12 Natural Remedies to Fight Off Cold and Flu & Speed Up Recovery
Inside This Post: 12 natural remedies to keep stocked in your medicine cabinet to ward off illness & remedy a cold or flu. Natural remedies to speed up recovery.
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Fight Off Colds and Flu & Give Your Immune System a Boost
Do you ever notice that when one person gets sick, it starts a domino effect in your house, passing through from one person to the next, a few days at a time. The entire course of a cold can make it’s rounds through your house over two or three weeks.
From one mama to another, I know how hard this can be between terrible, sleepless nights, around-the-clock care and the adverse effects like whining and neediness of your little ones.
Thankfully, I’m a Mom well-versed in natural remedies and know my way around herbs, raw honey, essential oils, garlic and supplements that can get us through a cold or the flu pretty quickly.
I also use these natural remedies at the first inclination something may be started, to ward it off before it becomes a full blown cold or the flu.
Symptoms of a Cold:
Colds can come on fast, or if you miss the signs until it’s too late, ease their way into your home over a gradual few days. Common symptoms of a cold are:
- Runny/stuffy nose
- Body Ache
- Respiratory Symptoms
- Dry/sore throat
- Ear ache
12 Natural Remedies to Fight Off Cold and Flu
Of course, if you’re experiencing major or serious illness, it’s important to seek advice from a medical professional. When I know the illness isn’t serious and a doctor will likely tell me to dose with tylenol or motrin, and keep hydrated, this is where I chose to spend my money on natural remedies instead.
I think medical professionals are crucial for acute conditions, but most common colds can easily be treated at home.
These natural remedies can help your symptoms feel less severe, speed up recovery, and shorten sickness time, although may not help with pain relief like an over-the-counter medicine might.
The trick is to be alert to the slightest change in temperament and early warning signs of a weakened immune system, so you can start these natural remedies before the cold or flu takes hold.
1. Natural Electrolyte Drink
When I sense something is coming on, we’re about to travel, have a long day full of exhausting activities, the kid’s school says there’s a lot of sickness going around at school, this is the FIRST thing I reach for in my natural medicine cabinet.
Immune Booster gets mixed into a glass of water and when it dissolves completely, it tastes similar to Tang or some orange mix drink, but without the junk and fake ingredients. It provides as much Vitamin C as 16 oranges to give the immune system a boost.
Many studies show Vitamin C can really help you battle cold and flu and especially if you catch symptoms early on!
2. Elderberry Syrup
Elderberry is a wonderful natural remedy. I make my own homemade elderberry syrup with dried elderberries I keep in my pantry at all times, but if you want a conventionally made jar, this is my favorite version because it doesn’t taste fake or processed like a lot of other brands.
3. Raw Garlic
You probably already have this natural remedy in your home. It’s one of nature’s most potent sources that can be used for colds, flus and even ear aches.
The use of garlic has been researched in over 5,000 studies for it’s ability to help the body fight illness and aid in recovery.
I use it regularly in food, but when we’re sick, I use my garlic press to mince it (or use my mortar and pestle to smash several tablets of Garlic complex) and take a small amount in water. My kids don’t tolerate it well with just water, so I’ll mix it with honey or add it to applesauce or food to tone down the taste.
4. Lemon Juice
I like to squeeze a fresh lemon (or if I don’t have this on hand, I use lemon essential oil from Young Living which is the only company that makes specific essential oils safe for ingestion) into a mug of warm water. This is especially soothing for illnesses where you have respirator issues or sore throat.
5. Steam with Eucalyptus Oil
For respiratory illnesses including coughing and mucus, I like to use a face steam with eucalyptus oil or herbs.
Here’s what I do:
- Boil 2 – 3 cups of water and once the water is rolling, remove it from the heat.
- Add 2-3 drops of high-grade eucalyptus essential oil to the bowl of hot water.
- Sit or stand above the pot (be careful not to touch it,) place a towel over your head and and inhale the steam (eyes closed) for several minutes to help ease discomfort.
- You can also mix 2 teaspoons thyme, rosemary and oregano and let it sit for 3-5 minutes and steep some, before leaning over the pot and holding in the steam.
6 Apple Cider Vinegar and Salt Water
These two options may not taste the best, but they work really well for sore throats and helping speed up the healing process.
I’ll drink a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, but I also add it to my water or tea if the taste is too much to handle.
I recommend gargling with salt water (add pink himalayan salt to water and stir to dissolve), then swish some in your mouth, gargle and spit it out. It doesn’t taste great but can provide relief to sore throats when you’re sick.
7. Detox Bath
I love a detox bath not only because they help you sleep better, add natural minerals to your body and give the kids something enjoyable to do when they’re at home sick.
Be sure you remove the chlorine from the water first, so you’re not bathing in this chemical and harming your immune system further.
I love running a detox bath during minor illnesses to help ease symptoms, and everyone in my home takes a once a week detox bath for the health benefits as well.
8. Vitamin C
Alfalfa has so many natural benefits and this particular Alfalfa Complex is what I keep in my medicine cabinet because it doesn’t have any no fungicides, bacteriocides, synthetic hormones, growth regulators. Alfalfa crops are one of the heaviest sprayed with pesticides so you have to be careful!
The saponins, chlorophyll, and the smorgasbord of minerals present in alfalfa can help reduce inflammation anywhere in the body. Alfalfa is abundant in vitamins, minerals, and chlorophyll. The roots of Alfalfa burrow 20 feet deep to reach minerals inaccessible to other plants and that gets passed onto you.
Peppermint is great for helping bring down a fever and calming digestive issues. It can be used as a tea or rubbed on the skin directly to help with fever. Peppermint is antimicrobial and kids usually like and tolerate the taste fairly well. When you steep it in tea, you can do a hot or cold tea and drink all day long to help with symptoms as well as staying hydrated.
Organic ginger root can be steeped in boiling water to take a homemade tea that’s not only yummy, but great at combating sinus issues and congestion.
12. Bone Broth and Soup
It feels a bit cliche to write bone broth and soup, but it’s true that it’s the age-old remedy for illness and I believe it. I’m always cooking bone broth or a pot of soup when someone in our house isn’t feeling well. I like to pack my soups full of vegetables such as carrots, spinach, kale and add pink himalayan salt for added minerals to help sooth illness.
13. Boiron Oscillococcinum
After I wrote this article, I realized there was another important tool in medicine cabinet I had forgotten to mention – Borion Oscillococcinum. It’s a homeopathic medicine to take at the onset of cold or flu, and works naturally with your body to temporarily relieve flu-like symptoms, such as fatigue, headache, body aches, chills and fever.
Oscillococcinum has been shown in clinical studies to help reduce both the duration and the severity of flu-like symptoms. It does not cause drowsiness or interact with other medications and is all natural. It comes in small tubes with sweet-tasting pellets that dissolve quickly under the tongue, which is especially nice for kids (two and older.)
I’m curious to hear what other natural remedies you use to keep from getting sick, or remedy it if you already have something.