self-care Wellness

10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies That Work

December 18, 2017

Come down with your yearly cold or flu? Here are some home remedies for the flu and natural cold remedies to help you weather this storm.

The irony is not lost on me that I’m currently writing this post while recovering from a cold/cough. I generally get one really bad cold every year and seeing as I managed to evade it for most of this year, I’m not surprised that it reared it’s ugly head in the final weeks of the year. Hoping this will be the only one I get during cold and flu season!

Sometimes you get sick. It happens to all of us. And even though it could always be worse, it still totally sucks to be coughing up a lung or plowing through tissues like it’s your job. Sometimes sympathy is the best remedy!

But when that doesn’t work, I have my go-to protocol to help my body heal faster. I’m someone who takes meds as a final course of action. I’m not against western medicine and using medication to treat your body, but for things like colds and flus, it’s just not my jam. There are so many effective remedies for treating colds and flus naturally that I’d rather reach for my kitchen cupboards than my medicine cabinet. So today I’m rounding up my home remedies for the flu and sharing the natural cold remedies to help your body heal on its own.

Getting sick? Don't reach for the medicine cabinet! Here are 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies that actually work from ingredients you have in your kitchen!

I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, so I’m thrilled to see big brands jumping on board with consumer demand for natural remedies. I’m thrilled to be partnering with CVS pharmacy on this post, who has just come out with their Live Better line full of products that provide simple solutions that help your body heal naturally. Using only essential ingredients, Live Better products are free from artificial preservatives, dyes, colors and flavors, so you can feel good about using for yourself or sharing with your loved ones. It’s amazing to see consumer demand driving business supply. Let’s keep it up!

With that, I do have a protocol I like to follow when I feel my body getting sick or if the illness has already set-in. These 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies will help your body heal naturally without the use of over-the-counter drugs. Do all 10 or pick a few to stick to, but remember to remain consistent and be kind to your body. Stress can also induce and perpetuate illness so don’t forget to relax, sleep and let your body slow down. With that, here are 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies that actually work:

Getting sick? Don't reach for the medicine cabinet! Here are 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies that actually work from ingredients you have in your kitchen!

1. Gargle with salt water

Do this as soon as you start feeling sick! Not only can it help relieve a sore, scratchy throat, but if you go back to your middle school science days, water follows salt (#osmosis) so the idea is that gargling salt water actually pulls viral fluids out from the throat area. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargle it all 1-2x a day. Don’t believe me? Here are the best tips for getting rid of a sore throat ASAP.

2. Honey

Honey not only helps soothe a sore throat it also works as a cough suppressant. Honey can soothe irritated mucous membranes which helps remove the irritation that is fuelling the cough reflex. CVS’s Live Better Cough Syrup is a great drug-free remedy, which uses a blend of dark honeys, vitamin C and zinc. Both vitamin c and zinc have been shown to help support your immune system so that’s a triple whammy! There’s also no artificial ingredients or added dyes or flavors so it’s a great natural solution for your cold and cough symptoms. Don’t forget to reach for the Children’s Cough Syrup for children over 12 months.

3. Take a Ginger Shot 

Ginger is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It has been known to help with congestion, nausea, colds, and fevers. Either pick one up from a local juice store or juice a knob of ginger yourself. Eating ginger can also help but for the best bang for your buck, go for the juice shot as the ultimate home remedy for the flu.

4. Elderberry syrup

Elderberry is a fruit grown from the elder tree that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties making it a powerhouse when it comes to fighting colds. Studies have shown taking elderberry syrup can shorten colds and flus and also relieve sinus infections. Triple threat.

5. Propolis

Did you know that bees produce more than just honey? Yep, they make propolis too. Propolis is the substance bees use to seal in their hives so it’s super anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It’s great at fighting the common cold or sore throats. This one from Beekeeper’s Naturals is my favorite natural cold remedy.

6. Essential oils

Power to the plants! There are many powerful essential oils for cold and flus but here are a few that are easily accessible: Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties which have historically been used to treat the common cold. Peppermint oil is used as a natural decongestant and fever-reducer. It’s like a natural VapoRub. Just make sure when applying topically that you mix with a carrier oil!

7. Garlic

Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. Garlic is packed with minerals, enzymes, vitamin C, sulphur, and selenium which all help bust colds and flus. Enjoy garlic in your meals or eat a clove whole if you’re seriously brave.

8. Probiotics 

This one is a little tricky. If you read my SIBO post, you might remember that when my gut wasn’t healthy, probiotics did me no good (in fact, they made things worse) HOWEVER if you have a healthy gut, probiotics can help give your immune system a boost. Whether through a probiotic pill or probiotic rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, it all starts in your gut!

