For more tips on preventing and treating the flu naturally, take a peek at my Globe and Mail article Eight easy, natural ways to keep the flu at bay (without leaving home)*
Research shows that astragalus root (a Chinese herb used to ward off flu), has powerful immune-enhancing properties. The sliced, dried root is widely available in herb stores. It adds a pleasant, sweet taste when simmered in soups. Shiitake mushrooms, onions, and tumeric also boost immunity and have an antiviral effect. Garlic is an antibiotic; ginger, a natural anti-inflammatory agent! So, here’s my no-flu-for-you soup recipe. Enjoy!
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
2 lg spanish onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
1/4 tsp tumeric powder
2 cups shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
2 lg carrots, thinly sliced
2 pieces astragalus root, either dried or freshly choped into large cubes (roughly 1×1 inch)
8 cups organic mushroom or chicken stock
2 tbsp tamari
2 cups broccoli florets
1/2 cups scallions, diced
1/2 cup chives, diced
Instructions: Place oil in a soup pot on medium heat and add onions, garlic, ginger, and tumeric powder and sautee for about 5 mins or until translucent. Add mushrooms, carrots, broccoli, astragalus root, choice of stock and an additional 3 cups water. Bring to a full boil then reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Add the tamari and adjust salt to taste. Let cool for 30mins. Remove the astragalus root pieces. Garnish with scallions and chives and serve while hot.
*An addendum to the Globe and Mail article “Eight easy, natural ways to keep the flu at bay (without leaving home)” and response to “Public editor: Homeopath’s advice needs to be balanced” and its comments:
Critics and professional skeptics slam me for my article in the Globe about natural remedies to help with flu.
My general position: ramp up your immune system to help the relatively moderate efficacy of the flu shot. (IV.2 Efficacy, Effectiveness and Immunogenicity).
Why do I promote complementary alternative approaches to the flu and the flu vaccine? So that the vaccine works better for you if your choice is to have it. Why wouldn’t I ‘push’ you to get the shot? Because that is your choice. (I do however suggest asking your doctor for the mercury free form regardless of the supposed safety of thimerosal. I don’t believe any levels of ethyl or methyl mercury is safe let alone injected into you. Our own Canadian based Calgary University agrees with this stance on mercury).
Why do I discuss anti-bacterial solutions in my flu prevention discourse? Because often complications from a virus like those that cause colds or flu can create a superimposed infection (aka complication) that can warrant antibiotics. But, there are often equally effective and preventive options such as standardized garlic.
Why am I discussing probiotics if the topic is cold and flu? Because if one requires antibiotics due to aforementioned bacterial complication then you need to take these ‘good bugs’ not to mention that there is some neat and compelling evidence they may be anti-viral too! Even McMaster is looking into this.
Note: My credentials were called into question to be able to write this article. I completed a degree in Biology, a diploma in homeopathic medicine and health sciences, have conducted a successful clinical practice for over 10 years, authored two books on the topic of natural medicine, hosted and produced a popular television health show on a major news network for 5 years, and now vet a good deal of natural medicine content for the Dr OZ show. I feel that makes me qualified to speak about how to use natural medicine to empower your immune system to better prevent the flu.