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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014
Mind body soul: herbs to beat the flu
Shikha Sharma, Hindustan Times
July 27, 2013
First Published: 14:03 IST(27/7/2013)
Last Updated: 18:49 IST(27/7/2013)

This monsoon, it’s raining bacterial and viral infections. Such ailments are tricky to cure because standard antibiotics fail to treat them. So what do you do if you catch a cold or come down with viral fever? One of the remedies is to be patient and let your body’s defense system destroy the virus. However, the best course of treatment is to use herbs to shorten the course of the illness.

HerbsThe early symptoms of viral infections are mild to high fever, sore throat, headache, body ache and fatigue. Include the following herbs in your diet and fight the monsoon’s viruses.

Guduchi
This herb is an excellent adaptogen and is very effective in treating viral fever. It boosts the immune system and prepares the body to tackle viral infections. Interestingly, the herb manages to grow leaves without any contact with soil or water.

Eucalyptus and Peppermint oils
Aromatherapy is another way to reduce viral infections directly in the affected area. Most nasal inhalers contain these essential oils. Eucalyptus and peppermint control nasal inflammation and swelling in the sinus tracts and throat. Peppermint helps settle an upset stomach.

Rosemary reduces congestion, particularly in the sinuses. Mullein and horehound tend to clear up the lungs, so you can breathe better. Anise works on the central neuronal pathways and decreases cough. Natural herbal aspirins such as willow bark reduce fever and body ache.

Ginger and tulsi decoction
GingerTake five tulsi leaves and add crushed ginger to it. Boil it in water till the water reduces to half. This decoction is an effective way of
reducing body ache and soothing a sore throat.

Echinacea
It is one of the most popular immunity-enhancing herbs. Several studies show that people who take echinacea come down with fever less often than others. The herb acts on most viral symptoms like weakness, chills, sweating, sore throat, muscle and joint pain, and headaches. Echinacea also reduces the frequency of cough and cold throughout the year. The herb works by strengthening your cell’s protective membrane, making it less vulnerable to viral attacks and become more resistant to infection.

Licorice (Mulethi)
Take licorice with ginger to improve your overall immunity. Studies show that licorice slows down viral replication by increasing the production of killer immune cells (white blood cells) that attack viruses.

From HT Brunch, July 28

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