Natural Remedies

Top 10 Natural Remedies for Flu

| Modified: Sep 19, 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

Posted by Sara (Long Beach) on 01/18/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Apple cider is good too, just a tablespoon with water twice a day will cut the flu symptoms.

Posted by John McMann (Kentucky) on 01/14/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Here is tried and true, souther flu-kicking remedy. Drinking this when I first start to feel sick, kicks the virus out. If taken during cold or flu recovery, helps ease congestion and prevents cough.

8 oz of hot water, 2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1 jigger whiskey, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, 2 shakes of cayenne pepper. Stir and drink slowly. Enjoy.

Posted by Robert (Katy, Texas) on 12/19/2013
1 out of 5 stars

While I am a firm believer in the healing abilities of ACV, I must admit this time that it couldn't overcome my flu. The flu already had a 3+ day head start, I was taking 2 tablespoons of the highly known brand of ACV, along with a tablespoon of locally produced honey in 6 ozs of distilled water.

While this combo would knock out the side effects for approx. 2 hours, the flu fought back each time to the level of intensity that had been there previously. I did this 3 times a day, same results each time. Finally had no choice but to go to the doctor getting Tamiflu and a Z pack.

While I haven't read thru all the posts, from this experience maybe because I didn't start early enough this was too little too late. I for one will continue with the ACV in the future.

Replied by Karen

Was the water hot when you added it? Hot water or very warm water destroys the healing properties in both ACV and honey.

Posted by Joelle (Dallas, Texas) on 01/05/2013
5 out of 5 stars

I have not had the flu in years and my first day on vacation I started getting the flu symtoms. I immediately pulled up EC website to find a natural remedy, I started taking 2 tablespoons of ACV 3x a day for 3 days. I started feeling better after the first day. ACV & Virgin Coconut oil are my go to natural remedies . This site is amazing!!!! Thank you so much!!

Replied by Karen
Detroit Metro, Mi
5 out of 5 stars

I am amazed at how good it works. I have been on this site for 2 illnesses and both were cured with ACV. Old school cures do work! There are healing properties in both ACV and raw honey. Why suffer huh? Spread the news to your friends is my new motto.

Replied by Josephine
Pittsburgh, Pa
5 out of 5 stars

I've also been seeing a lot of improvement using one teaspoon of ACV in 6oz of warm water with a few lemon, honey, and menthol lozenges dissolved in.

Posted by Shelly (Castle Rock, Co) on 12/08/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Wow, I was really sick last week and wish I had found this site sooner. I started feeling ill again this afternoon with nausea, headache and fever/chills. I came home and put on a hot pack and was ready to give up for the day when I found this site. I put 2 TBSP of ACV into some hot apple cider. It helped to put it into the apple cider because it almost disguised the bitter taste (almost). Anyways, less than an hour later I can't even tell you how much better I am feeling. So much that I am starting to question whether I really felt that bad or not. Thanks so much, love this remedy. :-)

Posted by Bart Sniffer (Sydney, Australia) on 06/28/2011
5 out of 5 stars

Around lunch time I started getting the first signs of a flu... Just in nostril. Post nasal drip, beginning to feel that flu like symptoms coming on. Later in the afternoon some sneezing began.

I took an cotton ear bud, dipped it in ACV then inserted it into my nostril. Made my sneeze straight away. So blew my nose and tried again, this time holding off sneezing while I did both nostrils, and sniffed in, held it and the gave the biggest sneeze.

I repeated the process immediately. its a little un comfortable/irritating. but I felt better almost immediately. Later that night I repeated again twice. Swabbed the inside of each nostril deep with ACV soaked cotton tip. Sniffed in hard, held as long as I could, then sneezed a few times.

The amazing thing is the next morning I work up feeling fine.

