Home Ayurveda Tips Natural Home Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu

10 Best Natural Home Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu

cold-flu-cough

With winter coming up, it’s only right to talk about the inevitable fevers, runny noses, and just being miserably sick.

Do you always find yourself getting a cold or the flu a few time every year? 

Do you feel like your immune system is always on vacation?

The common cold that plagues us year after year is right around the corner. If you live in an urban area, you know that avoiding sick people in tight areas (subway, buses, apartment buildings, skyscrapers, department stores) is near to impossible.

The #1 defense system to staying germ-free is hand washing!

Plain ol’ soap and water is more than enough to wash off all those pesky germs. It also prevents transmission of germs from other people to yourself.

You touch so many things all throughout the day – your phone, the subway pole, ATM buttons, door handles, keyboards, money, pens. This allows for germs to be passed on from person to person every millisecond! Gross.

If your immune system is even the tiniest bit compromised, the cold virus will find you and take full advantage. Chronic stress, a poor diet, and other factors weaken the immune system.

Herbs, vitamins, and minerals from around the world have been used for centuries to alleviate the symptoms of the common cold, cough, and flu.

When you’re sick, you are probably used to reaching for the nearest OTC medications in weakness and desperation. But OTC meds all have nasty side effects and can harm your body in the long run.

They also don’t work that well. Why?

It’s because OTC meds are designed to mask the symptoms, and not deal with what is making you sick in the first place.

What if you gave mother nature a chance to let its natural vitamins and herbs alleviate your worst symptoms–with little to no known side effects?

You can find some examples below for natural remedies that really work. You can use more than one at a time, to find what best works for you. The good news is, you can use these remedies year round (even when you’re not sick) as a preventative measure!

Tip: Get a few of these remedies ahead of time. That way, if you do get sick, you don’t have to drag yourself outside in the cold, to the drugstore.

Remedies For the Cold, Cough & Flu

1. Probiotics

probiotics

Your own immune system is your first line of defense in fighting a cold or the flu.

When we do not have enough “good bacteria” in our system, pathogens take over and leave us susceptible to disease, cancers, and disorders.

80% of our immune system is found in our digestive system, so it is vital to maintain appropriate levels of probiotics in our gastro-intestinal system.

Live beneficial microbes in the digestive tract makes up a health gut. These good bacterias prevent an invasion of pathogens that make us sick. They also improve digestion, prevent constipation, synthesize Vitamin K, and keep a balanced pH level.

A lot of times, our beneficial microbes are accidentally wiped out by procedures that are intended to get rid of bad bacteria. These include: antibiotics (pill form, in our milk, meat, poultry, fish), recent surgeries, diarrhea (flushes out good and bad bacteria altogether), colon cleanses, too much fiber (destroys bacterial membranes), protein deficiency (protein creates mucin which is needed to create intestinal mucous – where bacterial flora thrive).

Method: Make sure to take probiotic-containing foods year round. Naturally occurring foods can be found in: water or milk Kefir, kombucha drinks, non-commercial unflavored yogurts, fermented foods, sauerkraut.

Quality probiotic capsules can also be found at your local health food store or online.

Recommended:

  • Probiotic 40 Billion CFU with Prebiotics
  • Probiotic plus Prebiotic (Patented)

2. Chlorella

chlorella

Chlorella is a nutrient dense superfood. It is a blue-green algae that is packed with phytonutrients, chlorophyll, beta-carotene, potassium, phosphorous, biotin, magnesium, Vitamins A, C, E, complete vitamin B-complex and several amino acids.

Chlorella also increases the levels of (Ig) A antibody levels in the body. A study published in 2010 by the Plant Foods for Human Nutrition shows a direct correlation between chlorella and increased levels of (Ig) A antibodies in the body.

In this study, women who consumed chlorella pyerenoidsa supplements had significantly higher amounts of (Ig) A antibody concentrations in their breast milk than women who were not taking chlorella. This indicates that the women producing more (Ig) A in their bodies.

When the influenza virus comes into contact with your (Ig) A antibodies, it contains the cold and influenza virus and immediately stops it from spreading and infection the surrounding cells.

Chlorella not only protects you, but it also makes your immune system stronger.

Recommended:

  • Chlorella – Organic Capsules
  • Chlorella Powder – Organic

3. Echinacea

echinacea-pink

Echinacea is a North American coneflower that is widely used in the United States and Germany.

Studies show that echinacea can reduce inflammation, relieve pain, boost the immune system, and prevent the cold and influenza virus from replicating itself in your body.

Echinacea also has known anti-viral, antibacterial, and blood cleansing properties. The way it fights off the cold and the flu is by increasing levels of properdin.

Properdin is one of the chemicals in the body responsible for fighting off bacteria and viruses. A study found that echinacea can reduce your chances of catching a cold by 60%, and shorten the length of a cold by 1-4 days.

