Colds and flu viruses may be inevitable if you work in a large office or school, or are just generally around lots of people every winter. Wouldn't you rather put away those Day-quill/Ny-quill bottles and use some very effective and natural treatments? From muscle aches to runny noses, sore throats, coughs, and stomach aches, these remedies are ones we recommend you keep in your medicine cabinet. You can find all of them on Amazon or on your favorite vitamin website.
(These plant-based natural treatments for colds and flu are safe but that does't mean that a few folks won't experience allergic reactions, so start slow and work your way up to the optimal amount. And as always, if you are a pregnant or breastfeeding, please check with your doctor before using.)
Beginning in late summer or early fall start your cold and flu prevention program. This includes:
High Quality Vitamins and Minerals. Everyone with a pulse should be taking some because you simply cannot get all the necessary nutrients in your food, even if you eat nothing but organic plants and animals and live in the mountains. The soil is depleted of minerals due to modern farming methods and we're exposed to polluted air and water which robs the body of nutrients. We don't have a particular brand to recommend so, just make sure the multivitamin/mineral supplement you take is from whole food sources and don't take drugstore brands like Centrum etc. Yes, you will pay more for high-quality supplements, but it beats succumbing to nutrient-deficiency diseases like arthritis, heart disease, and cancer that cost thousands of dollars to treat. We don't claim that this natural treatment is a cure for those and other chronic diseases, but it's an insurance policy against them.
Probiotics. There's a mountain of recent evidence in favor of taking probiotics not only for gut health but also strengthening immunity. Since our immune system resides mainly in our gut and is dependent on robust intestinal flora it makes sense to keep it populated with these helper organisms. We now know that gluten (a protein found in wheat, barley and rye) damages intestinal microvilli (the tiny hair-like fingers that facilitate the movement of food nutrients into the blood stream. If you eat lots of bread, pasta, pancakes, or bakery items chances are pretty good you've got some damage to the intestinal villi that's affecting vitamin and mineral absorption. Low nutrient absorption = low immunity to colds and flu.
Do a Detox/Cleanse in the late summer or early fall when it's still warm out.
First of all, don't take antibiotics unless you have a serious, bacterial infection. Don't take them for viruses because they don't work. They kill off the good bacteria in your gut, and contribute to making you resistant to future antibiotic treatment. See the chart below.
We know you just want to feel better asap, but colds and flus take time to run their course. Try these natural treatments to lessen your suffering and shorten the length of it. The homeopathic remedies are safe for children.
Stop Eating. Ok, you don't have to, but at least switch out your usual food for lighter fare and don't eat as much. Bonus points if you stick to simple fresh juices and smoothies only. Your body doesn't have to use as much energy to digest which leaves lots more energy to fight off cold and flu viruses.
Pulsatilla. This is a homeopathic remedy for runny noses, chills, irritability, head congestion and sinus pain. Follow label directions. You can take it often. This one is great for children.
Belladonna. Take the homeopathic remedy only. It provides relief from pounding headaches, sinus headaches, earaches, coughs, dry mouth. Take every 15 minutes under the tongue until the first sign of relief.
There are also homeopathic cold and flu combo formulas which cover many different symptoms. Boiron and Hyland's are great brands. Luyties carries a bunch of remedies but you have to order online.
Valerian and Hops take the place of your Ny-Quill. Try them single or as a combo in an herbal sleep formula. Follow the directions and take it before bedtime. It relaxes you and makes you sleepy, so you don't want to take it during the day or too long before you go to bed.
Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide. THIS ONE IS NOT FOR KIDS. It is a great natural treatment for sinus infections, colds and flu, but you must exercise caution when using. We almost hesitated to post this one because it can easily be mishandled if you don't educate yourself about using it, but since it's so amazing and effective we had to share. First, get yourself a bottle of 12% food grade H2O2 (don't use drugstore H2O2. It has preservatives,) in the health food store or online. This dilution is just fine and safer than the higher percentages. The main caution of using this is that you MUST dilute it before using and you MUST not get it on your skin straight out of the bottle because you will get a heck of a burn. So wear some kitchen gloves when you work with this. The bottle will tell you how to dilute it in water, how often to ingest, and once you get the hang of it, it's easy to do. You MUST start at the low dose and work your way up gradually as directed on the bottle. You can also put a few drops in your neti pot, fill with salt water, and run it through your sinuses. It's especially effective as a 2-pronged approach with the sinus oil below. We've written about H2O2 in detail here.
So now go educated yourself on the benefits of food grade hydrogen peroxide because you will want to get some of this in your fridge yesterday. It's even good for your houseplants.
Lavender/Eucalyptus Essential Oil Blend. We at Healthy Girlfriend dab a little in our nostrils all winter long to prevent respiratory ailments including colds, flu, and sinusitis and to help heal when we do get something. One of us used it to cure an intractible sinus infection that defeated three rounds of antibiotics and caused a horrible skin rash. If you don't already know, essential oils are the result of distilling plant compounds into their most pure and concentrated form. Let's start with the properties of each essential oil and then talk about the blend.
Lavender: it smells wonderful which is why it's commonly used in candles, scented body lotions, perfume and cleaning products. It's real power lies in its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiseptic, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. It's also mildly sedating as well as a mood-lifter. A drop on each temple can help relieve a headache and stress.
Eucalyptus: Often used as a natural cleaner for kitchen and bath, this essential oil has a clean, refreshing scent. It is widely used in over-the-counter cold medicine and in fragrant soaps. As a antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-stimulator, it is an effective natural treatment for pain and inflammation of the respiratory mucous membrane. It is also cited as a remedy for dental cavities and mental sluggishness although we haven't used it for either of those.
The synergestic blend of the two may be more powerful than each individually. The curing of our long-term sinus infection indicates it is. Because mucous membrane is sensitive, you should put the oils in a carrier oil such as grapeseed or coconut. We make an ounce or so of this to get us through the winter. Check out the recipe below.
1. Get a small glass vial like the one in the photo at the health food store.
2. Put 10 drops of essential oil of lavender in the clean vial.
3. Put 5 drops of essential oil of eucalyptus in the vial.
4. Carefully fill the rest of the vial with grape seed oil, almond oil or any other mild
5. Make it before cold and flu season so it has time to get its mojo going. You can make
it right when you need it, but in our experience it does get more powerful as time
To use preventively, put some on your pinky finger and swab the inside of each
nostril before bed. During acute symptoms of colds and flu, use as often as you can.
For more natural remedies we love, please visit our herbal remedies page.