Posted by Ruby (Beverly, Ma) on 02/10/2011
1 out of 5 stars

I've used apple cider vinegar for a cold successfully but for a flu, it did very little if anything. No change really whatsoever. I've had one of the worst strain of flu for about 4 days now and I have taken more ACV than you could shake a stick at and nothing. I've also been taking colloidal silver, black strap molasses, liquid chlorophil and tea with ginger, honey and lemon. The tea has worked the best in stopping the cough.

Posted by Pattij (Aston, Pa Usa) on 03/23/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Dear Earthclinic:

I became ill with upper respiratory symptoms on Wednesday, and by Friday morning I was unable to go to work. On Saturday, I was so congested I could not breathe out of my nose. The over the counter medication had stopped working and by nightfall, I knew I was in trouble and would not be able to sleep. Suffering from an unbearable headache, overall aches and pains with fever, in desperation I searched the internet hoping to find a natural cure, which would provide me with some relief until I could call my doctor on Monday morning. I came across your website and sent my husband to the store to buy the ACV. I took 2 Tablespoons in 8 oz of warm water for my first dose at midnight and woke up at 4am and realized I could breathe, - my nose had cleared! I took another dose before going to sleep, and another around noon. I felt reasonably well to cook dinner on Monday night and went back to work on Tuesday. This remedy is nothing short of a miracle for me and I cannot wait to share it friends and family. Now that I feel better, I am anxious to investigate the rest of your site. ACV will definitely be a regular part of my diet, as I am a chronic sinus sufferer. Antibiotics offer some relief, but do not cure the problem. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for posting this natural remedy. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Posted by Marixpress (Bronx, Ny) on 12/16/2009
5 out of 5 stars

ACV strikes again

At the first sign of flu or cold, I drank 2 tablespoons of organic ACV with about 8oz of warm water, squeeze of lemon & honey for taste, every morning for about 3 days. Almost everyone in the household is sick, however, the ones that tried this concoction never did get sick. Thank you to earth clinic for this wonderful recipe!!

p.s. Because of it's many benefits, I have been drinking a cup of ACV "tea" (w/ 2 teaspoons rather than tablespoons) every morning instead of my usual cup of joe. I like to do this before brushing my teeth so I can properly rinse off any acid left over from the ACV - just in case!

Replied by John
Milwaukee, Wi
1 out of 5 stars


Not sure if I read this on here somewhere or another site but apparently its really bad to brush your teeth immediatly after taking the acv. Brushing the Apple Cider Vinegar in takes the enamel right off your teeth. Its better to take the Apple Cider Vinegar through a straw to avoid contact with the teeth and also to rinse a couple times with water. Just what I read :)

Replied by Michal
Pardes Hana, Israel

I have destroyed my teeth enamel. I stopped using ACV. After a few years started again WASH TEETH each time, to wash away the acid DONT BRUSH

Posted by Cured (Ft Walton Beach, Florida) on 10/21/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I stumbled upon this site looking for a cure for the flu. I am amazed and had never heard of the healing powers of Apple Cider Vinegar. I am now a believer and will tell anyone who will listen. My symptoms started out as allergies then went to a sinus infection then started feeling like the flu. This went on for over a month with the flu being the last straw to bring me to the internet to search for an alternative to OTC medicines. Within the first few hours my symptoms had reduced in severity, the first to break was the fever. I have continued the last two weeks various concoctions. One being 2 Tablespoons ACV to 4-6oz orange juice. I would take this as much as 3x a day. I also suffer from back pain where I was popping pain pills and muscle relaxers and ibuprofen on a regular basis. Most of this has gone on for almost 2 years--the last week I have hardly taken any of them. I don't know if it is the ACV but I will continue using daily. I have also read it helps with depression and can't wait to see if it helps with my occasional bouts. I have also tried 2T ACV in 6oz of warm water with honey to sweeten--wasn't too crazy about that. I tried it today with 2T ACV and 8oz room temp water with a straw and this actually wasn't too bad. I think that last concoction is something I could mix and put in the fridge so that I don't have to mix it every glass. I will try this out and others and post again my results.

