The cold and flu season is here and chances are that sooner or later you’ll come down with a cold. In fact, the average American gets 2-4 colds a year and if the odds stack up against you, then you could also be one of the 15-20% of Americans that will get the flu this year. Simply put, catching a cold is inevitable but there are a few remedies that can help ease the process and speed up the healing process.
We are a big fan of natural and plant-based remedies here and keep a well-preserved stock of natural remedies to treat cold and flu at all times. Here we give you a sneak peek of what we reach for at the first sign of a cold.
Organic Oregano Oil
Oregano oil is one of the most potent natural remedies known mostly for its antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic qualities. Oregano oil is extracted from the leaves and flowers of the oregano plant and contains multiple potent disease-fighting compounds like Thymol which is a natural antiseptic that helps enhance immune functions and reduce recovery time, and Carvacrol which is a potent natural antibiotic. Due to its extremely intense flavor, we prefer taking Oregano oil in capsule form, one of our favorites is this organic wild oregano oil (not a partner brand).
Elderberry is one of the most widely used plant remedies around the world. From Native Americans to ancient Egyptians, Elderberries have long been used to fight off infections, lower inflammation, improve complexion, and heal wounds. These days, Elderberry extract and syrups are all the hype in the world of homeopathic flu remedies and for good cause. Amongst many active compounds, Elderberries contain hemagglutinin protein which has been shown to inhibit a virus’s capability to replicate, thereby preventing the virus from causing infection if taken before exposure or preventing the virus from spreading if taken after exposure. This makes the Elderberry a powerful medicine for preventing & treating viral infections like the flu. Elderberry extract can be taken in tincture form or in syrup form.
Ginger is one of the most potent vegetables there is! The powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities of Ginger make it an absolute must-have at home regardless of the season. Ginger is widely used to support digestion, lower inflammation, support respiratory health, and treat bacterial infections. Ginger tea helps soothe sore throats and coughs, as well as nausea that often accompanies the flu. We like ours made by boiling fresh slices of ginger in water. If you are feeling especially brave, we highly recommend taking a pure ginger juice shot for maximum effect!
Garlic has long been used in homeopathy as a powerful disease-fighting agent. Garlic contains potent antimicrobial, antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is rich in vitamin C, minerals, enzymes, selenium, and sulfur, as well as a compound called allicin that has potent antimicrobial properties making garlic a great natural remedy for fighting off cold and flu. The best way to take garlic is to cook with it or swallow a whole garlic clove.
Saline Nasal Spray
Saline nasal sprays are a great natural alternative to prescription decongestants. Saline helps hydrate the nasal passages, lower inflammation that causes congestion, and flushes out mucus. Some saline nasal sprays contain decongestant medications which can be dangerous if used improperly or for more than 3 days. You can learn more about the dangers of medicated nasal sprays in this blog post. We recommend using “drug-free” saline nasal sprays like our Clear Revive formula.
You’ve likely heard about the benefits of probiotics for digestion and gut health which is directly tied to our immune functions. Probiotics are basically good bacteria that help maintain a healthy gut microbiome which is linked to various aspects of our baseline health like digestion, mood, and immune functions to name a few. A healthy gut microbiome is essential for our immune system to work properly. In addition, studies have shown that probiotics can both prevent and treat upper respiratory infections. When possible, we prefer to get our probiotics directly from fermented foods like sauerkraut, kefir, or yogurt but we always keep a bottle of 50 million+ unit multi-strain probiotic capsules in the fridge regardless.
Nature is full of effective remedies for soothing cold and flu symptoms. Here we’ve outlined our list of absolute must-haves in every household during the cold season. Although these remedies are highly effective, in our experience, there is no substitute for great rest and sleep when fighting a bug. One full day spent resting and recuperating especially at the onset of symptoms makes a big difference in the severity and duration of the sickness. Try these remedies and plenty of rest and you’ll be well on your way back to full health soon.