Got the Flu? What About Home Remedies

Flu season is here. But this year you may not have to stock up on over-the-counter medication. More and more people are using traditional home remedies to relieve their cold and flu symptoms.

Your grandma or grandpa probably said to you if you're sick just take a shot of bourbon and that's the best medicine. Well they weren't far off: add some herbal tea and honey to your whiskey and you've got yourself a pharmacist recommended hot toddy.

Pharmacist Ian Ginsberg says you may need more than a mixed drink to make you feel better, but some of the best medicine is stuff you can conjure up in your own kitchen!

He says, "Things you buy in a pharmacy are now more and more costly and they tend to generate a lot of side effects and these things you can pinpoint the symptoms you want to relieve, the stuff is available in the house, its pretty inexpensive and its a lot easier, and generally no side effects, and they work as good or even better."

So we asked Ian to give us a lesson on some home remedies to help fight the flu. First ailment, kicking the congestion.

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He taught us how to make a mustard plaster. The first thing you do is you take flour 2 parts flour and 1 part mustard powder -- finely ground and just mix it up together so its evenly distributed and then make a paste with water.

Mix it until it's smooth and brush it onto a towel. Place the towel on your chest or lower back. The mustard seed generates heat and breaks up mucus in the chest and it also can be used on muscle aches and pains.

Ian says, "It's your own at-home heating pad that really functions better then a heating pad and its fun to make."

Good old fashioned hot showers with lots of steam will help also help clear congestion! Add some eucalyptus or menthol crystals for extra relief.

Ian says, "You can drink peppermint tea, that helps too, ginger works too, sometimes hot foods -- things like mustard, and hot sauce -- things you say, 'Ah, God, it opens up my nasal passages,' things of that sort can help."

Now for help with those painful chapped lips. Start with Vaseline. Ian says, "Vaseline's a good lip balm itself but you always want to add some good moisturizing ingredients."

Try cocoa or shae butter, then add drops of vanilla or peppermint extract for flavor! Voila! A moisturizing lip balm.

Suffering from a cough or sore throat? Ian recommends gargling with salt water or adding honey or lemon to your drinks. Remember hydration is key. Ian says drink herbal teas, water & juices.  Stay away from caffeine, and don't eat anything that is harder to digest like vegetables.

He says, "Chicken soup is probably the best medicine."

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