We are in the thick of the cold and flu season, and if you’re like me and prefer not to resort to flu shots and pharmaceutical drugs, I would love to share some of my favorite natural remedies.
At the very first sign of a scratchy throat, I always do two things: gargle and begin taking vitamin C every hour. I gargle with warm water and Himalayan crystal salt but recent research* shows even if you just gargle for 15 seconds after each meal with plain water, you can reduce the odds of catching a cold by up to 40%. So, gargling just may be an inexpensive, simple preventive measure as well.
It is recommended you take vitamin C throughout the day, so it stays in your system. You have to take enough because any stress (like that of getting sick) will use it up very quickly. I typically take 1,000-3,000 mg. every hour all day long until I reach bowel tolerance. That just means until it begins to result in loose stool. Then just cut back a bit. It usually stops a cold in its tracks if I begin at the very first sign.
Researchers have concluded that the flu may very well be a Vitamin D3 deficiency!
It makes sense as flu season coincides with the time of year when the weather is cold and time in the sunshine is very limited. Researchers found 2,000 IUs daily was the effective dosage for adults.
The bulk of the immune system is located in the gut so keeping the good bugs outnumbering the bad ones will keep your immune system strong. I recommend taking a good probiotic supplement year-round, especially during cold and flu season. It’s better to prevent a cold or flu than it is to deal with the symptoms, so shared below are some simple ways to keep your immune system strong.
Here are 4 Ways to Prevent A Cold or Flu:
- Sleep and Rest!
This is a no-brainer but in our overly stressed out and busy lifestyle, we neglect it. Without adequate sleep, the immune system is severely compromised.
- Stay Well-Hydrated.
All your systems function more efficiently when you are well-hydrated. Using the correct amount of sea salt or any other natural, unprocessed salt like Himalayan Crystal or Hawaiian Pink salt provides minerals, which will also strengthen your body against bacteria and viruses and keep you alkaline. The basic formula is this: one-half your body weight in ounces of water and ¼ tsp. natural, unprocessed salt for every 32 oz. of water you drink.
- Practice Good Hygiene.
You know the drill, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, use disposable tissues or cough and sneeze into your sleeve, and be sure to wash your hands thoroughly and often throughout the day. But don’t overuse antibacterial soaps. The principle is similar to overusing antibiotics, and you will create resistant bugs! Washing your hands with plain old soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds is all that is needed.
- Keep Sugar Consumption Low.
Sugar depresses immune function so eating fresh, real, whole foods and avoiding sweets and junk foods will provide the nutrients your body needs to fight off all the viruses floating around this time of year.
Prevention is best, but what if you find yourself fighting a cold and flu? Here are a few effective, natural remedies:
Soup has been around for centuries. We’ve all heard about “Jewish penicillin” aka chicken soup. Well, there is scientific* backing to why it actually is an effective remedy! Making your soup from scratch with bone broth just makes it more powerful.
Tea is another simple, soothing way to stay hydrated. A nice, hot cup of tea can soothe a sore throat and calm an upset stomach. There are numerous ones to choose from including peppermint, chamomile, ginger, and holy basil. There are combinations you can buy like Gypsy Cold Care or Throat Coat. Green tea has been shown to increase the effectiveness of certain antibiotics.
- Essential Oils.
Essential oils can be extremely effective. There are some excellent blends specifically for this purpose. They can be used in a diffuser or topically, a great way is on the soles of the feet.
- Coconut Oil.
I take a teaspoon several times a day when I’m fighting off a cold. Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid as well as capric acid. That dynamic duo results in monoglycerides that literally destroy viruses by tearing down the coating surrounding them. You can cook with it and put some in your coffee or tea.
- Honey and Lemon.
Honey and lemon are a wonderful combination. Fresh lemon juice contains vitamin C, is alkalizing and has antibacterial, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties. It soothes an irritated throat and raw, natural honey, particularly Manuka honey, which in itself is a very strong anti-microbial, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, is thick and helps coat the throat.
- Thymus Tap.
Practice an exercise called the “thymus tap.” The thymus gland is located above the breast bone in the center of the upper chest. Using the pads of the fingers, tap this gland with light to moderate pressure several times a day to boost immune function significantly. The thymus gland is one of the master glands of immunity in the body and this helps to stimulate and increase the production of T-cells that help fight germs and infection.
You can find many more strategies, recipes, supplements and ideas in my e-book, Natural First Aid Kit.
Do you have any other tips or go-to tools for fighting a cold and flu that did not get mentioned above? If so, please share them with us in the comments section below!
- Gargling Research: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2651874/
- Chicken Soup: https://exploreim.ucla.edu/wellness/an-inside-scoop-on-the-science-behind-chicken-soup-and-the-common-cold/