The weather had been hot and sunny, warming my body and boosting my energy.
So I was very surprised when I began to experience the early warning signs of a cold.
Though it should not have come as a surprise.
Not just during winter–but any time of the year–you too can suffer from the cold virus.
And it can really slow you down depending on which symptoms you exhibit.
The same goes for the flu although it can be a bit more insidious than the cold.
I could feel the symptoms of a cold coming on a week earlier– so I started fighting
*Trying to boost my immune system.
*Drinking lots of fresh lemon juice and water.
*Eating lots of fresh, organic fruits including vitamin c rich grapefruits and oranges.
*Drinking hot antioxidant-rich teas.
*Increasing my intake of antioxidant-rich green smoothies and juices.
*Eating fresh, homemade vegetable soups and organic salads.
*Covering my chest to prevent unnecessary exposure to cold breezes.
*Getting lots of rest.
I really believed that I could keep from getting a full-blown cold, but I couldn’t.
So now that I am sneezing, coughing and blowing my nose I have to escalate my fight.
The cold is moving into my chest, so it’s time to bring out the big guns:
those tried and true homemade remedies like grandma used to make.
Even when I feel as sick as a dog, I always consider home remedies first before
reaching for any type of medication.
In case you didn’t know, the cold and also the flu are caused by viruses.
Unlike bacterial infections, viral infections have no known cure.
The best that we can do is to alleviate the symptoms that result from the infection.
Reducing the effect of the symptoms can reduce the duration of the virus in many cases.
Colds and the flu may strike any age group and any gender equally.
If you are a member of certain groups such as the elderly, infants, immune-compromised
individuals or those with autoimmune diseases, you could be at a higher risk for complications
–especially from the flu.
It is very important to maintain a healthy, disease-preventive diet and lifestyle that boosts
your immune system and helps your body to resist colds and flu.
Your diet should be rich in immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and D as
well as other vital vitamins, enzymes and nutrients.
How Do I Know if I Have a Cold?
The common cold is most often caused by a form of the rhinovirus (10-40%).
Other sources include corona viruses and RSV (respiratory syncytial virus).
Rhinoviruses can strike at any time of year and last for several weeks.
As busy people, we often ignore the beginning signs of a cold in order to get on with our lives.
But, eventually the symptoms will compound and then we’ll get hit with a whammy that
will knock us off our feet.
For anyone suffering from a virus, especially one like the cold with so many strains,
recognizing the symptoms can lead to a shorter bout with the common cold.
What are the symptoms?
You may know them already, but just to reiterate, they include, but are not limited to:
• Sore throat
• Nasal drainage (clear, yellow or green denotes a sinus infection may be involved)
• Chest congestion
• Nasal congestion
There is usually no fever associated with a cold.
That can often be the dividing line between a cold and something more serious like the
flu or a bacterial infection like a sinus infection.
Colds typically last about a week, but can drag on if symptoms are ignored or you have a
lower than normal immune system.
How Do I Know if I Have the Flu?
The flu is caused by the influenza virus which is extremely contagious and attacks the respiratory
It is often caused by the influenza A or B virus, but there are many strains.
Scientists try to predict the most obvious strains that will develop each year and account for
them in the vaccine.
The flu is more dangerous than the cold for the groups of people we discussed earlier.
Knowing the signs and symptoms of the condition can lead to earlier treatment.
In some cases, the flu can lead to life-threatening pneumonia.
The symptoms of the flu include, but are not limited to:
• Chest congestion
• Sore throat
• Muscle aches and pains
25 Ways to Treat Cold & Flu Naturally
Does a bad cold or the flu have you feeling sick as a dog?
Since the flu exhibits more severe forms of mostly the same symptoms, many home remedies
can work for both.
At the first sign of trouble, use your remedies.
Of course, if symptoms get worse over time, consult a doctor to see if something more serious is
going on like additional complications.
Man has been concocting ways to treat colds and flu for centuries, so there are hundreds of
tried and true natural remedies, recipes and treatments to choose from.
Here just a few natural remedies to try:
Drink Lots of Fluids
Staying hydrated is the single most important thing you can do with a cold or the flu.
Dehydration can make your situation more dangerous.
Fluids, especially hot ones like herbal teas and soup broths, can help to break up the
Coughs become more productive.
Try these homemade liquid remedies to help thin mucus secretions and add more fluids
to your system:
*Elderberry Tea for Colds and Flu from Earthfriendly Goodies
*Thyme and Honey Tea from Whole Green Love
*Natural Bourbon Cough Cold and Flu Elixir from Earthfriendly Goodies
*Cold Kicker Remedy from Keeper of the Home
Steam can help alleviate stuffiness and congestion especially at night when it can get
hard to sleep.
You can boil water and then place a towel over your head to breathe in the steam.
Add fresh ginger, eucalyptus, peppermint or menthol to the water and breathe deeply.
Try a humidifier as well.
Another option is to inhale the steam from a hot shower.
Use Salt Water
Homemade saline nasal washes thin the mucus in your nasal passages and also keeps
the respiratory passages moist.
You can use a neti pot for this purpose.
The salt helps wash out any pathogens.
You can also gargle with it to alleviate the inflammation of a sore throat.
Eat Immunity Boosting Soups
Whether it’s your grandmother’s family recipe or one you create yourself, soup works wonders.
Immunity soups are made of powerful ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties
that can boost your immunity, soothe a sore throat and help thin nasal secretions.
