An herbalist perspective is one that the flu is a “ housecleaning”. Our bodies are flushing out the virus or bacteria and other toxins. Herbalists use herbs and food to encourage this cleansing, to prevent co-infections,increase white blood cell count, to relieve pain, promote restful sleep and help lesson the severity of the symptoms of the flu. Herbal Protocols can help no matter what strain of the flu it is.
Food: Eating a diet that is rich in organic veggies and low in processed,fried and sugary foods is a great way of staying healthy and getting over the flu fast if you do get it. A toxic body has a harder time fighting off viruses and bacteria because it is too busy processing toxins and cannot support the Immune System, the Circulatory System, and the elimination processes in their fight to rid the body of pathogens.
Great foods to prevent the flu
Local organic veggies, local GMO free Meat and eggs, Organic Grains,Organic Fruit and Veggies, Miso, and unpasteurized fermented foods.(Fermented foods are high in Vitamin C, are very cleansing, and have a beneficial effect on the digestive system.)
RAW GARLIC is one of the most important flu preventatives. You can eat it with a spoonful of honey (which has anti-bacterial properties.)Turmeric, Cayenne, Ginger, Sage, Thyme, and Oregano are all herbs that can help prevent the flu. It is great to incorporate these into cooking.
Things to avoid!
Sugar. It feeds Bacteria/ Viruses. (think about bread or beer, you add sugar to the bacteria and it grows. The same things happen in our body.)
Coffee. Coffee dehydrates the body and depletes it of vitamins and minerals, especially b vitamins that help support the immune system.
Alcohol. Alcohol clogs up our liver and can inhibit the immune system. It also turns into sugar in the body and can feed bacteria/viruses.
Processed Food. Food with preservatives, food coloring, fried foods, etc,keep our bodies at an overworked state. The liver and other organs become stressed and literally clogged up. Keeping your system clear and clean will help you stay healthy and recover quickly.
STRESS: The effects of stress on immune system functioning and overall level of wellness have been studied and well-documented. Chronic Stress can raise cortisol levels and weaken our immune system and make us more susceptible to colds and the flu, as well as more serious health problems.
Note: You do not have to take all of these herbs at once.Pick one or two from each category, and work with them.
Adaptogens: Astragulus Tea, Tincture or Capsules, Siberian Ginseng Tincture, Reishi Mushroom Tincture or Capsule, Holy Basil Tea. Adaptogens help our body deal with stress.
Anti-bacterial, Aromatic: Sage, Oregano, Thyme, Ginger.
These culinary herbs are not only good to cook with, they are great for tea! These are all great for a sore throat and breathing in the steam from a hot cup of tea will clear clogged sinuses.
Tonics: Nettles Tea, Alfalfa Tea, Comfrey Tea.
Tonics are high in vitamins and minerals and give our bodies a boost of nourishment.
Nervines: Oatstraw Tea, Lemon Balm Tea, Chamomile Tea.
Nervines help nourish our nervous system and can help deal with daily stress.
Detoxifying Herbs: Dandelion Tincture, Red Clover Tea, Chickweed Tea, Cleavers Tea.
Immune Herbs: Echinacea Tincture, Licorice Tincture or Tea, Astragulus Tea, Tincture or Capsule. (do not take Echinacea for more than 1 week at a time).
There is no cure-all herb or food for the flu. The herbs/foods listed below help our bodies deal with the pathogens in our system. They support our circulatory system, elimation system, the liver, kidneys and more! These herbs may help induce sweating and reduce fevers, or produce interferon, which in turn produces white blood cells, or help us sleep, which can be hard when you have the flu.
It is best to stick to simple foods as to not clog up the system and make the body work too hard digesting complex meals. Soup: Miso in vegetable or chicken broth. Soup is good because the body doesn’t have to waste energy with the digestion process. It can just soak up vitamins and minerals from the broth.
Grains: Brown Rice, Quinoa
Veggies: spinach, kale, carrot, broccoli and RAW GARLIC!! Some acupuncturists think the swine flu is a hot condition, therefore they recommend staying away from hot, spicy foods. If it is not the swine flu, then cayenne pepper, ginger and other hot spicy herbs and veggies can be very beneficial. These foods can help induce sweating and mucous membrane cleansing.
