The weather is cooling down now, and you know what that means—cold season is upon us. Sometimes even those of us who pride ourselves in being the healthiest, with the strongest of immune systems find ourselves knocked down by a nasty cold or flu every now and again. But there are ways to keep that cold from lingering, and you don’t have to reach for the bottle of Nyquil. Here are a few of my favorite natural remedies I’ve gathered, and use- in fact, I’m using many of them right now.
I’ve tried, for the most part to avoid hard-to-find or expensive supplements. Yes, these things can be great for reducing the length of a pesky virus, but I want to focus mostly on items or ingredients that can be easily accessed, or even found in-home.
1. Raw honey & Cinnamon. I saw this one just yesterday on Facebook, re-posted by Gillian from Mama Earth Organics (original source).I think I gasped out loud when I saw it—why didn’t I think of that?! Mix 1 tsp raw honey + 1/4 tsp organic cinnamon for a natural syrup that is both tasty and effective. Both raw, unpasteurized honey and cinnamon are anti-microbial, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory.
2. Vitamin C. We all know Vitamin C is good for the immune system, so get on that! But you don’t have to worry about purchasing pricey supplements to get your dose of C. Here are a few of the highest natural sources:
- Bell peppers (red has more than green)
- Citrus fruits; especially grapefruits and oranges
- Melons, like canteloupe and honeydew
- Tropical fruits, like guava, papaya, pineapple and kiwi
Of course, there’s always your trusty OJ. We know how sugary orange juice can be, but in this case, the pay off is good: the pure juice has a much higher concentration of Vitamin C. We know our OJ in this house- the hubby loves it. Our favorites are Tree Hugger and Happy Planet Organics. (Just watch your pour; your blood sugar will thank you.)
Remember:Vitamin C is water-soluble, so taking a lot of it all at once won’t do you any good- space it out about 4 hours apart for maximum benefits.
3. Neti Pot. This ancient technique is one I stumbled upon, curious, about a year ago. The idea may seem a bit strange, to our modern brains (you want me to pour salt water in my nostrils?!) but it is not only effective for clearing sinuses, but it has a plethora of other health benefits, too. Here’s how to use it.
4. Aromatherapy. Nose still stuffy? Try an inexpensive aromatherapy inhaler to help unclog your sinuses and breathe a little again. I particularly like the Olbas inhaler, but taking a whiff of natural peppermint essential oil (my favorite, as always is by Living Libations) is also a great natural option.
5. Go liquid. Often nutritionists will recommend cessation of all solid foods for at least one full day at the onset of illness. This is due to the fact that digesting food requires a certain amount of energy that could be better used towards healing. Switch to drinking natural green juices, herbal teas and nourishing smoothies, instead. My favorite herbal teas for colds are by Traditional Medicinals.
6. Sip some broth. Also on the liquid front, bone broth is ultra-healing. Bones contain a wide variety of minerals and protein needed to help healing. Make your own homemade chicken broth for the best results, and sip it hot throughout the day.
7. Get some rest. This is a hard one for me- as it is for many of you, I’m sure. But the best thing to do when we are sick is, to rest. Just like eating, any sort of activity takes up extra energy your body could be using for healing. So slow down, take a break, and get better.
8.Sweat. Yes you’ve got that right- sweat. Your sweat glands are just another way to help your body rid itself of toxins, so it can only help to aid in moving along the toxin-removal process for healing. Try adding some hot organic cayenne to your broth or juice, or relax in a hot bath for the better part of an hour. Don’t forget to shower after to rinse off those expelled toxins.
9. Throat still scratchy? I highly recommend these Manuka Honey Lozenges. All they are made of is natural honey- and we read about those benefits, above, and often helpful additions like ginger, echinacea and lemon.
10. If you are going the supplement route, think about cold-relieving herbs such as echinacea & goldenseal, and of course, that trusty Vitamin C, above. I really like Sisu’s Cold & Flu Rescue, with Vitamin C, Andrographis leaf extract, and Echinacea.
Do you have any suggestions for natural cold remedies?
1. World’s Healthiest foods: Vitamin C
2. Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential roles for proline, glycine and glycerine. Kaayla T. Daniel, Phd, CCN
3. Rost, Amy. Natural Healing Wisdom & Know How. 2009. Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers.