Natural Remedies

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Flu

| Modified: Nov 22, 2020
Add New Post
Natural Remedies for Flu

The flu, or more formally, influenza, is a virus causing a variety of miserable symptoms. While tincture of time and some symptom suppressing over the counter medications usually seems the only option, there are a number of wonderful natural remedies that relieve flu symptoms AND shorten the duration of the flu.

Flu symptoms include sore throat, cough, runny nose, sinus congestion, body aches, chills, headache, swollen lymph nodes, malaise and fever. Home remedies like apple cider vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and cayenne pepper can alleviate multiple symptoms as well as bring healing.

"The Flu" Versus "The Stomach Flu"

The flu and the stomach flu are both caused by a virus and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But "the flu" is a nickname for "influenza," and "the stomach flu" is a nickname for "gastroenteritis." In the world of natural remedies, some of the useful treatments will overlap. But the diseases are not the same and neither are the symptoms. The stomach flu is usually shorter lived than influenza. Sometimes vomiting and diarrhea (typical of the stomach flu) do come along with influenza. For specific stomach flu remedies, see this page.

1. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a wonderful flu remedy. Add 2 tablespoons to a glass of water and drink this tonic several times a day. The apple cider vinegar helps to alkalize the body, relieving many flu symptoms all at once. It is commonly taken for fever, headache, swollen lymph nodes, cough and congestion. Often when you have the flu, a hot drink is especially comforting. Apple cider vinegar can be added to hot apple cider, green tea or any other herbal tea. Sweeten with honey. Honey also exhibits antiviral activity and is useful in healing if used in moderation.

2. Hydrogen Peroxide

Watch Earth Clinic's video on 3 ways to use peroxide to prevent the flu.

Hydrogen Peroxide in the Ears

Hydrogen peroxide kills germs in the ears. Adding a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide to each ear and letting it fizz for a few minutes will help to clean your ears of germs and even wax. Hydrogen peroxide in the ears will also help  reduce the risk of a secondary ear infection from the flu virus.

Hydrogen Peroxide in the Lungs (Inhalation Therapy)

Oftentimes the cough associated with the flu is especially debilitating.  It can keep you awake at night and is usually the last symptom to resolve. Hydrogen peroxide is added to am empty nasal sprayer. The nasal sprayer is aimed at the back of the throat, sprayed and inhaled. This gets the hydrogen peroxide into the lungs to kill germs and bring extra oxygen where it is needed. You will find more details about this method on this page.

Hydrogen Peroxide in the Sinuses

Sinus congestion associated with the flu can make a headache worse and put you at risk for a secondary infection in the sinuses. Using a neti pot with hydrogen peroxide, water and sea salt will clear out the sinuses and kill germs in them.

  • 6 ounces distilled or boiled and cooled water 
  • 1/2 teaspoon hydrogen peroxide
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • Mix these three ingredients together and add them to your neti pot. Flush out your sinuses two or three times day. If you do not have a neti pot, you can snuff the mixture up into your sinuses from your palm. It will not be quite as effective but will bring some relief anyway.

3. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne pepper powder from your kitchen is a powerful medicine. It can be added to soups or teas. It can be added to warm water and gargled for a sore throat. (1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to 1/4 cup of water.)

4. Garlic

Taking raw garlic four times a day is a way to get an all natural antiviral into your body regularly. You can crush your garlic and spread it on toast with honey or coconut oil or add it to your soup.

5. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint essential oil is useful for a variety of flu symptoms.

For swollen lymph nodes, add 5 drops of peppermint essential oil to 2 teaspoons of castor oil or coconut oil. Massage into swollen lymph nodes several times a day.

Massaging 1 drop of straight peppermint essential oils into the soles of the feet can help cool the body and redue fever. This can be repeated every couple of hours.

Massaging one drop of peppermint essential oil into the back of the neck can help with a headache. It can also be massaged into the temples, but take care not to get the oil too close to the eyes. Sensitive people will want to mix the peppermint essential oil with olive or almond oil before applying to the temples.

