I know…it seems strange to post this in Spring but there have been so many colds and flu lingering that I wanted to help my friends who’ve been poorly. I hope these Natural Home Remedies tips help. We’re actually more likely to catch bugs in the transitions between seasons, especially when the weather is changing every 10 minutes in the UK. If you’re quick to strip off at the first hint of sun but keep catching colds, layer up and keep covered as intense sun and then cold wind can be the worst combination for your immune system.
The key to getting well is…. Attitude. Getting ill is a pain, both in the symptoms and in stopping us, forcing us to rest. However, let go of any frustration, accept that your body needs to heal and it will do a good job if you let it.
My Natural Cold Flu Remedies
1. REST. REST. REST….
There is no getting around this and trying to ‘push through’ or dosing up on medication is a surefire way to prolong the cold and cause problems later. Take a step back from the hustle that made us weak enough to catch the cold and you will heal quicker.
Your body is intelligent and even though it might feel like it is not playing fair , it’s doing its job perfectly, forcing you to rest and heal to create the energy to produce white blood cells and fight the infection. Give it as much help as you can, by taking time off from work and sleeping as much as you need to. I’ve found saying this to myself helpful.
‘I know that if I shut my mind down and trust my body to heal itself, it will’.
Letting go in this way, releases the added stress of frustration that gets in the way of healing. Trust your body to do what it’s designed to do.
2. STEAM INHALATIONS
Try to do these as early on as you can to prevent germs from spreading into your respiratory system and throughout the cold to release congestion.
Get a large pan or heatproof bowl of boiled water. Add a tablespoon of sea salt and 2-4 drops of essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Tea tree, Pine, Thyme (my fave, really kills germs) Cajeput or a mix like Olbas Oil. Put your head over the bowl under a large towel and inhale the steam as deeply as you can. Ahhhhhh.
3. GINGER TEA = MAGIC POTION
Simmer half a handful of chopped root ginger with the skin on in 2 cups of water for at least 20 minutes. You can add a teaspoon of honey to curb the spice and of course, lemon juice. This is especially good before bed as it opens your pores to release toxins.
4. DIET & SPICES
Reduce dairy and sugar which encourage mucus and slow down the immune system. From a Chinese medicine perspective, you need to eat cooked food and warm liquids, soups are great -hold back on the salads and cold drinks as much as possible. We underestimate the amount of energy needed to keep the body at optimum temperature and cooking the food helps the digestion. If you have fruit when you’re poorly, its best to stew it, maybe with some cinnamon or ginger. Add goji berries, lemon (not oranges which are high in sugar) for vitamin C. If you are having orange juice, keep it to freshly squeezed and one orange’s worth which you can crush fresh ginger and turmeric into.
Add garlic which can be raw in moderation and when drinking A LOT of warm water as garlic can rapidly detox toxins into the bloodstream. When you’re ill use more herbs and spices such as, ginger, black pepper, rosemary, sage for a sore throat and turmeric, which is a great anti-inflammatory and can be used in stews, curries and to make golden milk. Recipe here
Of course, drink as much hot clear liquid as possible, caffeine free tea or just hot water with a tablespoon of organic apple cider vinegar or lemon. Flush it all out.
5. GARGLE FOR SORE THROATS
A sore throat can be the worst symptom of a cold. I gargle with lukewarm water and sea salt ( 1 tsp) and/or lemon juice, a couple of drops of tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar or a little cayenne pepper. It’s worth doing this, even if you don’t have a sore throat to prevent infection spreading.
6. HOT WATER BOTTLE
A hot water bottle on the tummy is great. I try to keep one on all day and night, it just works and feels good. Not sure, how other than relaxing the internal organs, warding off cold and promoting chi flow, it’s a Chinese Medicine recommendation and can prevent a cold if done soon enough. On the feet helps too.
7. DIY REFLEXOLOGY for colds and flu
You can stimulate these reflex points for respiratory and immune system on both feet.
Here are the some points which can help on both the sole and back of the foot, please excuse my clumsy drawings! You can apply pressure to these points with your fingers, thumb or knuckle, rub or massage for a minute each point. If a point is sore and sensitive, spend longer on that area.
1.Sore Throat – on the top of the big toe at the base, bend your index and middle finger and knead the knuckles with each on either side of the toe bone. If you have a sore throat this will be really painful but it works. Also rub anywhere around the base of the big toe, front and back. (Pale blue)
2. The Sinuses – on the soft top of the big toe. Knead in with the side of your thumb/finger, in circles or firm pressure. It’s common to feel ‘crystals’ under the skin, a sign of congestion, keep working on them to release. (Dark blue)
3. Lungs and diaphragm – The whole upper area of the sole of the foot represents the chest/lungs so you can explore this area with your fingers, massaging and spreading the foot out with your hands. Anywhere that is sore or feels lumpy is a good place to start gently working away. (Green)
4. Immune support – on the inner side of the foot, where the foot bulges out under the big toe you will find in the middle, the thymus gland. This produces white blood cells that fight infection and you can gently rub to stimulate it. (Red)
5. Energy – for a gently boost you can gently rub the adrenal gland reflex point. This is in the arch of the foot, under the ball of the foot, below from the 2nd toe on the tendon when you bend your foot back.(Orange)
I’ll post a video on these points soon.. in the meantime you can also check with this interactive reflexology map.
8. MORE FEET LOVE
A warm foot bath is a great head cold cure as it draws congestion down from the top of the body, especially good before bed. Be careful, but its best to have the water as hot as you can take it with a few slices of lemon in the water. Sit back and relax until the water becomes cooler.
9. EXTRA immune BOOSTS
These are some supplements I use when I have a cold but please consult a health practitioner before using them yourself.
- Colloidal silver spray, on the back of the throat to fight infection and protect.
- Propolis tincture – THE best anti-viral, anti-biotic, magic remedies ever. In dire cases, I’ve dropped one or two onto the back of my throat but be careful as it has usually has alcohol. Otherwise, add it to some diluted apple juice or water. I get mine from Neal’s Yard.
- Vitamin C powder, dissolved in water. I use this one
- Zinc I use it in liquid form.
- Echinacea and Goldenseal tincture
- Garlic in any form.
- Manuka Honey (Min 10 UMF) Don’t heat it though
- Saline Neti Sinus Rinse. This took some getting used to as you squirt saline water up one nostril to drain down the other, which feels totally weird but clears the sinuses. I do it over the bath.
……is better than cure. All these tips can be used as prevention or first signs of sniffles. As the seasons change it’s extra important to look after your lungs, get outside in the fresh air and light and have some gentle exercise. In the autumn and winter, take more hot baths if you can. I am pretty much never outside without a scarf. Give your neck some love by wrapping it up and keep cold wind gusts at bay.
Make the best of the time and relax as much as possible, listen to gentle music and watch funny films in between naps. Laughter is the best medicine and a great distraction.
Once you’re feeling better, continue to take it easy and avoid strenuous exercise for two days, doing gently stretches or calm yoga instead.
Relax and get well soon.
Got any great Natural Home Remedies for cold and flu?
Share yours in the comments below.