The doctor tells his flu patient to take two acetylsalicylic acid tablets and call him in the morning. “Do you mean aspirin?” asks the patient. “That’s it,” replies the doctor, “I can never remember that word.”
This joke pokes fun at the propensity of professionals to gild their lilies of advice with a complicated vocabulary. “For every complex problem,” wrote H.L. Mencken, “there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.” For example, taking aspirin to relieve flu symptoms.
We are all familiar with common cold and flu preventives and remedies, such as adequate sleep, low stress, and sufficient amounts of vitamins C and D. If we still fall victim to the bug there are those noble soldiers, echinacea; astragalus; ginger; medicinal mushrooms (reishi, maitake, and shiitake); goldenseal (especially effective for sinus infections); and chicken soup.
But the herbal compendium is rich with lesser known herbs that will have you back on your feet in this freezing, sneezing season, or better yet, will shield you from the viruses in the first place.
Yarrow Willard, a clinical herbalist in Cumberland, BC, emphasizes the synergistic properties of herbs. He analogizes herbs to a warrior tribe fighting to protect the village, which of course, is your body. Yarrow recommends the following herbs.