9 Natural Remedies for Winter: Staying Healthy Through the Cold Seasons
Inside This Post: 9 Natural Remedies for Winter know for their immune boosting properties. Have a healthy immune system by using these natural home remedies and herbs.
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During a bad flu season in 2018, I saw a huge uptick in parents and adults searching online to ask, “what can I do to protect my kids from getting sick?” Literally when I look for patterns of what’s seasonally being searched on google, the phrase “best way to keep kids from getting sick” skyrocketed in the winter of 2018.
With the onset of cold weather, the cold, flu, and sniffles can become a regular occurrence and parents begin to reach into their natural medicine cabinet for home remedies and immune boosting tools.
My cabinet is packed with natural remedies and herbs all year long, but during the winter, I like to stay prepared with a few specifics I keep on hand just in case.
9 Natural Remedies for Winter
1. Elderberry Syrup
I love Elderberry Syrup for it’s natural potency of boosting the immune system, warding off cold and flu, shortening illness and speeding up recovery.
My homemade elderberry syrup recipe uses organic dried elderberries, raw honey and a blend of herbs– cinnamon, raw honey, and ginger – for an effective natural syrup that works really well.
I’ve found it very easy to make and much less expensive than store bough versions with a third of the amount my homemade recipe makes.
Here’s my Homemade Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
If you don’t have time or need elderberry syrup in a pinch, you can grab a pre-made syrup at the store. It’s usually more expensive than the homemade version, in my experience. Be sure to check the back of the label for proper dosing for kids and adults as this varies from the guidelines I posted in my recipe.
Also, here are some elderberry gummies that are good to have on hand.
2. Organic Raw Honey
Honey has anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-parasitic effects, and praised for it’s nutritional and medical qualities by none other than Hippocrates, the father of medicine.
Honey has the natural power to soothe a cough and sore throat by coating and relieving the “tickle” in the throat.
In a study conducted by Penn State University, honey was discovered to be better at alleviating cough than over the counter drugs. The study by Dr. Ian Paul found that a small amount of buckwheat honey, given before bedtime, provided better relief for kids from night time cough and sleep difficulty than the use of dextromethorphan (DM), found in many cough suppressant medications.
I use raw honey, never pasteurized honey, because of the natural anti-viral, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties found in the raw version. Pasteurized honey has been heated and the benevolent enzymes have been killed off, making it useless. Look for organic, raw honey and local is always best if you have access to it.
3. Vitamin C Rich Foods
Vitamin C-rich foods help boost the immune system and beat cold & flu. Vitamin C revs your body’s natural defenses & should be taken daily to fight off illness.
Studies show that downing Vitamin C once you come down with a cold doesn’t appear to be helpful, but if you have a diet rich in Vitamin or take a Vitamin C supplement daily, it shortened the length of time you’re sick and reduce the severity of your symptoms.
A Cochrane Library review found vitamin C reduced the length of the common cold in adults by 8 percent. In children, colds were reduced by 14 percent.
The body is not able to make the essential vitamin C on its own, and it does not store vitamin C. That’s why it’s important to eat a diet with vitamin C-containing foods daily.
Here are 14 Vitamin C loaded foods to include in your daily diet.
4. Homemade Cough Syrup
This is easy to make in mere minutes and does a great job at relieving coughing, especially at night, when you need to sleep and allow your body time to fight off illness and recover.
I keep this super simple homemade cough syrup either in the fridge or frozen in an ice cube tray. It combines raw honey, lemon juice, coconut oil and herbs to sooth cough or tickling throat. I’ve found my kids find when I mix cinnamon in, they say it takes like cinnamon applesauce and have no problem taking it. It’s also great to drop into warm water or tea.
Here’s my recipe for homemade cough syrup.
5. Fermented Cod Oil Liver
I include fermented cod liver oil in our daily supplements during fall and winter and cold and flu season. These fat soluble vitamins and Omega-3s, are one of the richest sources of vitamin D available. Since sun exposure is important to health and you aren’t getting a lot of it during these months, nor can your body get all of its vitamin D needs from food sources, this whole food supplement of cod liver oil.
Additional, healthy fats such as omega-3 fatty acids, found in cod liver oil, will promote skin health, increase vitamin and mineral absorption, and boost the immune system.
Here’s the fermented cod liver oil our family takes.
I always have raw garlic on hand during the Fall and Winter, not only because it tastes great in soups, stir frys and dinner dishes, but because it’s a natural anti-inflammatory and is filled with vitamins and minerals, including vitamin B6, manganese, selenium, vitamin c, iron, potassium, and copper.
Garlic fights all types of infections—fungal, bacterial, parasitic, and viral—regulates blood sugar, helps relieve ear aches, lowers blood pressure, and lowers cholesterol
Here’s how we use it:
- Mince a clove of garlic and stir into a glass of water. Drink every few hours until symptoms of illness go away.
- Mince a garlic clove and toss into your salad or salad dressing
- Make your own Apple Cider Vinegar and Garlic tonic
- Add to soups, stir frys or juice with other veggies
Apple Cider Vinegar & Garlic Tonic:
- Mince as any cloves of garlic as you need to fill a small mason jar 1/4 full
- Add equal parts raw honey and apple cider vinegar, to cover the garlic on the bottom.
- Shake well, let the mixture sit in a dark spot in your pantry or cupboard for at least 7 days, shaking daily to keep mixing ingredients.
- After a week, strain the garlic out of the mixture (or you can leave in for a more robust concoction.)
- Take one tablespoon daily for immune defense throughout cold and flu season
7. Vapor Rub
I keep a safe vapor rub on hand if cold or coughing strikes. I put it on the bottoms of feet or the back and chest to ease congestion and calm coughing. I do not use Vick’s, but a natural vapor rub from honest company that’s not as strong or irritating to the skin, especially little kids.
I take these probiotics preventatively (daily) for illness, but also because gut health is extremely important and directly tied to immune health.
Hippocrates famously said that all illness begins in the gut, and in winter months, the gut needs some extra TLC. I take these probiotics daily to keep my gut happy and take a few extra in case of illness.
Fermented foods such as kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, etc. that aren’t overly processed from the store are also really beneficial for gut health as they have natural probiotic benefits.
9. Diffuser & Humidifier
I have a diffuser and humidifier in one, for each of the bedrooms in our house. Putting eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils in the unit, which can run for 10 hours a night, helps ease mucus, break up congestion and promotes better sleep and health. A humidifier also helps in winter when the air is dry (especially where we live in Colorado) and puts much needed moisture back in the air.
I LOVE all of the essential oils from plant therapy (especially the value you get in the starter kit!) and trust them as a pure, undiluted source of essential oils. I also love that they have essential oils specifically for kids with their KidSafe line.
My Thoughts on Essential Oils Companies:
I have tried Young Living and Doterra, but can safely say I only recommend Plant Therapy because I have found they are the most transparent essential oil company available as well as being the only company to use third-party laboratories to test the quality of their oils, and I commend them for that. Moreover, they publish the tests online, allowing everyone to see the results, unlike other companies who may or may not test, yet don’t publish results. Their oils are chemical free and tested before offered to the consumers
I find that MLM companies such as Young Living and Doterra lack scientific research and testing, transparency and are much more expensive than Plant Therapy.
10. BONUS – 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.)