6 Natural Solutions for the Cold and Flu Season

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

Healing Naturally

Dr. Thalia

Health Issue: The seasonal cold and flu
Common Symptoms: Sore throat, cough, body aches, head aches, chills
Question: What are a few natural remedies to help prevent and cure the common cold?

As fall and winter approaches, most people find they become more susceptible to falling victim to a bacteria or virus. Though for most it is not life threatening, it does reduce productivity and can throw a monkey wrench into your normal routine.

“The microbe is nothing, terrain is everything”
– Louis Pasteur, the father of germ theory, confessed on his deathbed in 1895.


The Essentials

Our body has an innate ability to heal and under the right circumstances, it can combat germs. The right circumstances include adequate sleep, stress management, exercise, and a healthy diet.


Other Preventative Measures

  1. Probiotics
    There are one trillion organisms that inhabit your body with many of those found in your gut. Good bacteria actually help your immune system fend off bad bacteria and reduce inflammation. Food sources of probiotics include live cultures like kim chi and sauerkraut.
  2. Hydrotherapy
    By ending your warm showers with a cold rinse helps move lymph throughout the body to move immune cells efficiently.
  3. Sambucus (Elderberry) Syrup
    This antioxidant packed anti-viral herb has been shown to stop viruses from replicating and boost immune cells to fight off germs. Sambucus is a great herb to take to avoid becoming sick and lessens severity of existing colds/flus.


Too late. You’ve got the cold. Now what to do?

When you first observe symptoms of a cold or flu, it is important to address them early within the first 24 hours. If you let it linger, you allow more time for the bacteria or virus to replicate.


Mucus


Avoid dairy, alcohol, and sugar
Dairy creates more mucus in your system, which only aggravates the situation. Alcohol weakens the immune system’s ability to fight off offenders. Sugar serves as food for bacteria and helps pathogens replicate. 


Sore Throat


Salt water gargles for sore throats
For a sore throat, you can add salt to a glass of water. Gargle the salt water in the back of your throat. The salt water serves as an anti-septic and kills bacteria on the surface of your throat.


Cough


Homemade cough syrup
Take half an onion and place it in a jar. Cover the onion with honey and let it combo sit for 6 hours. After 6 hours, you can use take a tablespoon three times a day. It sounds gross, but sounds worse than it actually it. Plus, it works magically!


Congestion


Steam inhalation for congestion
Find eucalyptus nearby or use the essential oil and add it to a steaming pot of water. Cover your head over the steaming water with a large towel and inhale the steam. The eucalyptus has anti-microbial and drying properties to help you breath better. My mom would always convince me to do this by telling me I was getting a facial.


Body Aches


Epsom salt baths for body aches
Epsom salt is also known as magnesium sulfate, which relaxes muscles. It can be used for any kinds of body aches even exercise induced. Add 2 cups of Epsom salt to a warm water bathtub, soak, and relax.


High Fevers


Warming sock treatment for high fevers and immune stimulation
A fever is a natural mechanism for your body to kill germs as they cannot survive in higher temperatures, so don’t be so quick to pop a Tylenol. Watch it to ensure it doesn’t go over 102 degrees Fahrenheit.Take a pair of cotton socks and run them through cool water. Wring them out and put them on your feet. Cover your feet with the cool socks with dry wool socks and jump into bed. When you wake up, the cotton socks should be dry and you should feel better. This treatment stimulates lymph movement to move immune cells throughout your body.

If you are not noticing an improvement in your symptoms, OR if you see that they are worsening in 48 hours, it’s time to consult your physician.

Lastly, to feed your belly…studies have actually shown chicken soup to help people overcome their colds. The ingredients reduce inflammation and stimulate release of mucus. With that, here’s a recipe that I keep on-hand all times of the year.

Enjoy and be well,
Dr. Thalia

Mom’s Chicken Soup

Ingredients
2 cleaned whole chicken legs with their skins and bones
1 diced onion
2 diced garlic cloves
1 ½ cups chopped celery
½ cup parsley
½ medium sweet potato
1 cup turnips
1 teaspoon of paprika
Juice from a lemon
Filtered water
Salt and pepper to taste

Steps

  1. In a large pot, add whole chicken legs, onions, garlic, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice and filtered water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the celery and turnips.
  2. Simmer until the chicken is cooked through, then add the cilantro. Serve with freshly ground pepper and a squeeze of lemon.

Variation: I use yam-based shirataki noodles to make it a chicken noodle soup with no added carbs/sugar. You can add these in towards the very end.

Serves 4

 

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Thanks for reading! My name is Dr. Thalia Farshchian and I am a licensed naturopathic doctor at Discover Health in San Francisco, California. I work on a diverse team of physicians with various backgrounds to bring our patients the best care possible. With a background in both conventional and alternative modalities, my practice is primarily focused on weight management, hormone imbalances, and gastrointestinal conditions. [more...]

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