Influenza: acute immune strategies

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Influenza is a leading cause of respiratory tract infections inducing both innate and adaptive immune responses. This viral infection often has a quicker onset and more severe symptoms than the common cold, including: sore throat, high fever, headaches, muscle aches, congestion, cough and fatigue which may last up to a few weeks. 

While getting the flu, in most cases, is not a major health risk, there are those people who have a lower immune function who may be at higher risk of serious consequences. This includes people 65 years and older, people with certain chronic medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, or heart disease), pregnant women and young children. 

The ideal strategy should incorporate optimising immune function. This can be achieved with some basic practices, including staying well hydrated, maintaining adequate sleep and managing stress. On top of this, consideration should be given to key proven immune boosters that have been shown to be effective for the management and prevention of influenza and other viral infections. Herbs such as andrographis, thyme, elecampane as well as the important plant compound, berberine have all been favourably demonstrated in this regard. 

In this infographic we take a closer look at these botanicals and how they might manage the symptoms, severity and duration of influenza infections.

References

  1. Influenza fast facts. Influenza specialist group 2014. Viewed 15 February 2016. [Link
     
  2. Newall A, Scuffman PA, Hodgkinson B. Economic report into the cost of influenza to the Australian health system. Report to the influenza specialist group 2007. Viewed 15 February 2016. [Link]
     
  3. Flu symptoms and severity. Centers for Disease Control 2015. Viewed 15 February 2016. [Link
     
  4. Lambert LC, Fauci AS. Influenza vaccines for the future. New Eng J Med 2010;363;:2036-2044. [Full text]
     
  5. Min JY, Sabbarao K. Celular targets for influenza drugs. Nature Biotech 2010;28:239-240. [Abstract]
     
  6. Sullivan CS. Viral virtuosos. The Scientist 2015. Viewed 15 February 2016. [Link
     
  7. Influenza (flu). Mayo Clinic 2015. Viewed 15 February 2016. [Link
     
  8. Samji T. Influenza A: Understanding the viral life cycle. Yale J Biol 2009;82(4)L153-159. [Full text]
     
  9. Chen JX, Xue HJ, Ye WC, et al. Activity of andrographolide and its derivatives against influenza virus in vivo and in vitro. Biol Pharm Bull 2009;32(8):1385-1391. [Full text]
     
  10. Kulichenko LL, Kireyeva LV, Malyshkina EN, Wikman G. A randomized, controlled study of Kan Jang versus amantadine in the treatment of influenza in Volgograd. J Herb Pharmacother 2003;3:77-93. [Abstract]
     
  11. Van Den Broucke CO, Lernli JA. Pharmacological and chemical investigation of thyme liquid extracts. Planta Med 1981; 41(2):129-135. [Abstract]
     
  12. Glastonbury S. Herbal medicine: role in the management of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Australian J Medical Herbalism 2009;21(1):3-9.
     
  13. Cecil CE, Davis JM, Cech NB, et al. Inhibition of H1N1 influenza A virus growth and induction of inflammatory mediators by the isoquinoline alkaloid berberine and extracts of goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis). Int Immunopharmacol 2011;11(11):1706-1714. [Abstract]
     
  14. Wu Y, Li JQ, Kim YJ, et al. In vivo and in vitro antiviral effects of berberine on influenza virus. Chin J Integr Med 2011;17(6):444-452. [Abstract]
     
  15. Braun L, Cohen M. Herbs and natural supplements: an evidence-based guide, 4th ed. Sydney: Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2015.

     


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The information provided on FX Medicine is for educational and informational purposes only. The information provided on this site is not, nor is it intended to be, a substitute for professional advice or care. Please seek the advice of a qualified health care professional in the event something you have read here raises questions or concerns regarding your health. 

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melissalee's picture
Melissa Lee
Melissa is a designer turned nutritionist, who for the past 6 years has been combining the two modalities to create purposeful designs for various health publications and websites. Having initially studied Multimedia Systems Design, she then went on to complete a BHSc in Nutritional Medicine which led to her involvement in the integrative medicine industry and eventually to FX Medicine.