Wondering which medicine or remedy is best for flu relief? Find research-based benefits, risks, and side effects of elderberry vs.Tamiflu for flu relief, so you can make the best decision for you and your family.
If you are trying to stock the medicine cabinet with helpful products before flu season hits and find yourself wondering if elderberry or Tamiflu (or other antiviral medications) are your best bet, you’re not alone!
Even the most naturally minded people have trouble with this one at times!
The flu is no joke, and everyone hopes it ends as quickly as possible! So let’s look at the science and see what it says 😉
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If you go to the doctor it is very possible that they will prescribe Tamiflu, but is that the best route?
Would elderberry, a natural remedy known for flu prevention and treatment, be a better option?
In this post, we’ll dig into the information and learn all about elderberry vs.Tamiflu for flu relief.
What Is Elderberry?
Elderberry is one of the most commonly used medicinal plants, and for good reason!
When the berries are properly prepared, as in elderberry syrup or tincture, it can help balance, support, and strengthen the immune system.
Not only was black elderberry extract found to be effective against several flu strains, but it was also found to shorten the duration of illness by 3-4 days!
Is Elderberry Safe?
We can see from the clinical trials and many years of use (elderberries are known for being a traditional medicine) that elderberry is a potent and effective option for helping you to stay well, but also helps to fight illness.
This natural remedy is generally considered safe, but just like any herb, vitamin, or medication, it is not appropriate for everyone.
If you fall into any of these categories you should talk to your health care provider before taking elderberry:
- If you’re on immune-suppressing drugs
- Have an autoimmune disease
- Take medication for blood sugar regulation
- Elderberry products should not be given to infants under 1 year old if the recipe or product contains honey.
*It should also be noted that the raw berries and other parts of the plant are considered poisonous and should not be consumed!
What Is Tamiflu?
Tamiflu is a medication that is often prescribed for people who have type A or B influenza.
According to the FDA, this medication is an influenza neuraminidase inhibitor. This means that it works by stopping the multiplication of the virus.
It is recommended as an option if the person has had flu symptoms for 48 hours or less, and people 2 weeks of age or older.
Is Tamiflu Safe?
Like any drug, there are side-effects associated with Tamiflu.
While the risks and side effects are often downplayed, it is important to make note of a few facts.
1. The drug manufacturer was accused of failing to report or underreporting side effects of 19 different drugs
The drugmaker (Roche) has been accused of failing to report or underreported side effects of 19 different drugs.
This sparked an investigation by the European Medicines Agency. (Not the mark of a trustworthy company if you ask me 🙁 )
2. Side effects are downplayed and can be similar to the flu
In the 28 pages for this drug label, on page 8 it mentions possible side effects.
Can you guess what they are?
They are listed as nausea, vomiting, severe skin reactions, anaphylaxis, Stevens-Johnson syndrome, hallucinations, delirium, and abnormal behavior “leading to injury, and in some cases resulting in fatal outcomes”.
Yep, you read that right.
The most common side effects are similar to flu symptoms (which you hope to reduce or eliminate when taking a medication, right?), and more severe symptoms include abnormal behavior, delirium, and hallucinations which could result in death.
3. Its benefits have been inflated
The tests showing the efficacy of this drug were paid for by the pharmaceutical company.
When independent researchers looked at the data, they found that there was no statistical evidence to support the claim that Tamiflu reduced symptoms or complications of the flu.
They did find some evidence to support the claim that Tamiflu could reduce the duration of symptoms, but only by about 1 day.
The Verdict Of Elderberry vs. Tamiflu For Flu Relief
I can’t tell you what the best decision for you would be, but after reading about the benefits and risks associated with elderberry and Tamiflu, in my mind, there is a clear winner.
If asked which is better when deciding between elderberry vs.Tamiflu for flu relief, I would have to go with elderberry.
Elderberry is considered generally safe for most people, has few (if any) side effects for the majority of people, and is quite effective in protecting against several flu strains.
It has also been clinically proven to shorten the duration of the flu by up to 4 days!
Tamiflu, on the other hand, is not effective against the flu, as independent research has proven.
Researchers found that this drug did possibly shorten the duration of illness, but only by 1 day or less.
This is not enough of a benefit for me to consider taking this medication.
How To Stay Well
No matter which product you choose in the elderberry vs.Tamiflu for flu relief debate, there are things you can do to help yourself stay well and (hopefully!) avoid the flu altogether.
- Start strengthening and supporting your immune system early!
A good time to start is late August or early September. That way you can be prepared if you have kids going back to school and before cold and flu season really begins.
- Eat well
This can’t be stressed enough! If you do not eat healthy, whole foods you are setting yourself up for sickness. A body cannot work optimally if it is not given the proper fuel.
Be sure to cut out (or at least reduce) sugar too because sugar has been found to suppress the immune system!
- Make sure you have optimal vitamin D levels
It is well known that a large number of people have low vitamin D levels.
If your levels are low you are more susceptible to infection. Look for food-based sources of vitamin D, like cod liver oil, for best results.
Need more tips to help you stay healthy this winter?
Check this out:
What To Do If You Get Sick
No one likes to be sick, and while living well and making healthy choices definitely decreases the chances of sickness, it can happen to anyone.
So here are some suggestions to help you get well if you find yourself under the weather:
- Rest, Rest, Rest
Giving yourself time to rest is one of the best things you can do if you feel like you’re coming down with something or if you are sick.
Your body is working to restore balance and needs rest to do that.
- Eat Healthy Foods
I know I mentioned this before, but I’m saying it again because it’s that important!
Eat foods that are nourishing and healing. Stick to healthy fats, bone broth, grass-fed meats, veggies, and some fruit. These foods will give your body the strength and fuel that it needs to do its job.
- Stay hydrated
When you’re not feeling well it’s easy to not get enough fluids, especially if you are dealing with an upset stomach.
Be sure to drink water, tea, or whatever you can tolerate throughout the day. You may need to take small sips more often in order to get enough fluid.
Try to stay away from sugary, processed drinks since they have no nutritional or health value.
- Consider supplements or homeopathic remedies
Herbs and homeopathic remedies can be incredibly helpful when you’re not feeling well.
If it’s homeopathic remedies you’re looking for this flu flow chart is really helpful!
More Helpful Info For Flu Relief
Looking for herbal and homeopathic remedies to help strengthen and support your immune system? Here are great resources!
Flu Flow Chart– Find the best homeopathic remedies for your flu symptoms
Interested In Making Your Own Remedies?
If you’re interested in making your own remedies and adding to your natural medicine cabinet, these recipes can help!
You’ll find herbal remedies, comforting recipes, and nourishing food.
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Hi, I’m Amy
I’m a Licensed Massage Therapist and have a degree in Human Services, but my most important job is being a wife and mom. My goal is to provide others with researched and reliable natural health information just for women so you too can live….
A Radiantly Healthy Life!