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Home Remedies For Flu By Dr. Rajeev Singh

By Dr Rajeev Singh +2 more

Introduction: 

We have all suffered from flu at some point in our lives. The fever, chills and headache can make life difficult.  

home remedies for flu

Flu, otherwise known as influenza, is caused by the influenza virus. It is a highly contagious disease. Although all age groups can catch this disease, it has serious effects on babies and the elderly particularly.  Flu spreads through the body fluids such as saliva, mucous etc., of the infected person. It is generally transferred when the infected person coughs or sneezes. The flu is a disease of the respiratory system, but it can affect the whole body.1,2  

However, there are some simple remedies to manage your symptoms and be more comfortable. Continue reading to find out! 

What Causes Flu:  

Flu is an infection caused by a virus called influenza. It occurs mostly in the winter season and is highly contagious. Flu can infect people of all ages. However, the following people are more prone to getting hospitalized with flu.  

  • Babies younger than two years 
  • Pregnant women 
  • People suffering from chronic diseases 
  • Heart disease  
  • Lung disease 
  • Diabetes  
  • Blood disorders 
  • Liver disease 
  • Kidney disease 
  • Impaired immune system   
  • People with obesity  
  • Smokers  
  • People who haven’t been vaccinated   
  • People with a weaker immune system1,2 

Also Read: Natural Home Remedies for Sinus Problems

Star anise which is traditionally used as a spice in food, and also acts as a medicine in flu because it’s seeds contain chemicals that might have antibacterial effects. It also contains a chemical called shikimic acid, which is used to make oseltamivir (Tamiflu), a flu treatment.

Dr. M.G. Kartheeka, MBBS, MD

Symptoms of Flu: 

If you have flu, you may experience the following symptoms. 

  • Headache  
  • Itchy and watery eyes 
  • Runny nose and sneezing 
  • Cough that may become severe 
  • Sore throat  
  • Sudden fever  
  • Chills 
  • Fatigue  
  • Muscle pain 
  • Lack of appetite  
  • Diarrhoea and vomiting2,3  

Also Read: Effective Home Remedies For Dry Throat

Pain in the chest or abdomen, confusion, vomiting or difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, if you experience any of these symptoms along with flu, it is recommended to visit a physician as soon as possible.

Dr. Ashish Bajaj, M.B.B.S., M.D

Also Read: How to Reduce Fever in Adults: Research-Based Remedies

Home Remedies for Flu: 

These herbs and remedies have properties to ease flu symptoms, but more research is still required to consolidate their use. Nevertheless, here are some remedies to help with flu symptoms at home.  

1. Honey  

Using honey may help strengthen your immune system and fight viral infections. Honey may help kill the flu virus and protect the person against flu symptoms.4 There are several recipes to try with honey. You can mix honey in a warm cup of green tea. Another remedy is drinking honey and lemon tea. Drinking warm water mixed with honey may help with a sore throat. However, avoid giving honey to children below one year.  

Also Read: Honey: Uses, Benefits & Side Effects

2. Ginger  

Ginger is a widely used medicinal plant across the world. It is included in the Ayurvedic, Chinese and Unani systems of traditional medicine. Using fresh ginger may help eliminate flu symptoms like a sore throat, fever and body ache.5 One of the ways to use ginger for flu is to boil freshly sliced ginger in water. Let it simmer for some time. Drinking warm ginger water may help flu symptoms.  

3. Garlic 

Garlic is known to help the body fight off infections and help destroy viruses by boosting immunity.  This property may indicate that garlic might have a soothing effect on flu. Garlic may also help build lost strength. This acquired strength may help to fight off flu symptoms and counter fatigue associated with flu.6, You can take garlic as a dietary supplement and add it to your food.  

4. Echinacea 

Echinacea is a medicinal plant commonly known as coneflower or American coneflower. It is often used as a nutritional supplement to help boost the immune system.7 You can use fresh echinacea root or other parts to make tea. Drinking this tea may help you get some relief from flu symptoms. To prepare echinacea tea, you can place the leaves, flowers, and roots of an echinacea plant in a teacup and add boiling water to it. Let this mixture steep the tea as desired, then strain to remove the roots, flowers, and leaves. 

5. Guduchi 

Guduchi juice may help with enhancing the immune system and defence mechanism. Together these properties may help fight off the flu symptoms. You can drink fresh guduchi juice to help get rid of flu symptoms.8 You can make guduchi juice at home. Peel some fresh guduchi, and chop it into pieces. Blend the chopped guduchi with a glass of water.  Strain this mixture and your guduchi juice is ready.   

Also Read: Guduchi : Uses, Benefits, Side Effects and More!

6. Rest  

You need to get plenty of rest during flu recovery. Make sure to stay at home and get enough sleep and keep warm. It may help you recover sooner from the flu.2,9 Resting may also help you regain your strength.  

7. Drink fluids 

Make sure to drink plenty of fluids, especially water. It will help you recover quickly and avoid dehydration.2,9 You can also drink warm chicken soup to help your sore throat and runny nose. You can also try to include foods that contain water in your diet.  

8. Vitamin C 

A deficiency of vitamin C may make you prone to infections due to impaired immunity. Likewise, vitamin C supplements may help fight infection by boosting the immune system.10 You can involve foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin C, such as lemons, oranges, strawberries, tomatoes, kiwis, and grapefruit.11   

Though studies show the benefits of the given herbs and home remedies for flu, these are insufficient. Therefore, there is a need for large-scale human studies to establish the true extent of the benefits of these home remedies on human health. Thus, these should only be taken cautiously and never as a substitute for medical treatment.  

