My family has officially NOT been sick for about a week and a half. I swear since the beginning of November, the cold’s have been nonstop. Driving me nuts up in here. I kind of hit a point where I am sick of everyone being sick. I desperately want to keep the bugs OUT of this house or it’s going to be a long, painful winter.
I understand colds and viruses are part of life…especially life with kids. I am absolutely not keeping my kids in a bubble here at home to protect them from colds, but if I can help prevent those colds with home remedies, I’m all about that!
I absolutely believe in Western medicine, but I do believe home/natural remedies have their place too. Some might be a load of hooey, but these listed out today were all recommended by friends, so they’ve obviously been beneficial to some!
I wanted to kind of take a survey of sorts on what people’s favorite remedies for colds were, so I posted this question on Facebook:
I think I may have the flu right now so I’m in desperate need of some health remedies. Maybe elderberry syrup is in my future? Anyone have success with natural immune boosting remedies? Winter sickness be damned!
These were some of the recommendations and WHY they are being used:
Yep, good old RAW garlic. Not only will this (potentially) kick your cold, it will also push away all intimate human interactions because your breath will be unbearable :).
Garlic is basically a superfood. Turns out, in its raw form, garlic is an antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral, and even antibiotic properties (source). Garlic also happens to be very high in Vitamin C, a nutrient notorious for boosting immunity.
Sadly, cooked garlic does not have the same effects on the immune system. Cooking garlic destroys some of its’ important enzymes and medicinal properties (source).
How do you consume raw garlic?
Well, you could just stick a clove in your mouth and chew it. That sounds all around awful though. Instead, you could mince the garlic up, maybe spread it on some toast or a cracker, you could also drop it into a glass of water and drink up! Some people throw a clove into green smoothies too. That sounds disgusting, but if it were a green smoothie, that could be one helluva superfood smoothie!
Elderberry syrup is one I’ve heard/read about before. The Elderberries have been used for years to make a natural medicine widely used for the flu in particular. Besides fighting flu, lots of people take a shot of the syrup every day (especially during winter) to keep the cold/flu at bay.
Why Elderberry Syrup?
Elderberries are another food that are rich in Vitamin C and Vitamin A. They also contain bioflavonoids which can help increase antioxidant levels, which in turn decrease damage to cell walls (source).
People that come down with the flu may want to grab some Elderberry syrup too. There have actually been studies that show patients taking Elderberry syrup, on average, decreased their symptoms of the flu by 4 days. Pretty incredible!
How to take Elderberry Syrup:
You can buy Elderberry syrup online (I bought some off Amazon) or check in your local health food store.
You can also make your own, which someday I would like to do. I bought it this time around because I was sick AND the two kids were sick so, I wasn’t really up for playing around in the kitchen. The Wellness Mama has a recipe up as well as Mommypotamus.
In general, if you’re giving the syrup to you’re kids, the recommended amount is about 1 teaspoon a day (possibly less depending on their age). Adults can take 1 1/2 teaspoons to 1 tablespoon a day.
Oil of Oregano/Essential Oils
Okay, so Oil of Oregano is up first. I’ve heard Oil of Oregano thrown around the “health sphere” a couple of times. I mostly hear good things, but I’ve also read a few “bewares.” It is an essential oil, so just do your homework when it comes to consuming essential oils. In general, it sounds like most are safe and beneficial if you’re using them properly, but just be sure you’re using them in the correct way and be careful with children.
Why Oil of Oregano?
Apparently, Oil of Oregano contains a compound called carvacrol which can break through cell membranes that are protecting bacteria from the immune system (source). Oil of Oregano is known for having anti-fungal properties so some people take it for GI issues.
How do you take Oil of Oregano?
Like many other essential oils, you can take it topically when it’s diluted with a carrier oil (like coconut oil for example). You can also diffuse it into the air using an E.O. (essential oil) diffusor. Diffusing it may be your best option if you’re having respiratory issues.
