How to Treat the Flu Naturally with Herbs

How to Treat the Flu Naturally with Herbs

Generally speaking, the flu season peaks between January and February here in the US.

However, this morning — as I was participating in my daily reading of the Drudge Report — my attention was drawn to these headlines:

Naturally, I immediately thought it would be good for us to review a few herbs and remedies that are known to be very powerful anti-virals so as to arm ourselves for what may be a rather aggressive flu season.

Herbs with Anti-Viral Properties

As a result of coming in contact with one of the various types of the flu virus, we can expect the signs of illness to look like fever, body-aches, fatigue, sore throat, and respiratory issues.

And by now you’re probably beginning to see that conventional medicine has little to offer us other than the typical over-the-counter remedies…

…remedies that work only to suppress the symptoms — they certainly don’t cure what ails us or work to heal our bodies any faster.

Herbs have the greatest ability to help the body heal itself — by naturally boosting the immune system — when used at the first signs of an illness. A few of those herbs, considered anti-virals, include:

  • Bayberry
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Eucalyptus
  • Garlic
  • Lavender
  • Lemon Balm
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Thyme

Flu Fighting Herbs

The herbs and remedies I use mostly in our home this time of year are as follows…


Elderberries are a convenient and frugal source of immunity. They are held in high esteem in areas all over the world and have received a considerable amount of positive research regarding their efficacy as an anti-viral. Known for their outstanding ability to ward off and cure the flu virus, elderberries make some of the most potent remedies and should be a part of everyone’s medicine chest! Click here to read more and find recipes…

Elderberry tea recipe: Using your tea infuser or tea pot…brew a cup of basic peppermint tea or this strong immunity tea. Add a couple spoonfuls of elderberry extract and a couple spoonfuls of echinacea tincture . Sweeten with raw, organic honey. (Please Note: I get all of my loose leaf tea-making supplies online from Mountain Rose Herbs.)


Ginger Root — because of it’s ability to warm the body and release toxins — has been used in herbal preparations since ancient times.

Traditionally used in the treatment of anti-inflammatory and digestive issues — like indigestion, acid stomach, and nausea — ginger has been included in many useful natural remedies for a variety of ailments.

Ginger helps to strengthen our immune system and is thereby powerful against the symptoms of the flu.

Ginger Root Infusions: A healing tea can be made by simmering sweet (true) cinnamon bark/sticks and chopped ginger root in water for 20-30 minutes. Additionally, you can make homemade ginger ale by mixing equal parts of ginger root infusion sweetened with honey and soda water.


Cinnamon kills a variety of viral flu strains. It too warms the body, promotes sweating, and increases blood circulation therefore helping the body to release toxins. It is a very power — often overlooked — remedy for the common cold and flu. An awesome, easy to follow recipe like this one will show you how to make a simple remedy using honey and cinnamon. 


Echinacea Root is well known as one of the most powerful immune system builders and stimulator’s! It works by first enhancing the quantity of immune cells in our bodies and then by stimulating them to action. The benefit…a shorter duration of the flu. Check out the following articles to learn more and find recipes using echinacea root:


It is well documented and recognized that the onion had an amazing effect against the flu epidemic of the early 1900’s. Placing slices of onion in areas around the house — especially at the bedside — has proven it’s ability to absorb the flu virus thereby reducing the likelihood of contracting the illness. Additionally, here are a few of my favorite recipes using the onion:


A word on antibiotic therapy. I am not 100% anti-antibiotics, but as a nurse I have witnessed firsthand the devastating results of their improper use. Antibiotics have no effect against viruses! They should only be considered and prescribed by a licensed medical professional if a bacterial infection accompanies or follows the flu virus.

Where Can I Get This Stuff?

Mountain Rose Herbs…they have everything you’ll need for these remedies! It’s your one-stop-shop!

The Bulk Herb Store also carries many of these ingredients if you’d like to price check.

