Like clockwork, the cold and flu season is nearly upon once again. Cooler fall weather, kids heading back to school and other factors all contribute to the spread of influenza.
But there are some ways you can fend off the flu bug and best of all, you can do so naturally – without a huge Obamacare out-of-pocket doctor visit and Big Pharma.
The fact is humans have used natural cold remedies to relieve symptoms of cold and flu since the earliest of times. Think about it: Were that not true, something as simple as the flu bug would have wiped out Mankind thousands of years ago. And while there may not yet be any natural cures for the common cold, there are a number of ways to mitigate it and/or speed up the healing process.
For instance, elderberries have been used as medicine since the Stone Age, according to Melanie Grimes, scholar, academic, author and homeopathic expert.
In fact, she notes in a recent column, research from the University of Jerusalem has confirmed that ingesting elderberries speeds up healing time. Also, a Zulu cold treatment that is made from the South African geranium Pelargonium sidoide is now a best-selling cold remedy the world over, because it, too, is supported by clinical research.
The Jewish physician Maimonides even recommended chicken soup to treat colds a flu, a use that dates back to the ancient Greeks.
So what can you do to protect yourself from cold and flu season or, at a minimum, hasten your recovery? Grimes recommends staying hydrated and getting plenty of rest, right off the bat. If you do come down with something, she suggests that you seek professional help, especially if symptoms don’t improve or abate after a few days.
There are lots of ways to naturally combat colds and flu
In the meantime, she says there are several herbs and natural remedies that will provide you with a modicum of comfort and help relieve some of your symptoms:
— Gargle with salt water: Put a few teaspoons of salt in warm water, stir until mixed and gargle with it to disinfect your throat. Grimes recommends a teaspoon in 8 oz of warm water; you can double that if your throat becomes sore. Don’t swallow the salt water, though.
— Mustard pack: These reduce fever, eliminate toxins and help your body heal its mucus membranes in the lungs.
— Castor oil pack: Place one on the chest to open your airways and provide more circulation to the lungs. Just massage some Castor oil onto your chest, cover with flannel or with muslin, and place a hot water bottle over the chest for several minutes.
Vitamins are also essential to both ward off colds and flu and to run them off more quickly should you catch a cold:
— Vitamin C: Multiple studies have shown that vitamin C found in citrus fruits and drinks taken every day can dramatically cut the duration of a cold or flu. In fact, a recent study even showed that 1,000 mg of vitamin C every six hours can relieve, or even prevent, flu symptoms.
— Zinc: This nutrient has been found to be really good when treating viral sore throats. Grimes says a recent study regarding Zinc’s effectiveness shows that a zinc lozenge every two-to-three hours shortened the duration of cold and flu symptoms.
— Vitamin A: This vitamin bolsters your immunity through the increase of white blood cells that battle diseases and infections.
— NAC: An amino acid that has been used to also bolster your immunity, as well as a treatment for chronic respiratory problems.
There are also several teas and other drinks that are natural defenders against the flu:
— Ginger tea: Kills germs and serves as a great antiviral; just boil two tablespoons of grated fresh ginger in two cups of water for a 15 minutes.
— Garlic tea: Just using common household garlic can be effective at cold-and-flu prevention. Raw garlic has anti-fungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties.
— Cumin and ginger tea, peppermint tea and even fresh lemonade also work as preventatives and treatments.