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Herbs for the Flu, Tested By Science

Adapted from The Antibiotic Alternative: The Natural Guide to Fighting Infection and Maintaining a Healthy Immune System by Cindy L. A. Jones, Ph.D. (Inner Traditions, 2000).

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It is getting to be time that we all get a bit more sophisticated about the flu, what with the Swine flu fears looming as a possible global pandemic. Vaccinations, antiviral drugs and pharmaceuticals are not the focus of this article, but finding effective herbs to help combat the illness is.

A flu and cold are often difficult to differentiate, but a flu is usually worse. Symptoms include a fever with chills, runny nose, cough, headache, and a feeling of malaise or tiredness. Although the most acute symptoms usually subside within three days, symptoms such as weakness and coughing may persist for ten days. Even though the flu is typically self-limiting, serious complications can arise in the very young or the elderly or those with a preexisting disease.

Two herbs have stood the test of science as being effective against the flu. Find out which ones, here:

The ideal approach to the flu is, of course, prevention. This might be accomplished by improving the immune system, especially in the fall as flu season approaches. Several studies have shown that astragalus (Astragalus membranaceous) extracts can stimulate the immune system. Use astragalus as an extract or add the root to soups.

If you do get the flu, here are two herbs shown to help reduce the severity of the illness.