A few other essential oils recommended for colds are: tea tree oil (fights congestion), pine oil (helps clear nasal passages), lavender (antiseptic and antimicrobial properties), peppermint oil (antiseptic/anti-viral properties), and Thieves, a blend of oils, that is thought to have anti-viral, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties.
There are a number of other oils too. Like I said, do your research when it comes to essential oils (<—I am in no way an expert on them).
Fermented Cod Liver Oil
First and foremost: what is fermented cod liver oil?
Fermented cod liver oil is literally when cod livers are fermented. This process allows the beneficial fat soluble vitamins and oils to separate from the liver without being damaged (source). Those vitamins include Vitamin D, Vitamin A, and Omega-3’s.
Why fermented cod liver oil?
In my opinion, cod liver oil is especially beneficial during cold/flu season because of its’ Vitamin A content. Vitamin A is crucial because it helps ensure the body’s mucous membranes are working properly (one of the first line’s of defense). Vitamin A also assists in the development of white blood cells which attack a virus once its’ entered the body (source).
How do you take fermented cod liver oil?
Fermented cod liver oil comes in pill form but also as a liquid. You can just take it right off the spoon (I’ve never tried it so I don’t know how it tastes..probably not great). I see that they do sell flavored FCLO so I suppose you could try one of those.
Other than that, you could probably add it to things like a smoothie, in your yogurt, maybe even oatmeal?
I’ve seen a few things recently on a controversy surrounding fermented cod liver oil. That some brands may be somewhat of a fraud…whether or not they are, I have no idea. Take this with a grain of salt and do your own research.
Probiotics are sort of interesting because there’s a million different strands (probably more actually). I did read there was a study done on college students (sleep deprived, generally gross people) and one group was given certain strains of probiotics (Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG) and Bifidobacterium animalis (BB-12)). The control group was given these probiotics for 12 weeks. Both groups got sick around the same time, but the controlled group missed only 15 days of school on average as opposed to the other group who missed 34. Also, the cold seemed to have disappeared 2 days sooner for the control group AND symptoms were less severe (source). Apparently, probiotics appear to lessen the inflammatory response sent out by your immune system.
Again, there are TONS of strands of probiotics, so try looking for one’s that contain LGG and BB-12 for cold busting during winter month’s.
How do you take probiotics?
Depending on the probiotic type, you can find probiotics in pill form but also in powder. If they’re powder, you can usually just add them to water and it’ll dissolve easily.
Apple Cider Vinegar
People love apple cider vinegar for a million different reasons. We will focus on why it may keep the doctor away.
Why apple cider vinegar?
Apparently, ACV helps to alkalinize the body. Alkalinizing the body helps to kill bacteria and viruses (source). That environment is much less appealing to bacteria.
How do you drink ACV?
Well, you can drink it straight up! Or, you can add it to water to lessen the pain a little. You can also add it to hot teas (might feel good if you’re already feeling sick) or make salad dressing with it.
Onions on the Feet
So, it sounds like this stems from Chinese Medicine. The thinking is this: the bottom of your feet provide direct access to organs in the body. According to Healthy Wild and Free:
“Onions and garlic are known air purifiers and when applied to the skin topically they kill germs and bacteria but also the phosphoric acid (the substance from onions that makes you cry when you cut them open) enters the bloodstream it helps to purify the blood and kill any bacteria or germs that may be festering waiting to give you the flu.”
Interesting, right? It sounds a little out there, but I have a friend who recommended it AND have seen it on numerous natural health sites. It might be worth trying?
How to use the onions:
From what I read, the easiest way to do this is to cut onion slices (red or white), place them on the bottom of your foot, cover with a sock, then go to bed! Say bye bye toxins!
Some different recommendations here but they all might be worth a shot.
*Liposomal Vitamin C was also mentioned in my comments. I read a little about them but just didn’t feel like I understood enough to talk about it on here. Anyone use it and want to educate me? 🙂
So, you tell me…any natural remedies you recommend for fighting a cold or the flu?
**Disclaimer: I am not a doctor. Not even a holistic doc. Always talk to your doctor before starting a new health regimen **