Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu


Wow, it seems that this year has been particularly bad for illnesses. I mean every other week someone in my family is coughing, sneezing or throwing up. I can’t wait till spring is here! But, in the mean time, I’m working all my natural remedies to keep our immune systems pumping and minimize symptoms. Here are some of my favorites:

Essential Oils

We apply doTERRA’s OnGuard to our feet nightly and increase it during illnesses. When something hits, I have an entire collection that can tackle just about anything. I’m particularly fond of using what I call the “antibiotic shot,” which contains 6 drops OnGuard, 2 drops oregano, 2 drops frankincense applied to the feet or taken in an empty geletin capsule 3-4 times a day at the onset of symptoms. Some other frequently used oils have been the breathe blend, eucalyptus, lavender, thyme, oregano, frankincense, ginger and lemon.

Lemon Ginger Tea with Raw Honey

I like to use essential oils for this, but regular old lemon juice and a knob of ginger would work just fine. Both ginger and lemon are great for soothing sore throats and all three have great antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties…plus, it tastes great. Just make sure to add the honey (and essential oils) AFTER you heat the water so that you don’t kill all the good stuff. Check out our post about the benefits of raw honey.

Homemade Chicken Broth

Homemade Broth is one of the most nutritious and healing foods you can have. It’s especially good for helping with digestion, healing the gut, building immunity and fighting cold and flu infections. I cook with it in many dishes instead of water and we try to drink at least one cup a day (I like mine piping hot with a drop of ginger and lemon essential oils). I make my broth with spent chicken bones, some sort of bone in, skin on piece of chicken, Bragg’s apple cider vineger, sea salt, pepper and an assortment of veggies, such as carrots, zucchini, fresh ginger, onion, tons of garlic, celery and any extra herbs I have in the fridge.

Raw Garlic

According to leading integrative medical doctor, Andrew Weil, raw garlic is a powerful antibiotic, with antiviral and antifungal properties as well. He recommends taking raw garlic at the onset of symptoms and suggests cutting cloves into small pieces and swallowing whole like a pill, or crushing and adding to applesauce. He also advises that garlic loses it’s medicinal properties as soon as it’s cut or cooked, so it’s best to use fresh garlic for best results.

Dr. Weil also suggests using warm garlic oil as an effective remedy for ear infections. To make the garlic oil, crush a few cloves of garlic into some olive oil, let it sit a few days at room temperature, and strain it. Then put a few drops of the warm garlic oil in the ear canal and plug the ear loosely with a piece of cotton. Keep the oil in a container in the refrigerator and warm a bit for use as needed.

Elderberry Syrup

Elderberries are rich in vitamins A and C, calcium, iron and vitamin B6 as well as the flavonoid quercetin. Israeli researcher Dr. Madeleine Mumcuoglu of Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center found that 20 percent of individuals suffering from the flu had significant relief within 24 hours when elderberry extract was consumed. Within three days, 90 percent were completely cured. Elderberry syrup can also be helpful in to build the immune system, fight cardiovascular disease and tumor growth. [source] Elderberry syrup can be found in most health food stores or online.

To make your own elderberry syrup for a fraction of the cost, combine 1 cup of dried elderberries, 2 tablespoons of rosehips, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon cloves, 1/2 to 1 inch knob of peeled and sliced ginger and 4 cups of filtered water. Simmer for 30-45 minutes or until the liquid reduces and reaches your desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of raw honey till it is completely dissolved. Strain and pour into a clean jar or bottle. For best results, the standard dose is 1/2 to 1 teaspoon daily for kids and 1/2 to 1 tablespoon daily for adults. For the kids, i mix it with water and give it to them as a juice…which makes them pretty happy. (You can purchase elderberries and rosehips at MountainRoseHerbs.com)


According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, several laboratory and animal studies suggest that echinacea contains active substances that enhance the activity of the immune system, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and have hormonal, antiviral, and antioxidant effects. It’s effectiveness against the flu and common colds is debated, but some studies suggest that those who take echinacea at the onset of illness felt better sooner. You can find echinacia in pill or extract form for both children and adults, but it’s important to note that it is not intended for long term use and should not be used for longer than 10 days.

Homemade Vicks

All winter I have been using essential oils mixed with coconut oil to combat sinus issues and respiratory infections within our family. Finally I decided to make up a batch of my own rub to have ready any time an illness hits. It was so easy to make, I can’t believe I waited so long. It is shelf stable for at least a year and can be applied to the chest, sinuses, feet and back as needed. In addition to clearing the nasal passages and chest, the essential oils in this recipe are good for fighting infection and battling fevers.

Here’s what you need: 1/2 cup coconut oil, 2-4 tablespoons of bee’s wax and 60 drops of your favorite essential oils. (I chose a combination of lavender and a breathe blend from doTERRA, but other good oils would be tea tree, rosemary, eucalyptus and peppermint)

Here’s what you do: The process is exactly the same as the healing ointment I told you about earlier. You just melt the coconut oil and bee’s wax in a double boiler until it reaches a liquefied state. At that point, pour it into your desired container and stir in your essential oils. Let it sit at room temperature for several hours to set.

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Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, aromatherapist, doctor or other professionally trained medical expert. By accepting my advice, you agree that this information has not been evaluated by the FDA, but was garnered through internet research and personal experience. Some people may suffer adverse reactions to essential oils and other supplements especially when pregnant, taking other medications/supplements or suffering from a chronic health condition. Do your research and speak to your doctor before staring any new supplement.


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