Guest post by Bre Taylor
It happens every year. Holidays, cold weather…and cold and flu season. But you can be prepared. You really can fight the cold and flu season naturally!
The typical mainstream response is to medicate with all sorts of pharmaceuticals to mask the symptoms. For a more natural and holistic approach, however, the first focus must be on boosting the immune system.
A common misconception is that there are more viruses going around during cold and flu season. In reality, it is more that the sun is out less, so our bodies get less Vitamin D which in turn decreases our body’s immunity, making us more susceptible to coming down with something.
So, if you boost your immunity, you increase your defence.
5 Natural ways to boost immunity:
1. Increase your vitamin intake
Vitamin D, C and A are all great. Getting your vitamins naturally via real foods is the best way, but if additional supplements are needed, try and find a naturally produced form instead of synthetic.
My kids know this as “Berry Juice” and totally love it. We give each 1 tsp a day starting in the fall, and 2 tsp daily if they are actively sick.
3. Fermented Foods
Homemade Milk Kefir, kombucha, sauerkraut, and more! All are full of wonderful probiotics. A healthy gut is vital.
4. Fish Oil
5. Essential Oils
High quality essential oils can be anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-viral. They are a powerful addition to your cold and flu fighting arsenal!
What About When I Get Sick?
We’re not super heroes. People get sick. So here’s what you can do naturally! Increase your intake of all the natural things mentioned above (plus drink lots and LOTS of Homemade Bone Broth, and try these homemade remedies that you can cook up in your own kitchen using ingredients you probably already have.
* Beth’s Ultimate Strep Throat Remedy (If You’re Brave Enough) has been put to the test – she beat strep throat while pregnant (it had even been confirmed by a throat swab!). Kicks a sore throat to the curb with gusto.
* This homemade Cough & Cold Syrup is gentle enough for many doses throughout the day, and uses raw honey to make it more palatable. It soothes the throat that can’t stop coughing.
* Terrible Tonic – My friend swears by this and we have found it to be very effective as well.
How Essential Oils Can Help
I’m going to cover the use of essential oils a little more in depth here as they are what have helped us most to kick the crud fast! My last cold lasted less than 48 hours!
Essential Oils are aromatic compounds extracted from plants and fruits. Now, you may have just glossed over the anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties I mentioned above but DON’T.
Cue visual aid time…
This picture is of a cell. Bacteria lives on the outside of the cell so doctors can prescribe antibiotics to fight that if you go in with a bacterial infection. But viruses live on the inside of a cell wall.
The medical field has not been able to produce a drug or medication to penetrate that wall. But, lucky for us, a virus-fighting tool is all around is in nature.
There are two different ways to use essential oils – aromatically or topically.
Aromatic – Breathe in or use a diffuser to clean the air, open airways and to affect mood.
Topical – Apply to troubled areas. You can try applying them to your feet (some people have mixed reviews on how well this works, but you can try it for yourself!) The pores on the soles of our feet are the largest in the body and therefore act like an IV taking the oils directly into the bloodstream within 30 seconds. This makes it extremely fast and effective and a method especially useful for children. Always dilute properly using a carrier oil (like coconut oil or almond oil). Make sure to keep oils out of the eyes and ears.
Here are my top picks for Essential Oils for Cold/Flu Season:
An anti-bacterial blend
Oregano – natural defense
Lemon – soothe sore throats
Melaleuca – cold sores
Peppermint – reduce fever
Eucalyptus – cough/sinus pressure (Marjoram is a must-have for Croup)
*Not all of these oils are safe for use with children. This is an excellent essential oils site to reference to check on specific oils.
About a month ago, I thought I’d escaped the cold my husband and kids had (which by the way lasted less than 4 days for them all). I started feeling that dreaded scratchy throat. Here’s what I did:
-Rolled antibacterial oils on my spine and feet every few hours
-Diluted and rubbed oregano essential oil all over my neck
-Diffused antibacterial oils by my bedside overnight
Thursday: my worst day; felt ache-y, sore throat, fatigued
-Drank hot water with freshly-squeezed lemon juice and honey for sore throat
-Rubbed diluted eucalyptus on my chest and diffused to breathe in when I felt was needed
Friday: had more energy but still ‘felt’ sick
-Continued applying diluted eucalyptus although I was not really dealing with any congestion
I felt good as new!
Now, don’t read all of this and think oils are the magic cure-all. I was also resting, drinking lots of water and bone broth, and all the other recommendations I gave above. But our family has definitely seen our sick time easily cut in half!
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.