Q: It seems everyone is getting sick around me, so I was wondering if there was anything that was really effective against the flu virus.
A: We wrote last month about a number of natural immune boosters which are very effective for preventative immunity (you can read the article here). There is a combination of supplements however that have been shown in recent research to be as effective as the prescription antiviral Tamiflu against the flu virus.
The study gave 473 patients who exhibited flu symptoms elderberry extract and echinacea or Tamiflu within the first 48 hours of the beginning of the illness. The recovery rates from the combination of elderberry and echinacea were the same as Tamiflu (the elderberry and echinacea group actually had slightly better recovery rates when compared to the prescription Tamiflu), but without side effects- the researchers reported that patients taking oseltamivir (Tamiflu) were more likely to experience gastrointestinal issues such as nausea and vomiting than the supplement group.
I would definitely recommend keeping elderberry extract and echinacea in the house this winter. For elderberry extract we recommend Sambucus elderberry syrup by Nature’s Answer since it is the exact formulation used in several other trials against the flu virus, with impressive results. Elderberry syrup can be taken preventatively against viruses or taken in higher doses if you do actually get sick.
For echinacea, we recommend the standardized echinacea extract by Nature's Way. It's a great, high potency extract.
Elderberry can be taken preventatively against illness, but it’s best to save the echinacea until you feel the beginnings of sickness, since research has shown that that is when it is most effective. If you've been sick for a while, supplementing with elderberry alone is the best course of action, due to its potent antiviral compounds.
Here are a few other articles from our site which you may find helpful: