16/04/2018 14:14 SAST | Updated 16/04/2018 14:14 SAST

5 Natural Remedies For The Flu This Winter

"Going natural is always first prize"

PeopleImages via Getty Images

With winter slowly approaching, so are unwanted sniffs and sneezes that come with colds and flus. The great news is you can nip them in the bud naturally, while boosting your immune system in the process.

"Going natural is always first prize ... What's great is that the natural options are endless and they can also be used long-term with no side effects," said Cape Kingdom Nutraceuticals' researcher, professor Patrick Bouic.

He has shared a few easy tips to treat winter niggles naturally, using mainly kitchen contents.

1. Garlic:

Well-known for its exceptional health properties, garlic should be everyone's "go-to". And since it contains the immune-stimulating compound allicin that helps the white blood cells destroy cold and flu viruses, it's a highly recommended immune-system booster. Garlic is also said to stimulate other immune cells, which fight viral, fungal and bacterial infections.

2. Vitamin C

While it's not the cure for a common cold, Vitamin C offers protection against immune system deficiencies, eye disease and skin wrinkling, and improves prenatal health. This winter season, opt for an orange (or two), some pineapple, mango and strawberries – and you'll be pleasantly surprised at the positive effects on your immune system.

3. Buchu

This herb is indigenous to South Africa and is well-known for its incredible health properties. Consider stocking your pantry with some buchu leaves to make those healing tea infusions in the lead-up to winter. Available in a range of blends including Buchu and Ginger, Buchu and Cinnamon, Buchu and Green Rooibos and Buchu Natural, this warm drink makes the perfect tea tonic.

4. Honey

Honey has a strong antioxidant and antibacterial capacity. It can inhibit the growth of microbes that can cause infection, and it may also contain antiviral properties that could inhibit viral activity from colds. In addition, a growing number of studies have found honey to be an effective cough suppressant and sleep aid during a cold, especially in children.

5. Chicken soup

According to the American Journal of Therapeutics the soup works because it contains carnosine — a compound with antioxidant-like properties that fight flu. The soup also works because it raises the temperature in the patient's nose and throat, making it an inhospitable breeding ground for cold and flu-causing viruses.

Do not forget to remain hydrated, get enough rest and keep warm while trying the above remedies, and remember they aren't guaranteed cures.