Since my family and I started adopting a more natural and healthy lifestyle, we get sick less often alhamdulillah. And if we do get sick, the illness is less severe and of shorter duration.
Prevention is the best cure, so also check out this article on 5 Steps to Prevent Colds & Flu.
And remember, the common cold and flu are caused by viruses and therefore antibiotics WILL NOT help. Instead, they will kill the healthy bacteria in your gut and do more harm than good.
Rather than running for antibiotics when viral illness strikes, here are 10 Natural Remedies for Colds and Flu which we use to strengthen our immune systems:
- Honey: a miraculous antibacterial agent which eases sore throat and suppresses cough. The last time my daughter was ill, she woke up in the middle of the night with a relentless cough lasting an hour. I gave her just 1 spoon of raw honey and she fell right to sleep until the morning!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: is wonderful for so many different conditions. It helps kill viruses and bacteria. Dissolve a tablespoon in a glass of water and drink a bit every few hours. If you don’t like drinking it, you can gargle with some diluted apple cider vinegar. I have rubbed a small towel soaked in diluted apple cider vinegar on my son’s head, chest, and feet to lower fever.
- Vitamin C: provides protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems, eye disease, and even skin wrinkling.
- Cinnamon: Cinnamon is both antiviral and antibacterial. Mix with honey and add to your tea. For my kids, I add cinnamon to my elderberry syrup, and they love the taste.
- Removing sugars & carbohydrates (bread, rice, etc) from your diet: Do this at the first sign of infection, as these foods suppress your immune system. Don’t force your children to eat while they are sick. As long as they are drinking enough fluids to stay hydrated, their bodies don’t need a lot of food during illness. Soup made with homemade bone broth is great during illness…
- Getting lots of rest: Especially if running a fever, the best place to be is at home resting in bed. This is especially important for children with fever- keep them home, & make sure they get lots of rest and stay hydrated.
- Elderberry syrup: our absolute favorite! Elderberries reduce inflammation and boost the immune system. They not only shorten the duration of the illness but also prevent illness. And best of all- my kids LOVE the taste. They will actually pretend to be sick so I give them their “medicine.” Here’s an easy recipe for Elderberry Syrup, or you can buy it here.
- Ginger: fresh ginger is wonderful for easing congestion, cough, and sore throat by reducing inflammation. It can be steeped in boiling water to make a soothing, delicious tea. For my kids, I add ginger to my elderberry syrup.
- Garlic: Garlic is naturally antibacterial. For adults, finely cut 1 or 2 gloves of garlic and put in a small glass of water. You can also steep in hot water with lemon juice and honey to make a tea. For children, soak some garlic in olive oil and apply to the soles of the feet.
- Herbal teas: many herbs can help fight infection, including chamomile, mint, thyme, sage, nettle, mullein… add a splash of lemon juice for vitamin C and some honey to sweeten. You can also try making a herbal steam. Boil 2 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat and add about 5 teaspoons of herbs (thyme, rosemary, oregano). Cover with the lid for 5 minutes, then remove lid and hold your face over the steam. You can put a towel over your head to concentrate the steam. Breathe in the steam for as long as you can. This will help loosen congestion.
Here is a recipe for my favorite flu-fighting tea:
1 tablespoon fresh ginger root, finely cut
½ tablespoon fresh turmeric root, finely cut
A pinch of cinnamon
½ teaspoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon honey (raw is best)
Put the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon and lemon juice in a mug and pour boiling water over it. Allow to steep for 10 minutes. Strain and add the honey. You can also double or triple the recipe, keep in the fridge, and warm up when needed.