In healthy living circles, cold & flu season is commonly referred to as Vitamin D deficiency season. Not only do we get a lot less of this essential vitamin, but we spend more time cooped up indoors sharing germs. Luckily, winter doesn't have to mean getting sick for weeks on end!
By building up our immune system naturally, washing frequently, and using these homemade cold & flu remedies we can quickly kick those nasty bugs to the curb!
Being sick is never any fun. It's even worse when you have sick kids and start coming down with something yourself! Since we are trying to live a healthier, more natural life, we don't run to the pharmacy or doctor whenever someone gets the sniffles (we've even dealt with mumps that my ex-husband brought home while working out of the country without a prescription or OTC med!).
Instead, we turn to our herbal medicine cabinet, fridge, and essential oils. Here is a collection of 30 homemade cold & flu remedies to help boost your immune system, deal with a sore throat, and even the dreaded earache!
Homemade Cold & Flu Remedies
Some of these remedies can be made ahead of time and then stored for when you need them. Others are to be made and used fresh. The one thing they all have in common is that you can make them yourself for a fraction of the cost of many over-the-counter medicines and they have none of the artificial ingredients that over-the-counter remedies are full of.
Immune Boosting Remedies
- Fermented Foods – Increase your intake of fermented foods to give your immune system a hand!
- Honey Infused Garlic – Garlic & raw honey are both very beneficial for your immune system!
- Flu Season Gummies – An immune-strengthening recipe designed for those with autoimmune disease!
- “Flu Shot” – This isn't the type that comes in a vial at the pharmacy, but a drink. It uses chicken, but I have done this one with turkey with great results.
- “Power Shots” – 4 simple ingredients that help support the immune system!
- Master Tonic – This spicy concoction can be a little overwhelming, but the benefits are worth it!
- Garlic Ginger Lemonade – 3 of my favorite immune-boosting ingredients in one glass!
- Elderberry Syrup – This is a must in our house & my favorite recipe out of all the ones I've tried so far! We all do 1 tsp every day & up it if anyone gets sick.
- Ginger Shots – Make sure to read the whole post, because there are tips on customizing it to your own taste.
- Elderberry Smoothie – I've never found elderberry juice, so I haven't tried this yet. If you do, make sure to leave a comment and let me know where you found the juice & how you liked the smoothie!
Sore Throat Remedies
- Miracle Slushie – A cold drink to help soothe when teas & hot drinks aren't doing the trick!
- Sore Throat Remedy – It's a bit spicy, so the kiddos might not go for it!
- Sore Throat Soother – This is an adult-only remedy as it has vodka in it!
- Cinnamon Sore Throat Tea – I'd recommend using plant-based milk since dairy thickens the mucus membranes.
- Ultimate Sore Throat Gargle – She used this for strep throat and had no pain 24 hours later!
- Homemade Cough Remedy – I highly recommend RAW honey for this. Most of the store-bought stuff has extra stuff in it and not nearly as many health benefits.
- Winter Cold Miracle Tea – I actually started a batch of this today, to stop this tickle in my throat from getting worse!
- Sore Throat Lollipops – So good the kids might want them even if they aren't sick!
- Homemade Cough Drops – As always, I don't recommend internal essential oil use, but they are listed as optional in this recipe anyway!
- Sore Throat Spray – This one has alcohol, but we still use it with the kids since we only do 1 spray as needed (every 3-4 hours). I just keep it in the back of the fridge behind the bottle of wine I'm going to drink one of these days.
One of my least favorite parts of cold and seasonal allergies is that I always end up with an earache. It's not an ear infection and clears up as soon as my sinuses quit going nuts, but I needed something to help deal with the pain. Here are 10 remedies I've tried that work for me!
- Heating pad – I literally just lay down on a heating pad for 5-10 minutes. I've found moist heat works a little better.
- Peroxide – We use peroxide to “fizz” our ears several times a year, but I do it whenever an earache starts too. Simply use a cotton ball to drop peroxide in your ear when laying down, gentling massaging the outside for a few minutes. Place a towel or washcloth over the ear, rollover, and while it's draining, do the other one. Here's a more detailed tutorial!
- Ear candling – This is something that can be done at home, but only after you have been taught how to do it. My mother does it for me & the kids. The younger two haven't had it done yet since they always have ants in their pants & I don't trust them to hold still for it.
- Reflexology – You don't have to be a reflexologist to learn how to use it on yourself and your family. Here's a basic video that targets earache points. If you want to learn how to use reflexology for other issues, I highly recommend Complete Reflexology for Life.
- Mullein Flower Oil – You can either make your own or cheat like me and buy this Mullein & Garlic ear oil.
- Put onion in your ear – No, I don't mean IN your ear canal but like you would a q-tip. This page has a lot of other uses for onions too! Or you can just do an onion poultice.
- Lavender Salt – This is designed to reduce pain while you figure out what the underlying problem is.
- Massage – Massage the neck and behind the ears in a manner similar to this tutorial.
- Essential Oils – Apply 1 drop of Lavender or Tea Tree essential oil to a cotton ball & place lightly over the opening of the ear canal. Do NOT press it into the ear canal.
- Chiropractic Care – Getting an adjustment can get the neck and skull back in alignment, improving drainage & decreasing ear infections.
If you're terrified that your child has an ear infection & needs antibiotics STAT, check out this post from MommyPotamus!
Note: I haven't tried all of these remedies & just because something is natural, doesn't mean that there aren't any potential issues. If you have underlying health issues, I strongly recommend you work with a holistic doctor (and there are so many turning to a holistic approach instead of a straight allopathic method now!) that is familiar with your individual issues before taking anything!
You may have noticed garlic comes up quite a bit in there – that's because garlic is amazing! Check out this on 39 health benefits of garlic for more ways to incorporate it into your life.
What's your favorite way to stay healthy during Cold & Flu Season?
More Ways to Stay Healthy:
- Essential Oil Blends to Use at the First Sign of a Cold
- 20 Frankincense Essential Oil Uses
- Eating Healthy on a Budget
- Benefits of Using Raw Honey
- 50 Homemade Cleaner Recipes
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