For nausea and cough associated with the flu, place one drop of peppermint essential oil onto a cotton ball and place this near your face. You will breath in the peppermint fumes.

6. Coconut Oil

This superfood is famous for its nutrition but it also is a strong antiviral. Organic coconut oil can be taken raw or in foods several times a day for its antiviral properties. We recommend fair trade organic coconut oil if you can find it.

7. Healing Baths

A warm bath with one of the following can sooth your aching body.

  • 1 cup epsom salt or
  • 1 cup baking soda or
  • 1/2 cup baking soda plus 1/4 cup citric acid

Adding a drop or two of peppermint, lavender or eucalyptus essential oil will make the bath all the more pleasant.

8. Sunshine

Usually the flu is going around in colder months when people are getting less sunshine. Since your body uses the sunshine to make vitamin D, a necessary vitamin for your immune system, getting some sunshine when you have the flu, if possible is helpful. If that is impossible, you can use a vitamin D supplement for a couple of weeks. (Long term high doses of vitamin D are not recommended because of the risk of vitamin D toxicity.)

9. Rest 

If you have the flu your symptoms will probably force some rest on you. Listen to your body! You need the rest. Your body uses rest time to heal. Don't take over the counter pain and fever reducer so you can go to work or school. Not only will you heal more quickly if you stay home, you will avoid spreading the disease to others.

10. Diet

When you have the flu, you need to have a light but nutritious diet. Fresh fruit, lightly steamed vegetables, small servings of whole grains and soups are excellent choices for food. Avoid cream (dairy) based soups. Homemade chicken soup is ideal. If you buy soup at the store look for a healthy variety without corn syrup or msg.

Apple Cider Vinegar Flu Tea

This tea is a delightful way to get your doses of apple cider vinegar, honey and cayenne pepper.

  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons of honey
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • hot water

A hot tea sounds like a reasonable recipe for the flu. But, how about Flu Fudge? Yes, you can make a fudge with delicious natural foods that have anti-flu properties.

Spicy Flu Fudge

  • 1 cup organic coconut oil
  • 5 teaspoons raw honey
  • 1/2 cup raw cacao powder 
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Melt coconut oil.  Stir in honey. Stir in cacao powder, sea salt and cayenne pepper. Pour into a small pan lined with wax paper.  Refrigerate. Break into pieces. Store in the refrigerator. If you make this into 16 pieces, each piece has the equivalent of 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, which is considered one dose.
Coconut oil and honey and cayenne have antiviral activity. Cacao powder has a multitude of nutrients and can even help a cough!

Do you have a natural remedy for the flu? We would love to hear about it! Continue reading to learn which remedies or supplements our readers used to kick their flu fast!

ACV, H2O2, Epsom Salts, Eucalyptus Oil

Posted by Colleen (LA, CA) on 01/12/2007
5 out of 5 stars

I'recently had a severe flu. My muscles tight, energy low. I made a bath of 16 oz., apple cider vinegar, 1/2 bottle of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 2 cups epsom salts, and 10 drops eucalyptus oil. before the bath I could barely move, no energy, poor breathing. Within an hour after the bath, I was already healing. Took another one the next day, and could tell that what could have been a week of illness, was already on its way to recovery. i take acv daily also: 2 Tablespoons, 1/2 lime, and 1 Tablespoon of raw honey. - I was told this brings the body's ph to 7. (perfect balance) I have given this formula to many people and have had much feed back about more energy, better digestion, etc. A good way to begin the day, setting the body's stasis point well, which lessens cravings for sugar.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Baking Soda

