Naturopathic Approach to Flu

Read below to learn more about the Naturopathic approach to the flu so that you may enjoy Fall and Winter as healthily as possible.

Football, leaves changing color, a hint of pumpkin in everything we eat, and the new season of our favorite TV show finally returns…Fall is here! Unfortunately, this means the dreaded cold/flu season is here as well. Are you looking for what the “Naturopathic” approach to flu is?


The best way to avoid getting a cold or the flu this season is to keep your body in tip-top infection fighting shape so it can defend itself against the microbes that may come its way.

Proper nutrition (eating whole foods and veggies and avoiding sugar, fast food and alcohol), cooking with extra garlic, onion and spices such as turmeric, cloves and cinnamon, stress management, hand washing and an adequate amount of sleep and water intake all help to build up your body’s defenses and should be kept in mind year round.

For extra support during the cold and flu season daily Vitamin C, Zinc and Probiotics can assist your immune system with the boost it needs to work overtime.


Despite your best efforts, sometimes bacteria or viruses can sneak past your initial defenses. Keep in mind it is completely normal, and healthy to get an occasional cold or flu. These are opportunities for your body to reset and heal itself, and with proper self-care the duration and intensity of these illnesses can be significantly reduced.

One of the most important, yet probably hardest things to do being so busy is to allow the body to rest and relax. Even taking one day completely off to rest and properly nourish your body can significantly reduce the duration of the illness.

In addition to rest, at the first signs of illness increasing the intake of supplements such as Zinc and Vitamin A and herbs like Elderberry and Echinacea can assist your immune system in fighting off the illness quicker.

Other herbs, supplements or homeopathic remedies may be helpful to your individual presentation so reaching out to your local naturopathic doctor as soon as you feel yourself getting ill is very important.

Can’t I just get the flu shot?

The flu shot is always an option, but I think it’s important to educate yourself on the risks and benefits of the vaccine and then decide what would be the best decision for you and your family.

 Statistics on how effective the flu shot is at preventing someone from getting ill in a given year vary greatly. The CDC alone has issued data over the years suggesting the vaccine is anywhere between 19-89% effective. In addition to common symptoms experienced after receiving the flu vaccine such as fever, cough, and body aches, some studies have shown that getting the flu vaccine actually increases the risk of getting a non-flu related virus (#1) or in some cases the very virus you’re being vaccinated against (#2).

In addition to effectiveness, it’s important to keep in mind what is in the flu vaccine. Ingredients can vary from vaccine to vaccine, but the most common ones used in the development of the influenza vaccines include: Chicken embryo and egg protein, Aluminum Salts, Formaldehyde, Thimerosal, Neomycin and Gelatin (#3). The majority of these ingredients are a common allergen, neurotoxin or carcinogen.

Naturopathic Approach – Put yourself first!

I encourage you to make your health a priority, do your own research, reach out to your local health care provider and find out what works best and feels right for you so you can enjoy these upcoming months in optimal health.


  1. Increased risk of noninfluenza respiratory virus infections associated with receipt of inactivated influenza vaccine
  1. Association between the 2008-09 Seasonal Influenza Vaccine and Pandemic H1N1 Illness during Spring-Summer 2009: Four Observational Studies from Canada
  1. CDC – Vaccine Ingredients

About the Author

Dr. Bridget Casey

Dr. Bridget Casey is a Naturopathic Doctor at Richmond Natural Medicine, where she enjoys seeing patients of all ages and a variety of conditions, including hormone dysregulation and chronic digestive disorders. Dr. Casey utilizes various forms of natural medicine, including herbs, nutrition, homeopathy and lifestyle counseling. She received her doctorate in naturopathic medicine from the National College of Natural Medicine (NCNM), in Portland, OR and completed her residency in family practice right here at RNM.  Click HERE to learn more about Dr. Casey.