Autumn is most definitely the start of cold and flu season.. Last week I covered cold and flu prevention. The next step is natural remedies for cold and flu for when the germs get the better of you.
So here are all the bases you need to cover to help your body fight germs and help you feel as well as possible.
What you feed tour body in important always. But even more so when you are run down and your body is fighting to get you healthy. You need to be eating good whole foods that are high in vitamins C, E, A, Selenium, Zinc, B6, and Omega-6.
I covered this in more detail including all the foods you can utilise to up your dosages of all the above vitamins and minerals in my last post (if you missed it you can read up here).
This is a pretty obvious one. But also one of the most important. You body is made up mostly of water, so you need to keep even more hydrated than usual.
Keep drinking lots of water, herbal teas and juice through the day. More than you would normally drink.
Hot water & Lemon
Drink a mug of hot water with a slice of lemon at least twice a day. Lemon has antiviral properties so it is great for killing those germ bugs in your throat, and add a teaspoon of honey for its antibacterial properties.
It’s also very soothing and relaxing when you’re feeling sick.
Gargle with salt water
This is one that I included in last weeks post on how to avoid getting sick, but it’s also worth doing whilst you are ill too. Add a small teaspoon of salt into the bottom of a glass, fill with boiling water and allow to cool to drinking temperature. Take a deep breath and a small mouthful, and gargle for as long as you can.
Do this a couple of times, and repeat about three or four times a day if you can. Doing this not only kills the bacteria in your throat, but will help to clear all the mucus your body is producing and help you breathe and swallow a little more easily.
Ginger is a great immune system booster, full of vitamin C, it is anti inflammatory and full of antioxidants. All things that will help you when suffering from a cold or flu.
It will also give you a bit of an energy boost too which we often need when a sickness slows you down.
Here is a simple recipe you can make at home ( or have someone make for you!). This recipe will keep for about a week stored in the fridge, so you should only have to make it once or twice to get you through.
Drink the whole shot in one go.. even if you have to follow it with a glass of water! and take at least once a day.
Garlic is another food with lots of medicinal properties that are good for you when suffering from the cold or flu.
It has been shown to reduce the length of a cold and cold symptoms by 70%.. from 5 days to just 1.5 days.
You don’t have to take it as a raw food, but can take it in supplement/ tablet form (find it at your local health store).
Garlic is also full of all those nutrient I mentioned above that help your body’s immune system. A 28g serving of garlic contains:
Manganese – 23% rda
Vitamin B6 – 17% rda
Vitamin C – 15% rda
Selenium – 6% rda
Fibre – 0.6 grams
As well as amounts of copper, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron and vitamin B1. But only 42 calories.
Start taking a garlic supplement at the first signs of a cold or flu to get the best results.
Epsom salts are made up primarily of magnesium which is great for aching muscles, stiff joints and a tired body. All things we suffer from when full of cold and flu.
Run a hot steamy bath and add a handful of Epsom salts. Relax and soak for 10-20 mins.
Take deep breaths and let the stem help your chest and help your sinuses too.
Steaming with menthol
This is a good thing to do when you’re struggling to breathe or feeling congested.
Use a bowl that you can comfortably place your face over, boil enough water to fill the bowl about two thirds full. Fill the bowl and add 6-8 drops of eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil and rosemary oil.
Once the water is ready get a towel that will cover your head and the bowl (without letting any steam escape). Lean over the bowl with the towel over your head. Breathe deeply for about 10 minutes, or as long as you can.
Repeat a couple of times a day, especially before bed, to clear your sinuses, clear the mucus, and help relieve your chest too.
This is also a good practice to use for coughs and chest infections/problems too.
You can also do this in the bath by adding a few drops of eucalyptus and peppermint oils to the water and inhaling the steam.
As well as using essential oils for steaming (as above), they are also good to use and carry with you throughout the day to relieve chest cold and flu symptoms.
You can either do this using a rollerball that you have pre-mixed with a carrier oil, or by dabbing a few drops of oil on your clothes and/or around your pillow.
Good essential oils to use for fighting cold and flu are Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Rosemary and Lavender.
All of these oils have antibacterial and antiviral properties. They help reduce inflammation, Can help relieve muscle pain, help you breathe more easily, and boost your immune system.
Sleep is always important for your body to function at its best. But your body does it’s best healing while you are sleeping, so it’s even more important you get a good nights rest when you are sick.
Doing all of the above tips throughout the day should make sleep easier for you, and a hot bath before bed will help you relax.
If you are struggling to get to sleep dab some lavender oil on your wrists and behind your ears. You can even try taking a herbal sleeping supplement.
Always listen to your body and do what feels best and most comfortable to you.
and I hope you feel better soon!