Cold or flu got you down? Here are 40+ natural cold and flu remedies our members recommend for treating (and preventing!) seasonal illnesses.
40+ Natural Cold and Flu Remedies
Cold or flu got you down? Our Community’s got you covered! Check out these great tips and tricks for treating (and preventing!) colds and flus naturally.
When it comes to fighting off colds and flu, several of you swear that silver is worth its weight in gold.
- Suz says, “Since flu starts in the gut, we take colloidal silver at the first symptoms: 5–6 ounces for adults over 170 pounds, 4 ounces for adults under 170 pounds, 3 ounces for those between 80–110 pounds, and start with 2 ounces for a child. After 90 mins, you should see a reduction in symptoms. Four hours after the first dose, take a second dose of equal amount. Six hours after the second dose, take a third dose of equal amount.” She says it will stop not only flu in its tracks, but also stomach viruses and food poisoning. Suz also suggests taking probiotics or eating yogurt the next day to help restore healthy gut bacteria.
- At the first sign of illness, Marly gargles with and swallows ASAP Smart Silver, and keeps it up all day while symptoms persist.
- Dsymons recommends snorting some colloidal/nano silver to help assuage a stuffy nose.
- Phil Tkachuk recommends 10ppm colloidal silver. He says you can either buy it, or make it yourself using The Silver Edge generator or Atlasnova generator.
Fire Cider/Four Thieves Tonic/Dragon’s Breath
Community members velaangels, Mark, Kathy, Brodo, and Rhonda all rely on homemade fire cider as a winter immune booster. Rhonda takes 1 shot per day throughout the winter for prevention, and also uses it to shorten the duration of the illness if she does catch a cold or the flu.
Loa uses Dragon’s Breath—which she says is similar to fire cider—daily during flu season. She works at a high school “around a LOT of sneezing, wheezing, coughing kids” and says she hasn’t had a cold or the flu in the 13 years since she started boosting her immune system with Dragon’s Breath. Here’s how she makes it: “I layer onions, garlic, horseradish, ginger, parsley, and cayenne peppers in a jar and cover with natural apple cider vinegar. I let it steep for about 6 weeks, then strain, add some powdered turmeric, and put the glass jar into the refrigerator. To use, I mix a tablespoon of the mixture with a tablespoon of honey added to a cup of warm water.”
Read More: “How to Make Fire Cider”
Teas, Tonics, and Tinctures
You offered our Community members some wonderful ideas for teas, tonics, and tinctures.
- Thomas Hodge makes an infusion with crushed Linden flowers and stems by adding 1/2 ounce of plant matter to a quart canning jar and then filling the jar with hot water. He seals it, lets it sit overnight, and strains it in the morning, squeezing the liquid from the linden. Then, he says, “chill it or drink it right away—8 ounces every 3 or 4 hours.”
- Val recommends a “flu tea” made with 1 teaspoon each of elderflower, mint, yarrow, and lemon juice. This makes 2 cups of tea. “The elderflower is anti-catarrhal and anti-inflammatory, the mint is diaphoretic (it increases bile, thereby helping to release toxins), and the yarrow increases sweating but lowers fevers. It is a pleasant-tasting tea.” Brodo makes a similar tea, but substitutes lemon balm for the mint and adds a spoonful of local, raw honey.
- Sunny makes a tea from dried elderberries, turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, and slices of fresh gingers, and drinks it all day long, usually mixed in with coffee or chai tea.
- peaveyplunker mixes together 3 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon honey and 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, and takes 1/2 teaspoon of the mixture every half hour until symptoms subside.
- Stephanie Lebron creates a tea with hot water and lemon juice, plus either ginger, rosemary essential oil, or lemon eucalyptus essential oil.
- w13jenjohnuses a homemade tincture of elderberry, licorice, and wild cherry bark, and also recommends a tea made with sage, lemon eucalyptus, and ginger, then sweetened with honey.
- Shrabonisays that a “ginger, pepper, and turmeric-powder decoction in a glass of warm water works wonders.”
- moncaivegan90boils 2 cups of water with a cinnamon stick, adds 1 cup of fresh red or purple bougainvillea flowers, turns off the heat, covers it for 2 minutes, and then strains it. “I like to add a spoonful of raw honey and enjoy 2 to 3 times a day. This works especially well for colds and coughs.”
- Yvette McLean makes a tea with mullein, peppermint, and lemongrass, and drinks it around the clock—hot or cold—for 2 to 3 days. She also uses the tea in the following recipe:
5 cloves garlic
2 Tbsp. sage (fresh or dried)
2 Tbsp. oregano (fresh or dried)
3 Tbsp. fresh ginger
1 Tbsp. thyme (fresh or dried)
1 Tbsp. rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 Tbsp. honey
2 whole lemons (including skin)
2 c. mullein/peppermint/lemongrass tea, cooled
Blend all ingredients together. Do not heat mixture. Take 1–2 ounces 3 times per day.
“You will be better by the third day,” she says.
Several of you recommend using oregano oil to fight off colds and the flu. But do your research! Joy Deussen says, “Be careful with oregano oil. It is hot and will burn the inside of your mouth. I recommend you put it in a capsule and swallow for no discomfort.”
Increase your vitamin intake when you’re fighting off a cold or the flu.
- Sunny increases consumption of vitamin D.
- Stephanie Lebron says she takes 2000 mg of vitamin C every hour or so in the first 24 hours of feeling something coming on.
- Nance Shaw also takes vitamin A morning and night.
Take some form of elderberry for its immune-boosting properties.
- Along with taking homeopathic oscillococcinum and drinking a Linden infusion, Thomas Hodge takes a tablespoon of black elderberry extract before bed.