9. Bone Broth 

Bone broth, or that chicken soup Jewish grandmothers have been making for centuries, actually isn’t just a tall tale. A bowl of chicken soup, or homemade bone broth can be effective in helping to fight colds and flus. Bone broth contains anti-inflammatory amino acids and is packed full of immune supporting vitamins and minerals that are extra easy for your body to digest.. Don’t reach for those bouillon cubes though – you gotta use the real stuff to get the benefits!

10. Epsom salt bath

Add epsom salt to a hot bath along with some essential oils if you’d like to have a relaxing, detoxifying evening. Again with the osmosis thing, the minerals in the bath cause the toxins in your body to be released in the bath so not only is it relaxing, but it’s good for you too.

BONUS: Sleep! Give your body the rest it needs. I’ve learned this lesson many times over, but to really help your body heal you need to sleep as much as your body needs. Don’t just try to push through illness. Your body is working extra hard to fight something so rest and allow it to recover. If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out Live Better’s Immunity + Melatonin, which is a mixture of immune-boosting vitamins + minerals plus melatonin to help you sleep.

* * * * *


What are your go-to natural cold and flu remedies? Did I miss anything?


Join 20,000+ members of the THM Community to get access to exclusive recipes, healthy lifestyle tips and behind-the-scenes news from our team!

Powered by ConvertKit
  • Reply
    February 12, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    Hi, Very helpful tips!
    As in my opinion, One of the easiest way to fight the flu is to clean your hands. Hand washing can help to protect you, you family members and other from spreading illness everyday at home, school, or work. Its important to stay hydrated, the best flu remedy is to drink water as often as you can. If you have nausea and vomiting, take frequent small sips.

  • Reply
    Mandy Yanga
    January 16, 2018 at 10:21 pm

    I shifted to organics and natural remedies after I saw how it worked for my friends and families. The very best thing that always worked for me is sleep, power sleep as I call it plus tea! Thanks for sharing your remedies 🙂

  • Reply
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off
    December 21, 2017 at 3:07 pm

    Love all of these! I would also recommend this tea that I’ve been drinking as a cold remedy for years. It’s hot water with a squeezed out knob of ginger (I use a garlic press), teaspoon of honey, and half of a lemon squeezed. It’s perfect and quite tasty. Also you can get these elderberry-zinc-echinacea candies in Whole Foods that are an easy way to boost your immune system and they taste like a treat 🙂

  • Reply
    Jess B
    December 21, 2017 at 10:09 am

    I feel a cold coming on and instantly remembered this post you did the other day! I already checked off suggestion number one and gargled salt water! I think keeping hydrated and staying home to rest is the best thing you can do for yourself! As a society I think we feel too much pressure to overwork ourselves, even when our bodies can’t handle it- My office is full of people coughing and sneezing around me, which is the exact reason I am now starting to not feel well. #sharingiscaringexceptforyourgerms

  • Reply
    Jessica Garcia
    December 21, 2017 at 8:56 am

    I use most of what’s in your post, plus RC essential oil for congestion, a shot of raw Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with honey, a half lemon, hot herbal tea, and a shot of tequila or yaegar.

    Also, I spray Colloidal Silver in my throat and nose.

  • Reply
    December 19, 2017 at 10:45 am

    Your post is so timely. Battling my first (& hopefully only) cold of the season too, this week.

    Adding apple cider vinegar & lemon to my honey teas always does wonders for my sore throat! The acidity of those always feels so good to drink and I’ve read they both have healing benefits.

  • Reply
    Ashley @ The Small Town Foodie
    December 18, 2017 at 8:38 pm

    Love this! I feel like I always try a million different home remedies, my favorites probably being essential oils and tea with honey, but sleep is definitely what helps the most.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    These are great suggestions and so needed right now! I surely be trying out this new Live Better line this winter.
    I agree with gargling salt & water; it always helps my throat. I also drink honey & lemon water throughout the day, take extra vitamin D supplements, and make sure to get LOTS of rest.

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

    I love all of these suggestions! My go to is lots of water, rest and honey!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 8:36 am

    So excited to see this post! Currently battling a cold right now, but I’m nursing and don’t want to take any medication for it. I’ve been drinking hot water with honey and lemon multiple times a day and it seems to have helped!

  • Reply
    December 18, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Oil of oregano also usually works for me!! The ones you listed are all great remedies that I have also used, and they do work 🙂

  • Reply
    Jenni Leslie
    December 18, 2017 at 7:11 am

    I used about half of these this past week! Especially essential oils. I drank dropperfuls of echinacea and I swear it works almost immediately 🙂

1 2

Leave a Reply


Sign-up for a free weekly meal plan straight to your inbox.