07 Apr 5 Best Home Remedies For Flu Treatment Backed by Science
A key factor to the effectiveness of any flu treatment is how quickly you start therapy after catching the virus. These 5 home remedies for flu treatment are not only research-proven, you can have them ready to use at that first sign of the flu.
If you’re looking for safe, all-natural (and fast) cold or flu relief for your family, try these top research-proven home remedies for flu treatment!
There are effective and natural remedies for the flu you can utilize at home. One major advantage of using one or more of these remedies is that you can begin your treatment protocol much sooner than if you wait to go to the doctor. Most people think for the first day or two that they just have a cold. So often by the time they finally determine it is the flu, schedule an appointment and get into the doctor’s office, the virus has fully manifested itself. But with these therapies, you can begin your treatment protocol immediately upon feeling that scratchy throat, runny nose, cough or body aches. If it is just a cold virus, these remedies will help it as well. And by getting your flu treatment going immediately, it will lessen the symptoms dramatically and shorten the duration. Here are the top natural home remedies. You should have one or more of these in your medicine cabinet before the flu or that cold hits you:
#1 Oregano Oil
Traditional healers since ancient times have used oregano extract to treat respiratory issues such as coughs, colds, flu, sore throats and bronchitis. Based on notable research studies, the volatile oils in oregano (thymol and carvacrol) have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, oregano oil can help calm down stomach upset and aid in digestion by stimulating bile flow. Therefore, symptoms of nausea, vomiting and diarrhea can be remedied by using the oil. Oregano oil is also one of the best home remedies for flu treatment because it promotes sweating, which makes it useful to bring down a fever.
When shopping for oregano oil supplements, try to find P73 oregano. Wild Oregano P73 stands for “polyphenol 73 percent” and is a specific blend of several high-grade medicinal wild oreganos. P73 oregano is also a rich source of natural vitamins and minerals – calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc, boron, potassium, copper and manganese – all of which help boost immunity.
The adult dosage for P73 oil flu treatment is anywhere between 3 to 20 drops, four times per day. Be sure to check the manufacture’s specific dosing instructions. Typically, you’ll put 3 to 10 drops in a tablespoon of water; swish it around your mouth and under your tongue for 20 to 30 seconds, then swallow. Repeat this 3 to 10 drop dosage in water once again so the combined two mouthfuls will give you 6-20 total drops of oregano. You’ll want to do this four times per day and continue every day until flu symptoms subside. For children 6 to 10 years old, 1 to 3 drops mixed with juice or water once per day will suffice. If the child is more than 10 years old, 1 to 3 drops with liquid 2 or 3 times per day is recommended.
The oil can also be used to clear lungs and bronchial passages by mixing with a base of olive oil and rubbing it on the chest and aching muscles or by boiling it with hot water or adding it to a vaporizer to inhale the steam.
Be sure to read the label of any oil of oregano product other than Oregano P73. The primary component must be carvacrol. Other products may substitute with marjoram oil, which is not as effective for flu treatment.
#2 NAC (N-acetyl L-cysteine)
Another one of the top home remedies for flu treatment is N-acetyl L-cysteine, which comes from the amino acid, L-cysteine. You can expect to find it sold under the name “NAC” on the internet or at your local health food store. Interestingly, NAC is most often used in hospitals to treat acetaminophen (Tylenol) poisoning because it binds the poisonous forms of acetaminophen that are formed in the liver. It is a powerful antioxidant that helps boosts immunity, reduces respiratory mucus and helps with breathing in various lung conditions. Research has shown NAC can reduce both the duration and severity of the flu. In fact, in a large study of older adults, only 25% of those taking NAC experienced influenza-like episodes over a six month period, compared with 79% in the placebo group. The NAC dosage taken during the 6 month study was 600 mg twice daily. Even those with flu symptoms experienced a significant reduction in illness severity and duration. All subjects tolerated the treatment well. The study’s lead author, Dr. Silvio de Flora, commented that “Administration of N-acetyl L-cysteine during the winter appears to provide a significant attenuation of influenza and influenza-like episodes, especially in elderly high-risk individuals.”
Dr. Mark Stengler, M.D. recommends the following dosage for flu treatment: “Take 600 mg twice a day for healthy adults, and half that amount for kids during the flu season to avoid the disease. And if you happen to get the flu despite your turbo-charged immune system, increase the [adult] dose to between 2,000 mg and 3,000 mg a day for up to a week.”
