Natural remedy to combat Swine Flu

Elderberry (Sambucus nigra), an herb with anti-viral properties, is being increasingly considered as a natural-defense against the H1N1 Swine Flu. Researchers believe that this antioxidant-rich herb can reduce the duration and severity of the flu.

One such popular preparation of Elderberry is Sambucol, the syrup available in most health-food stores, which has also been tested in several studies. The treatment may help in easing symptoms of flu such as muscle aches and chills, although typical Swine Flu signs also include lethargy, fever, lack of appetite, cough, nausea and sore throat.

The compounds in Elderberry bind with viruses before penetrating into the walls of cells. This prevents the spreading of viruses. Flavanoids in the black Elderberry extract is the active component against the influenza virus. Elderberry is non-toxic and hence can be used for children too, and is available in syrup, capsules or tincture form in any health food store.

A study on flu patients who were administered Sambucol, showed that the patients were completely symptom-free in two days, while those on placebo took almost a week for recovery. This study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine, was performed during an Influenza B outbreak, and hence the result was yet to be proven on Influenza A.

In another study published in the International Journal of Medical Research, about 90 percent of the participants with Influenza A, revealed that patients who received Sambucol recovered in an average of 3.1days, compared to 7.1 days in the placebo group.

Although, studies are yet to confirm if Elderberry can actually prevent the flu infection, it can be used as a natural flu remedy, in the wake of recent Swine Flu outbreak. Also, the fact that it is safe for both adults and children, with no known side effects, makes it a good natural remedy.