Fight the Flu With These 4 Herbs

Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician By Alejandra Carrasco, M.D.
Integrative & Functional Medicine Physician
Alejandra Carrasco, M.D., is an integrative and functional medicine physician, best-selling author of Bloom, and founder of Nourish Medicine, a root-cause resolution integrative and functional medicine practice in Austin, Texas. She received her medical degree from the University of Texas Health Science Center.

We're in the middle of a very aggressive flu season – the worst since 2009, in fact.

Along with aggressive hand-washing, ensuring that you are getting 8 to 9 hours of sleep each night, staying well-hydrated, and taking vitamin C supplements on a daily basis, loading up your plate or filling your teacup with the following spices will help boost your immunity and fend off the flu.

1. Garlic

Garlic contains the powerful compounds allicin and allion which have antiviral and detoxification properties. Add raw, fresh garlic to your stews or soups – make sure you chop it up, as this activates the antiviral compounds in garlic. Or make a simple tea by immersing chopped garlic into a cup of boiling water and let it steep for a few minutes.

2. Ginger

Ginger activates your immune system and has been shown in studies to work as a preventative and therapeutic measure against the flu. Ginger also helps relieve a sore throat and combats chills. Make a warming tea with fresh ginger, honey, and lemon.

3. Turmeric

Turmeric is an amazing spice with a long list of healing properties. It’s no surprise that it has antiviral properties, as well. A 2010 study revealed that when curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, was added to cell cultures infected with HINI and H6N1 subtypes of the flu, the virus was reduced by 90%. Add turmeric to your soups and stews or make a delicious paste with a spoonful of ground turmeric and raw honey.

4. Elderberry

Elderberry is chock-full of anthocyanins, flavonoids and triterpenes, compounds that are responsible for its incredible antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immune-stimulating effects. An Israeli study during the 1992-93 flu epidemic found that 75% of patients who took black elderberry extract cleared the flu within 48 hours and 90% were symptom free within 72 hours. That’s powerful! Elderberry may be taken as a tincture or a tea: you can find it at your local health-food store.

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