13 Natural Cold & Flu Remedies

January 5, 2018

in Ask Dr Lisa, Family Health

 

“Dr. Lisa, my daughter seems to be sick quite often. She gets over one cold only to catch the next cold that follows. What can we do naturally to help prevent and relieve cold and the flu?” – Michelle, NJ

Winter can be a fun time for our kids. For many, snow can bring a magical outdoor playground for building snowmen, sledding, hot chocolate and skiing. What can be better than building a huge snow fort with your friends?

It also can be a time of year that colds and flu can seem to take over our homes. We can work hard to prevent them from occurring, but sometimes no matter what we do, our family can still be hit hard.

The good news is that each time we get a cold, we are building our immune system. The old saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it” comes to mind. Each time our bodies are invaded by colds or flu, it builds antibodies and releases immune cells to fight them. This process creates a stronger line of self-defense. Amazing, right?

Our bodies also have an innate intelligence that provides it with the inner knowledge of how to fight and heal from colds and flu. Although the body’s innate intelligence is complex, there are natural remedies that you can do to help your body fight colds and flu and lessen symptoms.

Eliminate Dairy Products

Dairy products such as milk and cheese are inflammatory and because the body produces inflammation and mucous when fighting a cold or flu, it is beneficial to avoid dairy at this time. Instead of dairy, try alternative plant based milks such as almond or rice milk. Also try making homemade cashew cheese instead of dairy based or processed vegan cheeses.

Reduce Sugar Intake

At the first sign of illness, reduce or remove bad sugars from the diet. This includes soda, candy, cookies, cakes, foods with sugar and sugar derivatives, breads, pastas, cereals, wheat products, and white bleached flour. These foods weaken immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. However, healthy fruit sugars are jammed pack with vitamin and nutrients which are crucial for the body during this time.

Increase Vitamin C and Zinc

Vitamin C is considered to be one the best vitamins for preventing and speeding the recovery of a cold and flu. Some benefits of vitamin C are protection against immune system deficiencies, cardiovascular disease, prenatal health problems and eye disease. Begin by including more raw foods that have vitamin C such as oranges, strawberries, kiwis, guava, papaya, pineapple, red and green peppers, broccoli, kale, peas, and cauliflower.

Zinc is the powerhouse mineral for preventing and improving symptoms of a cold and flu.

It is needed for important enzymatic activities, and it acts like an antioxidant, fighting free radical damage and slowing the aging process. It also is a common deficiency in patients. Therefore, testing levels is an excellent tool in maintaining a healthy immune system all year. Try eating more foods high in zinc such as pumpkin, cashews, chickpeas, mushrooms, spinach, grass-fed beef and chicken.

Make Bone Broth

Bone broth is one of the oldest ways to help the body overcome a cold. Grandma’s chicken soup remedy comes from her secret ingredient, bone broth. This is not today’s conventional version using chicken bouillon cubes or boxed/canned vegetable, chicken or bone broth. This remedy is using real chicken or beef bones. Homemade bone broth contains valuable nutrients in a form your body can easily absorb and use. It is also can be used to make healthy soups when your appetite is weak from being sick.

Try Echinacea

Echinacea is a flower that is known to help boost the immune system. Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections. It comes in a supplement and liquid form that is easy to take when first sign of a cold begins.

Go for the Garlic

Garlic is an amazing natural immune system boosters. It has been linked to reducing or preventing heart disease, stroke, cancer and infections. It has natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal properties that can help relieve the common cold as well. You can begin to include raw garlic in your diet and meals. It also is available in non-odorless supplements.

I personally have given my children over the past 19 years, drops of garlic oil in each ear upon the first signs of a cold. Due to garlic’s antiviral and antibacterial properties, garlic drops have successfully prevented ear infections in my children.  I find Herbs for Kids to be my favorite product. I simply warm the bottle up in a hot cup water before placing 1-2 drops in each ear.

Turn Up the Turmeric

When a cold or flu has inflammation running wild, turmeric is an incredible anti-inflammatory superfood. Turmeric is known to ease symptoms from joint pain to food allergies to digestive troubles. Turmeric’s active ingredient curcumin is one of nature’s most powerful anti-inflammatory herbs. Try adding this orange spice to your meals or teas.

Drink Your Ginger

Ginger is one of the most popular cold fighting food picks. Its anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals ingredients help to relieve a sore throat quickly and boost the immune system. Drink three or more cups daily until you are well. There are many organic ginger teas on the market, but using the ginger root works best when a cold or flu arrives. Try my Cold Fighting Tea Recipe that is loaded with immune boosting vitamin C, turmeric and ginger.

Diffuse Eucalyptus or Peppermint Oil

There is nothing enjoyable when a cold or flu attacks, leaving the body congested. Eucalyptus and peppermint essential oils are nature’s very best decongestants. Simply place approximately 6 drops of a certified organic eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil into a diffuser (you can put 3 drops of peppermint and 3 eucalyptus). As you breathe the vapors, you will feel your sinuses opening up. You also can make a vapor rub with the oils to help with chest congestion by mixing a few drops of eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil to Shea butter or almond oil.  I use Plant Therapy’s certified organic essential oils in my home.

Germ Control with Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree essential oil contains antiseptic, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Using this essential oil for colds helps diminish coughs, bronchial congestion and sore throats. Tea tree essential oil is also an excellent, natural disinfectant. Put a few drops in a spray bottle with water to kill germs on surfaces and in the air. You also can place 6 drops into a diffuser (you can mix this with peppermint and/or eucalyptus as well), to help disinfect the air and body.

Get Enough Sleep

I can’t stress this step enough. When a cold or flu attacks, the body works so hard to battle it, but in doing so, cough, congestion, body aches, and fatigue result. Allow yourself to sleep and relax. The body does not need you or your child to push the limits. The most common mistake many patients in my practice make is not resting when they are sick. The ones that keep going and ignore the need to rest, take quite long to get better. Take note the next time a person or child just can’t shake a cold. I bet they aren’t resting much.

See Your Chiropractor

Getting your spine adjusted is one of the most beneficial natural remedies you can do to help your body fight a cold or flu. A chiropractor locates and removes vertebral subluxations within your spine and nervous system. Not removing vertebral subluxations decreases the brain’s ability to communicate with the body. This lowers the body’s innate ability to heal at its optimal potential. Each adjustment removes subluxations, allowing the brain to communicate with the body properly. Getting adjusted stimulates the body’s innate ability to heal itself and boost the T cells (immune cells) for a speedier recovery as well. Studies show that children that get adjusted are healthier than those that do not, having fewer illnesses and quicker recoveries.

Detect a Leaky Gut

If you find you or your child getting sick often or having difficulty overcoming colds and chronic health issues, take time this new year to determine if you or your child have a leaky gut. A leaky gut is when the body attacks itself within the gut, creating inflammation and health issues. 80% of the body’s immune system is now found in the gut, therefore, signs of a weakened immune system may be due to a leaky gut. When my patients learn how to properly repair a leaky gut, they repair their weakened immune system which results in overcoming their chronic health issues. You can take my Leaky Gut Quiz here to determine if you or your child suffer from a leaky gut.

 

 

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