The key to effective prevention and treatment of the flu is preparation. Choose which remedies you want to use and then make sure you have them on hand for the duration of flu season.
You do not necessarily need to use all the remedies in this guide, although in cases of acute infection I do recommend using as many strategies as you have available to you to increase your odds of reducing the duration and severity of the infection.
In addition to lifestyle modifications to build resilience (sleep, diet, stress-reduction, moderate exercise, etc.), as well as common-sense avoidance practices, the following supplements may be used for prevention and/or treatment of influenza.
Elderberry syrup: At the onset of symptoms, take 1 tablespoon of syrup 4 times per day (children take half to two-thirds this dose). Use elderberry with verified high-flavonoid content such as Sambucol® (original) or Gaia Black Elderberry Syrup.
Allimax: For prevention, take 1 capsule (180 mg) per day with or without food. If symptoms of infection appear you may take 10 capsules at once.
Ginger tea: Use fresh ginger root only (dried will not work). Pour 3 to 4 ounces of the juice into a mug, and add one-quarter of a squeezed lime, a large tablespoon of honey, one-eighth teaspoon of cayenne, and 6 ounces of hot water. Stir well. Drink 2 to 6 cups daily.
Herbal tinctures: Top antiviral herbs for influenza would include tinctures of: Chinese skullcap, isatis, licorice, houttuynia, and lomatium. Optional (but recommended) supportive herbs to add to this would include red root, yerba santa, elephant tree, osha, and inmortal. Combine equal parts of each tincture into a single formula. For moderate influenza take one-half teaspoon every hour. For severe influenza, take 1-2 teaspoons every hour.
Homeopathy and homeoprophylaxis: For prevention, take 1 tablet of Muco Coccinum once per week dissolved under the tongue. Children take half this dose. If using to treat influenza, take one dose every two to three hours. Alternatively, the influenza-specific Banerji Protocol treatment consists of: Rhus Toxicodendron 30C and Bryonia Alba 30C; alternate one dose of each medicine every two hours. Use Belladonna 3C in liquid once every hour as needed for high temperatures, and Arsenicum Album 3C in liquid every 30 minutes if there is nausea and/or vomiting.
Vitamin D: Calculate your most likely ideal dosage and take whatever amount is needed to produce serum levels between 40-65 ng/ml. This is usually at least 5,000 IU for adults. Test levels after three months of supplementation and then adjust accordingly. Vitamin D should be taken in the D3 form (not D2) as an oil-based preparation (softgels or oil-based drops) every day with a meal containing fat. Infrequent dosing does not exert significant antiviral effects. Taking Vitamin K2 with Vitamin D is recommended.
Vitamin C: At the onset of symptoms, take 1 gram (1,000 mg) once every hour for at least six hours and then three more doses over the course of the rest of the day. Repeat each day while sick but reduce the dose if loose stools occur. If you can take more then take more. Take a dose every wakeful hour if tolerated. For optimal results and to reduce the chance of gastrointestinal side effects, use liposomal Vitamin C (Quicksilver Scientific). Even if you don’t do hourly dosing, almost every person with the flu should take at least 3 grams of Vitamin C per day (in divided doses) for prevention of pneumonia as a secondary complication of the flu.
Colostrum: For prevention, take one-half to 1 teaspoon every morning apart from meals. Blend in plain water or with ice, berries, and stevia. Do not take at the same time as other proteins. If using Viralox (proline-rich-polypeptide concentrate from colostrum), use three sprays twice daily for prevention or three sprays four times daily at the onset of symptoms (there is no additional benefit to dosing more frequently than every four hours).
Vitamins/Minerals/Antioxidants: Use a multivitamin and mineral supplement to ensure adequate nutrient support, especially zinc and selenium. Multivitamin and mineral supplementation is particularly important for diabetics and the elderly. N-acetylcysteine (NAC) dramatically reduces influenza symptoms and may be used in doses of 600 mg two to three times per day up to 1,200 mg two to three times per day.
Humic Acid: For prevention, take one capsule twice daily. At the onset of symptoms, take two capsules every four hours.
Umcka: Take 1.5 ml (there are graduated markings on the dropper) three times per day at the first suspicion of sickness.
Lauricidin®: Take one scoop (3 grams) three times daily with food (if possible) at the onset of influenza symptoms. For prevention, use one-half to 1 scoop twice daily. Swallow with cool water and do not chew the pellets.
Where to purchase supplements (and a caution about supplement quality)
I recommend stocking up on the supplements you want to use before you actually need them (once viruses replicate past a certain point they are very difficult to stop, so time is of the essence). While some supplements (e.g., Sambucol®) can often be found locally and legitimately at health food stores or even grocery/drug stores, others need to be ordered.
I strongly advise against ordering supplements through third-party websites such as Amazon, eBay, etc., unless you are sure that it is the manufacturer that is selling directly through an Amazon store. Counterfeit supplements are common, and quality is not guaranteed or easily discerned. Outright fraud, breaches of contract, and gross inconsistencies have been documented by myself and other practitioners. I’ve seen this firsthand several times from clients who have ordered from Amazon and received what was obviously the wrong product (e.g., one time something came in tablets that is actually only manufactured in capsules). Others have gotten bottles that were opened, partially empty, or even completely empty in one case. In most cases, however, you would never know the difference by appearance.
Professional brands are usually not allowed to be sold on third-party sites, yet this happens frequently due to contract violations or through the production of counterfeit products. Labels, barcodes, size, texture, color, taste, etc., can all be immaculately reproduced by a good counterfeiter.
For example, the manufacturer of Lauricidin® states: “We do not permit the sale of Lauricidin® or Epi-Shield® on Amazon, eBay, and other third party marketplaces.” And “Violations of these terms may lead to a permanent suspension of the supplier’s account.” Yet, we can easily find what appears to be Lauricidin® on Amazon. The seller name is even listed as the brand name “Lauricidin”—a very sneaky tactic to feign authenticity. It might be what it says, but there is no guarantee, and even if it’s real the seller is breaking contract and selling it illegitimately and under false pretenses.
One can also find other products, such as the Allergy Research Group Humic Acid supplement, on Amazon and in blatant violation of ARG’s policies.
Some professional manufacturers have gone to great lengths to prevent pirated and/or counterfeit sales and to maintain product authenticity and traceability. Sophisticated forms of 2D (matrix) barcodes have been developed, but even this hasn’t stopped counterfeiters, who often employ very clever countermeasures.
In the supplement industry label claims frequently fall short of reality. Even big-name stores (e.g., Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and even GNC) frequently carry supplements that either contain no active ingredients, or worse, contain harmful ingredients.
In my practice, I supply supplements to my clients by 1) ordering on their behalf through a verified professional dispensary or from the manufacturer, or 2) allow them to set up a personal account with one of my dispensaries so they can make their own orders and have access to otherwise-restricted professional brands. Some manufacturers (e.g., Sovereign Laboratories and Lauricidin, mentioned above) also have professional portals where orders can be made from the manufacturer through a practitioner’s account.
Professional supplement dispensaries acquire their inventory directly from the manufacturers and employ stringent quality-control practices. Every single brand is cGMP compliant and usually far exceeds pharmaceutical quality standards.
If you would like to order any of the supplements discussed in this guide, please do so from your trusted practitioner.
Dr. David Rostollan is a Samaritan Ministries member and naturopathic physician. He runs Health for Life naturopathic practice in Butler, Missouri, and blogs at reforminghealth.com/blog and functionalnaturopathy.wordpress.com. This article is an excerpt from the blog post "Influenza: The Complete Survivor’s Guide."
This article is for educational purposes and is not meant as medical advice.