To go... or not to go herbal with your illness

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KNOXVILLE (WVLT) – If you already have the flu or other illness, you will need more than rest to get rid of it.

But what kind of remedies are out there?

This time of year, doctors office employees ask, but likely know what you are coming to see them about.

When it comes to how sick you are going to be, especially with the flu, they say only time will tell.

“Once you've missed that window of opportunity, you have to ride it out,” said Dr. Jay Hammett from East Towne Urgent Care. “You're going to have to treat the symptoms.”

You choices for treatment are numerous, with all the usual over the county brands in play.

But they aren’t always safe.

“Decongestants can drive up the blood pressure dramatically and cause serious and adverse problems,” said Dr. Hammett. “For someone with prostate problems, it certainly can make it difficult to go to the bathroom.”

Some prefer to pass up the pharmacy in search of a more natural cure.

“One of the most popular things for viruses is elderberry,” said Amy Belitz from Nature’s Pantry. “It comes in lozenges with elderberry and zinc.”

According to Belitz, Nature's Pantry can fix up with all sorts of herbal or all natural symptom relievers.

“The elderberry directly fights the virus while Echinacea, vitamin C, and zinc all help your body boost your own immunity,” she said.

Even some medical professionals agree that going the all natural route may help.

“A lot of the zinc products generally have shown some use,” said Dr. Hammett.

Still others swear by home remedies, like Dandridge resident William McAlister who endorses a hot toddy of tea, sugar, lemon, honey and a little bit of whiskey.

“Alcoholic type mixtures, those things probably aren't very safe,” said Dr. Hammett.

Doctors and plant scientists do agree however that you need to seek your own advice.

“It's always good to talk to your pharmacist, they're usually pretty good about any contraindications with herbs or other minerals,” said Belitz.
Some doctors have been telling their patients not to come in if they don't have flu because they are likely to catch it from somebody else.

Obviously, if you have high blood pressure or other health problems, double-check with your doctor, pharmacist or nutritionist to make sure any remedy or symptom reliever won't interfere with your current medication, or make your symptoms worse.

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