Posted by Sandy (Orlando, FL) on 02/19/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Hi, I have had a recurring Urinary Tract infection so far 3 times in the past 6 months, to which my Dr has prescribed antibiotics. I felt it coming on and as my Dr was out of town was unable to get my prescription refilled for antibiotics. As I was in a great deal of pain (for 3 days and popping AZO tabs like mints) I was searching the internet for a natural remedy and came across this website. I did the vinegar and baking soda remedy and within a few hours the pain was completely gone and has not returned. I didn't have ACV on hand so I did it with just plain white vinegar (2T), baking soda (1t) and water and added a few drops of cayenne pepper. I am so happy!!! Yesterday I was coming home from a trip a feeling myself coming down with Flu Sx (achy, sore throat, and weak). I took some Advil to get thru the long car trip home. When I got home I was exhausted and went right to bed. When I woke up I felt horrible as I could barely swallow, my ears, and face (sinuses) hurt, as well as achy joints all over. I was eager to try the ACV and baking soda (added cayenne and echinacea drops too) cure and took the first drink at about 3 am. It is now 2pm the next day I have taken about 5 glassfuls and I feel 100% better. I still have very mild tired feeling but all other sx are completely gone. Its amazing!

Apple Cider Vinegar Spicy Drink

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 10/23/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Spicy ACV Drink for Fall

I don't usually have fresh ginger on hand, but do right now. I have been using it in a warm apple cider vinegar drink. So tasty!

  • 1 cup almost boiling water
  • 2-3 teaspoons honey
  • 2-3 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon clove powder
  • 1/2 - 1 teaspoon freshly sliced ginger root

Mix together in a larger mug or to go coffee mug to keep you cozy when you go out in the cold.

I think I would especially love this if I had a cold or the flu.

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Mama To Many

By the way, after I finish the drink, I chew on the pieces of ginger in the bottom of the mug. One at a time. Great when you have the munchies.

Replied by Mmsg
Somewhere, Europe

MtM, I just put too much ginger in my smoothie. It tastes spicy but I figure it can't harm now that the cold is setting in.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Cayenne

Posted by Stephanie (Freeport, USA) on 06/22/2007
5 out of 5 stars

First of all, I thank GOD for helping me find your site to try these wonderful remedies! I started out with a sore throat and gargled water mixed with cayenne powder; it helped short term. But then I had a nasty cough (associated with the sore throat), so I drank 2 TBSP of apple cider vinegar throughout the day. It seemed to make my coughs more productive. When I woke up the next day, I hacked up a lot of mucous, and felt like I was getting better. Then I made a pot of tomato tea and I am well again :-) Thank you very much! Your site is a priceless wealth of information.

Posted by Char (OKC, Oklahoma) on 03/06/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Cayenne is a cureall. I thought I was the only one who knew the connection between dairy and sinusitis and the flu, every time I drink milk or eat ice cream, I get sick with sinus problems and then came down with the flu. Cayenne with distilled water, lemon juice and acv, was the only cure which helped me flush out the fever. This may sound crazy, but dairy products make me moody and emotional, like I can feel how "SAD" the cows are, I try to only do organic dairy now.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Garlic

Posted by Mesem (Toulon, France) on 01/23/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Realise I had a long lingering virus in my system. I pressed and munched several cloves of raw garlic and ate this with a little wholemeal bread and butter, hit the aspirin and VIT C and I am pretty sure that has done the trick! I also had the beginnings of a gastro attack and a strong drink of ACV and water stopped that in its tracks last Sunday. Reading ads for NZ Manuka honey I see that they are pushing the fact that it induces the body to produce more H2O2."


Posted by Laura (Atlanta, Ga) on 11/30/2013
5 out of 5 stars

After 2 days of a progressively worse fever I gave Teds aspirin remedy a shot. I'm happy to say it worked wonders.

I did 4 doses of 500mg aspirin dissolved in half glass of water every 55minutes. I also drank another half glass water or more about 20 minutes after each dose. I went from 102 degree temperature down to 98.6 in 4.5 hours.

Its now the next morning and my temp is normal. I have a little head congestion and a slight cough. I'm going for the apple cider vinegar next!

Thanks Earth Clinic and all you contributors!

Replied by Niceshot
Wpb, Fl

Thank you for aspirin routine & virus. You take one 500 mg aspirin every 55 min. over nearly 4 hours to get to four doses? Just want make sure.

Replied by Bobbyb

Dissolved aspirin according to Ted is the only way to take aspirin. I take over the counter cold medicine from the drug store which seems safe. It is dissolved aspirin and I think baking soda.

