self-care Wellness

10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies That Work + A Giveaway!

December 18, 2017

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 2017, 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

* * * * *

Huge thank you to CVS for partnering with me on this post and offering natural solutions for helping our bodies fight common illnesses. I’m excited to see what products you come out with next! In the meantime, I’m super excited that they are offering one lucky THM reader and awesome prize pack full of Live Better products + a $25 CVS gift card! All you have to do is share your favorite natural cold and flu remedy below. Giveaway is open to US residents and runs until 12/21 at 12:00 AM PST. Good luck!

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!

Disclaimer: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy and how to #FindYourHealthy. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at CVS.com or with the appropriate manufacturers. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make THM possible!

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

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  • Reply
    Karlie Kashat
    December 18, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Ah definitely need this right now! My favorite remedy is a “steam”, stick your face over a bowl of boiling water (bonus points if it’s floral scented) for about 5 minutes and feel your airways open up. That and neti pot.
    Karlie Kashat recently posted…No Noodle Pad Thai with Almond Butter Sauce

  • Reply
    Jenny
    December 18, 2017 at 7:06 am

    Fluids, fluids, fluids in the form of teas, soups and your superfood hot chocolate! Also, the epsom salt baths. I’ve even convinced my tough middle school-age sons that baths are amazing when you’re sick. Feel better soon🙂

  • 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 🙂

  • Reply
    Hayley
    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
    Lisa Brown
    December 18, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Just lots of fluids, homemade soup, and as natural otc meds I can get.
    jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  • Reply
    Juliette | Namastay Traveling
    December 18, 2017 at 8:19 am

    Awesome tips! My favorite cold remedy this year has been to get an essential oil diffuser for my desk at work and fill it with eucalyptus and lavender oil. It clears me out and also helps get rid of the fogginess in my brain that can happen when I’m under the weather!

  • Reply
    Katie
    December 18, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Hot toddies! Although I’m sure its really the ginger and honey I add to the tea that’s helping hehe.

  • Reply
    Susanna
    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
    nadya kotik
    December 18, 2017 at 9:24 am

    Honey and lemon for cough. Breathing in steam with essential oils if my nose is stuffed. I will try the other ones though if I am sick again. Thanks!

  • Reply
    Jennifer
    December 18, 2017 at 10:03 am

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

  • Reply
    Lauren Shaber
    December 18, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    REST. I always take getting sick as a sign to dial it down, so I amp up the Netflix binging,, reading, hot baths and getting to bed early.

  • Reply
    Kristen D
    December 18, 2017 at 12:44 pm

    Eating lots of oranges and steam baths seem to help us!

  • Reply
    Shannon K
    December 18, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    When I’m sick, I splurge on good-for-me food with lots of healing properties and vitamins. I get a giant container of homemade chicken soup from a local market or restaurant if I can find one (and usually add my own lemon, ginger and/or turmeric to it!), lots of fresh fruits and veggies, and prioritize sleep and hydration, especially with soothing teas.

  • Reply
    Rachel Voorhees
    December 18, 2017 at 1:47 pm

    I’ve been drinking a few drops of echinacea in water at the first sign of a cold and that usually helps take the edge off the symptoms or makes them go away faster

  • Reply
    Emilie
    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
    Kayla Keller
    December 18, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    Lots of vitamin C through fruits and veggies! And sleep, at least 8 hours. Once you feel a sickness coming on, those are the two best ways to keep it from worsening!

  • Reply
    Anna Twinem
    December 18, 2017 at 3:54 pm

    I SWEAR BY zinc to lessen the duration and intensity of my colds.

  • Reply
    Kristen
    December 18, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Being taken care of by my girlfriend!

  • Reply
    Elena
    December 18, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    My favorite cold remedy is honey

  • Reply
    Stacia
    December 18, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    Diffusing essential oils and using a netti pot!

  • Reply
    Arielle
    December 18, 2017 at 6:52 pm

    Tea with ginger and lemon, a couch, and some Netflix!

  • Reply
    Kaila
    December 18, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    Thieves essential oil everywhere!

  • Reply
    Elle
    December 18, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Homemade chicken soup always does the trick!

  • 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
    Kaylin
    December 18, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    I’ve recently hopped on board the gargling of salt water train when my husband convinced me to give it a try when I had a cold recently. But my favorite tried and true natural cold remedy is drinking good quality bone broth. Great roundup!

  • Reply
    Heather S
    December 18, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Zinc, chicken noodle soup and oil of oregano!

  • Reply
    candace
    December 18, 2017 at 11:07 pm

    Honey is definitely my go to, and ginger chews!

  • Reply
    Samantha
    December 18, 2017 at 11:32 pm

    My favorite cold remedy is manuka honey and warm lemon water!!!