RAW HONEY is a natural anti-biotic. Mix it with a clove of raw garlic.
Note: You do not have to take all of these herbs at once. Pick one or two from each category to work with.
Immune Support: Astragulus Tincture, Tea or Capsule, Boneset Tincture or Tea ,
Andrographis Tincture, Licorice Tea or Tincture, Turmeric Capsules or Tincture.
Anti-viral/ Anti-bacterial herbs: Elderberry Berry/Flower Syrup or Tea, Sage Tea,
Oregano Tea, Thyme Tea.
Adaptogens: Astragulus Tea, Tincture or Capsule, Holy Basil Tea.
Tonics: Nettle Tea, Alfalfa Tea, Oastraw Tea.
Febrifuge: (induce sweating) Yarrow Tincture or Tea, Elder Flower Tea or Tincture
(febrifuge herbs are best taken in hot water)
Strong Nervines: (sleep) Skullcap Tincture or Tea, Valerian Tincture, Lavender Essential Oil, Chamomile Tea or Tincture
Anodyne: (pain reliever) White Willow Bark Tincture, Valerian Tincture, Meadowsweet Tincture
Demulcents: (sooth the mucous membranes, especially with a dry hacking cough) Marshmallow Root Tea, Slippery Elm Bark Tea(Demuclents can only be taken in tea form)
Expectorants: (only if the cough is actually producing mucous) Mullein Tea, Coltsfoot Tea
Cough Suppressants: Osha Root Tincture or chew on root, Wild Cherry Bark Syrup, Tea or Tincture, Holy Basil Tea.
Herbal Decongestant Steam
Take 2 quarts simmering water and add 5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil. You can substitute Eucalyptus Oil with White Pine needles or Sage/Thyme leaves. Turn off heat under pan and breathe in steam. You can hold a towel over your head to collect the steam. Keep eyes closed.
Herbal Anti-Bacterial Bath
Fill a bathtub with hot water, add 1/2 cup sea salt and 25 drops lavender essential oil, 25 drops tea tree essential oil. Make sure you do not have a high fever before getting into a very hot tub. If you do have a high fever take the bath in lukewarm water.(Remember fevers are our bodies way of heating up to kill pathogens. Very
high fevers are dangerous, but a low fever is actually good)
Colloidal Silver: 2 squirts three times daily (strong anti-biotic)
Vitamin C: 2000 mg daily
Vitamin D: get your sunlight!!
*Vitamin D has been proven to help with flu prevention.*
If you haven’t had much sun exposure, take a supplement when sick or when those around you are sick.
Anti-Viral/ Anti-biotic Hand Wash
20 drops grapefruit seed extract
30 drops tea tree essential oil extract
1/2 gallon water
Antiseptic Spray for Surfaces
1/4 cup Vodka
1/2 gallon Water
30 drops Tea Tree Oil
30 drops Lavender
Essential oil. Disinfect door knobs switches , handles, toys and other
surfaces that are commonly touched.
Simmer water on low heat in a pot with 15 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil or
15 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil or Lavender Essential Oil. Steam room
every 7-10 hours
OTHER HELPFUL TIPS
*Stay home and avoid sharing items with household members (pens,papers,computers, remote control. sheets, towels, eating utensils, food.)
*Wear a surgical mask when around others.
*Clean sheets, bedding and clothes every day.
*Caregivers should wear disposable gloves and wearing a mask when giving care.
Mary Blue, Activist, Herbalist, and Community Organizer is currently the Practicing Herbalist, Education Coordinator and Director of The Peace Gardens Botanical Sanctuary at 7 Arrows . She lives in Providence RI , where she has been farming ¼ acre for 7 years and sells her herbal medicines and products at local farmers markets.Mary has taught numerous free garden/ nutrition / herbal workshops to children and high school students in Providence She currently teaches adult classes here at 7 Arrows and offers classes and workshops to groups and organizations all over New England.She is a founding member of the Annual Northeast Grassroots Community Herbal Convergence organizational committee and Bio-Justice, 2007, a counter conference to the annual Biotechnology Conference is Boston MA . She is the founder of The Cemetery Street Community Clinic, and co-founder of Providence Recycle-A- Bike.She is a member of NEHA (Northeast Herbal Association) and was a guest speaker at their 2007 annual retreat.