While the common cold may be referred to as the flu, influenza is a specific family of RNA viruses that is different from the common cold which is caused by a large number of different viruses. Google has a map that represents world-wide flu trends: http://www.google.org/flutrends/ Paul Bergner has written significantly on the subject of influenza: Influenza: Lesson for the clinic from 1918 http://naimh.com/Influenza-1918.pdf Abstract: Avian influenza and the potential threat of a major influenza pandemic have been among the top news stories over the past year. Public health concern is high because of the high human mortality rate associated with bird flu and fears of the potential for emerging strains to spread from human to human. Coupled with the news stories are accounts of the deadly 1918 influenza pandemic. The "superbug" theory of pandemic influenza generally attributes all excess mortality to the strength of the pathogen and ignores all other factors involved in host resistance. This theoretical stance does not withstand close critical examination, particularly in light of what is historically known about the 1918 pandemic. Factors such as urbanization, micronutrient malnutrition, poor diet, vitamin D deficiency, and host-weakening iatrogenic disease may have contributed significantly to mortality in the 1918 pandemic, and these factors may have been as important as the path ogenic potential of the virus. An examination of these factors from 1918 leads to recommendations for prevention or treatment during future pandemics. Influenza prevention: Immunization and Tamiflu are not enough http://naimh.com/Influenza-prevention.pdf Abstract: Vaccination and antiviral drugs are the standard public health measures available for pandemic influenza; these will be insufficient to provide protection for the great majority of individuals affected. Other methods of increasing host resistance may be available with dietary changes, nutritional supplementation, and herbal medicines. Research supporting the efficacy of such measures is reviewed. Influenza: Treatment of Acute Febrile Disease http://naimh.com/Influenza-Acute-Febrile-Disease.pdf Influenza typically presents with a moderate to high fever. Fever is a normal and healthy reaction of the human immune system, and suppression with aspirin or other drugs may prolong a respiratory infection or make it more severe. Natural and herbal treatments for fever are described. Influenza: Treatment of the Dry Cough http://naimh.com/Influenza-Dry-Cough.pdf A common symptom of influenza is the dry cough, caused by infection and destruction of the respiratory epithelium. Many traditional expectorant herbs are ineffective in this cough, or may aggravate it. Demulcent and relaxant-expectorant herbs are described, and simple quick-formulas for acute treatment are presented. There are also the two Youtube videos of Paul Bergner on the subject of influenza: Vitamin D for Flu: Vitamins and Herbs for Flu: Todd Caldecott has also written on this subject. See: Colds, Flu and Fever: http://toddcaldecott.com/conditions/colds-flu-and-fever/ There is book by Kathy Abascal titled: Herbs & Influenza: How Herbs Used in the 1918 Flu Pandemic Can Be Effective Today http://www.amazon.com/Herbs-Influenza-Pandemic-Effective-Today/dp/0978858670 Paul Bergner wrote a review of this book: With the specter of a major influenza pandemic on the horizon, this book is a timely review and update on therapeutics for this sometimes-lethal disease. Even if today's bird flu does not evolve into a major killer as feared, seasonally epidemic influenza remains a serious disease throughout the world. Abascal's book looks back to the 1918 epidemic, the worst influenza epidemic in recent history, which killed millions of people worldwide. During that epidemic in the U.S., both homeopaths and herbalists claimed a better survival rate than that achieved by physicians of the day. Abascal's review of Eclectic herbal materia medica goes beyond the standard Felter and Ellingwood texts, and includes dozens of references to articles in the Eclectic Medical Journal. A primary source for the book is a survey of Eclectic remedies used during the 1918 Epidemic - the survey was done by the Lloyd brothers pharmaceutical company in 1919. She also includes historical and contemporary naturopathic and herbal sources. The fifteen most commonly-used Eclectic remedies are described in detail. About half of these, including four of the five top herbs, are Class IV low-dose toxic botanicals or other strong herbs generally not available to the non-physician herbalist. She also covers twenty more herbs covered in somewhat less detail. The relevance of this book for the clinical practitioner is four stars out of four. It is sure to broaden your thinking about materia medica and tailoring treatments to the presenting symptoms in the various stages of flu, including fever, muscle pain, headache, and respiratory complications. Another article by Paul Bergner: Boneset and Influenza: Historical notes and commentary. Paul Bergner RH(AHG): http://medherb.com/bi/Issue-134-Fall-2003.pdf Abstract: The herb Eupatorium perfoliatum, boneset, has been used to treat in fluenza and other viral respiratory infections continuously in the U.S. since before first contact with the Europeans. A review of this use by physicians of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries is reviewed, with commentary, along with their general recommendations for prevention and care of influenza.