7 Natural, Home Remedies for the Flu

1. Stay Home and Sleep

First off, do yourself and others a favor and stay at home. Not only does this save your desk mates from catching the flu, but grants you the time for a little (or a lot of) R+R (rest and recovery). Fighting off the flu zaps your energy, so allow your body the rest and sleep it needs for its triumphant comeback!

2. Step into Fresh Air

While basking in your bed helps ensure rest and recovery, the indoors can be a source of concentrated germs. Direct sunshine supplies a mental and vitamin D boost, so offset the bacteria and step into the fresh air! Vitamin D has shown to ward off depressive feelings, along with protecting fostering a strong immune system to fight off bacteria and viruses. In fact, low levels of vitamin D may increase the risk of contracting the flu or becoming immunocompromised.

3. Stock Up On Fluids

Hydration is key for fighting a cold and flu, as it ensures a speedy recovery by relieving congestion and replacing fluid losses amidst a fever, diarrhea, and vomiting. While water is regularly considered the best fluid to drink, sipping on herbal teas can is likewise soothing and hydrating. Squeezing in citrus fruits such as lemon and orange provides vitamin C, which offers antioxidant properties that can defend against foreign bacteria and boost the immune system. Adding the pungent and spicy flavor of ginger has also shown to treat an upset stomach, nausea, and vomiting.

4. Sip on Soup and Broth

There is no denying soup is one of the best flu remedies, as they can keep you nourished, hydrated, and soothed. These 13 soup recipes offer the nutrients your body longs for to keep you feeling strong and nurtured amidst the flu, while this bright and creamy soup is packed with an energizing boost of vitamin A delivered by carrots and sweet potatoes. The intake of vitamin A can contribute to a healthy immune system by protecting against infection risk and strengthening immune function. Bone broth can also be beneficial in treating the flu, as it promotes hydration and replenishes electrolytes lost via fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. And not to mention, bone broth is favorably soothing!

5. Nosh On The BRAT Diet

An unsettled stomach is generally a non-hungry stomach and the thought of food is probably not even a thought at all… Standing for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast, the foods in the BRAT diet are easily digestible and mild in flavor and smell. They are further considered “binding,” low-fiber foods to firm stools and defeat diarrhea, while potassium content in bananas can replace depleted electrolytes. Ultimately, the BRAT diet has shown to be an effective way to treat an upset stomach, vomiting, and diarrhea.

6. Give Elderberry a Try

While elderberry may not prevent the flu, it may be an effective treatment option if you got hit with the virus. Research shows the use of elderberry could shorten the duration of flu by about three to four days, along with lessening symptom severity if taken within the first 24 hours of having the flu. When it comes to recommended dosages, WebMD suggests one tablespoon (15 milliliters) of a specific elderberry juice-containing syrup (Sambucol by Nature’s Way) has been taken four times daily for three to five days, while a specific lozenge (ViraBLOC by HerbalScience) containing 175 milligrams of elderberry extract has been taken four times daily for two days.

7. Soak in A Warm, Epsom Salt Bath

Soaking in a warm bath is nonetheless comforting when battling a fever. And according to the Epsom Salt Council, soaking in Epsom Salt can help the body rest, recover, detoxify and increase white-blood cell counts. The naturally-occurring mineral can be a cost-effective home remedy to help ease muscle aches and contribute to a better night’s rest, which can help you recover even faster. Dr. Margaret Philhower, a naturopathic doctor, recommends adding at least four cups of Epsom salt per bath to help improve circulation and reduce the length of flu symptoms. 

While there are various and beneficial home remedies, it is important to call your doctor if you have signs of the flu or even believe you were exposed with the virus. Their professional expertise can help guide you to effective flu treatments, including medications such as Tamiflu. Also mention your interest in any sort of herbal and alternative therapies to ensure their implementation will not interfere with any medications you are currently taking or underlying health conditions.