Natural Home Therapies to Combat Cold and Flu

‍With the shift in seasons, cold and flu viruses make their inevitable annual return. As we spend more time indoors, stress levels rise, sleep patterns become irregular and our immune systems take a hit. However, you can fight back with organic, homemade remedies. In this extensive guide, we will delve into numerous natural remedies that can help alleviate cold and flu symptoms and boost your immunity.

Understanding the Common Cold

Before we explore the remedies, it’s helpful to understand what we’re dealing with. A cold is a minor infection of the nose and throat triggered by one of over 200 different viruses, with the rhinovirus being the most common culprit. Colds are quite contagious and spread through droplets of fluid containing the virus. Symptoms usually manifest within one to three days of exposure and can include a runny nose, congestion, sneezing, reduced senses of taste and smell and coughing.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Staying well-hydrated is an essential step in recovering from a cold or flu. When your body is properly hydrated, it can effectively flush out germs. Aim to drink at least eight glasses of water a day. Water oxygenates your blood, keeps you hydrated, and flushes out harmful toxins, germs, and viruses from your system.

The Power of Sleep

Sleep is not just for the weary; it’s a powerful tool in maintaining optimal health. Adequate sleep boosts your immune system, helping it ward off viruses and bacteria. Adults should aim to get at least 8-10 hours of sleep every night. If you’re struggling with a stuffy nose, try sleeping with an extra pillow under your head to help your sinuses drain.

Apple Cider Vinegar to the Rescue

Apple cider vinegar (ACV) is a potent remedy for colds. It’s packed with beneficial enzymes and bacteria that help fight off infections. Try making an ACV tea to sip or gargle with. Mix 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons of honey, a splash of lemon juice, and some hot water.

Vitamins: Your Immunity’s Best Friends

Vitamins are essential for a healthy immune system, especially vitamin C and D. Try to consume 65 to 90 milligrams of Vitamin C daily, particularly during cold and flu season. Foods rich in Vitamin C include oranges, kiwis, lemons, strawberries, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, supplements, and a few foods, like fatty fish, milk, and foods fortified with vitamin D.

The Magic of Honey

Honey is a renowned home remedy for coughs and colds. It has a soothing effect on an irritated throat and is believed to have antioxidant and antibacterial properties. Add honey to your tea, preferably a dark-colored variety like buckwheat honey, which is particularly high in antioxidants.

Garlic: An Antioxidant Powerhouse

Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Packed with minerals, enzymes, vitamin C, sulphur, and selenium, garlic can help combat colds. Try incorporating fresh garlic into your meals on a regular basis for an added boost of cold-fighting vitamins & minerals.

Echinacea: The Controversial Remedy

Echinacea has been a popular herbal remedy for colds and flu, but its effectiveness has been a topic of debate. While some studies have found it to be no more effective than a placebo at preventing colds, others have found some evidence that certain Echinacea products could potentially be useful as cold treatments.

Ginseng: The Ancient Herb

Ginseng, specifically the North American variety, Panax quinquefolius, has been used as a remedy for colds and flu. Compounds called polysaccharides and ginsenosides are believed to be the key active components of ginseng. However, recent research has not found concrete evidence of ginseng’s effectiveness in treating or preventing respiratory illnesses.

Ginger: The Congestion Clearer

Ginger is known for its ability to clear congestion and support the immune system. Try drinking 2-3 cups of fresh ginger tea daily to soothe a sore throat and fight off a cold.

Elderberries: The Anti-Inflammatory Fruit

Elderberry, a fruit grown from the elder tree, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, making it very effective for colds. Studies have shown that this berry can shorten the duration of a cold and also helps relieve sinus infections.

Aromatherapy Oils: The Natural Decongestants

Essential oils, such as eucalyptus and peppermint, have antiviral and antimicrobial properties and can be used to treat common colds. They act as natural decongestants and can be used in diffusers or combined with other ingredients to make a spray.

Prevention: The Best Cure

Preventing a cold is always better than curing one. Stay warm, get ample sleep, practice mindful meditation, eat healthily, stay hydrated, and wash your hands regularly. Remember, taking care of your overall health is the best way to keep coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing at bay.

While these natural remedies can help alleviate symptoms and boost your immunity, it’s important to seek medical attention if your symptoms persist or worsen. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new treatment or remedy.