Method: Echinacea comes in the form of tinctures, capsules, or teas.

I find that the pure tincture forms work the best. At the very first sign of a cold, mix 2 dropperfuls of the tincture into a cup of water to prevent further onset. Repeat up to three times a day.

Recommended:

  • Echinacea Extract

4. Organic Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

bragg-organic-raw-

(ACV) antibacterial and antiviral properties kill the microbes that cause sore throats. It also helps to loosen up and expel excess mucous from the chest that makes it hard to breathe.

ACV contains prebiotic inulin–which builds up the immune system and sends out fighting white blood cells.

ACV also helps to balance our body’s pH levels. The acidity and alkalinity of a food is measured using a pH scale.

The pH scale runs from 0-14 (zero being the most acidic and 14 being the most alkaline). The optimal blood pH level is closest to 7.4 (slightly more alkaline). There are home kits that can easily test the pH levels of your water, food, saliva, or urine.

A balanced body is less appealing for bacteria or cancer cells to thrive.

Method: Mix in 2 teaspoons of ACV into a cup of pure filtered warm water. You can squeeze in a wedge of lemon (vitamin C). Add a dash of ceylon cinnamon powder (antiseptic). Mix in raw organic honey (soothe sore throats). Drink up to 3 times a day.

Recommended:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Organic, Raw, Unfiltered

5. Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)

olive-leaf-

Olive leaf extract (OLE) is known for its ability to increase energy, fight cancer cells, lower blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars, improve cardiac health, antiviral and antibacterial properties, antioxidant effects, and boost the immune system.

OLE was used as a medicinal herb by the ancient Egyptians. In the 1800s, the green olive leaves were used as a treatment for malaria.

Oleuropein is a polyphenol in olive leaf extract that protects against mental decline, maintains blood sugars, improves symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, and prevents cancer.

Oleuropein can also encircle tumor cells and prevent it from replicating, growing, and moving. A study published in the Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications in 2005, showed spontaneous tumors that disappeared after 9-12 days in mice who were given oleuropein.

Method: The recommended dose is 500 milligrams, once a day. OLE comes in capsules or tea form.

Make sure the capsules contain Oleuropein.

Recommended:

  • Olive Leaf Extract – Capsules

6. Cayenne Pepper (Capsaicin)

Considered a miracle herb, cayenne pepper is used to alleviate intestinal ulcers and heartburn, relieve joint and muscle pain (capsaicin is an active ingredient in many OTC meds).

For a common cold, cayenne pepper can be used to break through congestion and warm your body, while decreasing inflammation. Cayenne pepper contains high levels of vitamin C, which is great for colds and the flu.

Cayenne pepper is also known to boost metabolism, open nasal passageways for congestion, maintain blood sugars, soothe psoriasis symptoms, increase blood circulation, lower blood pressure, quicken blood clotting (good for nose bleeds or any other internal bleeding), and decrease the effects of heart disease.

Capsaicin is one of the major ingredients in red peppers. The spicier the pepper, the more capsaicin it contains.

Capsaicin works by inhibiting substance P–a chemical in the body that is involved in inflammation. Substance P communicates pain, heart disease, and other disorders with the body.

Capsaicin cream is commonly used to soothe arthritic aches and pains and open wounds.

Capsaicin is also used to treat heart attacks, halt internal bleeding, and slow tumor growths (particularly in prostate cancers).

Dr. John Christopher, a herbal physician, has healed patients with heart attacks and internal hemorrhaging instantly with a tablespoon of cayenne pepper mixed with warm water.

A study published in the Journal, Cancer Research in 2006, showed that capsaicin has the ability to kill cancer cells by inducing apoptosis (programmed cell death). Cayenne pepper powder causes instant efficient blood flow and circulation.

Capsule form of this pepper is considered to be not as effective as the powdered form. Cayenne pepper is rated according to its heat index. Start of by taking 40,000 SCUs, and eventually up to 90,000 SCUs.

Method: Recommended dosage is one teaspoon of organic cayenne pepper a day, and slowly work your way up to one teaspoon, 3 times a day.

Recommended:

  • Cayenne Grounded Pepper Powder – Organic

7. Turmeric

turmeric-

Turmeric is one of the most studied spices on this planet. The main ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Curcumin is treasured for its disease preventing and tumor fighting abilities.

Numerous studies have also shown turmeric to be great at improving heart health, expediting wound healing (while reducing scar tissue), relieving arthritis inflammation, reducing risks of Alzheimer’s Disease, decreasing symptoms of allergies, defending against depression, rebuilding muscle tissue, and treating gastric disorders. It is even a great and natural teeth whitener.

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric, in addition to honey, have been widely used to treat the common cold, coughs, headaches, sore throats, and congestion. There are a few ways to enjoy turmeric.

