When fighting off the cold or flu, there are a few natural ways that you can help your body fight off infection and speed up the healing process. First and foremost is is important to drink water frequently in small sips vs. gulping water in a hurry. This helps hydrate and lubricate your throat naturally. A spoonful of honey also does wonders for a sore throat. Raw and organic honey works the best. Not only does honey soothe a sore throat, but if it’s local and raw it can also help ward of infection.
Next, if you are dealing with a sore throat, eat lighter foods and beverages that are less likely to cause inflammation. Foods like fish and nuts are good, while you should stay away from things like tomatoes, spicy foods and alcohol. Garlic is nature’s natural antibiotic, so be sure you are taking plenty of garlic supplements or using it in your meals.
Herbal teas are especially good to add into your diet during a cold. My favorite is Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat. You should be able to find this particular tea in the natural section of your local grocery store, or you can buy it on Amazon. If you prefer to buy your own herbs for tea steeping, use equal parts of Yarrow Flower, Elder Flower, Peppermint Leaves, Echinacea Root and Schisandra berries to make a soothing and nourishing tea.
Even if you have just a slight sore throat, it’s important to use humidity to loosen your phlegm. Keep a cool mist humidifier running, or take frequent showers or baths. Cool mist humidifiers are becoming more and more popular because a lot of times the heat and steam from others can agitate a sore throat, especially if the cold or flu has gotten particularly bad. The cool mist helps open up the lungs and allows for easier breathing.
One of my favorite ways to naturally help a cold or flu, is to make my own gargles. Here are a couple of good recipes:
1. Sore Throat Gargle with Sage via Mountain Rose Herbs
The Sage used in the following recipe is a classic gargle, but other herbs such as Marjoram, Thyme or Hyssop can replace it.
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 teaspoons fresh or dried Sage leaves
- 1/4 ounce salt
Pour the boiling water over the sage, cover and steep for 20 minutes. Strain and add the salt. Gargle as needed. Store in the refrigerator for a couple of days.
2. Lemon Antiseptic Throat Spray via Mountain Rose Herbs
A diluted lemon spray is one of the most effective tools to knock down a cold or flu. Other herbs to use in a throat spray are lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, and peppermint. When sprayed through the air, terpene compounds in these oils combine with oxygen to increase the oil’s antiseptic properties.
- 15 drops Lemon essential oil
- 5 drops Peppermint essential oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
Combine the ingredients and pour the concoction into a spray bottle. Shake well, then gently spray into your throat throughout the day.
3. Sore Throat Gargle with Baking Soda
This is my tried and true recipe. Baking soda and salt are great natural remedies for fighting bacteria and viruses.
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup of warm water
Mix the ingredients together and gargle. You can also use this in your neti pot to clear out your nasal passages. Optional additions to this mixture would be: 1/4 tsp of karo syrup to sweeten, 1/4 tsp of hydrogen peroxide, or a few drops of colloidal silver for viral protection.
If you’re not into making gargles for whatever reason, you could try your hand and making your own herbal lozenges. Here’s a great video on YouTube that shows you how easy it is to make herbal lozenges.
Lastly, instead of using a vapor rub on your chest that has potentially harmful chemicals in it, try making your own vapor rub with essential oils. Use essential oils like peppermint, eucalyptus and thyme mixed with olive oil to make your own rub. I usually find the best deals on Essential Oils on Mountain Rose Herbs, Botanic Choice and Amazon.
See a great article on Herbs for Cold and Flu Season here if you would like to delve into more information on natural cough and cold remedies.
What are some of your natural home remedies for fighting the cold and flu?