Click over to my Etsy Shop to purchase a Make Your Own Elderberry Syrup Kit. This kit includes organic elderberries, organic echinacea angustifolia root, organic ginger, organic whole cloves, and organic sweet (true) cinnamon. Additionally you will receive an instruction sheet, glass dropper bottles for storage, and a muslin bag for straining.

What about you!?! Please feel free to share ways that you treat the flu naturally!

Mountain Rose Herbs


  1. This is good to know! I have had a cough for 3 weeks!

  2. Thanks for putting the kit together for us. How much does your kit make? Does it give instructions on how to take the herbs?

    • Hi Janet! The kit makes approximately 3 cups. And it comes with an instruction sheet that walks you through the process of making the syrup and also includes dosaging recommendations.

  3. We harvested elderberries last year and made syrup. We use 2 tsp. in a cup of hot water. Soothes symptoms, if one already is coming down with something…. Helps fight it off if cold/flu hasn’t set in yet but you have been exposed. We love it and it tastes great too.

  4. I’ve made your Elderberry syrup before and have some in the fridge and the tincture is brewing in a dark cabinet – wonderful stuff! Thanks for sharing your knowledge with us!

  5. This is great information. I have been battling a cough for over two weeks and have been doing various herbs which have seemed to help but I totally forgot about elderberry. I will kick that in today…thanks for sharing

  6. Great article and thanks for the reminders we all need to hear this time of year. I’d much rather focus on something like this than all the advertising trying to steer us into something totally different.

    Thanks again!

  7. Can powdered elderberries be used in place of dried elderberries?

  8. I needed this info last week, 🙁 The flu hit my entire family hard this year. Normally we are feeling better after just a day or two. We were all down for 5 to 7 days. I recently tried a ginger sweat bath for another illness with fever. It worked well. But with this flu, the fever wasn’t the worst of the symptoms and only lasted a few hours, so the sweat bath wasn’t helpful.

    And for those of you fighting coughs for weeks, you should consider the possibility that it’s pertussis. This is the only disease we immunize for in the US that is on the rise. In some parts of the country it is occurring in epidemic numbers. My youngest son and I contracted it in November and it took us a full 2 months to get over the cough. Just in time to catch the flu!

    • I agree with you Lisa! I don’t know in what area of the Country you live in, but here in AZ we are seeing a rise of pertussis — aka whooping cough — and the cough associated with it can last for 8-10 weeks! It’s really horrible. Although the population is generally immunized against it is lasts for only 10-15 yrs and requires a booster. Pertussis is another viral respiratory infection. I guess the only good news about pertussis is…once you’ve had it, you’ll never get it again. Our bodies develop complete immunity to the disease only after having the illness. We’ve been pumping the elderberry syrup like crazy to ward it off!

  9. Tina from Toledo says:

    Love that you read the Drudge Report!

  10. Love this list (and I second Tina–yay for Drudge Report!)

    I’ve used elderberry, ginger, and echinacea but will definitely try cinnamon too next time. This last cold, an onion and salt poultice worked pretty dramatically to clear up our congestion. It was especially impressive since we’d already tried half a dozen other herbal remedies that hadn’t shown very immediate results.

  11. Thanks for sharing!

    I can’t recommend elderberry enough. My husband and I stumbled across it a couple of years ago and it’s the very first thing we reach for when we start to feel the crud creeping in. It kills colds before they even get a chance to start and is nothing short of a miracle cure when it comes to the flu. It’s like magic and I can’t believe it doesn’t get more press!

  12. Are you familiar with grapefruit extract? We have been battling a terrible cough in our younger children and especially in our 4 yr old who I am now giving breathing treatments with albuterol. I ostarted the grapefruit extract today and her lungs are a bit clearer (I was a R.N. and listen with my stethescope). I think I will try this also – she has had it for over a month!

  13. We use raw honey in our recipe since it’s anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial. It’s helps sweeten the elixir and acts as a natural preservative.

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