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Flu season is steadily approaching us but, as we enter the season, it’s wise to start preparing early. Whilst you can get flu shots from your local GP – if you’re over 65, there are also various remedies you can take to protect yourself from even getting the flu in the first place.

Home remedies can be varied, and quite often it’s hard to know what works. So we’ve compiled four of our favourite home remedies that are known to keep the flu at bay.

Jewish Penicillin

jewish penicillinJewish Penicillin is a type of deliciously nourishing chicken soup that is traditionally served with matzo balls (but bread works fine too.)

While chicken soup for the soul might be something that your grandma suggests, research from the medical research journal Chest found that chicken soup slows neutrophil movement in the body. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that helps protect against infection. By slowing down the movement of neutrophils, you’re helping them stay in a high concentration in areas of the body that need healing.

Fancy cooking some to stave off that unwanted cold? We love Jamie Oliver’s Jewish Pencillin recipe – which you can find here

Honey Lemon Ginger Jar

honey-jarThis drink is, as the name might suggest, a fantastic combination of honey, lemon and ginger – and works as a fantastic preventative measure.

Ginger, which is the main medicinal ingredient in the drink, has been touted as a health remedy for centuries. However, it was only recently that the British Journal of Anesthesia discovered actual, scientific evidence to back up this claim. They discovered that just 1 gram of root ginger can “alleviate clinical nausea of diverse causes.”

However, ginger is not the only medicinal ingredient. Honey is also widely known to have antimicrobial properties and, in the event that a cold gives you a sore throat, honey will sooth that sore throat pain – as well as suppress that cough. The medical journal Pediatrics revealed that 10 grams of honey, administered just before bed, was enough to reduce the severity of cough symptoms in children.

Finally, the lemon also contributes towards helping you feel better – making this drink a true triple threat to that cold. The average lemon contains around 53 milligrams of vitamin C. Vitamin C plays an incredibly important part in helping your body stay healthy. The Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism published a review showing that getting enough vitamin C can help relieve upper respiratory tract infections, as well as other illnesses.

All sold on the health benefits of honey, lemon and ginger? Why not try out this recipe from My Fussy Eater. She recommends having a batch mixture in the fridge which you can slowly sip every day in the winter, keeping you cold and flu free.

Elderberry syrup with Echinacea and Goldenseal

elderberryThis sounds like an unusual combo – but it’s not the most peculiar remedy on our list! This elderberry syrup also includes Echinacea, Goldenseal and ginger, and is one of the easiest things you can make for your own health. It also tastes great too!

The main component of the syrup – delicious elderberry – has been used in folk medicine for centuries to treat colds, and was believed to have antiviral activity. In 2004, this idea was backed by research, as elderberry was found to be effective in the treatment of influenza in a study published in The Journal of International Medical Research.

Echinacea has been used by Native Americans for more than 400 years to treat infections. It has many active ingredients that have therapeutic effects on the body, and are known to boost the immune system and reduce inflammation. Although further research on the herb has been mixed. One study in the Lancet suggested that taking Echinacea could lower your risk of developing a cold by more than 50 percent.

Extracts of Goldenseal were also found to be effective against colds in a study published in 2011 in the International Immunopharmacology Journal.

If you fancy creating some syrup of your own, we’d suggest using this recipe from Grow Forage Cook Ferment. It’s excellent drizzled over pancakes.

Honey-infused Garlic

honey-garlicFancy something a bit more peculiar to really shift that cold? Why not try honey-infused garlic? It’s exactly what it says on the tin.

But why do it? Well, we know the benefits of honey; it has antimicrobial properties, soothes your throat and reduces the severity of coughs, but garlic has some amazing health benefits too.

Garlic is known to contain a compound called allicin, which has antimicrobial properties. Including a garlic supplement (or, in this case, eating raw garlic) is thought to reduce the severity of cold symptoms and may even help you avoid becoming sick in the first place.

Research published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews showed that participants who took a garlic supplement reported less cases of the common cold than those who didn’t.

If you fancy trying out this unusual remedy, we suggest following this recipe from Don’t Waste The Crumbs. Just make sure you peel the garlic first!

So there you have it, four science-backed home remedies that keep the flu at bay. If you’ve tried any of these out, don’t forget to let us know how it went in the comments below.