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Elderberry and friends: 11 natural ways to prevent the flu | Hardin Acupuncture

Elderberry and friends: 11 natural ways to prevent the flu


This post isn’t about whether or not to get the flu shot (I’ll let you spend hours googling that one.)

The advice I want to share for preventing the flu naturally will help you stay as healthy as possible either way.

Forgive the obviousness of the first tip, but seriously:

1. Wash your hands! It really is the most important thing you can do. And then get yourself a nice hand cream to keep your skin from flaking away.

2. Drink warm fluids. If the virus is hanging out in your mouth or throat, preparing to get extra cozy, the warm drink will most likely wash it into your digestive tract where your stomach acid will easily destroy it.

3. Use a neti pot. It’s actually quite simple to use. It flushes your nasal passages with warm salt water and feels rather pleasant.

{Tips one through three are based on the fact that it takes several hours for viruses to incubate in the body. Shaking hands with that miserable, flu-infested chap at the office doesn’t mean you’re doomed. You may have the flu virus on your hands, your clothes, or even in your nose, but it needs time to nestle in and make itself at home. You have time to flush it from your system!}

4. Get enough sleep. When our bodies are worn-down and tired our barriers against infection are more like cheese-cloth than an iron gate. If you struggle with falling or staying asleep, read more here.

5. Exercise consistently. In a way that’s appropriate for your constitution. You don’t need to spend hours at the gym. Just ½ an hour of walking a day can do wonders. Yoga will help activate the lymph system which helps to fight infections. Breathing practices will help strengthen your lungs.

6. Eat high-quality whole foods. With lots of greens, greens, greens. It’s also helpful to avoid sugar, fried foods, cold foods, and dairy. These guys basically roll out a sticky welcome mat for viruses. Come right in, Mr. Flu! Of course I’m not busy! Please, have a scone!

7. Laughter! It boosts the immune system, lowers cholesterol, raises serotonin. Plus, it’s well-known that viruses have no sense of humor and can’t stand the sound of human laughter.

{Tips four through seven are really just the things that we all know we should be doing anyway to live a healthy, vibrant life. Not getting the flu is just a nice bonus!}

8. Elderberry. Kids love it! Clinical trials have shown it to be highly effective in preventing and treating the flu. You can buy various brands at health food stores (Sambucol, Dr. Dunner Sambu Guard) or you can make your own elderberry syrup.

9. Echinacea. This is a miracle  herb for me. It’s best used as a tincture (alcohol extract) and you have to take a lot of it (around 5-10 mL/a day). You can find it in any health food store – a couple of high-quality brands to look for are Gaia herbs or Herbpharm.

10. Immune-boosting broth. A great-tasting chicken or vegetarian broth loaded with medicinal herbs and spices.

11. Acupuncture. One of the side-effects of acupuncture treatment, whether you’re coming in for anxiety or back pain, is an enhanced immune system. Most people find that they get sick much less often when they are getting regular treatment. And when they do get sick, they bounce back quicker.


More herbal recommendations for preventing the flu and also tending yourself once you’re already sick in this post by Aviva Romm.

A great, do-it-yourself acupressure routine for boosting immunity and preventing the flu over on Acutake.

(Image source: seelensturm)

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Hardin Acupuncture
1804 Chislett St
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
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Phone: 412.927.4768