First, let me preface this with a disclaimer, I am not a doctor, nor do I play one on tv. I am a Wife & a Mom of 2 - I am a Very busy lady and I don't have TIME for the flu! Whether or not you choose to use this advice or ANY other advice you find on the internet is solely up to you and whatever happens to you is your own responsibility. There, with that said, here's what I Personally use and what I give to My family:
Last year while gardening I decided to plant 2 cayenne pepper plants, mainly because I found them, about a foot tall, for only a .25 and I couldn't pass up a perfectly healthy plant at such a great price. Then, after harvesting these lovely plants, I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I was going to do with ALL of those cayenne peppers, so I dehydrated a few pounds of them and I canned a few jars of them. Afterward, I started researching a few of my old herbal books and discovered that cayenne pepper works wonderfully on a host of health problems including the flu.
Finely chop 1 cayenne pepper, (remove seeds first) and bring it to a simmer in a pot of 2 c. of water. If you'd prefer a hint of sweetness add 1 T. of Honey while it's still warm. If you tend to get an upset stomach, you can also add a small piece of crystallized ginger to the tea while it's simmering. Cool, bottle and cap - Take 1 Tablespoon every 4 hours at the first onset of any flu symptoms. If you'd prefer not to taste the cayenne at all, see below for an alternative method!
Cayenne Pepper Capsules:
If you're not really into the spicy tingly feeling cayenne leaves in your mouth (or the watering eyes), etc... you can take Cayenne Pepper Capsules as well. My kids prefer to take these over the Cayenne Tea I make for myself.
*UPDATE 2013* - I have followed suit with the rest of my family now that I've exhausted my own Cayenne pepper plants and we all use Cayenne Capsules.
For My Teen Sons & Husband- they take 1 Capsule (40,000 HU), twice a day With a 1,000 mg Vitamin C at the onset of Any flu symptoms- sneezing, runny nose, coughing, fever, achy bones, etc.
Now- if you have a tendency to have a "reaction" to eating spicy foods the Next day, so to speak- you can prevent what we like to call "Bum Burn" by taking CapsiCool Capsules instead- which are a blend of Cayenne Pepper and Ginger. I bought these on Amazon for under $5 (with free shipping). However, since they were so mild on the stomach- I did increase the dosage to 3 capsules, twice a day with the vitamin c. We prefer Natures Way brand because they work great, are fresh and are quite potent and very inexpensive at less than $5 a bottle.
Notes that I deem extremely important- Do NOT under ANY circumstances take cayenne capsules on an Empty stomach! You will Regret it. It will feel like a fireball burst in the middle of your chest, at least, that's what my husband tells me- because he was the only fool in the house to try it, bless his heart. Also, it's best not to take it with carbonated beverages, then again, if you have the flu, you should be avoiding sugar (it lowers your body's immunity by as much as 25%!)
In the morning, since I'm not really a "breakfast" person, I find that a couple pieces of toast is more than sufficient to prevent any stomach discomfort.
Amazingly, for our family, the flu was knocked flat on it's rumpus in less than 48 hours total, while several of our (slightly more stubborn- perhaps patient??) friends decided to try the old over the counter standbys - cough syrups, nighttime flu drinks, aspirin, heating pads, soup, tissues, tissues and more tissues.
What I like most about this particular remedy is that in our experience it prevented severe sinus infections (aka Green Snot) and chest congestion. One side note, I did apply store brand vapor rub ($1.67 a bottle at Walmart) to the BOTTOMS of my sons feet (at night only) to prevent coughing. It takes about 15 minutes to take effect and works like a charm. To be perfectly honest, I applied it at about 3 am when I heard him cough the first night he had flu symptoms, but it stopped his cough and we Both got a good nights sleep.
Sorry, I can't make any recommendations for young children, all I can tell you is that I use this every winter on my teens (even when they were Tweens) and they've never missed a day of school due to "Flu".
- Cayenne Pepper is not recommended for use in individuals on ACE inhibitors, agents that reduce stomach acid, aspirin, blood-thinning medications and herbs, and theophyline.
- People who are allergic to latex, bananas, kiwi, chestnuts, and avocado may also have an allergy to cayenne.
- Capsaicin lowers blood sugar levels naturally, if you're diabetic, check with your doctor.
- If you have asthma and use an inhaler, be aware that regular use of cayenne can cause your body to absorb Theophylline (a med used to treat asthma), if you have questions or concerns check with a dr (preferably a naturopathic doctor who knows what he/she is talking about!)
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Cayenne
- Epicurious Food Dictionary: Cayenne Pepper
- Critical Reviews in Food, Science and Nutrition: Capsaicin and Gastric Ulcers
- Esophageal, Gastric and Duodenal Disorders: Chili Protects Against Aspirin-Induced Gastroduodenal Mucosal Injury in Humans
What remedies have you tried for your family?