Fever. Sore throat. Runny nose. Fatigue. Muscle aches.

The flu strikes up to one-fifth of Americans each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. A yearly flu vaccine may help you dodge the dreaded virus, but gentle herbs and supplements also offer targeted prevention.

Remedy How it works Dose
Beta-carotene Feeds the mucous membranes so they can better slough off viral invaders in the nose. Drink an 8-ounce glass of beta-carotene-rich carrot juice daily. Or take an antioxidant formula with 10,000 IUs beta-carotene every day.
Echinacea Boosts the immune system, preparing it for battle against viruses. Take two dropperfuls of a tincture combination of Echinacea angustifolia and E. purpurea every 2-3 hours the first day you start feeling sick. If you don't feel better the next morning, resume dosing.
Rosehips Strengthens immunity with antioxidant properties. To make a tea, steep 2 tablespoons of dried rosehips in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink a couple of times a day during flu season.
Vitamin C Decreases oxidative stress on cells, making them more resistant to viral intruders. During flu season, take 1,000 mg three times a day. Choose a supplement with bioflavonoids, which increase C's efficacy.
Zinc Works similarly to vitamin C. Take 30 mg a day during flu season.

Consult your health care practitioner for advice before taking any supplement.