Flu season is upon us. As if we have not had our fill of viruses with the COVID-19, we must not disregard the risks posed by the common flu that comes around each year. It is a viral infection that could be deadly. It attacks the nose, throat and lungs, and people with weakened immune systems are more vulnerable. They are young children, pregnant women, older adults and those with chronic diseases.
Flu season: Pharmacy vs garden
There is no shortage of over the counter flu medicines available from pharmacies. We are bombarded with advertisements as the different pharmaceutical companies fight for the biggest slice of the pie. We forget that Mother Nature provides an abundance of natural remedies, medicines, overall nutrition and even superfoods. Each one of us can grow our own natural medication. Importantly, prevention is better than cure, and now is the best time to get that garden going.
Nature is your secret weapon this flu season
Building your body’s natural defenses against bacteria and viruses is your secret weapon. Add more fruit and veggies to your diet, and don’t forget to add herbs. Let’s look at how you can have a home-grown, fully stocked first aid kit to protect your family.
Blueberries — perfect virus-fighting bombs for the flu season
Who wants to take commercially produced medicines if they can have healthy, delicious blueberries. They are excellent sources of antioxidants and flavonoids that act as antioxidant agents. They protect against toxins and stressors and reduce the risk of contracting upper respiratory system infections. The magic is in the quercetin, a flavonoid typically in red and dark blue fruits. It has antiviral properties that prevent inflammation.
They are perfect little bombs for fighting viruses. Pop them into smoothies and give them to the kids as snacks. If you want to save the price they cost in the store, grow your own. They grow in rich soil in pots or beds. They love the sun and hate the wind..
Garlic — a cure-all whether you like it or not
I’m not too fond of the smell of garlic, but those who know say garlic is a champion veggie that cures almost anything. Garlic is part of the onion family. Its magical properties that relieve flu and cold symptoms include antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial. Furthermore, garlic is packed with Vitamin B6 and Vitamin C, which are necessary for recuperation. They are also valuable when you are nursing flu or a cold.
Planting them is as simple as popping them in the soil in a sunny, well-drained spot in the garden — about 2 inches apart.
Don’t tackle the flu season without lemons
Suppose you’re lucky enough to have a lemon tree in your garden. In that case, you’ll know the pleasure of tending to the source of a powerful natural medicine. Lemons have twice as much Vitamin C than oranges, and they are loaded with potassium. Our grannies knew what they were doing when they suggested drinking hot or cold lemon water. They don’t only strengthen our immune systems but also promote iron absorption. Moreover, lemons contain potent flavonoids, antioxidants that improve blood circulation. Most importantly, lemons lower stroke risks.
Sweet potatoes are packed with goodness
Did you know of all the goodness packed in sweet potatoes? These super starchy veggies are packed with minerals, vitamins and fiber, rich in antioxidants, beta carotene, and Vitamin A. Besides, sweet potatoes support eyes, teeth and a healthy heart. The orange variety of sweet potatoes aid mucous membranes and help you maintain a healthy gut.
If you want to grow sweet potatoes, you need a bit of patience. They’re not fussy about soil types, but they love home-made compost. Plant them in a sunny spot, and water them daily. A bonus is that they are delicious and versatile enough to use in sweet and savory dishes.
Ginger is an ancient flu season remedy
This remedy for colds and flu has been used worldwide for centuries. Ginger is a spice that is hearty, healthy and full of nutrients. It has bioactive compounds for healthy bodies and also healthy brains. Furthermore, ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that alleviate muscle soreness and pain.
Coupled with all these properties, you can use ginger to treat motion sickness and nausea. Additionally, it provides digestive system support and contains gingerol, which is an active nutrient. Gingerol also lowers infection risks because it inhibits oral bacteria’s growth and treats cold sores, gingivitis, and bleeding gums. So, while ginger protects the lungs and respiratory system in the flu season, it is a valuable natural medicine throughout the year.
Red bell peppers a go-to natural medicine
Red bell peppers are also valuable remedies throughout all seasons. They have antioxidants, Vitamins K, C and A to boost the immune system. Also, they prevent cell damage, strengthen bones and promote blood clotting. Red bell peppers prevent oxidative damage to cells and have several cancer-fighting properties. They are particularly useful in fighting bladder, prostate, lungs, pancreas and cervix cancer.
If you want to plant red bell peppers in your garden, they will bear fruit in 10 to 11 weeks. However, they need soil with added compost, manure or fertilizer, and they do best in soil loosened deeply.
The bottom line is that while these natural remedies are ideal for prevention and treatment during the flu season, most of them will be valuable in your medicine chest throughout the year.