Try this immunity-boosting, cold and flu soup recipe–chock full of healing foods
like garlic, onion, apple cider vinegar, sea vegetables and more–as soon as you feel cold
or flu symptoms coming on–and while you are battling them.
Use Healing Herbs & Essential Oils
Herbs like licorice root, elderberry or echinacea have been used to treat cold and flu
Echinacea is an herbaceous plan believed to have immune boosting qualities..
Licorice root is an anti-inflammatory, soothing to sore throats, antispasmodic
(relaxes tight coughs) and expectorant (expels respiratory mucus)– which makes it
very helpful for relieving cold and flu symptoms.
One popular cold remedy tea, Throat Coat, contains licorice root, slippery elm bark,
marshmallow root, wild cherry bark, bitter fennel fruit, cinnamon bark and sweet orange
Elderberry is a time-honored cold and flu remedy which helps to boost the immune system,
fight influenza and other respiratory viruses.
Europeans have been known to make a tea of elder flowers and peppermint leaves.
Try making this recipe for Elderberry Syrup from WholeGreenLove.
Zinc is a popular ingredient in cold remedies.
Interestingly enough, in recent years, studies have shown that zinc not only helped
people fight off colds, but may actually prevent them as well.
If you suffer from a sore throat, gargle with warm water and sage, turmeric or salt water.
Gargling with raspberry leaf tea can also help reduce a fever.
Get More Rest
It doesn’t sound like a big deal, but you’d be surprised how many people keep working when
they are ill and only get worse.
Rest gives the body a chance to repair itself and boost the immune system.
Try rubbing some ecalyptus or peppermint essential oil–mixed with a carrier oil such as olive oil
or sweet almond oil–under the nose, on the neck, chest, back, and feet before going to sleep.
Elevate Your Head
Make sure to elevate your head.
Use pillows or a bed wedge to allow mucus to drain and relieve pressure in
Hot Epsom Salt Baths
Magnesium, a major component of epsom salt, is vital to good health and well being.
It helps to regulate the activity of hundreds of enzymes and performs a vital role in
orchestrating key bodily functions–from muscle control and electrical impulses to
energy production and the elimination of harmful toxins.
Soaking in a hot bath with epsom salt can help you to sweat and release toxins.
Add two cups of epsom salt to hot water in a standard-sized bathtub or double the amount
for an oversized tub.
After the bath, I like to wrap up in a terry cloth robe, lie down in bed and cover my body
completely and just sweat out the cold.
I usually feel a lot better after a couple of these baths.
Saunas and Steam Rooms
If you feel well enough to go out, you can take advantage of your health club’s sauna and
steam rooms for a great detoxifying sweat.
You can enhance your healing experience by bringing eucalyptus leaves or eucalytus oil
into the steam room.
Eucalytus is a decongestant and helps to soothe the respiratory tract.
Make sure to allow your pores to close and dress warmly before going back outside, though.
Drink Ginger Root Tea
In my experience, ginger root tea proven to be a very effective remedy when I have a cold or flu.
Ginger tea is soothing, speeds up circulation and helps to decongest.
There are a numerous ways to prepare ginger root tea.
*You can simply wash and grate a finger length of ginger, let it sit in hot water for a few minutes,
then add a bit of honey (or vegan sweeteners like maple or agave syrup) to taste.
*Or you can bring hot water to boil, add small slices of chopped ginger root to the pot and simmer for
Strain into a tea cup. You can sweeten it with honey or vegan sweeteners.
*Another variation of ginger root tea is to add fresh lemon, garlic and honey to the brew.
As I sip ginger tea, I love to feel its strong, tingling heat warm my throat and chest and literally melt
the mucus away.
This decongestant property makes ginger root tea one of my most powerful cold and flu-fighting remedies.
Make Your Own Natural Cough Syrup
Skip the over-the-counter cough syrup aisle and head directly to your healing kitchen
to make these soothing, natural cough syrups:
*Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup from Keeper of the Home
*Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup from the Coconut Mama
*Herbal Honey Cough Syrup from Home Grown Healthy
Get Some Sun
If it all possible, make sure to get some sunshine and fresh air.
Sunshine is the best source of vitamin D–which is important for our immune systems.
Hot Water Bottles, Rubs and Compresses
My mother always used hot water bottles and warm compresses to ease the pain
and stuffiness in our cheeks, chest and sinuses.
I also remember the pungent aroma of vapor rub filling my nostrils.
Make your own Homemade Vapor Rub for Cough and Cold using this recipe
from Pasture Living.
Blow Your Nose Properly
Pressure can build up in your head if you try to clear both nostrils at once and blow
germy phlegm into the ear passages leading to an earache.
Close one nostril and blow out the mucus. Repeat for the other nostril.
Colds and flu are caused by a virus, which means that treatment is for the symptoms not the
Home remedies can help reduce the duration and intensity of many symptoms
associated with both.
Remember, germs are everywhere and can also enter our bodies through our eyes and mouth,
so make sure to wash your hands often with regular (not antibacterial) soap, especially before
Also, try to avoid touching your eyes and mouth.
Most importantly, try to maintain a healthy, disease-preventive diet and lifestyle
that boosts your immune system and helps your body to resist colds and flu.
We’ve shared a few natural remedies, but there are so many more.
I bet you have your own old family remedies or DIY recipes that have worked for you.
What other natural remedies have you used to relieve cold and flu symptoms?
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