Flu season is here and it seems that it’s going to be a rough one. Luckily, there are many ways to fight off the flu naturally, and I’d like to share some of my favourites with you.
Black elderberry, or sambucus nigra, has been used in traditional cultures to boost the immune system for centuries. It’s typically found in North America and in Europe and contains a slew of immune boosting and antiviral properties.
Science is finally catching up to this ancient cure, whose potency has been observed in several recent studies. One particularly exciting observation: a 2004 study found that people who had flu-like symptoms and used elderberry syrup instead of a placebo syrup experienced 4 fewer days of symptoms.
Flu-fighting Elderberry Syrup
In a large pot, combine:
* 1 cup dried black elderberries
* 4.5 cups of filtered water
* 2 tablespoons of fresh ginger
* 1 tsp of clove
* 2 cinnamon sticks!
* Bring to a boil and then simmer until liquid is reduced by half.
* Add honey to taste (between ½ cup to 1 cup) to remaining liquid.
* Store in a glass jar and refrigerate.
* Adults: take 1-2 tablespoons every 3-4 hours
* Children (older than 2): take 1 teaspoon every 3-4 hours
Ayurvedic Cold and Flu Brew
Another beauty is one passed onto me from a friend of a friend of a friend!!! You know how it goes.
This one is an Ayurvedic recipe and is really effective for fighting off colds and flus over the cooler months. At the first sign of a cold, make up the brew and drink at least three cups daily. Fantastic for the entire family!
2 Lemons sliced thickly
10 Cardamon Pods
3 Cinnamon Sticks
3cm Piece of Ginger – sliced
Pinch of sea salt
1 Litre water
Honey to taste
Place all ingredients, apart from honey, in a stainless steel saucepan. Simmer for at least 10 minutes. Strain into a mug and add honey to taste.
Healing Chicken Soup
The other great remedy when you are sick and need to rest up at home is to make yourself a delicious and nutritious chicken soup. This one is from Quirky Cooking and is full of fresh herbs, turmeric (anti inflammatory), collegen (for gut health), ghee (fat soluble vitamins), egg yolks (omega 3’s, vitamins) and seaweed (for iodine and minerals).
* 1 whole chicken or 1-2kg chicken drumsticks (organic, free range)
* filtered water
* 3-4 cloves garlic
* 1-2 long red chillis, deseeded
* 5cm piece of turmeric, peeled
* 2-3cm piece of ginger, peeled
* large handful Italian parsley or cilantro
* 1 head cauliflower (approx 800g), cut into florets
* 2 Tbsp ghee or chicken fat
* 2 Tbsp collagen (opt)
* 2 egg yolks (opt)
* 1 large onion, chopped
* 1-2 stalks celery, finely sliced
* 1 leek, tough outer green leaves removed, finely sliced (wash carefully)
* 3-4 large carrots, sliced
* 2 cups pumpkin, cut into 2-3cm cubes
* 1 large turnip, cut into 2cm cubes
* 2 larges potatoes, cut into 2cm cubes (omit for GAPS diet)
* 2-3 sprigs fresh sage, leaves only, chopped
* 2-3 sprigs thyme, leaves only, chopped
* 1 sprig rosemary, leaves only, chopped
* 1-2 tsp dulse flakes or dried kelp (opt)
* 2 large mushrooms (portabello), sliced
* 3-4 large button squash, finely sliced
* 1 head broccoli, cut into florets, stalks peeled and thinly sliced
* 1 small bunch leafy greens (kale, bok choy, spinach, etc), finely sliced
* sea salt, to taste (approx 3-4 tsp)
* black pepper, to taste
* a pinch of cayenne pepper (opt)
- Place the chicken into a large stock pot (6-8 litres), or divide between two 4 litre pots. Pour in filtered water up to about 5cm from top of pot. Place the lid on and bring to a boil, scoop off any scum, then reduce heat and simmer (lid on) for 1 1/2 – 2 hours or until chicken is soft. (Don’t overcook or chicken will be tough.)
- Towards end of cooking time, begin preparing other ingredients. Chop finely in a food processor garlic, chilli, turmeric, ginger and parsley. Remove to a small bowl and set aside. Begin chopping vegetables and herbs.
- Place cauliflower florets into saucepan, add 200g of the chicken broth from the pot and the ghee or duck fat. Cook 20 mins. Add egg yolks and collagen (if using) and blend with a stick blender. Set aside.
- When chicken is finished cooking, remove with a slotted spoon and place into a dish to keep warm.
- Add onion, celery, leek, carrots, pumpkin, turnip, potatoes (if using), sage, thyme, rosemary and dulse flakes/kelp to the broth. Continue to simmer with lid on for 15 mins.
- Add mushrooms, squash, broccoli and leafy greens. Continue to simmer with lid on until all the vegetables are soft.
- Add in the mash and the reserved chopped herbs, chilli, garlic, ginger and turmeric. (If you don’t want the soup too thick, only add half the mash.) Turn off the heat, and stir through gently until combined.
- Season to taste with salt, pepper and cayenne pepper (if using).
- If using drumsticks, remove meat from bone and flake into soup in large pieces. Or if using a whole chicken, cut into pieces and add to soup. Stir through gently so chicken and veggies don’t break up too much. Adjust seasonings if needed.
- Serve hot.
Nicole Haak is an experienced Melbourne Naturopath whose gentle approach and warm nature enable her to be an empathetic and supportive practitioner who takes a genuine interest in her clients’ needs. She has a deep passion for what she does. This is evident by her holistic approach to helping her patients find solutions to their health concerns and improve their quality of life.