Flu Season Tools to Have

As we feel the effects of fall and know winter is on the horizon, I often get questions about how we can prepare ourselves for the dreaded flu season lurking around the corner. Hunting for information on the internet will reveal more pills, powders and potions than there were Arabian Nights! So where do we start when we’re bombarded by thousands of options ranging from conventional antibiotics to the bitter tonic concocted by somebody’s grandmother?

Where do we begin? The beginning of course! We need to go back to the tried-and-true remedies that have proven their worth and will never be forgotten, regardless of the current fads and “miracle cures”. To build your own home medicine chest in preparation for the imminent runny noses and phlegmy coughs, here are three things you might want to keep on hand.

The first in our medicine chest is Echinacea, one of the most well-known and revered immune boosters in the herbal world. Echinacea is a perennial herb commonly known as Purple Coneflower. Its powerful immune stimulating properties were first utilized by Native American healers and later taught to white settlers to battle influenza, strep throat, and the common cold. Echinacea is usually used in the form of teas or capsules that can be used either during illness or as a preventative to keep your immune system in fighting shape.

The second in our arsenal is the homeopathic remedy Oscillococcinum. This hard to pronounce remedy is one of the safest and most effective remedies to have on hand for kicking the flu in the backside before it kicks yours! Homeopathic remedies usually come in the form of tiny white pellets that you dissolve under your tongue. The best time to take a remedy like “Oscillo” is when you first feel a cold or flu coming on. In most cases this will either prevent its onset or at the least drastically decrease its severity.

Lastly we’ll mention Goldenseal. Another hero of the American herbal world, Goldenseal has been known for its cold and flu busting properties for centuries. This bitter little yellow root acts almost like a natural “antibiotic”, helping to kill infections without all of the nasty side effects of conventional antibiotics. The easiest way to use Goldenseal is in capsule form, which helps hide its naturally bitter flavor. One note every aspiring kitchen doctor should know about Goldenseal is that it is not recommended for continual use. Goldenseal is an “as-needed” remedy that should not be used for more than one to two weeks at a time, otherwise the body can become desensitized to it and it may lose its effectiveness.

So there you have it! No more wading through the internet quagmire for flu season tips! Keep these little weapons on hand and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to defend your castle against the coming sniffles and sneezes!

Author: Dr. Chris Knutson, ND

Dr. Chris Knutson, ND, entered the natural health field after being cured of chronic Lyme Disease by an Australian Naturopath. He holds degrees as a Doctor of Naturopathy, Master Herbalist and Certified Nutritional Counselor. He currently works as a Nutrition and Wellness Coordinator with Fresh and Natural Foods.