Herbal Remedies for Flu Symptoms

By Michael A. Smith, MD

Herbal Remedies for Flu SymptomsHerbal remedies used for diminishing flu symptoms are well supported with solid clinical evidence ... more than your doctor knows. Take it from me, a previously skeptical medical doctor, these herbs work!

Herbal Remedy #1: Andrographis paniculata

Andrographis is cultivated in Southeast Asia and has been used for centuries to ease flu symptoms and speed recovery. It is mostly used by naturopathic doctors in the US and has had mixed results at best. However, the variable effects and seemingly ineffectiveness has more to do with low quality products, not the herb itself.

After successfully using Andrographis for my flu symptoms, I was compelled to see if there was any clinical evidence published about the herb. I was amazed at what I found ...

In one clinical trial, involving 540 adults with influenza, participants were given standardized extracts of Andrographis three times daily for 3-5 days, while 469 individuals used conventional antiviral medications and served as the control group.

The doctors measured severity of disease (measured by development of complications) and disease duration (measured by number of days on sick leave).

In the herbal remedy group, 30% progressed to complicated influenza compared to 70% in the control group. Likewise, those in the herbal group experienced a shorter duration of symptoms (approximately 6-7 days) compared to 9-10 days in the control group.

You can't ask for better results ... Andrographis works! But you have to take a high quality product. Look for a product that is made from the natural shrub and is standardized to 4% andrographolides (check the label carefully).

Herbal Remedy #2: Elderberry

Elderberry has direct-viral killing effects. It neutralizes the protein spikes found on the surface of the flu virus. Without these spikes, the virus can't penetrate cell membranes and replicate. Elderberry also activates several immune cells, like macrophages and T-cells.

But the proof is in the pudding. In one small clinical trial, significant improvement in flu symptoms was observed in 14 of 15 subjects two days after initial dosing, with complete symptom resolution in 13 of 15 subjects after three days.

In the placebo group, complete symptom resolution was only achieved by 4 of 12 subjects within three days and 5 of 12 subjects after five days.

Elderberry comes best in a liquid form developed by a certified herbalist.

Additional Herbs, Plants & Spices

I also like the following herbs for fighting the flu. Although there is less clinical evidence supporting their effectiveness, many people report great results:

  1. Astragalus– may work in similar ways to Andrographis.
  2. Baptisia – may help to reduce a fever and ease body aches.
  3. Olive Leaf – may have direct viral-killing effects.
  4. Oil of Oregano – may help to reduce congestion and coughs.

Life Extension® has a great influenza protocol providing tons of information and a list of suggested products for beating flu symptoms.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised Echinacea didn't make the list. 6 400mg tabs every 6 hours seems to work well. I love andrographis also.

Randy D

Life Extension said...


Thanks for your comment. I chose the herbs best supported with clinical evidence AND the ones that have worked for me personally.

Dr. Mike @ Life Extension

Best weight loss program said...

Best home remedy for flu is to have honey with ginger juice twice a day.

Prevent staph said...

Doing gargles early in the morning with a mixture of luke warm water and salt is another way that can help in curing flu.

HCG California said...

Taking a bath in lukewarm water -- be sure the water is not cold, if it causes shivering, that may cause the internal body temperature to increase.

Life Extension said...

Great point HCG California! Bath water at room temperature is great for a fever...you feel better as your body temperature drops.

beautiful mind said...

Great information! Great timing! As the seasons change, we are more prone to infections. This is the best time to prepare immune system for the cold season.

I know elderberry since my childhood. My mother used to make an elderberry syrup which we took daily throughout fall and winter. Andrographis was introduced to me some fifteen years ago in Singapore. I also use the South African pelargonium root extract which is very popular in Germany. And last, but not least, Manuka honey! Like no other honey, this Manuka honey mobilizes the immune system to fight any infection.

Weight Loss Diet said...

If somebody ask me a question that what irritates you most? Without thinking I'll reply flu. All the flu symptoms are really very irritating to me. And most of the time I make use of elderberry, its really works guys.

Life Extension said...

Flu symptoms hurt! The aches and pains that come with a fever are simply just miserable. By the way, we LOVE elderberry.

hcg diet said...

I always find that taking herbal remedies at the first signs of illness coupled with getting plenty of rest usually keeps the flu away. It's just important to strengthen your immune system so that you can fight off the virus before you get ill.

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hcg1234 said...

While some people may dismiss herbal remedies as quackery, the use of botanicals is well rooted in medical practice. Ancient doctors methodically collected information about herbs and developed well-defined pharmacopoeias to treat a variety of ailments. Thanks.

Life Extension said...

Hcg1234 – Great points! Ancient doctors didn’t have access to the sophisticated drugs we have nowadays, and yet they cured ailments.

herbalist said...

I always go for natural ways to soothe body ailments even the most simple ones like flu. My grandma is Chinese and she used to put some herbal leaves at my back when I am having flu like symptoms. I have to say it really did help and it gives an effect immediately. Nowadays, gone are the leaves but instead chemically processed herbs. I think they are still effective but of course you have to be aware of the additional substances being added.

Visalus uk said...

Great post. I just located your blog and wished to let you know that I have certainly loved reading your blogs. At any rate I’m going to be subscribing to your feed and I really hope you are writing again soon.

LifeExtension said...

Visalus uk - Thanks for reading! We're glad you liked the blog. :)

Essante organics said...

Great post. I just located your blog and wished to let you know that I have certainly loved reading your blogs. At any rate I’m going to be subscribing to your feed and I really hope you are writing again soon.

LifeExtension said...

Essante organics - Thanks for the feedback! Dr. Smith writes blogs for us occasionally, just be on the lookout for them. :)

Essante organics said...

Great post. I just located your blog and wished to let you know that I have certainly loved reading your blogs. At any rate I’m going to be subscribing to your feed and I really hope you are writing again soon.

Lani said...

Kindly include also ginger for flu, Its a best herbs medicine I have experience using this for a years and I can give two thumbs up!

LifeExtension said...

Lani - We're big fans of ginger. Thanks for bring it up!

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