Don’t let a cold or flu get you down this winter. Besides managing your stress during the holiday season, drinking lots of antioxidant rich green and black teas, and keeping your kitchen and office areas clean, there are many natural remedies available to keep your cold and flu at bay. You can easily find these items in your natural foods market or you might possibly have a few in your kitchen.
Used as a traditional American Indian remedy, echinacea is antiviral and antibacterial. It helps to raise the infection-fighting white blood cells.
When you’re sick take 3 grams of Echinacea purpurea. Only those who suffer allergies from the aster family of plants should take a smaller dose.
A root and member of the pea family, astragalus has antiviral properties that strengthen the immune system.
When you feel a cold coming on take 2-6 grams in capsule form daily.
3. Yin Chiao
Used in traditional Chinese medicine, Yin Chiao or Qiao, is a formula consisting of nine cold and flu fighting herbs, such as licorice for coughs and sore throats, peppermint for stuffiness, schizonepta and red rhizome.
For colds with sore throats and coughing, take 60 drops in water every 2-3 hours, or if taking tablets check the box for dosage.
You can take a garlic supplement, but eating three garlic cloves a day when you are sick is best.
Try mashing one up in olive oil, balsamic vinegar and lemon juice for a salad dressing, finely chop some up on pasta, or chop with tomatoes, basil and olive oil and spread on a baguette for a bruschetta.
Loaded with antioxidant quercetin, elderberry has antihistamine and anti-inflammatory properties.
You can find elderberry is jams, teas and black elderberry syrup. It’s sweet and great for sick children. Take 1 to 2 teaspoons four times a day for three to four days when feeling sick. Sipping elderberry tea can also soothe flu symptoms.
With anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits, olive leaf extract attacks the cold and flu virus.
It’s available in capsule form, but the easy-to-use liquid extract is versatile and can be put in food of drink. Three to five drops in warm water makes a great gargle for sore throats.
Used in traditional Indian and Chinese medicine, andrographis boosts your immune system for powerful cold and flu fighting. When combined with Siberian ginseng, this herb caused faster recovery than regular flu medication.
Take 400 mg three times a day as soon as you feel symptoms coming on.
Chinese herbalist have used ginger for centuries as a cold reducer and decongestant.
You can add fresh ginger root to your soups or stir-frys, or make hot tea. Here’s how: Take a fresh 2-inch piece of ginger and peel the skin. Slice it up and simmer in 2 cups hot water for about 20 minutes, uncovered. Pour into a mug and add a tablespoon of honey and juice from a half of a lemon.
The active ingredients in this flu-fighter is Muscovy duck liver and heart. Oscillococcinum was discovered by French physician Joseph Roy in 1917 when the Spanish flu hit the world.
Use one to two tubes of Oscillococcinum once or twice weekly for the flu.
10. Medicinal Mushrooms
Mushrooms like shiitake, maitake and reishi have been used by Chinese and Japanese healers for centuries to treat and prevent a number of ailments.
You can find mushroom blends in liquid form in your natural foods market to help boost immunity. Check product for dosage amounts.