OHSWEKEN – When you find yourself sick with the flu there really isn’t a cure-all. Unfortunately because the flu is a virus the main course of treatment, apart from anti-viral drugs for severe cases, is treating symptoms at home until the bug has run it’s course.
Over the counter pharmaceutical medications are readily available at most pharmacies. But what are some readily available natural options to help treat a flu? We spoke with Karen Smith, a Certified Nutritional Practitioner, MSW and owner of Life Sustainers, Natural Health and Supplement Store on Six Nations for her suggestions on her top picks for natural flu remedies.
“For the prevention of flu, it would be important to first mention that eating nutrient dense organic whole foods while avoiding junk foods, sugar and getting proper sleep go along way in ensuring good immunity,” says Smith.
“I also recommend a quality multivitamin as the soil is so depleted of nutrients,” said Smith. “Fruits and vegetables do not have the same nutritional value as they did 50 years ago because of soil depletion and early picking.”
In terms of what kinds of vitamins, Smith says it’s vital to include extra Vitamin C to your diet. “The body does not store Vitamin C and it is used up within 4 hours. When sick some take anywhere from 4000mg to 10000mg in divided doses,” said Smith.
Getting adequate Vitamin D and Zinc are also crucial. Extra Vitamin D is readily available in fortified milk or orange juices available at most grocery stores. Several throat lozenges also offer an ‘added Zinc’ version that will help to perk up your body’s ability to fight the virus.
To help prevent influenza using alternative remedies or natural supplements, Smith recommends immune boosters like high quality probiotics. “Probiotics are a necessity as they say 80% of the immune system is in the gut,” says Smith. If you’d rather something else you can also consider medicinal mushrooms like Cordyceps, Reishi or Chaga.
For prevention and treatment of the flu in children Smith says to look to Elderberries. Black elderberries are small berries that come from the European Elder Tree and have been used for centuries for topical wound healing and to treat illnesses such as the cold and flu.
Elderberry has been widely studied due to its reported antioxidant, antiviral, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory and immune modulating as well as antidepressant properties.
Several studies show elderberry extract inhibits both influenza A & B when given orally to patients in the first 48 hours of flu like symptoms.
You can find elderberry syrups in most grocery stores or natural health food stores. There are also hundreds of recipes to DIY this natural remedy on Pinterest if you have access to fresh elderberries.
“If you have not prevented the flu or to lessen the effects of it I would recommend NAC, or
N-acetyl L-cysteine which is a derivative from an amino acid. It is also a good preventative with an effective dose being 600 mg twice daily, and when full on sick you can increase up to 3000mg a day for a week,” says Smith.
“Strauss Naturals has a new product called Cold Storm for Cold and Flu which is a garlic based formula. Another popular product for colds and flu is Oil of Oregano – specifically Wild Oregano P73 which stands for “polyphenol 73 percent” a high-grade medicinal wild oregano.”
For children, Smith has another recommendation. “I would again recommend the NAC, with half the dosage an depending on age. Continue with the Elderberry, Belladonna homeopathic for fever and ensure electrolytes and adequate hydration. Yarrow is a nice herb that is safe for children and Colloidal Silver is also a great immune booster and good for sore throats.”
Life Sustainers has two locations on Six Nations at the Six Nations Marketplace Vendors Market, 50 Generations Drive near the corner of Highway 6 and Fourth Line open 7 days a week from 10am to 6pm. Appointments are also available with Karen Smith at the second location. You can find her on Facebook here.