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Five herbs and supplements that can assist in fighting influenza this flu season.

Updated: Jun 15, 2020

By: Dr. Chantell Groenewald (M. Tech Hom UJ)


Influenza, commonly referred to as the flu, is a viral infection that targets your respiratory system

including your nose, throat and lungs. There are two types of influenza viruses, influenza A and

influenza B, that are mainly responsible for the seasonal flu epidemics each year. The virus is spread

from person to person through sputum droplets spray when an infected person coughs, sneezes or

talks.


Symptoms include:

 Fever

 Chills

 Body aches and pains

 Cough

 Runny or congested nose

 Sore throat

 Headache

 Diarrhoea

 Vomiting


Anyone can get influenza and develop mild to severe symptoms. Individuals with a compromised

immune system, pregnant women, the elderly and young children are most at risk for developing flu-

related complications.


A healthy immune system plays an important role in flu prevention and a fast recovery should you

contract the virus.

1. Get enough sleep: 7-8 hours of good quality sleep each night is important for maintaining

healthy levels of cortisol. Chronic low-levels of cortisol supresses the immune system and

can contribute to developing recurrent colds and flu with poor recovery time.

2. Vitamin SUN: Vitamin D is expressed on our immune cells and play an important role in

maintaining a healthy immune system. Some studies suggest that most of our population is

in fact deficient in Vitamin D. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D, so catch up on some

winter sun during the flu season. If a blood test reveals that you are deficient in Vitamin D,

then you need to talk to your health care practitioner who can prescribe a suitable

supplement.

3. Eat 5-7 servings of vegetables each day: A healthy diet is key to a healthy immune system.

Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables each day promotes healthy biological pathways

which helps protect us from disease.

4. Maintain a healthy gut: 70% of our immune system resides in our gut. Gut permeability

contributes to low level inflammation and supresses our immune system. Avoid foods that

can cause inflammation such as sugar, processed foods, additives and preservatives. Include

foods rich in pre and probiotics like kefir or kombucha with gut healing bacteria.

5. Stress management: Chronically elevated levels of cortisol contributes to chronic

inflammation. Chronic inflammation is associated with chronic disease which can put you at

risk for developing flu and serious flu related complications.


Natural anti-viral supplements:

1. Vitamin C: Studies suggest that therapeutic doses of Vitamin C assists in alleviating and

reducing symptoms of colds and flu.

2. Echinacea root: This herb has immune enhancing and immune modulating activities which

can assist in the treatment of acute infections such as cold and flu. It also has anti-

inflammatory effects which can alleviate upper and lower respiratory symptoms associated

with bronchial inflammation.

3. Sambucus Nigra (Elder Berry): The key indications for this herb is in the treatment of

influenza, the common cold and other acute viral infections.

4. Vitamin ACE, Zinc and selenium: Vitamin A, C, E as well as Zinc and selenium plays an

important role in a healthy functioning immune system. Talk to your pharmacist or health

care provider about an immune boosting multi-vitamin to support your immune system

during flu season.

5. Garlic (Allium Sativum): Research studies conducted on aged garlic for the treatment of

acute colds and flu found that garlic had positive immune boosting effects and reduced the

severity of cold and flu symptoms.


Homeopathy is another safe and effective modality for the treatment of influenza and will be the

topic of my next article. Homeopathic remedies for the safe and effective treatment of influenza.

For more information please contact The Naturopathic Health Care Center on 012 460 9216 or

office@nahcc.co.za


*Disclaimer:

This article in no way serves to diagnose or to treat anyone suffering from influenza. If you suspect you are suffering from influenza, then you should consult with your primary health care physician. Before using a new herb or supplementation,

you should consult with a qualified health care practitioner. The opinions and suggestions in this article are those of Dr. Chantell Groenewald based on her years and experience as a qualified Homeopath and should in no way serve to replace a physical consultation with a qualified health care practitioner.


References:

1. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/keyfacts.htm

2. https://draxe.com/health/flu-natural-remedies/

3. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/viruses/index.htm

4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10543583/

5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5409678/

6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22280901/

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