- Denise takes 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every day during cold and flu season.
- Scott Sexton takes elderberry syrup and/or tincture, plus recommends “Lots of water and rest. Meditation and yoga. And frequent sips of apple cider vinegar. I use essential oils, too. Oregano and the Thieves blend. Plus, I always add a citrus oil. Citrus oils are just happy, and I think they put me in a better mood, too.”
Onions and Garlic
Onions and garlic are a favorite food when you’re dealing with colds and the flu.
- For air purification, Rebecca Potrafka leaves a cut-up onion sitting out in a glass dish. She also takes honey onion syrup for a scratchy throat.
- Susanne Lambert offers an interesting thought on using onions: “I’ve done some experiments with onions underfoot before bed with a pair of socks. I found that when I woke in the morning, my stuffy nose was gone.”
- Sunny adds raw or slightly roasted garlic cloves plus sautéed onions to meals.
- Michael Gray says that if he feels something coming on, he adds to his meals “a fresh clove of garlic, smashed, chopped fine, left out for 2 to 3 minutes” and says that he gets better faster than others who are sick at the same time but don’t take fresh garlic.
- Marjory is also a huge fan of using raw garlic as an immune booster when she’s fighting off a cold. She’ll chop up several cloves, let them sit for about 10 minutes, and swallow them straight. (Yes, we’ve seen her do this firsthand! 😉
Sometimes, the pharmacy is your friend. Our Community members recommended several over-the-counter products that help fight colds and the flu.
- Bonnie Camo and Thomas Hodge both recommend homeopathic oscillococcinum. Bonnie says it “usually cures colds or flu if taken in the first 24–48 hours. Available in most pharmacies and inexpensive.”
- Jill recommends cocolaurin. “It’s a natural supplement, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Very effective and safe.” (Cocolaurin is a super-concentrated form of monolaurin, which is distilled from coconut oil.)
- Several of our Community members take zinc when fighting off a cold or the flu. Nance Shaw recommends a dose morning and night, kathybelair52 sucks on zinc acetate lozenges at the first sign of cold, and Jill takes zinc in the form of Zicam. Sunny also occasionally uses Zarbee’s Nighttime Cough and Throat Relief drink mix, which contains zinc.
- Sunny also puts Plant Therapy Organic Immune Aid essential oil in the diffuser, under the nose, and on the soles of the feet.
- When TommyD feels something coming on, he takes 3 capsules of echinacea 3 times a day for a few days.
- Marius says colloidal silver usually helps him avoid the flu. However, “this year the flu strain was extremely potent, and it got me for the first time in 8 years. I cured it in about 2 days by ingesting hydrogen peroxide 3% In the next days, I rebuilt my intestinal flora—which could be damaged by hydrogen peroxide—by eating probiotics.”
- Among other things, Nance Shaw recommends soothing coughs at bedtime by putting Vick’s VapoRub on the arches of the feet.
- Several of you recommend using a neti pot during the sickness to help relieve symptoms. (Remember, though—the FDA recommends rinsing only with distilled, sterile, or previously boiled water, as tap water may contain harmful organisms that could actually make the problem worse.)
PInteaReed says, “If you are stricken with flu, make sure to help your fever. Wrap up in heavy blankets and try to keep the fever at 101°F to 102°F. Of course, if it goes higher, unwrap! Fever is what helps kill the viruses inside you. We just used this on this recent strain of really nasty flu that is going around. An hour after you wrap up, you should see a huge abatement of symptoms.”
An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and our Community members offered some great suggestions for keeping colds and the flu at bay.
- TommyD says he can’t remember the last time he had the flu, and attributes part of his immune strength to cooking regularly with a spice mix of turmeric, freshly ground black pepper, ginger powder, and Ceylon cinnamon.
- Sandy Hines says neither she nor her husband have caught the flu or a cold in over 30 years. “If your
body is alkaline, flu viruses and cold germs cannot live. Every night before bedtime, we have 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda in a few inches of cool water.” They also eat about 2/3 cup of plain yogurt with a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered, local honey in it during the day; drink plenty of clean water, eat nutritiously; drink orange juice; and take 1,000 to 2,000 mg of vitamin C every day.
- Michael Gray helps prevent illness by taking a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and a teaspoon of honey mixed in warm water every day.
- Emily says she doesn’t catch colds or the flu, and attributes it to taking Citricidal brand grapefruit seed extract at least once per day. She adds, “I take up to 24 drops. Three is what the package says. Vitamin C is one reason it works so well, and that’s natural Vitamin C, not ‘ascorbic acid.’”
- Community member bobcarmenmertz has been taking homemade Golden Paste for more than 8 months and credits it for feeling well. “I did start to get a cold, but the severity and duration were greatly reduced. The paste includes turmeric powder, coconut oil, and freshly ground black pepper. You can make it yourself and refrigerate for 2 weeks.” One recipe we found for Golden Paste is as follows:
Golden Paste Recipe
1/2 c. turmeric powder
1 c. water (plus up to an additional cup of water, if needed)
2–3 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 c. healthy fat—either from raw, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil, flaxseed oil, or virgin/extra virgin olive oil
Combine the turmeric and 1 c. water in a saucepan, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 7–10 minutes or until the mixture becomes a thick paste. (You may need to add some or all of the additional water during this step.) Remove from heat and let the turmeric/water mixture cool down until it is warm and not hot. Add the freshly ground black pepper and oil, and stir well to incorporate. Allow it to cool, then keep it in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or freeze some if you don’t think you’ll use it up by then. You can use Golden Paste in smoothies, in yogurt, as a condiment—even as as an immune-booster for your pets!
This is an updated version of an article that was originally published on March 10, 2018.
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