Ready or not, winter is coming. And with winter comes cold and flu season. Instead of rushing to the doctor, destroying your digestive system with antibiotics, or even suffering through it, try a different approach. There are plenty of effective and safe options you can try instead. These are Home Remedies for Cold + Flu Season.
Today we are featuring a guest post from our friend Jenny My Healthy Homemade Life, who is a master of wellness and healthy living. Join us in welcoming and thanking her for these useful and practical tips to stay healthy this winter.
Guest Post: Home Remedies for Cold + Flu Season
Have you ever wondered what you could do at home to prevent and treat colds and flu naturally and effectively? In today’s post, I’m sharing my family’s tried and true favorite home remedies for the cold & flu season.
Ten years ago, I was like everyone else I knew. I ate the standard American diet, went to fast food restaurants about once a week, I was overweight and my kids were constantly getting sick. We took over-the-counter medication regularly for headaches, tummy aches, sore throats, aches, pains, colds and the flu. My kids were on antibiotics at least twice a year for ear and respiratory infections.
While I wanted my family to be healthier, it was my husband’s serious health issues that finally gave me the motivation to make some big changes. We started with our diet, gradually eliminating processed foods and switching to a whole food diet. We discovered food allergies we hadn’t even been aware of and little by little we got healthier and healthier.
It’s funny how seeing great strides in your health can motivate you even further toward wellness. Small changes started to trickle into every aspect of our lives. It wasn’t long before I started seeking a more natural approach toward illness. I became interested in herbs and learned about natural herbal remedies. At first, my family was hesitant to try them (especially fire cider!) but it wasn’t long before they were won over!
Today, I’m sharing some of our favorite home remedies for the cold & flu season. These are the ones I make every year without fail and the ones we reach for whenever we’re feeling under the weather. I hope you enjoy them!
Out of all the home remedies I use in my home, this is my children’s favorite. Not only is it effective at both preventing and treating cold and flu, it also tastes delicious and it’s loaded with flavonoids and antioxidants.
Elderberry has been used for centuries as both food and medicine and is renowned for preventing upper respiratory infections and shortening the duration of a cold or flu.
If you are lucky enough to have an elderberry bush on your property, you can use the fresh or frozen berries for this recipe or you can purchase dried elderberries.
I like to have all my ingredients for Elderberry Syrup on hand before the cold and flu season hits. I can then quickly make fresh syrup when we need it. Unlike some of the other home remedies we are talking about today, I prefer not to make my syrup too far in advance and I only make it in small batches. It will keep well in the refrigerator but it won’t last all winter. I’d recommend making your first batch when you actually need it. It only takes about 30 minutes.
Suggested Dosage: 1 Tablespoon every half hour to hour as needed. 30-60 grams per day.
Another home remedy I always keep on hand during the cold and flu season is echinacea. While there are other ways to consume echinacea (capsules or tea,) I love making a tincture because it doubles as a sore throat spray and as an antiseptic.
Echinacea excels in helping the body to fight off infection. It is useful for:
- treating cold & flu
- lowering fevers (by stopping the spread of infection)
- as an antiseptic to clean wounds
- treating sore throats (just squirt or spray the tincture directly on the back of your throat every hour or so)
Echinacea may be one of the most well-known home remedies for cold and flu but unfortunately, it is often misunderstood and taken improperly.
Echinacea should not be taken daily to “prevent” a cold or flu. It works best when taken at the onset of symptoms and continuing ONLY while you have symptoms. Dosage and frequency of dosage are also important factors in its effectiveness.
Herbalist Paul Bergner in the Medical Herbalism Journal suggests the following dosage:
A high dose of a teaspoon or more per hour for the first few hours, then tapering to 4 tsp per day on the second day and continuing while symptoms are present.
In my own personal experience, I have found the “Immune Boosting ” Tincure and Throat Spray to be most effective when taken immediately at the onset of symptoms. I almost always combine this with Elderberry syrup if I’m still having symptoms on the second day.
Fire Cider is a hot, pungent, sour and sweet drink. There are countless variations of this recipe but most include onions, garlic, horseradish, ginger, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper and honey. Wow! Right? Who would drink that if it didn’t work?
Fire Cider may not be everyone’s cup of tea but the more you take it, the more you come to love it! It really works.
Fire Cider is
- immune boosting
- breaks up congestion and phlegm
- aids in digestion
- enhances the circulatory system
- is warming when you are chilled
My recipe is based on herbalist Rosemary Gladstar’s original recipe. I like to add a few additional ingredients to my Fire Cider: freshly sliced lemon, turmeric, and some fresh herbs such as rosemary and thyme that are known for being antibacterial. Once you start making your own Fire Cider, you’ll find that each batch can be different depending on what you have on hand and how you want to experiment. Please don’t feel tied to exact measurements.
Fall is a wonderful time to prepare your Fire Cider for the cold and flu season since all the ingredients are readily available. As with the Echinacea Tincture & Throat Spray, Fire Cider is prepared 4-6 weeks ahead of time.
Herbal teas are wonderful because they can be prepared quickly and easily whenever you need them. I love using dried elderberry and dried echinacea (the root and leaf) in my homemade tea blends for all their wonderful benefits I mentioned above. Two of my favorite homemade herbal teas for the cold & flu season are Flu-Busting Elderberry Tea and Immune Booster Tea.
“Flu-Busting” Elderberry Tea Recipe
- 2 cups water
- 2 tbsp elderberry syrup or 1 heaping tbsp dried elderberries.
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 whole cloves
- honey (optional, to taste)
Add all the ingredients except for the honey to a small saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil, then cover and let simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain and sweeten with honey if desired.
Learn more about the author
After almost losing her husband to a severe bowel disease, Jennifer Prentice became passionate about healing her husband and family through whole, nutrient-dense foods and natural living. She shares her journey toward health and wellness on her blog, My Healthy Homemade Life, where she shares herbal home remedies, natural living ideas and plant based, gluten free recipes. For more home remedies, download her free E-book, 3 Home Remedies You Can Make in an Afternoon.
You can find her on: Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest.
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