|It's flu season, but you don't need to trudge to a pharmacy or get a shot from your doctor to protect yourself.|
Sometimes when your body is feeling sick all you want is bland food, but Eric Grey, a Chinese medicine practitioner in Portland, Ore., and manager of blogs and magazines on the subject, says sometimes a bit of spice is just what the doctor (should have) ordered. He recommends very strong ginger or licorice tea, which can be bought at most bulk food stores. And don't scrimp on your brew: It should be "strong enough to be quite spicy," Grey recommends. And before you go crazy with any super-strong ginseng tea that your Facebook friend recommended, Grey says to be careful with self-medication. "While there are fantastic over-the-counter Chinese herb remedies, they are not for everyone, and not for every cold and flu," he says. "Most practitioners would be happy to chat with you about it, usually for a relatively low cost, if not free." 2. Soup it up
It may sound cliche, but chicken soup, Grey says, is actually a fantastic remedy for a variety of reasons that may have nothing to do with chicken. For vegetarians, he says the equivalent effect can come from a hearty miso soup with some extra vegetables thrown in for good measure. "Make a big pot and eat it as you can throughout -- chunkier if your appetite is good, thin broth if your appetite is bad," Grey says, explaining that "the fluids, as well as the easily available and assimilable nutrients, can help shorten your recovery."