The fall tends to be a busy time of year for most people, and because of that, one of the most inconvenient times to get sick. Unfortunately, it’s also the start of flu season, and the threat of getting sicker than you normally would during the rest of the year, becomes very real. The flu as an illness is serious enough to greatly disrupt your professional and personal life. Luckily for us, though, there are many ways we can try to prevent the savage illness from invading our immune system. Or, if we do wind up getting it, there are many ways we can palliate the sickness without having to turn to artificial methods. The best remedies for any sicknesses are natural. And among the natural remedies that work very well against the flu, herbs and supplements are at the top of the list.
The five herbs and supplements listed below will help build your immune system and sig-nificantly reduce the likelihood that the flu will effect you. If it does, however, these herbs will make your flu experience much more bearable.
1.) Garlic. Though this one is technically more of a vegetable than an herb, the positive way it af-fects the immune-system is a distinctly herbal trait. Studies have shown that animals given regular doses of garlic were able to remain unaffected by various flu and rhinovirus strains (the latter being the common cold). There was even a controlled study done with humans in 2001 where certain participants took garlic supplements and others took a placebo. The ones who consumed the actual garlic got sick much less often, and when they did, they recovered more quickly. It’s also a great-tasting flavor that can be easily incorporated into many different foods.
2.) Elderberry extract. This one is particularly helpful if, by some stroke of misfortune, you have already contracted the flu virus. People mostly take this in the form of Sambucol, a commercial liquid form of the extract that is made available by multiple companies. Elderberry extract has been reportedly tested in cases of the flu and shown to shorten the length of the illness by an aver-age of four days. It has also proven itself to be versatile, as known to be effective against at least ten different strains of the flu virus.
3.) Green tea. A popular herbal treatment for many different kinds of illnesses, tea may be the first thing you try whenever you throat starts feeling a little scritchy-scratchy. And although may differ-ent types of teas can be effective, green tea is at the top of the list. This is because it contains many properties that have a more-than-positive effect on the immune-system. The catechins in the tea are specifically known to have antiviral properties. Green tea is often gurgled with in Japan as a treatment of the flu because of this. You also won’t have to worry about it negatively affecting your sleeping schedule, as green tea contains no caffeine.
4.) Echinacea. In contrast to the elderberry extract, echinacea won’t be as helpful once you al-ready have the flu. It has been proven to be great at preventing it, however, especially if taken in conjunction with other supplements like the ones on this list. The most effective way to use it is to take 1000 milligram supplements three times a day. Though it’s a time-consuming remedy than most, its strong preventative effects may work well for you. It should be noted that if you are al-lergic to pollen, you may be allergic to echinacea as well.
5.) Thyme. Good ol’ thyme. This herb can be ingested in a dry form or as a liquid extract. Thyme is commonly used for its expectorant qualities, meaning that it makes coughs more effective by causing you to cough out all your phlegm. Aside from using dried thyme in your food, you can make a tea out of it, and even take a thyme steam bath. The steam the thyme produces with get rid of the mucus clogging up you lungs and help make each sickly breath you take a little easier to handle.
Herbs are just one of the many tools at their that we can use to help protect ourselves from the annual misery that is the flu. Different methods may work better for different people. Take a little time this fall to figure out which ways of boosting your immune system are most comfortable for you. Over time, you can learn to use natural and healthy ways to avoid getting sick so that you can stay happy and productive this winter.