  • Reply
    Casey the College Celiac
    December 18, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Lots of sleep, warm lemon water with apple cider vinegar and a sweaty workout (like hot yoga) always helps me!
    Casey the College Celiac recently posted…“Mr. Grinch” Berry Banana Bread (Gluten Free, Vegan)

  • Reply
    Francine Farmer
    December 18, 2017 at 11:56 pm

    Olba’s Oil and Vernor’s ginger able are do comforting and helpful when I have a cold

  • Reply
    Annamarie V
    December 19, 2017 at 1:13 am

    My favorite remedy for a cold is hot water half a lemon, some honey and brandy, it always makes me feel better.

  • Reply
    Nell
    December 19, 2017 at 9:32 am

    I also use a saline nasal rinse, and saline nasal gel.

  • Reply
    Katie
    December 19, 2017 at 10:05 am

    orange juice! lots of vitamin C when you start to feel not so great can ward off the worst of it!

  • Reply
    Katie
    December 19, 2017 at 10:10 am

    I’ve been blending essential oils in my diffuser…my favorites have been orange, eucalyptus and frankincense!

  • Reply
    Camille
    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
    Janice R.
    December 19, 2017 at 1:53 pm

    Hydration/Fluids are important so natural teas with honey, chicken soup, etc..

  • Reply
    Esperanza
    December 19, 2017 at 2:09 pm

    I have some honey with lemon juice and a spoonful of olive oil helps with sore throats

  • Reply
    Kelly D
    December 19, 2017 at 10:11 pm

    My favorite natural cold and flu remedy is crushed raw garlic. It usually works for me.

  • Reply
    Dandi D
    December 20, 2017 at 6:03 am

    My favorite is lot of fluids including elderberry juice with honey.

  • Reply
    judih
    December 20, 2017 at 9:56 am

    a big orange!

  • Reply
    rebecca
    December 20, 2017 at 10:22 am

    I use my humidifier whenever I’m home, and eat a little extra food – I figure the more fuel my body has, the more resources it can put towards fighting off an infection. Zinc and garlic are the two specific nutrients I try and boost, which has led to interesting combinations like a burger alongside sauteed, garlic-laden kale. Getting the nutrients in real food works better than supplements for me!

  • Reply
    latanya
    December 20, 2017 at 11:43 am

    I drink hot tea with honey when my throat hurts or I am coughing a lot

  • Reply
    Kim Henrichs
    December 20, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    I have found now that I’m in Texas with new allergies that peppermint tea is amazing for the throat and just overall breathing. I am not sure why but it is! Also local honey works wonders.

  • Reply
    paige o
    December 20, 2017 at 3:28 pm

    hot water with lemon and honey!

  • Reply
    Nikki
    December 20, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Definitely some bone broth and oil of oregano!! Oil of oregano is not the easiest to take (the taste, my God the taste!) but I do feel that it works!

  • Reply
    melanie huttner
    December 20, 2017 at 11:27 pm

    Honey and lemon in tea…really soothes the throat and the steam from the tea helps open up your nose!

  • 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
    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
    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 🙂
    Nicole @ Laughing My Abs Off recently posted…Winter Break in NYC Plans

  • Reply
    Susan Christy
    December 24, 2017 at 2:56 pm

    Tea with honey and a humidifier.

  • Reply
    Deepika
    January 3, 2018 at 8:01 am

    After wearing a short dress on New Year party, the next thing we girls need a cough and cold remedy 😛 😀 And my remedy is ginger as it will cure my cold and also reduce holiday weight. Thanks for sharing this useful information.

  • Reply
    Nige
    January 15, 2018 at 3:08 am

    I’v always found resting up for the first 1 – 2 days of beging sick helps reduce your recovery time by a week. I also drink water with a tea spoon of superfood powder added in. Thanks for the share 😊
    Nige recently posted…Superfoods 101

  • 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 🙂
    Mandy Yanga recently posted…How to Start Living a Healthy Life

  • Reply
    Beck
    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
    M-Bastien
    September 29, 2018 at 4:28 am

    Garlic
    Ginger
    Horseradish
    Onion
    Lime
    Honey
    Depends on how much u can handle, but I do it strong enough to kill the germs! Two way you can do it:
    1) I chopped a few garlics very small
    2) I chopped 2 inch horseradish very small
    3) chopped 1 yellow onion bc it’s stronger than the purple one
    1 lime juice
    I mixed the ingredients with a bottle of organic honey!
    Leave it by the window where the sun can hit it for few days, but if you need it right away, warm it up on medium low in the pan. And take 2 Tbs every 2 hrs as needed
    2) the strongest way to do it, and it works faster and wonder but taste hot and spicy!
    I blend all the ingredients with a cup of water and add the honey! Let it sit for 8 hours than go for 4 Tbs every 4 hours! Or half a cup twice a day if u’re mean business! This kills all kind of germs

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