#3 Olive Leaf Extract
Olive leaf extract (OLE) is an extremely powerful immune booster and flu treatment. The main constituent of olive leaf is the phytochemical oleuropein, and it is loaded with pharmacological activities including: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer activities, antimicrobial activity, antiviral activity, hypolipidemic (cholesterol-lowering) and hypoglycemic (blood sugar) effects. Olive leaf extract can be found in capsules, oils and teas. For flu treatment, the capsules and teas work best. When buying a supplement, be sure it contains oleuropein. Adults and children can sip the tea several times per day. For the capsule dose, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Ginger root (Zingiber officinale) is an herbaceous perennial plant that produces the spice known as ginger, which naturally combats nausea and vomiting, making it an excellent flu treatment. Ginger is so effective at reducing nausea that it is often used to combat the effects of chemotherapy. The National Cancer Institute funded a study involving 644 people who had experienced nausea after one cycle of chemotherapy. Participants were randomly assigned to receive a placebo or ginger in capsule form once a day for 6 days. Participants rated their nausea on a 7-point scale, where 1 equals no nausea and 7 equals the worst possible nausea. By the end of the first day, patients who took the ginger (equivalent of one-quarter and one-half teaspoon of fresh or dry ginger) rated their nausea as 1 or 2 points, meaning they had no or very slight nausea. In contrast, those who took a placebo rated their nausea as 4 to 5 points, meaning they had a lot of nausea.
For flu treatment, you can buy ginger root in capsule, powder or extracts. Follow the manufacturer’s dosing instructions. You can also buy organic ginger ale (with no corn syrup) or ginger teas; sip the ginger ale or tea throughout the day as tolerated.
Do not take ginger root for flu treatment if you take medications for high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure or blood-thinners without consulting a health care practitioner.
Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that keep your gut healthy and strong, thus boosting your immune system. You should begin taking probiotics before you get the flu, especially if you have been in contact with someone who is ill. If your GI tract is not adequately defended, you are more likely to experience illness. Probiotics are especially helpful for children’s immunity, particularly during the winter months.
When selecting a probiotic, try to choose one that contains both the full range of non-competing Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species of bacteria. The ProFlora Blend that I dispense includes 14 strains of human flora and saccharomyces boulardi. Take the dosage recommended on the bottle and double up on your dose to reduce stomach upset – nausea, diarrhea, etc.
Additional Remedies for Fighting the Flu and Boosting Immunity
There are several other natural remedies that are aimed to boost your immune system when you’re sick. These should only be consumed as needed for flu treatment (while you have symptoms) and not on a regular basis:
- Beta-glucan (1,3/1,6)
Flu Treatment Tips
- Drink water as often as you can. If you have nausea or vomiting, take frequent small sips. Look for signs of dehydration; seek medical attention right away if you experience any of these symptoms, especially in children: dry skin, dry mouth, thirst, decreased urination, dark-colored urine, heart palpitations, muscle cramping, headaches or decreased sweating.
- Keep taking your daily multivitamin. Adults may need to take additional zinc, vitamin C, and vitamin D3 to boost immunity for effective flu treatment. You’ll also need B vitamins to help fight fatigue and weakness.
- Keep a bottle of eucalyptus oil or a non-petroleum vapor rub at hand. For helping to clear congestion, spread some of the oil or rub into a tissue or washrag; hold it up near your mouth and nose and inhale several times per day.
- Add organic honey and lemon to herbal tea to soothe a sore throat.
When to Seek Emergency Help
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should seek emergency help and contact a physician right away:
- Dehydration (Infants and toddlers experience dehydration faster than adults and need to see a doctor right away if they are vomiting, have diarrhea or are not eating or drinking.)
- Change in mental status (confusion, lethargy, etc.)
- Difficulty breathing
- No improvement after 5 days in adults, 3 days in children
You have another medical condition or are taking medications that weaken your immune system (cancer, rheumatoid condition, etc.).
Click here to view the informative infographic on the 5 Common Ways Germs Are Spread by the Minnesota Department of Health.
De Flora S, Grassi C, Carati L. Attenuation of influenza-like symptomatology and improvement of cell-mediated immunity with long-term N-acetyl cysteine treatment. Eur Respir J. 1997 Jul;10(7):1535-41.
“Beat the flue without a shot” by Mark Stengler, M.D.