With flu season (November to March) quickly approaching, it is important to remember some of the natural ways to boost your immune system. According to Dr. Reginald Cherry, taking herbs such as echinacea will not only help your body fight off viral infections, they can also lessen symptoms, and can even protect you from coming down with the flu in the first place. He says many people take echinacea daily during flu season as a preventative measure.
"Echinacea works by stimulating the immune system," says Cherry in his book Bible Health Secrets (Siloam, 2003), "but it should not be taken on a daily basis for an extended period of time because tolerance can develop and cause it not to work as effectively." His advice is to take the herb for four to eight weeks, and then discontinue use for at least two weeks.
If you do come down with the flu, there's nothing like a bowl of chicken soup, says Cherry, who also recommends the use of garlic to fight off viruses and bacteria. He suggests taking the equivalent of one clove of garlic per day in capsule form and to be sure to get enough fluids, especially if you develop a fever.
KARA DAVIS, M.D., is a doctor of internal medicine and a former assistant professor of medicine at the University of Illinois. She is also the author of Spiritual Secrets to Weight Loss (Charisma House).