Posted by Cured!!! (Woodstock, Ga) on 09/21/2009
5 out of 5 stars

ACV, Orange Juice, and Honey!!!

Yea, for Apple Cider Vinegar!!! Thank God for this site! I did a frantic search after my husband and I were both attacked by a wicked flu bug that has lasted almost 3 weeks. We're finally over the worst symptoms; but the cough (especially his) was the very last thing to go...and it wasn't going without a fight. For 2 weeks, we had tried "everything" including OTC drugs. I also had severe phlegm in the back of my throat, and had lots of nasal mucous. Both were extremely difficult to expel; and his cough was so consistent that it caused him headaches and stomach cramping. I tried the solution of 4 Tablespoons OJ, 2 Tablespoons honey and 2 Tablespoons ACV...within 1 hour we were both relieved of the symptoms and before the day was over, we knew we were on to the cure! We heated our recipe to make it a little easier to digest. It doesnt taste too bad, but its a long way from tasting good, and the strong taste is "oh, so worth it"! Thank you all for your suggestions, and thanks for this site. It is a God-send!!!

Posted by Kasey (Crowley, Louisiana, USA) on 08/17/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Well, it all started as my very first hangover. I was throwing up all day. It was so bad that I had to go home from work, which I never do. After all of the throwing up I started getting a fever and my throat was sore from the stomach acids. Within a couple of hours of the sore throat, my nose started to get stuffy and drippy. The hangover started on Saturday morning. Sunday and today (Monday) I have been coughing like crazy, so much that I could not sleep at all the past two days. I had fever, achiness, and weakness. I went to the doctor to get an excuse for missing work and she recommended all kinds of things. I really don't like medication unless it's natural, so I read up on here about a few things just to stop me from coughing so I could sleep. I decided I would try some apple cider vinegar. I am soooo glad that I did. What I did was mix 1 part apple cider vinegar against about 5 parts water and gargled it. Then I downed 1 tsp of the apple cider vinegar by itself. I went to lay down, and to my surprise I actually fell asleep. I awoke 3 hours later feeling refreshed, I was coughing only 1/4 as much as before, my voice is not raspy, my nose isn't stopped up, just extremely leaky, and I don't have fever or feel weak. Really sounds like a miracle, I know, but it truly worked. Forget all the prescription crap. Doctors prescribe you stuff a lot of times just to keep you coming back. I will definitely keep a bottle of this in my house at all times. I also read that the apple cider vinegar does wonders for the skin. Just a thought :)

Posted by Sammo505 (Bernalillo, NM) on 06/15/2009
5 out of 5 stars

My girlfriend got a flu over the weekend. So I went to earth clinc since they cured my allergies. Again ACV had a lot of results, so I gave her a glass of generic organic ACV. Within 30 minutes her fever was gone and so was her nausea and sniffles. And this was after a day of intense symptoms. The next day I poured some H2O2 in her ears as a precaution. By the third day all she had was a cough. I gave her about 2 glasses a day with 2 tablespoons ACV. I also had one glass a day and never caught anything. Thanks again Earth Clinic.

Posted by Susan (Big Sky Country, Montana) on 05/27/2009
5 out of 5 stars

I have been waiting until the end of the school year to report on my success with organic ACV with the "mother". I have been a tutor in an elementary school for three years now. The first two years I caught everything imaginable...constant sore throats, horrendous coughs, runny noses, on and on all year....I truely was constantly fighting something. Last Fall before the start of the year I began to take 1/4 cup of ACV with tomato juice faithfully once a day. AMAZING....I have not so much as had a sniffle the entire year....no flu, no colds, no anything. I'm in my late 50's and until discovering ACV I believed I needed to quit a position with children that I loved!! This is good news in my world and what have you got to lose by trying it? I tell anyone who will listen about this simple natural "cure-all"....I'm living proof of it's benefits!!!!