Posted by Susan (Minneola, Fl) on 02/05/2010
5 out of 5 stars

hi Earth clinic, ive been reading your cures for years . My Son is a cancer survior. He came down with a flu or virus and had a high fever all week . It was very scary. First I found the egg white to bring the fever down and that helped a litte bit besides the great laugh we had helped too. Well the fever was spiking again today and i was very worried. Went on here and found the asprin help for flu. I followed it exactly as I read it and after the first dose he got up and was playing. went from 102.7 to 101.5 in the first hour after the third treatment he went down to 98.7 much to our great joy. Ive been taking his temp all week and use many natural therapies. This was the miracle breakthough we needed. This is the first time i am writing in because i am so very grateful for all the other people who have written here.I would like to start to contribute more often as I have learned so very much here and through reading alot of books. God bless this work and Thank you everyone who contributes.

Posted by Lisa (San Antonio, Texas) on 09/30/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Aspirin cure for flu in teenagers

I used the aspirin cure on my 18 year old for what I thought was the flu (dr. did not test). Did the four doses, slept, felt much better the next day. My question is, can I do this for my 14 year old if he develops flu like symptoms which include fever? Should I be concerned about reye's syndrome? Not even sure what reye's syndrome is, just always been told don't give teenagers aspirin if they have fever. I did look back over the swine flu page and didn't find an answer in Ted's comments. Thanks!!

EC: Lisa is referring to Ted from Bangkok's aspirin cure posts on the Swine Flu page: http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/swine-flu.html

Replied by Kathy
Dubois, Pa
1 out of 5 stars


I've done some searching on Reye's Syndome, and it turns out that NOBODY, I REPEAT, NOBODY, should EVER use aspirin or salicylate (aspirin) compounds for a cold, or flu FOR ANY REASON. Using aspirin, or aspirin-containing compounds, for cold or flu can cause DEATH...and NOT JUST IN CHILDREN. I notice that Reye's Syndrome can cause hemorrage. I suspect that is because viruses can use up astronomical amounts of Vitamin C. That would lead to a condition called "fulminating scurvy", which causes the person to bleed to death if it is not caught in time and treated with massive doses of intravenous Vitamin C. Since many, many people of all ages are walking around with sub-clinical scurvy, not to mention Vitamin D-3 deficiency (which induces suceptability to viruses), using the "aspirin cure" could cause the "permanant cure" of death!

Replied by Kathy
Dubois, Pa

p.s. In other words, what might you get when you combine a condition that can cause fulminating scurvy (flu) with a substance that can induce bleeding (aspirin)? Hemorrage.

The warning about aspirin also goes for White Willow Bark or any other substances that contain salicylates, like Cramp Bark, etc.

Replied by Joyce
Joelton, Tn
512 posts

Kathy's post about not giving aspirin in viral infections (common cold, flu, etc) is correct. While aspirin might cure the virus, the Reyes syndrome is worse than the virus they would be taking it for. I haven't seen anything on it, if orthodox medicine has decided that aspirin used to treat viruses isn't what causes Reyes S.

Personally, I prefer L-lysine and Vitamin C, and don't forget those good old Bcomplex vitamins when the body is under stress, as it is with any illness.

Replied by Lisa
San Antonio, Tx

Thanks Joyce! I obviously knew enough to ask questions. He has been taking 1000mg of lysine and vitamin C 3x daily for preventative. He's been around his cousins who tested positive for strain A on Monday. We'll see how it goes.

p.s.-Cousins have been taking tamiflu, they sound like they're going to cough up their lungs. I know Ted said H1N1 is very hard on the lungs.


Replied by Bill Sardi
San Dimas, California

Any advice or even suggestion that people take aspirin, even at low dose, for the flu could result in mortal consequences. Any such advice should be removed from your site.

Aspirin, Cayenne, and Hydrogen Peroxide

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 02/17/2018
5 out of 5 stars

I was around someone early in the week who thought she had the flu. 48 hours later I was experiencing early flu symptoms. Sore throat, malaise.

I immediately put hydrogen peroxide in my ears. (About a capful each ear.)

