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The Flu --- Symptoms and Top 10

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Last updated October 21? 2017, originally published January 30, 2012

By Alison Turner, Contributing Columnist

6. Elder Blackberries.  

Black elderberries (Sambucus nigra L.) grow on perennial
shrubs and ripen from late July until September in the
United States.  At least 50 species of birds and small
mammals eat American elder fruit, and they are also used
for pies, jellies and wine  – and, as suggested by recent
research, as flu medicine.  

In 2011 a team of scholars from various German
institutions, including Dr. Stephen Pleschka with the
Institute for Medical Virology in Giessen,  studied black
elderberries and their “antimicrobial and antiviral activity”
against various strains of the flu virus.  The study
concluded that the standardized extract of black elderberry,
Rubini, is “active against human pathogenic bacteria as well
as influenza viruses.”  

It can feed the birds, it can bring delight from a pie, and
now we know the black elderberry can ease one of the
world’s most persistent viruses: behold the power of fruit!

Korean red ginseng.  

The extract from Korean red ginseng is derived from
heating and steaming ginseng roots.  Researchers Jin
Young Kim, Hyoung Jin Kim, and Hong-Jin Kim with the
College of Pharmacy at Chung-Ang University in Seoul,
Korea, studied in 2011  Korean red ginseng extract’s
influence against influenza in mice.  The extract was applied
orally to mice infected with influenza, and resulted in
“ameliorated body weight loss and significantly increased
survival” in those mice.


While this may at first sound like a species of alien,
andrographolide is actually an extract from the leaves of
the plant Andrographis paniculat, an annual plant with
partially purple flowers that originally flourishes in South-
East Asia, China and India.   

In 2009, several experts from various Universities in China,
including Wen-Cai Ye with the College of Pharmacy at Jinan
University,  analyzed a derivative of andrographolide’s
effect on humans and animals infected with influenza.    

Results from the study showed that mice infected with
avian influenza showed a smaller death rate after oral
andrographolide treatment, and that it inhibited viral
binding in in vitro human influenza.  The authors of the
study conclude that andrographolide derivatives are a
“possible therapy for influenza.”  

Brazilian Propolis.

Propolis is produced form hives and is mostly beeswax.  It
has been traditionally used as an antiseptic and to heal

Earlier this year, in 2012, a group of researchers from
several Japanese universities and institutions, including
Kazu Kuwata with the United Graduate School of Drug
Discovery and Medical Information and the Center for
Emerging Infectious Disease, both with Gifu University,   
analyzed how the chemical components from Brazilian
green propolis water extract may act against influenza.  

The extract was orally administered to mice that were
inoculated with a strain of flu virus, and these mice
survived for an amount of time that was “significantly
extended,” compared to mice who were not treated with
Brazilian green propolis.  The study concludes that Brazilian
green propolis “possesses a novel and unique mechanism
of anti-influenza viral activity.”  

The Asiatic dayflower.  

The Asiatic dayflower (Commelina communis L.) is a blue
flower found in several areas of the United States.  In
2009, F.H. Bing with the Hubei College of Traditional
Chinese Medicine in Wuhan and J. Liu with the State Key
Laboratory of Virology at Wuhan University, China, led a
team of researchers in the investigation of Asiatic
dayflower’s antiviral activity.   

They found that Commelina communis L. “exhibited an
inhibitory action on the growth of influenza virus” in canine
kidney cells with the influenza virus, and that when orally
administered to infected mice, survival rate was
“significantly increased.”  The results of this study suggest
that the Asiatic dayflower “has a pronounced protective
effect against infection by influenza A virus.”


In January of 2000, an editorial opinion by Dr. T. Abdullah
entitled "A Strategic Call to Use Garlic-Echinacea in the Flu-
Cold Seasons" was published in the Journal of the National
Medical Association. The report cited strong anecdotal
evidence from health care workers who were somehow
resistant to flu, reporting few or no cases of infection
despite having constant with flu patients. As the report
noted: "many who had worked with cold-flu patients
through several seasons gave impressive accounts that
they had never had an acute upper respiratory tract

These health care workers reported that they routinely
chewed a clove of garlic during flu season to ward off flu
or they chewed two cloves to get rid or the flu.
Alternatively or in addition to chewing garlic, some also had
a cup of echinacea tea with honey once a day.

Perhaps importantly, these health care workers also
reported that they refrained from smoking or alcohol, as
these seemed to suppress their immune systems during flu


The active ingredient in garlic, allicin, is not released unless
the cloves are crushed. The chewing of garlic would crush
the cloves and release the allicin. In contrast, swallowing
the clove or large pieces of the clove without crushing
would probably have little effect. As an alternative to
chewing the garlic, you might try crushing it with a pest
and mortal, mixing in spices such as peppers, adding
tomato paste and using the resulting spread in your soups
or on meats.]

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Researchers have found that the
Asiatic day flower can fight influenza.
Black elderberries have antiviral
properties that fight the flu.