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Flu Fighting Foods And Herbs

Island Epicure

Garlic and shiitake mushrooms are reputed to be the champs at warding off the flu and at  relieving flu symptoms if you’ve already got them. (Mash garlic and sliver soaked shiitaki caps; add to chicken soup.) Also antiviral are basil, oregano,  elderberry, lemon balm, ginger and peppermint. Cinnamon and cloves are antibacterial and antiviral.  Cloves are analgesic as well. At the first sign of the sore throat that signals the start of a cold, I stick a whole clove in my mouth and bite down on it once in awhile  That turns my saliva into a pain-relieving, antiviral fluid.

How do you know whether what you have is just a cold or a dangerous flu bug? Colds come on gradually; flu seems to hit you suddenly. With colds, you get a drippy nose, a slightly sore throat, and only a slight fever, if any. But flu gives you deep fatigue, a stuffed up nose, a really sore throat, a cough that won’t quit, and usually chills and fever (load up on Vitamin C and plenty of fluid).

Also, with flu usually your muscles ache (ginger and the herb devil’s claw help), you’re sensitive to light, and you feel really, really tired without having done anything strenuous. With a cold you can blow your nose and go on working, and eating. With flu, you feel too queasy to eat (chew a sliver of fresh gingerroot to quell that)). Apply hot moist packs to  unstuff your sinuses, and inhale the menthol aroma of Vicks Vaporub.  Sip a cupful of tea made from dried  elderberries (simmer 1 Tablespoon of the dried berries in 2 cups of water for 15 minutes) or dried elder flowers (steep 2 teaspoons of dried flowers in 1 cup of boiled and slightly cooled water for 10 to 15 minutes. Avoid sugar. It makes pain worse.

Garlic works well in preventing colds and flu. It does the most good when eaten raw. In Greece, it’s the flavoring and the health-boosting factor in Tzatziki, an adaptable food that can serve as a dip, a salad dressing, or the salad itself.

(Say: Ja-JEE-kee)
Makes about 2 ½ cups

1 medium size cucumber, peeled and finely diced
2 cups plain yogurt
3 large or 4 not so large garlic cloves, minced
½ teaspoon salt
2 green onions, washed and thinly sliced, optional
1 teaspoon dried dillweed
Dash thyme, fresh preferred

Sprinkle the salt on the minced garlic. Mash with back of teaspoon. Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate, covered. Serve cold.