This Is Exactly How a Doctor Uses Apple Cider Vinegar to Fight the Flu So You Can Do the Same

The 2018 flu season has been one of the worst ever and, due to this year's strain, even people who got flu shots are vulnerable. If you're dealing with a miserable bout of influenza, apple cider vinegar could help ease your symptoms.

Dr. Sean McCaffrey, DC, IHS, LDHS, of McCaffrey Health Clinic told POPSUGAR that ACV has healing qualities thanks to its probiotic properties and nourishing enzymes. "One to two tablespoons have been proven effective in fighting the flu and cold because apple cider vinegar alkalizes our bodies, which is known to fight off bacteria and viruses," McCaffrey said. He recommended mixing one to two tablespoons of ACV in water and adding a bit of honey if the taste doesn't appeal to you. ACV can also easily be added to salad dressings.

McCaffrey even has a recipe specifically designed to fight off the flu, and it's easy to make at home. Mix one to two tablespoons of ACV into eight ounces of water, then add one tablespoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of ground ginger, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, one teaspoon of raw honey, and a pinch of cayenne.

Luisa Szakacs, ND and certified nutrition consultant at Marpe Nutrition, told POPSUGAR that ACV can be used in numerous ways to fight the flu. She recommended drinking two to three tablespoons each day, diluted in either water, seltzer, orange juice, or apple juice. "If you have a lot of sinus or lung congestion, heat a pot half-filled with water with one tablespoon of ACV," Szakacs said. "With a towel over your head, inhale the steam, which helps to open breathing passages."

Szakacs added that drinking ACV isn't the only way to alleviate flu symptoms. After diluting ACV with water, she suggested rubbing it on affected areas of your body such as the chest, tonsils, throat, or sinuses. "Since the skin is your largest organ, the ACV is absorbed right into the area that likely needs it the most," she explained.

Naturopathic physician Michelle Winchell told POPSUGAR that fire cider is her go-to remedy when she's fighting off a cold or flu. She also recommended making homemade bone broth with ACV.

"Bone broth is a must have for anyone dealing with the flu, because it's filled with nutrients and keeps you hydrated — key players for a speedy recovery," Winchell said. "When I'm making bone broth, I usually add about 1/4 cup of ACV to an eight-quart batch. [Adding ACV] helps pull nutrients out of the bones and into the broth, which creates a more nutrient-dense broth filled with minerals."

On the flip side, Dr. Elizabeth Trattner offered alternative ways to fight the flu that don't involve ACV. "For the flu, we see much greater efficacy [than ACV] with elderberry, ginger, myco medicinals, and probiotics that have significant clinical data behind them and their ability to assist with immunity," Trattner told POPSUGAR.

She recommended marrow-based soups — preferably homemade ones. But when the flu has you too tired to move, let alone cook, Trattner said store-bought brands also do the trick. "Marrow-based soup is available everywhere, and I recommend having a box or two on hand for emergencies," she said.

Trattner also recommended garlic as a way to fight the flu because it increases antibody production and has powerful antioxidant properties. "Whole cloves can be eaten every day, crushed in food," she said. But don't use powdered garlic, because it doesn't have the active compounds that fight off the flu.

Trattner added that a number of supplements and herbs, such as vitamin C, sea buckthorn, astragalus, elderberry extract, probiotics, omega-3 fatty acids, and zinc, are all effective ways to boost immunity and fight off the flu.

If you're battling the flu, ACV and other herbs and supplements are certainly helpful, but nothing can substitute getting plenty of rest and drinking lots of fluids. With the help of some natural remedies, you'll be on the mend before you know it.