I think we can all agree that having the cold or flu is no fun! Who likes scratchy, sore throats, runny noses, stuffy noses and body aches and chills? Yup, us neither. Let’s not forget all of the nasty cold and viruses circulating this year. As the saying goes “It’s February and love is in the air. So is the flu, so wash your hands.” By February we hope that the worst is behind us but there are still plenty of germs out there.
Unfortunately, sometimes catching the cold or flu seems inevitable this time of year, especially among schoolchildren. (And, of course, it’s sad to see our kids so uncomfortable or in pain from the flu.) That’s why we decided to put together a list of some of our favorite natural cold and flu remedies. We hope one of these ideas will help keep you from feeling miserable while recovering from the cold.
- Golden Milk
This warming drink, which originated with ancient Ayurveda, is perfect for colds, flus, depression and more. It’s usually made with milk, oil and spices, yet the most important ingredient is turmeric. Turmeric is a powerful super-spice. Some of the amazing health benefits of turmeric include:
- Supports digestion and liver health
- Boosts immune system
- Acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory
- Increases concentration and helps with memory retention
Fun Fact: When you ingest turmeric with black pepper, you are increasing the amount of the curcumin you can absorb and your body can use. Curcumin, one of the main chemical compounds in turmeric, acts as the all-mighty anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, thus protecting healthy cells from any free radicals that cause damage. So make sure that when you use turmeric, you also add some black pepper!
Here’s a simple golden milk recipe to try:
- 2 cups milk of choice
- ½ tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- Sliver fresh ginger
- Pinch black pepper
- Raw honey to taste
Blend everything together until smooth, and then heat up on the stove for 3-4 minutes until brew is hot but not boiling. Transfer to a mug and enjoy.
- Gargle with Salt Water
This is great to do as soon as you start feeling sick! Not only can it help relieve a sore, scratchy throat, but gargling salt water actually pulls viral fluids out from the throat area. Dissolve 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargle it all 1-2x a day.
- Take a Wellness Shot
Make your own anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting wellness shot. Our fave is Minimalist Baker’s lemon ginger turmeric wellness shot, as it’s both citrusy and spicy with a nice dose of Vitamin C.
- Elderberry Syrup
This powerful herb is believed to deactivate the flu virus and naturally boost immunity. The flowers and berries of elderberry are said to boost the immune system, treat flu symptoms and relieve sinus pain. Our favorite elderberry tonic is Mickelberry Gardens! Their Elderberry Honey Tonic is a blend of raw honey, raw apple cider vinegar, and gentle herbal remedies traditionally used to support healthy immune function.
- Essential Oils
Power to the plants! There are many powerful essential oils for the cold and flu. Here are a few of our faves:
- Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
- Peppermint oil is used as a natural decongestant and fever-reducer.
- Oregano oil has a powerful antiviral effect.
- Clove oil has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
- Frankincense oil is an antiseptic and disinfectant agent that has antimicrobial effects.
All of these oils can be great for protecting your body against infection and speeding up recovery from the flu. When used with a carrier oil, you can rub a little bit onto your neck or the bottoms of your feet. Another special oil is the blend OnGuard. The doTERRA On Guard is a powerful proprietary blend that supports healthy immune function when used internally and contains cleansing properties.
Never underestimate the importance of rest and a good night’s sleep! Sleep is super important when recovering from any type of virus. Sleep is our body’s best natural defense mechanism. Only when we are in deep sleep can our body properly do its heavy lifting to protect, restore and strengthen our immune system to the max.
- Top Foods for Recovery
- Think of light and easy-to-digest foods, such as homemade soups, cooked vegetables and herbal teas.
- Adequate hydration is key, as water helps flush out any bacteria and viruses in your system. Have you ever tried hot water with lemon, honey and cinnamon? Honey and cinnamon help prevent mucus buildup. It’s a yummy and soothing hot drink that’s easy to make.
- Make a ginger tea and add raw honey. Ginger is one of the top anti-inflammatory foods and it enhances immunity and soothes the stomach. Ginger has been known to help with congestion, nausea, colds, and fevers.
- Garlic and onions help boost immunity; perhaps that’s why they are perfect to add to soups! Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. It is packed with minerals, enzymes, vitamin C, sulphur, and selenium, which all help bust colds and flus.
- Overall, eat whole, nutrient-rich foods with plenty of fresh fruits, veggies and leafy greens.
- Echinacea Tea
Did you know that Native Americans have used the herb and root of the echinacea plant to treat infections for more than 400 years? Some studies show that echinacea cuts the chances of catching a cold by 58%. It can also reduce the duration of the common cold by almost one and a half days. Overall, echinacea is a fantastic remedy for many kinds of infections. We love having echinacea in the form of tea.
Probiotics are the friendly bacteria and yeast found in our body, some foods, and supplements. They help keep our gut and immune system healthy. Furthermore, they could reduce our chance of getting sick with an upper respiratory infection. The best foods full of natural probiotics are fermented foods. So think sauerkraut, kimchi, tempeh and kefir. Yogurt can also be full of probiotics–just make sure to buy plain yogurt, such as Greek yogurt, without all of the added sugars and flavors.
- Add Moisture to the Air
A cool mist vaporizer or humidifier adds moisture to your home, which could then help loosen congestion. Humidifiers help moisturize your nasal, throat, and lung passages, making it easier for air to pass through.
Try out these natural remedies for yourself!
Written by Gelsey Plaza