It’s inevitable that at this time of year, there is a lot of talk about cold and flu season! Temps are dropping, kids are back to school, and germs are all around us.
Traditional over-the-counter medicines like cough suppressants are only designed to—like the name says—suppress the symptoms of a cold or flu, instead of working on a deeper level to rid the body of the infection faster (or keep one from coming on). Many of these medications can also have long-lasting and unwanted side effects on the body.
We’ve previously shared suggestions for supporting our bodies by boosting immunity with foods and supplements, and today we wanted to share some additional cold and flu home remedies to alleviate symptoms and support the bodies of you and your loved ones.
6 Cold and Flu Home Remedies to Support the Body Naturally
1. Wet Sock Therapy
When you feel the start of a cold or flu symptoms coming on (e.g., sore throat, stuffy/runny nose, headache), give this alternative treatment a try! All you need is 1) cotton socks, 2) wool socks, and 3) water.
To use this “therapy,” you must first soak a pair of light cotton socks in cold water. Once soaked completely, wring them out and put them on your feet. Next, put on a pair of dry, heavy/wool socks over top of the cold/wet pair. Then, go to bed.
How does this work exactly? When your feet are cold, your body works to warm them back up. In the process, blood circulation is increased, and the immune system is stimulated. This starts the detox process by releasing the junk from your tissues into your bloodstream so your body can get rid of it. By morning, your socks are dry and you should be on your way to feeling like yourself again!
There is a lot to homeopathy, but our favorite description is “like cures like.” Homeopathic remedies are selected by identifying the symptoms and characteristics of someone, and finding the remedy that most closely matches. (If just starting your journey into homeopathy, it is recommended that you consult a Homeopathic doctor for proper diagnosis/treatment.) We love homeopathy because it is gentle, safe, natural, and makes a lot of sense once you understand the basics. While there are a great number of remedies available from which to choose, some of our favorite cold and flu remedies are Arsenicum album, belladonna, euphrasia, natrum muriaticum, and pulsatilla.
3. Salt therapy
Saline / neti rinses are great natural remedy decongestants. You can use an instrument called a neti pot that resembles a little teapot with a long spout, or there are bottles and other sinus irrigation systems designed for the same purpose. What goes inside includes a saline (salt) solution mixed with distilled, sterile, or boiled and cooled tap water. (Note: You do NOT want to use unboiled tap water due to the risk of bacteria and other toxins which can cause problems in your nasal passages. You should also avoid using plain water without the saline mixture as doing so could also harm). Saline rinses are used by tilting your head over a sink and pouring the liquid into one nostril and allowing it to drain from the other. The rinses can be used daily for prevention as well as when minor cold symptoms are present. While it may sound difficult to do, when done correctly, saline rinses should not cause any discomfort, including the dreaded “water up your nose” feeling. If you want to take the easy way out, try this nasal wash tool.
You may have heard of taking warm water Epsom salt baths to relieve sore muscles, but did you know that in addition to helping with body aches that they can also help you to detoxify? What you want to do is draw a hot bath, pour in a cup of Epsom salts (be sure to avoid toxic fragrances and additional ingredients; you can add quality essential oils if you’d like – see #4), and soak for 20 minutes. We encourage you to use this time to do something relaxing, such as reading, listening to calming music, or simply taking advantage of some quiet moments by yourself. Once 20 minutes is up, gently exit the bath (caution: you may be lightheaded). It is also a good idea to include hydration as part of your plan as you may sweat a bit in (and after) the bath. We suggest bringing a drink with you and taking some mid-bath sips and to consider drinking another after the bath.
If you’re looking for more than just a bath at home, consider looking into “halotherapy.” Some locations around the country allow you to enter a “salt cove/cave” and sit for a designated amount of time while dry salt is pumped throughout the room. Similar to the Epsom salt water bath, halotherapy acts to cleanse and detoxify the lungs, thus improving respiratory function and keeping away respiratory infections. The inhaled dry salt provides reported health benefits such as removing impurities from the lungs, clearing congestion, killing bacteria, reducing inflammation, increasing oxygen intake, and boosting immunity.
Saltwater can also be very soothing on a sore throat. Simply add a half teaspoon of salt to a glass of water, stir until dissolved, and gargle for a few seconds. Spit out and repeat a couple of times. You can also repeat this process every hour or so for additional relief. Gargling the salt works by helping to reduce swelling and pulling out bacteria.
4. Essential oils
Essential oils are compounds extracted from plants. The oils may be found in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits of the plants that produce the essential oils. While we do not support internal use, diffusing EOs is a great way to support your body. Find a diffuser that can cover the square footage of the room in which you wish to diffuse, and choose quality oils (from a brand you trust) that are antibacterial and antiviral. Some of our favorite common cold and flu treatment oils are oregano, eucalyptus, and frankincense. Peppermint can also be used for headaches, congestion, and to reduce a fever. Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties.
5. Herbal teas
Generally speaking, warm liquids like hot tea are great flu and cold remedies. They’re super comforting overall, and breathing in the steam of the hot drink can help to loosen nasal congestion. Some of our favorite herbal teas are nettle leaf (great for coughing, chest congestion), peppermint or ginger root (perfect for stomach aches and digestive issues as well as congestion), lemon balm (excellent for viral and nervous system support), rose hips (high in vitamin C – helps support immunity), and chamomile (calms the nerves and promotes rest).
6. Hydration / Rest / Adrenal Support
It goes without saying (but we’re still saying it!)… when you’re under the weather, some of the most important things you can do are to stay hydrated, get adequate rest, and support your adrenals.
For hydration, consider drinking living water (water activated by the earth – create your own by adding lemon juice or honey to water), coconut water, and/or freshly squeezed juice to help replace fluids lost from fever and respiratory tract evaporation. Fluids also help to loosen mucus and phlegm. Cucumber juice also provides support if you have a fever. Of course, rather than waiting for the common cold to hit, ensure your intake of liquids is consistent every day!
As for rest, it’s self-explanatory. When you’re feeling less than your best, try to take it easy and catch as many zzzz’s as you can.
Lastly, support your adrenals by eating a nourishing snack or meal every one and a half to two hours. The best adrenal snacks have balanced levels of glucose, sodium, and potassium (some examples are apple/celery/dates and orange/avocado/spinach). When your blood sugar drops, the adrenals need to work extra hard to compensate by releasing adrenaline. Consuming foods in combination like this throughout the day works to prevent damage to the adrenals—as well as the liver and pancreas.
If none of this is appealing, simply sip on some Medical Medium healing broth.
Being prepared is half the battle!
Being prepared can make such a huge difference when dealing with acute illnesses like cold and flu viruses. We hope that you found the above suggestions to be helpful. Don’t forget to check out this blog on boosting immunity during cold and flu season for even more ideas!
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Kimberly brings an enormous amount of compassion and light to her work as a healer. Her personal experience of overcoming chronic health issues while managing the demands of her busy life as a mother, wife and health practitioner gives her a special and invaluable insight into the challenges and struggles so many of her clients face. I deeply respect and honor Kimberly and her genuine commitment to helping her clients heal. She is a true ambassador of the healing information I share. – Anthony William, Medical Medium