5 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies
Fall is here and that means, along with Thanksgiving and the change in weather, so is cold and flu season. When we feel a cold coming on, we immediately jump into action by assembling our favourite go-to remedies. Here are just a few of them:
Disclaimer: Please remember that these are general recommendations. Herbs and supplements can interact with medications. Please discuss with your Naturopathic Doctor or your General Practitioner before beginning any treatments.
1. Honey, onion, & garlic syrup
This mixture is exactly what it sounds like: sliced onion and garlic in a mason jar covered with unpasteurized honey and sealed tightly. The onion and garlic have many medicinal properties, including being antimicrobial—meaning that they fight off microbes like viruses and bacteria. Unpasteurized honey is incredible; not only is it also antimicrobial, but it has the ability to extract the medicinal properties of the onion and garlic. Combined, these ingredients create a powerful cold-fighting concoction that packs a punch! Store the syrup in a glass jar in the fridge for up to a month so you have it on hand whenever you feel a cold coming on (dose: 1 teaspoon 3-4 times per day as needed).
2. Edlerberry syrup for the kids
Can’t get your kids to try the honey-onion-garlic syrup or have a garlic or onion sensitivity? A great alternative to the at-home remedy is a syrup like Suro Kids Elderberry Syrup. It’s certified organic elderberry syrup made with organic Canadian elderberry, extracts of elderflowers, propolis, and raw honey. Elderberries help to boost the immune system to help fight colds and flu—not to mention that they taste yummy!
3. Ginger, lemon, & honey elixir
Simply made with the juice of fresh ginger root (mince the ginger and then squeeze the juice out), the juice of several lemons (we usually use 8), and unpasteurized honey. Combine these three ingredients in a sealed glass bottle and keep it stored the fridge. When you feel a cold coming on or just feel a chill, add a tablespoon of the elixir to a cup of hot water.
Ginger root is incredibly warming and helps to ward off chills. It can also boost circulation to help move blood and lymph, allowing immune cells to get to where they are needed to be in order to help combat disease. Lemon juice is full of vitamin C, which helps our immune system function to fight off colds and flus. Finally, unpasteurized honey plays a starring role again as an amazing antimicrobial ingredient – not to mention that it brings these few ingredients together in what is a yummy cold fighting combo!
A fabulous immuno-stimulant – meaning it helps to boost your immune system to fight off bacterial, viral and parasitic infections. It helps to relieve many types of infections including sinusitis, tonsillitis, pharyngitis and bronchitis. This little guy (with the big name) from St. Francis Herb Farm is the serious secret weapon in our back pocket when we feel a cold coming on!
5. Contrast showers–you may not like them, but trust us, they work!
Contrast showers are a great way to boost circulation, improve energy, stimulate healing, cleanse toxins and move lymphatics – aka your immune system! It may seem simple, but essentially this time honored technique of hydrotherapy uses hot and cold water to manipulate blood flow in the body–hot causing the flow outwards towards the skin, and cold, causing the blood to be shunted inwards towards the vital organs. The stimulation of moving blood and lymph in the body has a profound healing effect: it moves our immune cells and increases detoxification while moving nutrients to various parts of the body. Try alternating 1-2 minutes of hot water with 30 seconds of cold water – always ending your shower on cold.
There are so many tips for natural cold and flu remedies, we could write pages on the topic – vitamin D, zinc, vitamin C, not to mention so many awesome herbs. The above are just the tip of the iceberg! Be sure to talk with your Naturopathic Doctor about what works for you. Also, check out more of our tips in our Natural Cold and Flu Prevention post.
Did you know? Free flu shots are available at all Rexall Drugstore locations across Canada without an appointment. Get yours today!
Dr. Maryska Taylor and Dr. Rachel Corradetti are naturopathic doctors practicing out of Toronto. They offer concierge naturopathic medical services to their patients throughout the GTA via home and Skype visits.