Also Read: Home Remedies For Strep Throat By Dr. Rajeev Singh

When to Seek Medical Help:  

You must contact your healthcare provider as soon as you experience flu symptoms. It is important that you take flu medicines within 48 hours of experiencing symptoms.2  

Consult a professional if the symptoms fail to improve with home remedies.  

You must not rely on home remedies alone for flu treatment. Instead, you should consult a qualified doctor for advice on the condition if the symptoms do not improve with home remedies.   

Also Read: Simple Home Remedies For Skin Allergies and Rashes

                                Eat

> Include fresh fruits, salads and protein, such as paneer, soya, sprouts and eggs to fight weakness.

> Soup, milk and herbal tea also help. Avoid oily, spicy food and excess sugar.

> Take small and frequent meal portions.
                              Drink

> Drink  at least 3 litres of water and fluids like coconut water and freshly made fruit and vegetable juices/smoothies.

> Avoid liquids such as sugary packed juices and hard drinks.
> Gargles and steam inhalation help too.
Rest  
> Don’t exert yourself. Take an ample amount of rest.

> Recommended exercises:
Alternate Nostril Breathing,
Pursed lip breathing,
Bhramari pranayama
Om breathing (udgeeth pranayam)
Repeat 
> Cover your nose and mouth when you cough or sneeze, and wear a mask when you go outside.> Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

> Avoid crowded places

> Stay home and isolate yourself if you feel sick or have a fever.

Also Read: Caution Aftercare: What to Avoid After Receiving Your Flu Shot

Conclusion: 

You may suffer from flu symptoms from time to time. Flu symptoms can hinder your work and daily activities and make life difficult. However, these herbs and home remedies like ginger, honey, garlic, guduchi and echinacea can help you manage your symptoms at home. If the home remedies don’t work out and you continue experiencing the symptoms, you need to reach out to your healthcare provider. Avoid relying solely on home remedies for flu treatment at home, and don’t hesitate to seek medical help.   

Frequently Asked Questions: 

What are the home remedies for flu? 

You can use many herbs to get rid of flu symptoms at home. Natural remedies like ginger, honey, garlic, echinacea and guduchi may be used at home to help manage flu.4–8 However, if the symptoms don’t improve with home remedies and you continue to experience symptoms, don’t hesitate to consult a healthcare provider.  

How to manage flu at home? 

You can manage your flu symptoms and speed up your recovery by getting plenty of rest and sleep. Hydrating yourself well may play a key role in helping you recover.2,9 However, you can also reach out to your healthcare provider for help if the symptoms don’t improve.  

Can I use ginger to manage flu symptoms? 

You may use ginger to help with your flu symptoms. Ginger is a commonly found herb used as a remedy for several conditions. For example, ginger may help you with a sore throat, body ache, fever and pain.5 However, more studies are needed to evaluate the usefulness of ginger in humans. You should consult your healthcare provider if your symptoms don’t improve after using ginger.  

What are home remedies for coughs and colds? 

Herbs like ginger, garlic, and echinacea may help fight off cold and cough symptoms such as a sore throat. In addition, these herbs may boost the immunity that helps fight the infection causing cold and flu symptoms. Honey is also one of the natural ingredients that may help boost immunity and help overcome the flu-related symptoms.4-7 However, before using natural herbs for coughs and colds, you must consult your healthcare provider.   

References: 

1. Flu (influenza) | Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.health.gov.au/diseases/influenza-flu 

2. Influenza (Flu): Treatment, Prevention, Symptoms vs Cold [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 8]. Available from: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/4335-influenza-flu 

3. Influenza | Johns Hopkins Medicine [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/influenza 

4. P. Saranraj, S. Sivasakthi, Glaucio Dire Feliciano. Pharmacology of Honey: A Review. Advances in Biological Research [Internet]. 2016;10(4):271–89. Available from: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/308694961 

5. Ali BH, Blunden G, Tanira MO, Nemmar A. Some phytochemical, pharmacological and toxicological properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Roscoe): a review of recent research. Food Chem Toxicol [Internet]. 2008 [cited 2022 Jul 10];46(2):409–20. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17950516/ 

6. Garlic – Health Encyclopedia – University of Rochester Medical Center [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=Garlic 

7. Echinacea | NCCIH [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/echinacea 

8. Ayush Division. Ayurveda offering Herbal healing.  

9. Flu – NHS [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 8]. Available from: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/flu/ 

10. Carr AC, Maggini S. Vitamin C and Immune Function. Nutrients [Internet]. 2017 Nov 1 [cited 2022 Jul 11];9(11). Available from: /pmc/articles/PMC5707683/ 

11. Vitamin C | The Nutrition Source | Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health [Internet]. [cited 2022 Jul 11]. Available from: https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/vitamin-c/ 

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational/awareness purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for medical treatment by a healthcare professional and should not be relied upon to diagnose or treat any medical condition. The reader should consult a registered medical practitioner to determine the appropriateness of the information and before consuming any medication. PharmEasy does not provide any guarantee or warranty (express or implied) regarding the accuracy, adequacy, completeness, legality, reliability or usefulness of the information; and disclaims any liability arising thereof.

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