I’ve worked hard on my immune system, and I rarely get sick.
However, the week before Christmas I got hit with the flu: temperature, body aches, chills, trouble sleeping, etc. It’s been well over a decade since my last flu. I forgot how crazy uncomfortable having a temperature makes you feel. It’s hard to rest when your nervous system feels like it’s on fire.
Everything can be leveraged as a learning experience. I learned how to beat the flu quickly without taking gut-damaging medications. And I’ll share my natural remedies with you.
First lessons learned was about prevention. Believing I don’t get sick actually boosts my immunity, but I got a bit cocky. After hosting a sick house guest, my throat began to hurt. I assumed I’ll be fine and didn’t rest or take preventative precautions. I just pushed through with the demands of my day.
Taking immune boosting herbs, drinking tea and resting would likely have prevented me from getting sick. But that meant canceling client sessions, hiring a dog walker and skipping chi gong class and I didn’t do that. Also challenged by the stress of the holidays, and some not-so-clean eating, my immune system just could not fight it off.
The fever came Tuesday night. Wednesday morning I visited my doctor.
She prescribed Aleve, an over the counter medication to manage the fever. Aleve is a non steroidal anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and it has gut-damaging side effects. It can cause intestinal permeability (also called leaky gut).
My doctor wanted me to take 500 mg every few hours, interspersed with Tylenol (which can be tough on the liver) to manage my body aches. I would’ve loved a fast road out of my pain and discomfort, but I knew better.
She said the drugs would help me heal faster by reducing my fever. But fever is a natural immune response, and I wanted my body to do what it needed to do. Some doctors believe that reducing a fever will prolong the duration of the illness. I’m with them. Besides, who want to risk leaky gut?
If a fever gets too high (over 104) it can become an issue. You can lower it by taking a bath or shower in tepid (never cold) water. If a fever gets over over 107, it’s dangerous and medical intervention is needed. My fever was only 101.6 at it’s highest, so I had nothing to worry about.
The good news is I was able to reduce my fever in one day. It was gone by Thursday morning and then I was able to enjoy the down time of being sick.
This is how I did it.
I happen to have some biocidin in the house. It is an botanical cold and flu formula that I also recommend to clients with candida and/or SIBO. Biocidin is a natural anti bacterial and antiviral remedy and a few drops taken in a glass of water can prevent a flu or cold from materializing or help fight the bugs that have invaded your body.
Biocidin targets the entire GI tract and supports microbiome balance. I love biocidin because it is an extremely gentle and well tolerated anti microbial. You can purchase it here. And read about it’s ‘winter wellness’ properties and ingredients here.
My other flu secret was elderberry syrup. Elderberry is an herb with anti viral properties that also boosts immune function because of it’s antioxidants and vitamins. And there are no nasty side effects.
My doctor also prescribed an antiviral medication called Tamiflu, which would shorten the duration of my symptoms. She told me there were no significant side effects. A Google search revealed that Tamiflu could cause headaches, a host of digestive symptoms (nausea, stomach pain, diarrhea), psychiatric symptoms (hallucinations) and skin issues like rashes.
No thanks. I’ll stick with elderberry.
Elderberry is generally used to lower cholesterol, improve vision and heart health and naturally fight coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections as well as tonsillitis.
To sleep comfortably I used night time elderberry syrup instead of the Benadryl my doc recommended.
I’m currently taking my leftover elderberry capsules daily to keep my immune system strong.
Here are the top 10 antiviral herbs for fighting the flu.
Garlic (a FODMAP)
Calendula (anti viral, anti inflammatory, good for liver and boosts immune system)
I happened to have liquorice tincture and and dried calendula flowers in the house so I made tea adding dried nettle and chaga mushroom powder for extra immune support.
The best advice my doctor gave was to drink 2 to 3 liters of water a day, so I made it my job to drink tea, broth and water around the clock. Liquids detox the body and offer much needed hydration during fever.
I added a cap full of apple cider vinegar, a splash of pure cranberry juice and lemon essential oil to my water, a little bit of coconut oil to my broth (coconut oil is also antiviral) and drank lots of dandelion tea with lemon and manuka honey (honey is antiviral but NOT low fodmap).
Homemade bone broth is one of the best things you can drink while battling illness as it provides healthy fats, amino acids and lots of minerals to boost immunity. You can add collagen powder to the broth to increase protein content. This is easy fuel for your body to use, as it won’t spend much energy digesting, so more energy is left over to battle the virus.
I also took probiotics and drank sauerkraut juice, though my doctor said it wouldn’t help.
While probiotics won’t fight flu virus directly, they do support the immune system. Anything that supports immunity, such as Frankincense essential oil, turmeric supplements or medicinal mushroom tea (dried chaga or reishi mushroom), will help your body fight off illness.
I must have done something right, because I felt 80 percent better 24 hours after visiting my doctor, without taking most of her advice.
After the fever broke I was able to relax, take epsom salt and baking soda baths and read. I continued with the tea, broth, water and antiviral herbs. I also rubbed frankincense essential oil on the bottoms of my feet, as it’s a known immune booster. And to bust up the leftover symptoms of congestion and mucus in my respiratory tract and lungs, I used some NAC, which is an amino acid that thins mucus in the lungs. It is also a powerful free radical scavenger that supports the body’s natural defense system.
NAC is one of my favorite supplements to have on hand because it supports liver function (my friends use it to prevent hangovers) and it helps chelate heavy metals from the liver. It is also a biofilm buster, which boosts success in fighting difficult or resistant infections like SIBO or candida.
A typical flu lasts anywhere from 5 to 14 days. I was able to kick my flu in 4 days. And I did it super healer style…naturally, without compromising gut health with pharmacuetical side effects.
Do you have natural cold and flu remedies you swear by? Let me know in the comments below.
Angela Privin is proof that IBS is NOT an incurable disease or a disease at all. IBS is a body out of balance. It’s an invitation for change. After solving her own IBS mystery more than a decade ago Angela trained as a health coach to help others.
Angela uses both science and intuition to help people figure out what’s out of balance in their body. She works with lab tests, dietary changes, supplementation and nervous system rebalancing. Get help rebalancing your digestive system and solving your IBS mystery here.