, there are some alternative methods we can use to lessen flu and cold symptoms. Here are six:
The Old Standbys. Chicken soup has been proven, over the years, to ease symptoms of the flu. Garlic contains immune boosting substances. Recent studies have shown that garlic may also have an effect on pain reduction. Add a bulb of garlic, onions or leeks and celery to your chicken, when making chicken stock. Freeze it and keep it on hand for use when cold or flu symptoms hit.
Echinacea. While echinacea is no longer the favored herb used to prevent colds and flu, studies have shown that, if taken at the onset of a cold or flu, echinacea can be helpful in reducing symptoms.
Vitamin C. Current studies show no evidence that vitamin C, taken in large doses, can ward off a cold. However, a vitamin C supplement can reduce the amount of time you have a cold. There is no need to take huge doses of vitamin C. The extra amount will just wash out of your system.
Andrographis. While relatively new to the United States, Andrographis has been shown to help prevent or reduce the symptoms of a cold. It is believed to stimulate the immune system. It contains qualities that are helpful in reducing a fever without causing stomach upset.
Elderberries. The elderberry, as a medicine source, can be traced back to the time of Hippocrates. Tests have shown that elderberries suppress the growth of influenza. Patients who were tested on elderberry extract recovered faster than those on a placebo. This little berry has received a lot of attention, to date and is currently one of the favorite means of treating cold and flu symptoms naturally.
Astragalus. This is sometimes called "nature's antibiotic". It has been used for over two thousand years in China. This herb is believed to fight off pathogens, in the body, while building up the immune system. As an Asian medicine, it is prescribed for a host of different ailments. Astragalus can be taken daily to help boost the immune system or taken at the onset of cold or flu symptoms to lessen the duration or symptoms.
While all of these natural treatments are helpful in easing or preventing symptoms of cold and flu, do not take all of them at once. More is not necessarily better. Use whichever treatment best suits your symptoms or what is readily available, in your area. If you are on any prescription medication or aspirin therapy, please work with your doctor to find the best herbal remedy for you. As always, if symptoms persist for more than seven days, consult your physician.