I’ve been a huge fan of anything to improve one’s health naturally ever since my mom helped me get over a horrible case of mononucleosis back when I was in college. (Thanks, Mom! :D)
My doctor — the same pediatrician I had seen since I was a young girl — had said I would likely be sick for a month or more, but my mom wasted no time getting me on a regular regimen of echinacea, goldenseal, and white oak bark tea. I was better in under a week!
From that point on, I was fascinated with learning about any kind of herbal remedies.
I’m a long way past college now — over 20 years — and in that time, I’ve tried a lot of different things with different levels of success, from teas to tinctures, to expensive essential oils, to you-name-it.
I’m definitely not a medical professional, but here are some of the things I’ve found that actually work:
1. Get Ahead of Allergy Season
In my case, seems like cold season comes reliably twice a year — right around the time the seasons change in spring and fall. Guess what else happens around that time… Allergies!
Getting ahead of the allergies seems to be a big help. I’ve tried so many different allergy medicines over the years, but I’ve found the combination that seems to work great for me. Allegra in the morning and Flonase just before bed.
I didn’t realize it until a year or so ago, but according to WebMD (and my local pharmacist) they can be taken at the same time as they do two different things.
2. Keep an eye on humidity levels in your home.
This is another seriously key tip that has been a game-changer for me, and it’s all-natural, as it just uses plain old water!
Used to be that I would always get the worst cold symptoms as they weather was getting colder and drier. I would end up with basic head congestion which would lead to post-nasal drip, which would lead to insufferable coughing that kept me up all night.
After doing some research on why that happens and what I could do to get some relief (because I don’t want to have to take pills or syrups for everything, and anyway, they never touched that terrible cough, anyway!), I discovered that ideally, if you’re suffering from head congestion and a cough, you want the humidity level in your home to be high, ideally above 60%. Without fail, when the humidity level in my home drops below 50% — which doesn’t happen too often since I live by the sea — I usually start having that cough.
3. Cough drops sent from heaven (or so it seems!)
Ok. You’re going to think I’m crazy for mentioning this. It’s a little bit pricey for a cold remedy, but I’m telling you, you can either buy what’s cheap, or you can buy what works. THESE WORK.
You know how it is with most cough drops? You can suck on them constantly, but the moment you don’t have one in your mouth, you start coughing again. And sometimes, even when you’re using them, you’re still coughing your head off!
These amazing Organic Manuka Honey Drops by Wedderspoon have a lasting effect. When I am at my worst with a cough, one of these will usually at least keep me cough free for a half-hour or more.
I’m sure it’s a combination of the ingredients. Honey is soothing to the throat and raw honey has antibacterial properties, while ginger is great for soothing a cough and the immune system, in general.
Now, if honey is already good, then Manuka Honey is like honey that’s wearing a superhero cape! It’s good-for-you-quotient is off the charts — with antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties — and it’s all thanks to the lovely little bees who pollinate manuka bushes in Australia and New Zealand.
Here they are. 😍🐝
4. Don’t forget the chicken soup!
Seriously. This is probably one of the most important things to remember whenever you’re suffering from cold or flu (or just about anything, really!)
I don’t think I can offer any better endorsement than a passage from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions:
In folk wisdom, rich chicken broth—the famous Jewish penicillin—is a valued remedy for the flu. The 12th century physician Moses Maimonides prescribed chicken broth as a treatment for colds and asthma. Modern research has confirmed that broth helps prevent and mitigate infectious diseases. The wise food provider, who uses gelatin-rich broth on a daily or frequent basis, provides continuous protection from many health problems.”
The ideal chicken soup will be made with chicken on the bone, fresh or frozen, and vegetables, but if you don’t have any of that, then at the very least, try to use a bouillon that has no MSG (I like Better Than Bouillon brand) and whatever chicken you have in the fridge or freezer.
Support your immune system.
While the chicken soup, honey, and ginger mentioned above all have immune system-boosting qualities, you’ll also want to make use of any number of natural immune boosters. Some of my favorites are:
- Elderberry Syrup
- Garlic Capsules
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Oregano Oil (essential oil)
I hope none of us get sick this winter, but if anyone starts feeling under the weather, the tips above really are helpful to me and maybe they will be helpful for you, as well. 🙂