Everyone going back to school and were getting ready to go into fall these are some easy home remedies to help getting over a cold of flu fast.
There are four areas so foundational to our immune systems that no natural remedy can replace them. They are, in no particular order:
- Prioritizing a nutrient-dense diet – Avoiding grains, sugars, and other highly starchy foods ensures that the body is functioning at peak immunity should it encounter a virus or bacteria.
- Optimizing vitamin D levels – Studies show that optimizing vitamin D goes a long way to preventing and shortening the duration of illness.
- Getting enough sleep – Getting enough sleep is also crucial to preventing illness, and even a couple nights of interrupted or not enough sleep can leave the body worn down and unable to resist illness.
- Regular exercise – Consistent exercise has also been shown to reduce the number of times a person gets ill per year and the duration. I like to do this simple kettlebell routine at home.
Granted, these are things to do consistently when you are well (no exercising when the flu comes on!). Of course, we can do these and still potentially get sick — although it certainly won’t happen as often — so don’t worry, there are natural ways to heal faster!
Essential Home Remedies (You Already Have)
- Garlic – This health-boosting powerhouse is naturally antibiotic, anti-fungal, and antibacterial, garlic can tackle almost any illness. Read more about its benefits here. For the most potent effect, finely mince 1-2 cloves of garlic and float in a small glass of water. Drink quickly — if you are sick enough, you won’t even notice the taste. NOTE: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove of garlic medicinally per day, and children often resist this remedy.
- Hydrogen peroxide – At the first sign of sinus infection or ear infection, I put a dropper full of diluted 3% hydrogen peroxide into each ear.
- Hot liquids – This one is pretty instinctive, but we load up on hot herbal teas and hot lemon water at first sign of illness. The heat helps boost immune system and a variety of herbs can help with infection. Lemon is also a great natural source of vitamin C.
- Cinnamon – Good for more than just stabilizing blood sugar, cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Read about why it works and how to use it here. When sick, mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.
- Face steam – In a pinch, make this herbal steam treatment with kitchen herbs. Boil 1-2 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat, add 2 teaspoons each of thyme, some rosemary, and oregano. Cover for 5 minutes with a lid, and then remove lid and put face directly over pot with towel covering your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam as long as you can (aim for 15 minutes). This will help loosen congestion and kill viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchioles, or sinuses. Alternately, you can use 1/2 cup vinegar in the steam. It won’t smell great, but it will help fight the illness.
- Remove white foods – At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. When you are ill, you don’t actually need to eat a lot of food, as the body needs to focus more on healing than digestion. Eat homemade chicken soup (or keep a quality store-bought broth on hand for a shortcut version) and drink hot liquids to keep strength up.
- Hydrate and rest – If the body is running a fever (which means it is fighting the illness) the best support you can give is to stay well hydrated on water and herbal teas and to rest enough. The body needs several extra hours of rest a day when ill, and often several extra glasses of water also. If you are running a fever, it is easier to get dehydrated, so drink enough water!
Homemade Herbal Remedies to Help Cold and Flu
You may not have these around the house (at least not yet!) but they are great additions to a natural “medicine” cabinet. I’ve written about how herbs support the body when healing from an illness and the ones in this list are my go-to choices. I recommend buying these from a trusted source online (I’ve suggested some I use below) or growing them yourself, though you can find some of them in supplement stores.
- Nettle Leaf – Some natural doctors say this is the only herb needed for illness treatment. It contains large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins. In a tea with red raspberry leaf, alfalfa, and peppermint herbals, it makes a powerful immune supporting and illness preventing remedy.
- Elderberry – Elderberry is well known for supporting the body, especially during flu. You can find conventionally made elderberry syrups at many stores now, or to save money, make your own.
- Ginger– In capsule form, ginger can greatly help with nausea and vomiting associated with the flu. It can also help with high fever and headache. Fresh ginger root can be steeped in boiling water to make a tea that is very effective against sinus symptoms and congestion.
- Yarrow – Unsurpassed for flu and fever, and great for children. If used abundantly in tea or tincture at the beginning of an illness, it will usually shorten the illness to less than 24 hours. It is especially good for fevers as it induces perspiration and is great for all childhood type illnesses. Peppermint is naturally bitter, so it is often good to include peppermint and stevia leaf when making a tea. It is great for the liver and kidneys and supports the endocrine system.
- Chamomile – An absolute staple, especially for kids. Chamomile calms the nerves, helps children sleep better, and reduces inflammation or fever. Soaking a chamomile tea bag in warm water and placing over an eye for 15 minutes every 2 hours will relieve pink eye in less than 24 hours. Chamomile tastes great and is easy to get kids to take. We use it in tea and tincture formula. It is also great for regulating hormones and for the skin and can be used regularly for good sleep.
- Peppermint – Great for all digestive disturbances and for lowering fever. It can be used as a tea or tincture or rubbed on the skin to bring a high fever down. This herb is antimicrobial and antiviral and kids usually love the taste. It can be consumed as a hot tea or cold tea during illness in any amounts.
Make Your Own Natural Fever, Cold, and Cough Medicine (for Kids Too!)
If I only have time to do one thing, it’s give this homemade herbal tincture. Even if I get sick myself, I can crawl the cabinet and pull this out for immune support at the ready.
It is simple to make but it does need to steep for at least 2 weeks (up to 2 months), so don’t wait! I have even found it to work better than Tylenol or cough syrups. (Bonus: It is healthier too!)
NOTE: Use for everyone in the family over the age of 2.
Herbal Tincture Ingredients
- 2/3 cup dried chamomile flowers
- 2/3 cup dried yarrow flowers
- 2/3 cup dried peppermint leaf
- 2/3 cup dried catnip herb
- 100 proof vodka
Herbal Tincture Instructions
- Put all herbs in 1 quart mason glass jar.
- Pour 80-100 proof vodka over herbs, filling jar.
- Let steep at least two weeks, but preferably 2 months, shaking daily.
- Store in cool, dark place.
- After 2 weeks to 2 months, strain liquid through cheesecloth and store in glass dropper botles for easy use. Store in a cool, dark place and it will last indefinitely.
- Use 8-10 drops for kids over age 2 whenever ill.
Disclaimer: As always, I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I cannot treat, cure, prevent, or diagnose any illness. If you have concerns about any sickness, talk to your family physician. Do your own research on natural remedies to ensure that you think they are safe. I earn a small commission through the links above that helps me keep the site going (and it does not increase the cost for you). If you do not wish to use my affiliate link, go to the site directly. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult a qualified specialist before taking any herb or supplement.