Method: (Drink) Add turmeric powder to your favorite tea, and flavor it with ginger and raw organic honey.
(Syrup) Sprinkle ground turmeric into a spoonful of raw organic honey. This method is good at soothing an infected throat.
(Paste) Add some filtered water to ground turmeric. Rub the ointment onto inflamed joints or insect bites. This paste is also useful for whitening teeth and to soothe eczema or dermatitis.

Recommended:

  • Turmeric Whole Root – Capsules
  • Turmeric – Powder

8. Green Tea

green-tea

 

Green tea is one of the healthiest drinks on the planet. It is the staple drink of Japan, and the Japanese have some of the longest known life spans.

A study published in The Journal of the American Medical Association in 2006, showed that green tea can actually prolong your life by decreasing the prevalence of heart disease and stroke.

Green tea has six different kinds of antioxidants that differ based on which part of the plant it comes from (stems, bud, leaf). The distinctive mix of antioxidants make this tea an effective antiviral drink.

Some compounds that make this tea great are chlorophyll (blood cleanser), and a super antioxidant mix – Epigallocatechin Gallate (EGCG), flavonoids and catechins (reduces free radicals), theophylline (opens up the airway), and L-theanine (boosts energy and decreases anxiety and depression).

Overall, green tea is great for your health and immune system. Green tea is also great for improving brain function, increasing metabolism and physical performance, lowering risk of cancer and dementia, killing bacteria, improving dental health, and maintaining blood sugars.

Method: If you don’t already sip a cup everyday, you should consider adding it to your daily routine.

Mix 1 teaspoon of matcha green tea powder into warm filtered water. Enjoy!

Recommended:

  • Matcha Green Tea Powder – Organic

9. Ginseng

ginseng-

Ginseng is an herb used in The Traditional Chinese Medicine for over 2,000 years.

It keeps the body tough by increasing the immune system against bacteria and viruses. It is also used to maintain blood sugars and diminishes the risk of certain cancers.

A study published by The Canadian Medical Association Journal in 2005, found that ginseng extracts increased the immune response and prompted the body to send out more natural killer (NK) cells during a microbial invasion.

Ginseng also improves the ability to persevere during stress. In 1950, a Russian scientist, I.I. Brekhman, reported that ginseng strengthens the body to endure physical tension, combat disease, and increase mental sharpness.

Panax ginseng (better known as Korean, Asian, or even Red Ginseng), is traditionally known as the true ginseng because of the types of ginsenosides (active ingredient in the herb) it contains.

The forms of ginsenocide best equipped for medicinal purposes is available in higher quantities in Asian ginseng.

American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius) consists more of the ginsenocides that are better suited to handle and endure stress.

Method: If you are using ginseng to boost your immunity against a cold or flu, use 400 milligrams of Panax ginseng daily for up to four months.

If you are using this herb as a daily preventative measure, the recommended dose is 100 milligrams, twice a day.

Overdosing on ginseng can be harmful to your help and it also interferes with a lot of pharmaceutical drugs. Let your doctor know of any herbs or supplements you are taking.

Recommended:

  • Ginseng Complex – Capsules
  • Ginseng Korean Tea

10. Elderberry (Sambucus Nigra)

elderberry-

Elderberry is used as an antioxidant, anti-microbial, and a heart disease and stroke fighter.

The flower is used for upper respiratory infections, allergies, relieving arthritic pain, as an antiseptic mouthwash, treating gram positive and gram negative infections, and as a diuretic and laxative.

A study published in the BioMed Central’s Journal in 2011, found that Elderberry was effective in defending against influenza, certain bacterial Gram Positive and Gram Negative infections, and MRSA (Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus), the hospital acquired infections.

Elderberries has over twice the amount of Oxygen Radical Absorbency Capacity (cancer fighting compound) than blueberries or cranberries. This herb also improves circulation, and minimizes risk for heart disease and stroke.

A study published in 2004, showed that elderberry protects the inside layer of blood vessels from stress.

Anthocyanins (antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound that also gives food it’s rich coloring), from the berry is absorbed directly in the blood vessel, providing a stronger and healthier barrier. This chain reaction decreases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

The Blackberry Elderberry is the only species of the Sambucus family that is not poisonous. Elderberry refers to the name of a shrub.

The berries and the flowers (Elder Flower) are the only portions used for medicinal purposes, and the berries must be cooked before use.  The leaves, bark, and roots are toxic and should be avoided.

Method: Edible elderberry is available in different forms: syrup, lozenges, and tea. The recommended dose differs depending on the form you are using.

If you are trying to combat a cold, cough, or flu, use elderberry within the first 48 hours of any symptoms.

Recommended:

  • Elderberry Extract – Capsules
  • Elderberry – Liquid

 

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