If you're down with the flu and want some relief, you might not need to go to the drug store to find it. Some of the best natural remedies for influenza are right in your own home.

Influenza is a viral illness that doesn't respond to antibiotics. If you see your doctor very soon after you become ill, she might be able to give you an anti-viral medication to reduce the virus's impact and shorten the amount of time you're sick. For most people, however, the best medicine for what ails them are the remedies their grandmothers used. 

1. Rest. We cannot overstate how important it is when you're sick to get in bed (OK, on the couch, if you insist) and rest. Rest allows your body to active its immune responses without having to simultaneously do other activities like work, studying or chores. Give your body the break it needs and let it heal.

2. Fluids. Water, tea and diluted juices are your best choices for hydrating your body and helping it clear out the germs. Hydration is especially important if you're running a fever or if you have vomiting or diarrhea.

3. Steam. If you're stuffed up or coughing taking a hot, steamy shower is a great way to loosen up mucous and relieve congestion. If you don't want to hog the bathroom, create a steam tent by filling a bowl with hot water and placing it on a table. Place your head over the bowl and cover both your head and the bowl with a towel. Breathe deep.

4. Chicken soup. Your grandmother was right about the healing properties of soup.  It contains water, electrolytes, vitamins and small amounts of protein and carbohydrates—all the nutrition you need when you're sick. Plus, it's easily digestible and makes you feel cozy. 

5. Salt water gargle. Dissolve a teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water and create your own gargle for sore throats. It loosens up mucous in the back of your throat and bathes your throat in soothing warm water. 

6. Vitamins and supplements. Omega 3 fatty acids, Ginseng, Vitamin D, Vitamin C and zinc all show some promise at boosting the immune system so it can fight flu and other viruses.  Echinacia doesn't seem to do much good. 

7. Lemon and honey. Create your own cough and throat soother by dissolving honey in a cup of hot water and lemon juice. Or, just take a spoonful of honey to calm your cough.

How about whiskey? It may have been the favorite remedy for past generations, but doctors today aren't so generous about recommending alcohol for medicinal purposes. Stick with tea instead.  

Liesa Harte, M.D. Functional Medicine Founder, Elite Care reviewed this article.