Anything Natural That May Ward off the Flu?

The Scientifically Studied Natural Oral Medication for Flu: Elderberry Extracts Stop Influenza Type A and B, Including H1N1 Swine Flu

Elderberry Extracts have been shown in several studies to reduce the ability of influenza viruses, including swine flu, to enter cells (which is where they replicate).

The herbal remedy, made from elderberry, was developed after lab studies by Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu, a world-renowned Israeli virologist, showed it to prevent and slow influenza viruses from reproducing. As viruses cannot replicate themselves outside of living cells, they have to invade cells to survive. "If you can stop them from invading cells, you've defeated the disease", says Dr. Mumcuoglu.

She tested the black elderberry proteins against the Influenza B virus first, and discovered that "they actually prevent the virus from invading the cell". The influenza virus invades cells by puncturing the cell wall with the tiny spikes of hemaglutinin that cover its surface. The active ingredient in the elderberry disarms these the spikes, binds to them, thus stopping them from piercing the cell membrane. "This was the first discovery", says Dr. Mumcuoglu. "Next, we found evidence that elderberry proteins fight the influenza virus in another way, too. The viral spikes are covered with the enzyme, neuraminidase, which helps break down the healthy cell wall. The elderberry inhibits the action of the enzyme. My guess is, that we'll find that elderberry acts against viruses in other ways as well."

Which proved to be the case - as reported in one of the studies cited below there is an immune system effect as by elderberry extract as well.

The elderberry extract has published scientific studies showing it to cut the duration and severity of flu by up to half. A 1995 study reported below showed that the herb was not just effective against human and avian flu, but also swine flu as well.

Dr. Mumcuoglu was interviewed after newer 2006 tests on many flu strains, around the time of bird flu, and was reported to say it didn't really matter where the flu originated. She was quoted to say of the elderberry extract: "Our research has shown that ... it was effective against all influenza viruses tested".

This excerpt summary from one of the studies on the elderberry extract, reads: Considering the efficacy of the extract in vitro on all strains of influenza virus tested, (which included H1N1 swine flu virus) the human clinical results, its low cost, and absence of side-effects, this preparation could offer a possibility for safe treatment for influenza A and B.

Which is about as strong a recommendation as a scientific author will give in an article.