Cough and cold season typically begins when autumn arrives. Being an eager beaver, my nose decided to get all stuffy and my throat a wee bit sore this past week.
However, since doing GAPS this past winter, my immune system has been much stronger, and this is the first time I’ve been sick since then.
Thankfully, it passed within a couple of days, and it was not nearly as bad as it has been in the past. It didn’t totally knock me off my feet and stretch on for more than a week like so many colds do. (I credit GAPS for this). I also used a few home cold remedies, and they were a total lifesaver.
First, I want to explain why I prefer to stay away from taking drugs when dealing with the common cold or flu. Typically, pharmaceuticals can prolong the illness. They don’t treat the problem they only mask it, which suppresses the body’s natural fighting mechanisms.
A runny nose, for example, is the body’s way of getting rid of germs via the mucous that is dripping out. A fever is the body’s natural mechanism for killing off germs by raising your body’s core temperature (of course there are dangerous fever levels, but those are rare, and most low-grade fevers should not be drugged, in my opinion).
The fatigue and achiness is generally your body’s way of getting you to slow down and rest so that it can do its job.
So, you may be wondering what DO I do when faced with a cold or flu. Well, here are a few ideas for you…
1. Homemade Cough & Cold Syrup
You can help heal a cold or sore throat just using the ingredients already in your kitchen! I’ve been using a concoction involving apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper to treat strep throat for years now. (My awesome sore throat remedy here, but only for the brave!)
My cough and cold syrup recipe is good for soothing and has mild healing properties. This is a different recipe that I have not yet tried, but only because I’ve not had opportunity (which is a good thing!).
2. Vitamin D and Fish Oil
Whenever I feel sickness coming on, I up my dosage of vitamin D, and make sure I’m taking my fish oil regularly. I will take up to 12,000 IU’s of vitamin D per day when I’m fighting illness. This seems to do the trick nicely. The vitamin A in the fish oil helps your body to absorb the Vitamin D better.
3. Colloidal Silver
Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic that has many claims and cautions. The official health agencies often negate it and criticize it, but then again, they’ve also villainized butter (part of the reason for why I don’t take health advice from the government!).
All I have is anecdotal and personal evidence – it has cured many a sore throat for me, and several kinds of infections for friends (ear infections, throat infections, etc). You can even use it topically. Because it functions like an antibiotic, use it as infrequently as possible. It can kill the good bacteria as well as the bad guys.
Elderberry is another natural herbal immune booster, and it is one of the most popular ones. You can find it in any health food store, and even some mainstream drugstores. I take it at the first sign of a cold, and continue for the duration.
Our family prefers it in tincture form, so we can slug it back quickly, as we don’t care for the taste. (Although it’s honestly not that bad.)
4. Salt Water Gargle
The tried, tested, and true remedy if there ever was one. Salt has been used for its healing properties since the beginning of time.
Put a 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a small half glass of water. Stir well. Gargle, spit, repeat. Do this as often as you think of it, for as long as you have a sore throat. It works wonders.
5. Homemade Bone Broth
Drink lots of homemade bone broth for its amazing healing properties, and when you’re not drinking broth, drink water or herbal tea.
Broth is best, but lots of liquids of any kind will help to dilute the mucous in your head. Keep a box of tissues and a restroom handy – you’ll have to pee lots and blow your nose, but it really will help your body fight the germs off faster.
Check out my Homemade Bone Broth tutorial, and this one, too: 25+ Ways to Include Bone Broth in Your Diet (Other Than Soup).
6. Go to Bed Early
This is pretty self-explanatory, but hard to do! It’s so important to get extra rest to allow your body to devote its energies to fighting off germs. I often go to bed by 8:30 or 9:00 if I’m under the weather.
7. Onions by Your Bed
Onion fumes are a natural decongestant, so chop up an onion, put it in a bowl, and place it as close to your head as possible while you sleep. Safe for babies, too!
Steam is another one that’s safe for all ages. I find it to be one of the most effective things I can do when congested. I blow my nose in the shower and let the steam open my nasal passageways again.
Ahhh, breathing through your nose. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, doesn’t it?
9. Avoid Sugar
Consumption of sugar decreases the immune system, which is the exact opposite of what you’re trying to do. Beware of hidden sugars in so many processed foods (peanut butter, ketchup, deli meats, other condiments and so many more).
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.
I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.