Have you fought a nasty head cold lately? It seems like the bug circulating this winter is lingering longer than normal for some people, so we wanted to pass along a few of our favorite runny nose, cough, and sore throat remedies.
Here are 8 all-natural approaches to fighting viruses that won’t flood your body with more chemicals and toxins.
(1) Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has potent antibacterial properties that keep your immune system strong. It’s high potassium content helps to break up mucus in the body and clears the lymph nodes, which also aids in the removal of toxins. For day-to-day use, ACV is wonderful in salad dressings. If you have a sore throat, try this homemade tea:
- 1 tablespoon ACV
- Half of 1 lemon, squeezed
- Thumb-size portion of ginger root, freshly grated
- Raw honey, to taste
- 1 tablespoon turmeric (optional)
This healing tea soothes will soothe your throat in a big way, plus the ginger & turmeric are incredible for fighting a cold. And did you know that raw honey is loaded with antiviral and antibacterial properties that relieves respiratory symptoms?
(2) Raw garlic is packed with immune-boosting, anti-microbial compounds that fight off viruses, like we talked about in this post. You can add raw garlic to soups just before you eat them (chopping finely or using a garlic press). Our favorite way to get raw garlic is with some homemade guacamole! A few avocados, some cilantro, tomatoes or red onion if you’d like, fresh lime juice, salt and pepper to taste, and at least 2 cloves a garlic. Yum!!!
(3) Oil of oregano is widely acknowledged for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and as such, is highly antiseptic. A small tincture from your local natural foods store is all you need to take advantage of this one-of-a-kind herbal remedy. We’ve already written an entire blog about oregano, so be sure to check it out here.
(4) Bone broth is wildly important for supporting your immune system (and gut health in general). A tasty bowl of pho (beef broth base) from a local Vietnamese restaurant or homemade chicken noodle soup — emphasis on homemade! — are the best ways to get bone broth into your system. You’ve undoubtedly heard the old adage that chicken soup will help cure a cold, and there’s actually incredible scientific support for such a statement. For example, bone broth contains immune-stimulating carnosine to help fight off infections. It also has anti-inflammatory benefits and a natural amino acid called cysteine, which thins the mucus in your lungs and makes it less sticky.
Make the soup hot and spicy with plenty of black pepper or chili pepper. The spices will trigger a sudden release of watery fluids in your mouth, throat, and lungs, which will help thin down the respiratory mucus so it’s easier to expel. Chili peppers are one of the best natural sources of vitamin C, and black peppercorns contain high amounts of piperine, a compound with fever-reducing and pain-relieving properties.
(5) Gurgling warm salt water is one of the simplest ways to soothe a sort throat. It helps kill bacteria, ease sore throat pain, and prevents upper respiratory tract infections. Try a solution of one-half teaspoon salt in one-half cup of warm water.
(6) Doing a Neti pot in the morning has a similar effect as gurgling salt water. It’s a simple technique to safely cleanse your sinuses of irritants. If you’ve never done it before, it can be weird to get used to, but the research behind how a Neti pot cleanses nasal passages is very powerful and convincing!
(7) Echinacea is one of the most widely used herbal medications in Europe to combat colds and infections. One review of more than 700 studies found that using Echinacea can reduce your risk of catching cold by as much as 58 percent. We get our Echinacea from a Goldenseal/Echinacea tincture, found at a natural food store (right next to the Oil of Oregano).
(8) Elderberry is rich in vitamin C and carries a wide range of valuable flavonoids, including anthocyanins and quercetin. Elderberry has been traditionally used as a tonic to boost immunity, and is widely known to promote lung and bronchial tract health. In one study, elderberry reduced the severity of flu symptoms, and shortened their duration by about four days. Elderberry extract is also known for inducing sweating, and helps relieve congestion. You can buy elderberry as a syrup or a tincture, which again, would be right next to the Oil of Oregano and Goldenseal/Echinacea tinctures.
Remember, the key to preventing a cold, sore throat, or cough – and recovering from it quickly – is to maintain a strong immune system. This includes a balanced, whole-food based, organic diet, avoiding sugar, optimizing your vitamin D level, getting enough sleep and exercise, and managing your stress.
Which natural remedies do you turn to during cold & flu season?
For more on ACV, check this out.
For more on Oil of Oregano, read this.
For more on Echinacea/Goldenseal, don’t miss this article.