back to school – beat back the flu

Flu /Influenza

Flu is caused by the airborne influenza A, B or C virus infecting the upper and lower respiratory tract. With Virus C we self-immunise against repeat infection but A and B are constantly mutating and so can be contracted repeatedly through life. Incubation is typically 1-2 days. Symptoms last 2-5 days. They include fever p00, headache, aches and pains, chills, sore throat, cough, nausea and vomiting, dehydration and sometimes diarrhoea.

When we get the Flu, our immune system dispatches two types of white blood cells – the first set are called T and B lymphocytes which support antibodies to wrap themselves around the virus and both prevent it from adhering to a cell wall or replicating itself and then a second type known as a macrophage will ingests the debilitated virus –the herbs and foods mentioned here boost that activity.

Top things to beat back the flu.

The scent of lavender has irritability reducing value and is a great decongestant. You can also inhale eucalyptus or mint for a clearing effect.

Soaking in a soothing bath of apple cider vinegar and Epsom salt (1/3 cup of each) eliminates toxins and refreshes tiered muscles.

Gargling with cooled thyme tea helps kill off residual virus and soreness in the mouth and throat. Thyme contains the antimicrobial thymol, and the antiviral thujanol – both amazing at halting flu viruses in their tracks but as thyme has an affinity with white blood cells – boosting their production and efficiency, some tea to sip is a great idea too.

Sometimes a cup of tea is all you need – sipping green tea hydrates, eases stomach discomfort and helps with over worked mucous membranes, its antioxidants give the body a boost towards recovery but best of all two catechins that make their way from leaf to tea, epicatechin-gallate (ECG) and epigallocatchingallate (EGCG) inhibit the reproduction/replication ability of the influenza virus

Eat some antivirals such as garlic, cinnamon, turmeric and ginger.

To boost immune system responses eat plenty of vitamin c rich foods and plenty of zinc foods.

Ginger tea or grated ginger in meals can help the body perspire and eliminate toxins but also it helps with stomach upset and fatigue.

That old saying about an apple a day – well one apple has an antioxidant effect within the human body that is equivalent to 1,500 mg of vitamin C.

Barley water is good to reduce a fever and settle stomach, it is convalescence beverage too. Hot lemon and honey is antiviral and energy boosting.

Make your own Barley water

You have two options you can make overnight and allow a slow infusion to occur. Or you can bring all these ingredients to a boil, allow to cool, strain away solids and have a same day barely water (Both are tasty and healing beverages and both store 3 days if refrigerated).


1 cup organic pearl barley

1 litre of water

½ lemon

Method:  To a large jug add 1 litre of water, the zest and juice of half a lemon and 1 cup of pearl barely. Stir well. Cover with a tea towel and allow soak until same time next day – fridge or counter top optional. Strain away solids and chill to serve.  Sweeten to taste if desired.



About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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