Our family has been using natural cold remedies for nearly a decade. These alternatives to conventional cold medication will help you beat sickness in no time!
Whether we like it or not, we’re in the middle of that time of year when illness runs rampant.
Perhaps one of the most annoying–yet frequent–illnesses to battle is the common cold.
Thankfully, there are a plethora of natural cold remedies that can help you beat this nasty little virus without ever having to enter a conventional drug store.
Even before our family started making the transition to a more natural lifestyle, I never liked run-of-the-mill cold medications. Besides being full of some potentially dangerous ingredients, they just make me feel, well, loopy!
If a medication makes you feel worse than the sickness it is trying to better, then something’s not working!
The next time that little cold virus rears its ugly head, pull out one of these natural cold remedies.
1. Epsom Salt Baths
Besides helping you relax and sleep better at night, some believe epsom salts actually help detoxify your body, increase your white blood cell count and speed up the healing process (source)!
2. Raw Garlic
3. Essential Oils
Essential oils have become my first line of defense against any ailment that has plagued our household over the past few years. Some tests have shown that essential oils are so strong that viruses cannot live in their presence (source).
Our favorites to use for colds are eucalyptus, peppermint, oregano, and an immune boosting or germ fighting blend (or the kids version). You can dab a drop of eucalyptus on your pajamas, which helps decongest you throughout the night. You can also mix eucalyptus and peppermint with a carrier oil and rub on the chest.
You can also diffuse the oils into the air (This is our favorite diffuser.) or add some oils to a warm bath. We use a homemade foaming hand soap as well as a homemade disinfectant spray made with essential oils. I simply add some drops of the immune-boosting blend to water in a glass spray bottle.
Before diving into blindly using essential oils, I recommend you read this post about the best way to learn about essential oils.
4. The Neti Pot
You can buy the saline solution at most drug stores, or you can try this recipe to make your own!
As a word of caution, be sure to use very sterile water in your neti pot.
I previously took echinacea capsules daily during the cold and flu season until I discovered that it’s really best to use echinacea at the first sign of illness.
From personal experience, I have seen that when I start taking echinacea capsules, my symptoms either disappear or are very, very weak as opposed to my experiences with the cold virus before I discovered this wonderful herb!
6. Elderberry Syrup
7. Good Nutrition
It sounds like a no-brainer, but it doesn’t hurt to remind ourselves that optimal nutrition will generally produce better health.
It might be time to make some homemade chicken soup, load up on some natural vitamin C via citrus fruits and drink some green smoothies.
The very best vitamin and mineral sources come in real, whole foods. However, we all know that there are days, weeks and seasons when all we can do is hope to squeeze in a shower and keep the kids from killing each other. It’s during these times that upping our supplement intake may be wise.
9. Raw Honey
This super food is anti-viral and an immunity booster. Raw honey is especially effective in soothing a sore throat (always my first sign that a cold is coming).
You can also stir a little into a bowl of hot water and inhale the steam. Or, sweeten some hot herbal tea with it and enjoy both the taste and health benefits.
Note that local raw honey is always your best bet for getting all the amazing health benefits from it! This is especially true when trying to combat seasonal allergies!
10. Natural Cold Kicker Tinctures/Drinks
I have yet to try one of these myself, but many attest to their fast effectiveness in kicking a cold. This one from Paula of Whole Intentions also looks pretty potent!
How to Know If It’s More Than a Cold
Colds and the flu can often mimic the same symptoms, but the flu is usually much more severe. As moms, it’s important to know the difference!
Colds are typically milder, and are more likely to come with runny or stuffy noses. They don’t often come with fevers, though.
The flu virus is nearly always accompanied by a fever as well as body aches, chills, headache, fatigue, and maybe even a sore throat.
I used to rely on just kissing my kids’ foreheads to determine whether or not they had a fever, but that didn’t cut it anymore when I needed to know for sure before sending them to school or church!
Interestingly enough, the night I wrote this post one of my daughters had a sore throat, so we broke out the thermometer to see if it were accompanied by a fever!
The thermometers I used on the girls that are pictured in this post are the:
The Braun ThermoScan® 5 Ear thermometer, which is the number one best selling thermometer in the US. The ear canal is the best site to measure a fever because of its close proximity to the eardrum, which shares the blood supply of the brain’s temperature control center.
Looking for even more natural cold remedies?
In addition to the 10 above natural cold remedies, here are some other ideas to keep your family healthy–and out of the drug stores–this winter!
What are some of your favorite natural cold remedies?
Disclaimer: Although I’m passionate about nutrition, natural living, and alternative health issues, I’m not a certified nutritionist, medical doctor, or practitioner of any kind. I’m not licensed to counsel anyone in medical matters, nor may I be held responsible for any course of action that you choose in regards to your own health or that of your family. Please remember that what I’m sharing is the result of my own experiences and years of study but may not necessarily be the right course of action for you. Please seek out the advice of your trusted healthcare provider. This blog is for informative and entertainment purposes only.