How to Fight Colds and Flu Naturally
Nobody likes being sick, but it does happen from time to time, isn’t it great that nature gave us all that we need to fight colds and flu naturally? Elderberries and Star Anise are powerful tools against viruses, below we explain why.
There is evidence that the elderberry plant was cultivated by prehistoric man, however, more substantive evidence comes from the ancient Egyptians where recipes have been found on scrolls. Most notably, Hippocrates, the ancient Greek known as the “father of medicine,” described the plant as his “medicine chest” because of the wide array of health concerns it seemed to cure.
Elderberries are the true powerhouse when it comes antioxidant power, it’s higher in flavonoids than blueberries, cranberries, goji berries, and blackberries.
Health benefit claims of the elder plant include naturally improving colds, the flu, sinus issues, nerve pain, inflammation, chronic fatigue, allergies, constipation and even cancer. It is claimed that when used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, the extract reduced the duration of the symptoms an average of four days earlier. During the 1995 Panama flu epidemic, the government employed the use of the elderberry to fight the flu.
For the purposes of this blog, we’re going to focus on its cold and flu-fighting ability.
Cold and Flu Relief
Elderberries are an excellent general immune system booster. The berries contain chemical compounds called anthocyanins, which are known to have immunostimulant effects. Elderberry extract has been shown to be a safe, efficient and cost-effective treatment for both cold and flu symptoms.
A 2016 study published in Nutrients showed that elderberry supplementation can reduce the duration and symptoms of a cold in air travelers. Travelers using this herb from 10 days before travel until four to five days after arriving overseas experienced on average a two-day shorter duration of their colds and also a noticeable reduction in cold symptoms.
Several studies have demonstrated that elder extract is highly effective in mitigating flu-like symptoms. Specifically, the flavonoids in the elderberry extract bind to the H1N1 human influenza virus as well as the H5N1 avian influenza virus. A 2009 study randomized patients into two groups: One group was given four doses of 175-milligram proprietary elderberry extract daily, and the other group received a placebo daily for two days. The extract-treated group showed significant improvement in most flu symptoms while the placebo group showed no improvement or an increase in the severity of symptoms. Researchers conclude that the extract is effective in controlling influenza symptoms.
Another study published in the Journal of International Medical Research showed that when the extract is used within the first 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms, it shortens the duration of flu symptoms by an average of four days.
Star anise is the primary source of shikimic acid, a plant-based compound that is the precursor to oseltamivir, an antiviral medication that is marketed as Tamiflu, according to an article in a 2011 issue of “Alternative Medicine Studies.” Although shikimic acid also occurs naturally in ginkgo and sweetgum fruit, star anise has far greater concentrations. Italian researchers tested shikimic acid alone and in combination with quercetin, an antioxidant-rich plant-based nutrient found in elderberries, to see if they could bolster immune function to help fight off flu or other viral infections. Although shikimic acid on its own had little or no effect on immune function, its combination with quercetin, even at low doses, appeared to help ramp up immune function to better resist viral infection. Researchers published their findings in the April 2008 issue of “Journal of Medical Virology.”
After extensive research, I decided to come up with a combination of elderberry tonic and star anise tincture to fight colds and flu, and Flu Brew was born. Flu Brew is available for purchase seasonally on my Etsy page.
How to Use it
At the first sign of symptoms, begin taking it after a meal at the following rates for the following amount of time. You should get plenty of rest, stay hydrated and eat when you’re hungry.
Children under 16-
1 -2 tsp up to twice per day after a meal for up to five days.
1 – 2 tbls up to three per day after a meal for up to five days.
If you’re worried about the alcohol content, it’s a very small amount.
While we believe in traditional medicine, there are times when you need to go to a doctor and seek medical treatment. We are in no way, offering any form of medical advice. If pregnant, speak to your doctor first, and always use caution when trying anything for the first time.