Natural remedies against the flu (and Covid19)
Catching the flu can be a nightmare, but it doesn’t have to get you down for long.
If you have found yourself with a blocked or runny nose, cough or sore throat, there is plenty that you can do to make it go away a lot faster. These same home remedies also help to ward off nasty viruses altogether.
Here are the best natural remedies for reducing the severity and duration of a cold, or boosting your immune system to prevent colds altogether:
Staying hydrated is the number one defence against many illnesses, particularly influenza, or the flu.
When you are hydrated, your body has a natural ability to flush germs out of your system. Water is also key to regulating core temperature, which is usually uncomfortably high when you have a cold, so maintain a high level of natural fluids for a healthy immune system. It is recommended for the average person to drink at least 2.5 litres of water daily. Read more on the importance of staying hydrated.
Eat Vitamin C
Vitamin C is critical for healthy operation of the immune system.
A clinical study has found that a large dose of Vitamin C decreased flu symptoms in subjects by 85%. The study concluded that Vitamin C administered before or after the appearance of cold and flu symptoms relieved and prevented the symptoms in the test population compared with the control group.
Our bodies are unable to produce this critical vitamin, so it important to consume rich sources of Vitamin C daily. Read more about Vitamin C here.
Zince has gained popularity thanks to it’s important role in immunity, inflammation, tissue damage, blood pressure and in-tissue responses to any lack of oxygen.
Australian researchers have found that Zinc supplements may help shorten respiratory tract infections, such as colds, flu, sinusitis and pneumonia.
Read more about Zinc.
Drink tea with lemon, ginger and honey
For a fast acting immune boost, drink tea with fresh lemon, ginger and honey.
Adding lemon juice to hot water along with some ginger helps in preventing and removing phlegm from the body. Ginger also works as an antioxidant and helps the body in releasing toxins which further results in the removal of the infection and flu. Honey is known for it’s soothing and antimicrobial properties, plus it tastes great.
Boil water with some pieces of ginger, then just squeeze some lemon and mix in with honey.
Eat hot soup
Hot liquids, such as soup, help reduce mucus buildup and keep you hydrated, which is particularly important when fighting off an infection. CBS News reported that “clear broth soups are hydrating because they typically contain not only water but also salt and so those two together are good properties for hydration”.
Some research suggests chicken soup in particular can help reduce inflammation associated with colds and flu, providing significant pain relief to affected areas.
If you have access to a diffuser (humidifier), there are a number of essential oils which are known to help fight the symptoms of the common cold.
Peppermint and eucalyptus are known to reduce fevers and fight viruses, tea tree oil and clove inhibit bacteria and fight infections, while chamomile relieves cold and flu symptoms. All are natural and relaxing scents to fill your bedroom or house with.
Wash your hands regularly
Washing your hands with with soap removes germs and significantly reduces the ever-present risk of infections. When you are sick, it is also a good idea to wash your hands regularly to prevent germs from re-entering the body.
Regularly brush your teeth
The mouth is a playground for bacteria, so it is important to brush your teeth regularly to remove germs that have not yet entered the bloodstream. Regularly brushing your teeth can reduce the risk of viral infections and shorten the infection time when sick.
Oil pulling is a method of using coconut oil to draw out toxins from the mouth, while whitening teeth at the same time. Read more about oil pulling.
Take hot showers
Steamy showers are great for decongestion, as they moisturise the nasal passages and relax the body. For an immune boost, try hot and cold therapy, alternating between hot and cold bursts of water in the shower. Read more about ways to use hot and cold therapy.
Gargle salt water
1/2 a teaspoon of salt, dissolved in warm water, can temporarily relieve a sore throat and other ear, nose and throat irritations. Salt is effective at neutralising some bacterias, while also drawing others from hard to reach areas – so make sure to spit the salt solution after gargling.
Drink or gargle vinegar
Unfiltered apple cider vinegar often contains a potent mix of yeast and bacteria that work as probiotics. These probiotics have an immune-boosting quality that effectively fights influenza-like respiratory infections and the common cold.
Just a shot of apple cider vinegar is known to assist with reducing flu symptoms, but it can also be gargled by those who can’t handle the taste.
Try a natural cough medicine
Anecdotal reports suggest that a homemade medicine containing the following ingredients can help relieve cold and flu symptoms:
- Cayenne Pepper
- Ground Ginger
- Apple Cider Vinegar (optional)
It doesn’t have a 5 star taste, so mix it all together in a small glass and quickly wash it down for fast relief against cold and flu symptoms.
Sleep with an extra pillow
Nasal congestion is usually worse when you are lying down, so by elevate your head you to improve respiration and alleviate some cold and flu symptoms.
Get adequate sleep
Sleep is important for healthy function of the immune system, enabling it to fight off nasty viruses and bacteria.
Research conducted by Washington State University concluded that sleep is the best defence against the flu. The key finding was that the quality of sleep has a bigger impact on flu recovery speeds than the quantity of sleep. Continue reading about the importance of sleep.
Catching the flu is never fun but when it happens, you don’t have to let it stay for long.
There are many ways to treat and prevent the common cold and flu, as well as Covid19, but the best defence is living a healthy lifestyle.
Good food, good sleep, plenty of water and exercise.
See more on natural flu defences:
24 whole foods for a stronger immune system
10 vitamins and minerals for better health and wellbeing
Get fit at home without equipment