10 ways to get rid of your flu

As the region sees temperatures drop, more people are struggling with the common virus.
10 ways to get rid of your flu
By Lubna Hamdan
Wed 04 Feb 2015 10:03 AM

Middle Eastern winters might not be so harsh, but the flu spares no one! As the region sees lows of 15 degrees Celsius, more people are struggling with the common virus. Luckily, Arabian Business has gathered a list of quick natural remedies from around the globe to get you flu-less in no time.

1. Add some mustard - to your socks: As bizarre as it sounds, adding some mustard powder in your socks when going to sleep is a sure flu-fighting remedy. According to the Saint Petersburg Times, mustard powder is a popular flu treatment in Russian culture. The spice is known for its heat producing properties, and so helps with blood circulation and fights the fever that advances with the virus. The newspaper also recommends using gorchichniki, mustard plasters. If they’re not available in the pharmacy, you can make them at home by mixing mustard powder, flour, and water, and then spreading the mixture on your back and chest. You then lay on a towel for 20 minutes (maximum), and witness the warming effect of the mustard. The mixture will also draw out the toxins in your system and reinvigorate your circulation.

2. P is for pepper: Although not conventional remedies, cayenne and black pepper work wonders on a sore throat that usually accompanies a flu. According to Livestrong magazine, the ingredient that makes Cayenne peppers so spicy is capsaicin. Capsaicin is known to relieve pain and cause a rush of endorphins (feel-good chemicals) in the body. It also helps with blood circulation, which generates warmth throughout the body. In Thailand, Tom Yum soup is the equivalent of the famous chicken soup flu and cold remedy. Among its ingredients are freshly chopped Cayenne peppers.

3. Seaside smelling: According to Best Health magazine, a Scottish cure for the flu is simple: smelling some sea air. “Not mountain air, not any kind of air. Has to be sea air,” Graeme Dunn, who grew up in Ayshire, told the magazine. “If I was congested, I’d be unblocked right away. Maybe it has something to do with the salt in the spray,” said Dunn. While Dunn may not be entirely wrong, the secret in sea air comes mostly from its high levels of oxygen. According to The Telegraph newspaper, inhaling sea air increases the levels of oxygen in the blood, which in turn improves respiration. One particularly therapeutic sea is Jordan’s celebrated Dead Sea. The high amounts of minerals in its atmosphere are said to get rid of mucous clogs in the lungs.

4. Sunshine: Speaking of the outdoors, sunshine is another vital tip for combating a flu. Irrelevant as it may sound, getting your daily required dosage of vitamin D can rid you of the virus much faster. Vitamin D, which is found mostly in the sun rays, is essential for the immune system. According to the Third International Conference on Vitamin D, 78 percent of UAE residents have vitamin D deficiency. Seeing as the Middle East is one of the sunniest regions in the world, getting a mere 10 minutes of sunshine a day is not a difficult task. It will greatly benefit your immune system, which means it will greatly increase your chances of becoming flu-free, fast.

5. Raspberry tea leaf: As for natural fluid remedies, another Russian ritual praises raspberry leaf tea. Russianfoods.com recommends boiling fresh raspberries and raspberry leaves with water and drinking it as tea. Raspberries are known for their high levels of vitamin C, which hypes up your energy levels and benefits your immune system. According to a study by the Cochrane Acute Respiratory Infections Group, patients receiving doses of vitamin C experienced regular declines in the duration and severity of their colds. An alternative option for boiling fresh raspberry leaves, is buying ready-made organic raspberry leaf tea, available at supermarkets like Waitrose or Co-op. A Russian tradition is to add a teaspoon of raspberry jam in the tea for natural added sweetness.

6. Ginger/lemon tea: In addition to the fruity tea, another mixture, ginger/lemon tea, is a favourite in Japan. Reiko Kuroda, a Japanese expat living in Boston, told Best Health magazine that grating ginger and slicing lemon into black or green tea will help clear a stuffed nose and cure a sore throat, common symptoms of the flu. Both ginger and lemon have anti-inflammatory qualities and antiseptics which sooth sore throats and irritated membranes. According to Livestrong magazine, ginger also acts as a cough suppressant. But most importantly, it stimulates perspiration, which cleanses the system and brings down the body temperature.

7. Garlic: In another part of the world, South Africa, garlic is the natural antibiotic for upper respiratory infections and illnesses, Nilanie Moodley Fletcher told Best Health. “She [my mother] would grind fresh garlic and add it to soups to create a cold tonic,” said Fletcher. Another unconventional cure for coughs is a spoonful of black pepper and honey. “It actually does work,” confirmed Fletcher.

8. Raw honey: Speaking of the sweet food, honey has been referred to as a healing nectar in many Greek, Roman and Islamic texts. According to Medical News Today, “The acidic pH of honey (between 2.3 and 4.5) is what helps prevent the growth of bacteria, while its antioxidant components also clean up free radicals.” However, when adding honey to a fluid, its best to add it in warm, rather than boiling, water, as it might lose its enzymatic powers. Ultimately, having a raw spoonful of honey with your tea is the best option for fighting a flu.

9. Sleep, sleep, sleep! If there is one tip that cannot be emphasised enough, it’s getting enough sleep. When suffering from a flu, most people feel tired and have low energy levels. So according to healthguidance.org, sleep is the answer. The publication explains that when you sleep, your body’s autonomous functions are at their all-time low, triggering your immune system to be at peak performance. However, many sufferers of the flu find that they cannot fall asleep due to the irritations they feel, such as a runny nose or a constant cough. So to help you sleep better, take a hot shower before going to sleep. The hot water and steam produced will help unclog your lungs and soothe your nervous system. Also, teas that help with sleep are lavender and camomile.

10. Did somebody say car heater? Seeing as the Middle East has a strong sun and high heat levels, car heaters don’t come in handy most of the year. Therefore, what better time to make use of your car heater than in winter, when you’re struck with the virus. No matter what beneficial foods and teas you acquire, keeping extra warm remains most important, and that includes keeping warm in your car. Though it may be a small gesture, the heater in your car can make all the difference.

In conclusion, we live in an age where medicine is available at our finger tips, which can be a good or bad thing. When it comes to common illnesses such as the flu, many a people turn to over the counter anti-biotics. But if you can cure your flu faster and in a natural way, medicine-free, then why not give it a try?

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