The change in seasons to fall often brings illness., but simple natural remedies and techniques can help provide relief and boost your immune system. Many plants and substances found in nature have been used for centuries to alleviate cold and flu symptoms and promote a speedier recovery. Look through our round up of simple ideas to find something to support your wellness this season
Boost Immunity Work on the forefront to prevent illness to begin with! Proper sleep, diet and hydration can support your body’s ability to fight off infection swiftly and with fewer symptoms. Certain plants and herbal supplements are beneficial to consume to help support your immune system.
- Garlic is not just a kitchen staple; it’s a natural powerhouse against colds and flu. It contains allicin, a compound with strong antimicrobial properties. Incorporate garlic into your diet by adding it to soups, stir-fries, or simply chewing on a garlic clove if you can handle the taste. You can also take garlic supplements if the odor is a concern.
- Echinacea is an herb known for its immune-boosting properties. It can be taken in the form of supplements or brewed into a tea. Echinacea stimulates the production of white blood cells, helping your body fight off infections more effectively.
- Elderberry prevents viruses from replicating in the body.
- When you feel cold and flu symptoms begin, up your garlic intake and take half a teaspoon of echinacea extract and one teaspoon of elderberry extract 3 times a day in a quarter cup of warm water to help stop the infection.
Honey and Lemon – One of the simplest and most effective natural remedies for cold and flu is a soothing concoction of honey and lemon. Honey has antibacterial properties, while lemon is packed with vitamin C, which boosts the immune system. Mixing a tablespoon of honey with freshly squeezed lemon juice in a cup of warm water can help relieve a sore throat, reduce coughing, and provide a comforting, hydrating drink. A half teaspoon of honey with a squeeze of lemon allowed to slowly dissolve in your mouth is a great quick cough reliever. Remember to not offer unpasteurized honey to children under 2.
Herbal Cough Syrup – With just a few more ingredients and some preparation you can craft your own herbal cough syrup. An herbal tea of thyme, licorice root and aniseed loosen mucus congestion and soothe the respiratory tract. Honey thins mucus, preserves the syrup and soothes sore throats. The addition of wild cherry bark can help ease spasmodic coughs and provide a powerful sedative action.
- 1 tablespoon aniseed
- 1 tablespoon licorice root
- 1 tablespoon wild black cheery bark (optional)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tablespoon dried thyme
- 1 cup honey
Simmer aniseed, licorice root and optional wild black cherry bark with water in a covered pot for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, add thyme, cover, and allow to steep until room temperature. Strain the tea and add honey, warming the tea gently to dissolve if necessary. Store in a covered glass jar in the refrigerator for up to 3 months. Use 1 teaspoon as needed to help relieve coughs.
Gargling to encourage healing – Depending on symptoms various teas can be helpful to gargle. You can experiment to find the combination that works best for you!
- Simple saltwater can help ease the pain of a sore throat with its mild astringent and antiseptic properties. Combine 3/4 tsp sea salt in one cup of warm water and gargle several times a day.
- Sage adds an astringent compound that can help relieve pain temporarily. Steep 2 teaspoons of dried sage in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Strain and add 1/2 teaspoon sea salt. Gargle several times a day as needed.
- Cayenne also temporarily relieves pain of sore throats. Combine half a cup of warm water, one tablespoon of lemon juice, one teaspoon of salt, and a dash of powdered cayenne. Gargle several times a day.
Reduce a fever – The simplest way to help support your body during a fever is to stay well hydrated. Drinking plenty of water and resting allows the fever to do its work of helping to fight off the infection. Sometimes the discomfort is too much, especially for children, and the use of diaphoretic herbs can help to encourage perspiration providing a cooling effect. Many of these herbs are also relaxing to the musculoskeletal system providing some relief aches that can accompany fever and enabling sleep.
- Warm baths can help ease chills and relax muscles while supporting the fever’s work. Yarrow tea bath reduces inflammation and increases circulation to the skin, helping to promote sweating and reducing a fever without suppressing the immune system. Prepare a yarrow tea with 2 cups boiling water poured over 3 tablespoons of dried yarrow. Steep for 20 minutes, strain and add to a lukewarm bath. For chills try 3 cups of Epsom salts and ginger essential oil in a hot bath to ease muscle aches and provide a warming effect.
- To safely lower a fever with an herbal tea. pour 1 cup boiling water over 2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger root, 1 teaspoon dried peppermint and 1 teaspoon dried elderflower. Cover and steep for 10 minutes. Strain, sweeten with honey if desired and drink hot up to 4 cups a day.
Steam inhalation – Steam inhalation is an age-old remedy for congestion and sinus issues. Boil a pot of water, remove it from the heat, and place your face over the steaming water, covering your head with a towel. Inhale deeply for a few minutes to help relieve nasal congestion and soothe irritated airways. You can enhance this remedy by adding a few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil to the hot water.
All information provided on the website and in meetings of the Holistic Moms Network and its chapters is intended for educational purposes only and should not be used as a substitute for professional medical care. If you have or suspect that you have a serious health problem, you should consult a qualified healthcare provider.