A Natural Perspective on Flu Treatment and Prevention

Kicking the Flu Naturally. Tips for Feeling Better Faster

The flu season is still upon us. I suspect maybe you’ve heard this through the widespread media coverage or through first or secondhand experience. Of course, the best way for dealing with the flu is preventing it in the first place! By seeing to it that you are taking good care of your immune system through a healthy diet and digestion, good sleep habits, regular exercise/movement, sunshine exposure, adequate vitamin D and zinc levels, etc. While these are all great goals, none of us are perfect in maintaining them all the time. And even the healthiest of us might get a nasty bout of the flu every once in a while. Fortunately there are numerous solutions available that can help speed up the healing process and even lessen the severity once we get the flu.

The following is a list of some of the best things you or your loved ones can do to help kick the flu (and regular colds as well):

  • Rest: We all know this one, but sometimes we just don’t do it enough. This is an essential element to a swift recovery. Just do it!
  • Hydrate: Stay well-hydrated with mineral (or filtered) water and sips of hot herbal teas; Echinacea Plus, Ginger, and Licorice are some of my favorite options when you are trying to support immune function. Yogi Tea and Traditional Medicinals are some great brands that you can find online or at your local health food store. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon and/or a teaspoon of organic/unfiltered honey to your tea for additional help in soothing a sore throat and breaking up congestion. (Remember that honey is contraindicated in children under 12 months old).
  • Nourish with light soups/broths: During acute illness, you’re likely to have a low appetite. This is the built-in intelligence of the body, diverting important energy and resources toward fighting infection rather than trying to digest. Support your body’s wisdom by going light on eating. Stick with easy-to-digest soups and stews. Homemade chicken broth or miso soup are 2 great options.

Here’s my favorite Immune Support Soup recipe to make when feeling under the weather:

Ingredients:
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1-5 cloves garlic, chopped or crushed
1 tsp-3 tbsp grated fresh ginger root
Fresh juice from half a lemon
½ cup sliced Shitake mushrooms
1 quart chicken broth or mushroom broth (or miso, see note below)
3 tbsp freshly minced parsley
1 carrot, grated

Directions:
Combine the broth, onion, ginger, garlic, and mushrooms into a pot. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat, then add in lemon juice, carrot, and parsley. Cover the pot for 5 minutes. Once cooled down a bit more, enjoy!  Eat this 1-4 times daily.

*NOTE:  Miso can be used instead of chicken or mushroom broth if you prefer. In order to preserve the probiotic benefits of the miso, it should never be simmered or boiled. To make this recipe with miso, follow all the directions above but use 1 quart of plain filtered water instead of broth. Once the soup is removed from heat and allowed to cool for a few minutes, you may add in your favorite organic miso. One good quality brand is South River Miso, available at many health food stores in the refrigerated section.

Some of Dr. McQueen’s favorite support products to have on hand:
*Note:  Any dosages listed here are for adults (non-pregnant, non-breastfeeding) only.  Please consult with your physician regarding specific therapies and dosages for your child, or if you are currently pregnant or breastfeeding.

  • Oscillococcinum – Take a dose of this homeopathic every 6 hours at the first onset of cold or flu.  Let the pellets dissolve in your mouth.  Best taken 10 minutes away from food or beverage.
  • Immucore – Take 1 tablet 3x daily with food during acute symptoms of cold or flu.
  • Vitamin C – Take 500 mg Vitamin C every 3 or 4 hours. Make sure to choose a non-GMO source of vitamin C, as many products out there are derived from GMO corn. Yuck!  In terms of dosing, your body will tell you when you’ve reached your maximum dose.  Back off on the dose once your stools just start to become loose!
  • Probiotic – Aim for about 50 billion CFUs per day. Your probiotic should include Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.  UltraFlora Balance or UltraFlora IB from Metagenics are great options.
  • Vitamin D3 – For 3 days only, during acute symptoms, take 50,000 IUs of vitamin D3. After the 3 days of higher dosing, reduce dosage to 5,000 IUs daily during the winter months. (It is important to check vitamin D levels at least once yearly to make sure you are staying in the optimal range).
  • Un-Petroleum Jelly – To protect that poor chaffed irritated skin under your nose, after you’ve been wiping your nose way too many times!

When it comes to getting over the flu, there are many effective ways to support immune function.  The ideas in this article are just a handful to get you started.  If you’re finding yourself or a loved one stuck and having a tough time kicking the flu, reach out for assistance.  We are here to help!

Dr. Shana McQueen, N.D.