Natural and home remedies to cure flu form an important and very convenient way to get relief from your influenza (flu) symptoms and the common cold. They are safe and effective and work to control your illness and reduce your misery. Believe me, the flu symptoms can make you feel really miserable.
It is relevant to mention here that flu and cold are different from each other, but they do have similarities
Being safe, they acquire special status when treating flu and cold during pregnancy and in children. Even in diabetes, there are absolutely no risks to adopting these remedies.
However, avoid giving herbal preparations mentioned here to babies and with caution, as detailed below, to pregnant and lactating women.
The article, which belies the importance of following the tips to take care of your flu and prevent its spread, is an adjunct to this article on natural remedies. You would do well to read it.
Safety in pregnant and lactating women
However, when it comes to herbal preparations, not all herbs are considered safe due to lack of enough research.
Wherever use of some of the herbal preparations during pregnancy and lactation is restricted, it is accordingly mentioned here against each.
Herbs and their preparations have yet to go extensive research for their use in pregnancy. It is for this reason that the American Pregnancy Association contraindicates the use of herbs in large or concentrated amounts during pregnancy and lactation.
Small amounts used in food preparations do not cause harm.
Effective flu natural remedies to try at home
Once diagnosed as flu by your doctor, you follow these tips at home.
Flu is caused by the flu virus and the science of medicine does not yet have any drug or medicine to eradicate a virus. These natural and home remedies will not cure your flu but will give you relief from the flu symptoms, which make you feel miserable. Follow these tips till your flu has cleared. They are not a substitute for the flu treatment with medicines, which plays a necessary role when the symptoms are very severe.
Follow these tips and adopt the following natural and home remedies, which will help to minimize the effects of the flu symptoms. These symptoms can make you feel terrible, what with high fever, shivering, headache, a blocked nose, an irritating dry cough, watery eyes and more.
The flu complications pose dangers, which can cause hospitalization. Death rates among the flu patients with complications are high. Children and the elderly are among the risk holders who are more prone to catch the flu. You must, therefore, take additional care with this age group.
1. Rest is of paramount importance
When you are down with the flu, take rest, stay indoors at home and avoid going to work. Ideally, complete bed rest is recommended. Besides doing yourself a favor, you will also help to prevent spreading the flu to others.
Rest will help you combat fatigue, which is one of the symptoms of flu. Rest also reduces stress due to daily work routine. Staying in bed will help to reduce the severity of the flu symptoms because this will help your immune system recuperate and control the infection.
2. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration
Drinking more fluids will help you to stay hydrated. With flu, you don’t want to eat nor drink anything. This can lead to dehydration. Drinking fluids such as water, fresh fruit juices and warm soups (chicken or vegetable) will also help you get some nutrients. Coconut water is ideal as it will replenish your electrolyte levels.
Children can be given flavored electrolyte solutions like Gatorade and PowerAde, which contain electrolytes. Staying hydrated will help thin the mucus secretions, which then become easier to remove or expectorate. Dehydration can be a complication of flu and drinking plenty of fluids will minimize the risk.
3. Control room temperature and humidity
Flu is an illness of winter months when the flu season sets in and flu epidemics are seen. The cold and dry climate is conducive for the flu virus and its strains to survive longer and spread the flu.
You should, therefore, control the temperature of your home or at least the room where you sleep and also add some humidity with a warm or cool-mist humidifier. This will make you feel comfortable and also prevent the flu from spreading to your family members.
4. Over the counter medicines
Mild and appropriate OTC antipyretics can be taken to control the high fever and chills. Take cough suppressants for that dry hacking cough.
5. Honey and lemon for vitamin C and improved immunity
Honey and lemon can be good natural medicines for flu. Honey acts as a good expectorant and helps to remove the mucus from the nose and the respiratory tract. It is a natural Chinese medicine for a cough. However, for best benefits, use raw organic honey.
Add one tablespoon of honey to a cup of warm water, squeeze some lemon into it and drink up every day for the duration of your illness.
Lemon contains Vitamin C, which increases body immunity and resistance. Honey has antiseptic and antioxidant properties.
