The virus H1N1 causes Swine flu. This flu presents with similar symptoms to other flu strains including, fever, coughing, upper respiratory problems, chills, headache, exhaustion, diarrhea and vomiting; and similar flu treatments can be used. Herbal remedies may help reduce and control Swine flu symptoms; however, they may also produce side effects. Consult your health practitioner before using unfamiliar herbs for the flu.
Astragalus is an ancient herb used in Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It has many medicinal uses and is well known as an immune enhancer. Although there is not a lot of scientific research, anecdotal evidence from patients and practitioners alike suggest that astragulus may be helpful for the treatment of upper respiratory ailments associated with colds and flu, according to the National Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine. Astragulus is available dried for making teas and infusions, as an extract, in capsules and in combination herbal remedies. Astragulus is generally considered safe for adults, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It’s possible side effects are not well recorded because it is mostly used in combination with other herbs. It may interact with immuno-suppressive medications. Speak to your health practitioner before using astragulus if you use these types of medicines.
Olive Leaf Extract
Both antibacterial and anti-viral, olive leaf extract is a strong immune system enhancer, supporting the blood and lymphatic systems to fight Swine and other types of flu.
Oil of Oregano
An essential oil whose germ-killing properties are reported to be as potent as those of most antibiotics, oil of oregano is also considered an effective antiviral treatment for beating Swine flu.
Forsythia and Honeysuckle
Forsythia and honeysuckle, two herbs frequently used in Chinese medicine, are often mixed with lemon balm, to make a soothing tea that helps ward off influenza of all types. All three herbs possess strong antiviral properties, and combining them into a tea increases their efficacy.
The traditional herbal cure for flu is Echinacea. Used by herbalists for centuries as a blood purifier and immune system stimulant, echinacea is an herbal star for strengthening the body. Echinacea is most effective when taken in liquid extract form.
Goldenseal grows natively in North America and is used for the treatment of internal and external infections. Goldenseal possesses antiviral, antibiotic and anti-microbial properties, and can be used to treat upper respiratory infections, diarrhea and concomitant problems associated with Swine and other types of flu. Goldenseal is usually made into an herbal tea on its own or in combination with echinacea and other herbs. Because it is very bitter, use a little honey to sweeten your tea. Although little scientific research exists on the efficacy of goldenseal, anecdotal reports from centuries of use indicate that this herb relieves a variety of flu strains and symptoms. Goldenseal may produce side effects in the form of irritation to the mucus membranes in the mouth, throat and vagina. It may cause a skin rash or make your skin sensitive to sunlight. In addition it may raise your blood pressure, so consult your health practitioner before using it to make sure it is the right herb for your condition. Should symptoms occur, stop using it.
Garlic is a potent natural medicine with outstanding ability to protect against and fight the flu. It is respected by herbalists and Chinese medical doctors and has been used for centuries for its anti-viral and antibiotic characteristics. Garlic is most potent when crushed first and then eaten raw or made into tea or soup.
The active compound curcumin, found in turmeric, is anti-inflammatory and relieves fever while reducing some of the lethal effects of the flu cytokine storm. This is a biological event expressed by an out-of-balance immune system. It involves certain inflammatory agents that become heightened during the Swine flu, and persist in stimulating additional increases in similar immuno-agents; The compounding of one-upon-the-other of these inflammatory agents creates tremendous health risks, furthering the H1N1 inflammation.
Another ancient Chinese herb, ginseng has a reputation for possessing numerous medicinal properties, according to practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In the spring of 2007, the city of Edmonton, Alberta in Canada stockpiled the herb in an effort to enhance the immune systems of city workers exposed to the flu pandemic, making Edmonton the first North American city to include an herbal product in its arsenal against the flu.
Among its myriad uses, ginseng is used to treat upper respiratory conditions including colds and flu and enhance the immune system. Researchers at the University of Connecticut Health Center report that compounds found in ginseng helped to reduce the incidence of flu in 89 percent of an elderly population. They add that ginseng in combination with other herbs such as garlic or echinacea may offer similar curative action on the flu.
Ginseng is available in many forms and it is best to consult an herbalist or herbal store specializing in Chinese or Asian products to find the freshest, most potent ginseng to fight Swine flu.
“The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002
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