3 complementary natural remedies for the flu

Dr. Jennifer Ashton breaks down some well-researched natural flu relief options.

In addition, peer-reviewed, evidence-based data currently does not recommend any complementary natural remedies as a first line protection against, or as a treatment for, the flu, according to Ashton. Ashton also said it is important to note that natural does not always mean safe when it comes to medical treatments.

1. Oil of oregano

Oregano oil, also known as P73, has been shown in small lab studies to have antiviral, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

To use oil of oregano, simply drop three to 20 drops of it into a glass of water four times a day, swish the concoction around in your mouth, and then swallow.

2. Olive leaf capsules

In a 2010 study published in the medical journal Scientia Pharmaceutica, this extract was described as having antiviral properties to the respiratory viruses R.S.V. and parainfluenza, although it has not yet been proven to be effective against influenza.

Studies about its effect on treating influenza, however, are currently being conducted, mainly looking at olive leaf's major ingredient, oleuropein.

3. Black elderberry extract

Black elderberry extract, which is available in tea, liquid and capsule form, is thought to work by blocking the flu proteins called hemagglutinin, according to Ashton.