6. Elderberry for sinuses
Elderberry is a herb that has long since been used as a remedy for colds and flu. It is a fruit, which grows on the elder tree. Research indicates that the elderberry extract contains some compounds that strengthen the body immune system, which helps to control the virus.
This natural remedy decreases the swelling of the sinuses and reduces the duration of the flu symptoms. Elderberry pills and elderberry extract juice are available. There is no standard dose but you could ask your doctor or homeopath.
Elderberry use in pregnancy
There is not enough and convincing research yet to mark elderberry juice pregnancy safe. The University Of Maryland Medical Center, UMM Medical Center, and the American Botanical Council confirm that pregnant and lactating women should not use elderberry in any form for lack of research in this regard.
7. A glass of hot milk with turmeric
Turmeric root is available as dried and ground powder, which is yellow in color. It contains curcumin, an anti-inflammatory substance, which exerts anti-influenza activity and prevents the growth of the flu virus in the body. It does so due to its antioxidant and antibacterial properties.
Milk helps by giving proper nutrition and increasing body resistance and turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. Turmeric capsules are also available and can be taken in dosages of 250 mg to 500 mg daily.
8. Steam inhalation for clogged nose
Inhale steam through the nose and mouth for clearing a stuffed nose and for fermenting a sore throat. It will keep your upper and lower respiratory tract free of mucus and reduce inflammation.
9. Salt warm water gargling for sore throat
Salt warm water gargling again helps to ferment the sore throat.
10. Get some sun
Being indoors is good for controlling the spread of flu. But, you miss out on the sunlight exposure, which gives you the much-needed vitamin D. 90% of your body’s requirement of vitamin D comes from exposure to sunlight.
What makes vitamin D that important?
- Vitamin D regulates the absorption of calcium and phosphorus.
- The outdoor sun boosts your energy levels and mood, thereby helping you fight depression.
- It is well known that vitamin D is essential to the development of bones and teeth.
- It helps to strengthen the immune system.
- According to 2010 research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, giving supplements of vitamin D3 to school children may reduce the incidence of influenza A.
- Furthermore, according to Vitamin D Council, studies indicate that deficiency of vitamin D in the body may increase your risk of influenza
11. Raw Apple Cider Vinegar
Add two teaspoons of raw apple cider vinegar to half a cup of clean water and drink up three times a day. This boosts your immune system and health, which is what you need when you are down and miserable with the flu.
However, if you are pregnant, make sure you have the pasteurized version of apple cider vinegar. Avoid the unpasteurized one.
12. Ginger root great for flu and cold
You cannot eat ginger directly because of its pungent aroma and sharp, spicy flavor. Add grated organic ginger root to your tea or coffee. This way you will get in your ginger dose and enjoy your tea better.
Ginger makes you sweat and this helps to get rid of the toxins from your body. Ginger also helps to settle your upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.
Some people may experience heartburn due to the ginger intake. Such persons should avoid taking ginger.
Use of ginger in pregnancy
Ginger, in small amounts that are used in your foods preparations, is safe during pregnancy. Avoid taking large and concentrated amounts.
13. Epsom salt flu bath with essential oils for body aches
Warm baths increase your body temperature and that makes it difficult for the flu and the cold virus to grow.
Best way to prepare the flu baths
To a cup of Epsom salts, add a few drops of essential oils such as:
- tea tree oil
- eucalyptus oil
- lavender oil
- 2 tablespoons of liquid oil (olive or grapeseed)
Mix this well and add to the warm water in the tub making sure to stir well. Soak yourself in this water for as much time as you like, and feel your fatigue go away.
How do the flu baths work?
- The magnesium in the Epsom salt removes the aches in your muscles
- Tea tree oil and eucalyptus, due to their antiseptic properties) combine to kill the harmful organisms and expectorate the mucus.
- The inhalation of the lavender herb fragrance has a de-stressing benefit on you. It calms your stressed up mind and relieves you of stress. “The Handbook of Essential Oils: Science, Technology, and Applications, Second Edition” states that a number of clinical trials show that lavender oil inhalation causes a reduction in stress and anxiety.
- Olive or grapeseed oil act as a medium to dilute the tea tree oil, which can harm a sensitive skin if used undiluted.
The importance and need of these natural and home remedies are that they do help in curbing the flu symptoms and reducing the duration of the illness.