I gargled cayenne pepper water. (1/4 teaspoon cayenne in 3 ounces of water.)

I took 2 aspirin.

I repeated the hydrogen peroxide twice before going to bed.

I woke up not feeling the best and repeated the peroxide in the ears, the cayenne gargle and the aspirin.

By afternoon I felt completely fine and have ever since.

I think the earlier that remedies are begun the better!

~Mama to Many~


Posted by Kathy (Vancouver, Canada) on 09/23/2011

I found this home remedy in Vasant Lad's "The Complete Book of Ayurveda Home Remedies". My whole family, including my 4 year old grand-daughter, have benefitted tremendously from this. It has become a "must have" product in everyone's kitchen. Mix together: 3 parts cinnamon, 2 parts powdered dry ginger and a touch of cardamom powder. In 1/2 glass warm water, put 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon of this mixture and 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon honey. Provides immediate relief from cold, flu, cough, congestion.

Baking Soda

Posted by Nicole (Chantilly, Va) on 12/12/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I was beginning to show the telltale signs of the flu yesterday--fever, chills, headache, body ache. I took my usual oregano oil--and it started to take the edge off--but as soon as it would wear off a few hours later, the symptoms would come back.

I ended up having to stay up late...not by choice...but knew this would really do me in the next day and I'd be a wreck in bed w the flu. Knowing I still had to get up early for my 3 kids to send them off to school (single mom), I decided right before I got in bed, to take a couple pinches of Baking Soda in water--as I read this helped a woman wake up in the a.m. and not sleep in.

Not only did I wake up...but I woke up before my alarm, refreshed, full of energy, and NO FLU SYMPTOMS. It's like I never even had it. I am shocked.

I take a ton of natural things for illness but this has to be the fastest, most effective, and cheapest I've ever encountered.

Posted by Kathleen (Chicago, Illinois) on 12/30/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I wanted to share with you a remarkable family story of healing. My mother was born in Arkansas in 1920, two years after the frightening 1918 flu pandemic, but my aforesaid Irish grandmother had four young boys at the time. The story goes that the local doctor was able to treat and cure every patient with baking soda! Not a single patient of his died! I assume he administered it in water. I think that's really something; we're still talking about it 90 years later! Would that help today with the flu? I don't know, but unless there was a reason not to give it to young children, I'd sure try it.

I have to go now and read more of your site! Thank all of you! Happy and Healthy New Year!


Posted by Deirdre (Los Angeles) on 10/23/2017
5 out of 5 stars

Not long ago, I was flying home to LA and there was a young man sitting next to me who started sneezing and didn't cover his mouth. Instead, he just turned and sneezed at least 7 times into the aisle. When he was done sneezing, there was that nasty virus smell in the air (maybe it's only me, but I can smell viruses when people first get sick... it's a very distinct, gross smell).

At any rate, sure enough exactly 48 hours later, I started getting achy joints and a headache. It was the middle of the day and I took 1/2 capsule of BHT in half a glass of water. My achey joints disappeared by evening. I took another 1/2 capsule of bht the following morning just to be safe. Symptoms COMPLETELY gone after that.

The h2o2 inhalation method used to be my "go to" remedy for viruses, but it didn't always work. BHT has worked for me 100% with minimal dosing (i.e., one at onset of symptoms, another 12 hours later).

Anyone else tried using BHT for viruses? Would be curious to learn if it works as well for you as it does for me.

Boneset Herb Tea

Posted by Lad (Bel Air, Maryland)
5 out of 5 stars

I bought some dried Boneset herb at a healthfood store years ago after I broke my arm. I discovered "boneset" herb is for the pain of "breakbone fever" flu, not broken bones! After half my office came down with a very nasty flu, it was my turn. It caused a LOT of pain w/ fever. I made a tea using my old bag of Boneset and the pain and malaise immediately lifted! I returned to work w/ the tea. A co-worker was face down on her desk, literally complaining of her "bones hurting!" I said "I got just the thing for you!" She mixed some breakfast tea with it because she thought it tasted awful. But after two cups she came in and said "I think you cured me!"