We are waiting patiently for spring to come and clear out all the cold weather. Raise your hand if you’re like the rest of us and got hit with the flu this year!? The wintry conditions have a way of stagnating viruses and weakening our immune systems.
When we get sick, our first inclination is to run to the doctor, get on some antibiotics, or pop a few dayquils to power through our days. While sometimes our bodies need that extra help, there are some great natural remedies that we can implement to boost our immune systems and help our bodies work out those yuckies.
You literally want to FLUSH out that cold. Anyway you can get in fluids, do it and do it often.
- Keep a big bottle of water by your side at all times and refill it as often as possible. Even better, warm water with ginger will help ease a sore throat and upset stomach.
- Broths (chicken, beef, vegetable): sip on it just as you would drink a cup of tea. We like to have at least 2 cups a day when we are under the weather. Add ginger or garlic for an extra boost.
- Elderberry Syrup: instead of cough medicine full of ingredients that make us woozy, try some elderberry syrup. It’s beneficial in fighting off the flu, giving our immune system an extra boost, and easing sinus pain. One study found that using elderberry extract could shorten the duration of flu by about 3 days!
- Avoid sugary drinks like sports drinks, juice concentrates, energy drinks, etc. Studies have shown that high sugar can suppress the immune system and cause inflammation. If you have a sweet tooth, a spoonful of Manuka Honey hits the spot and is high in antibacterial properties too (our favorite, Wedderspoon).
There are some incredible natural ways to open your sinuses and clear out bacteria. Here are a few that we have used in the past.
- Himalayan Salt Rooms: dry salt therapy (aka Halotherapy) has been shown to relieve flu symptoms, upper respiratory infections, and skin conditions, to name just a few. Salt is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and has Mucolytic effects (aka it helps to loosen that yucky mucus). While you relax in a salt room and breath in the air, the tiny particles work to open your airways and loosens the mucus naturally.
- Using the same theme of salt therapy, nasal irrigation with a Neti Pot can be a helpful way to clear out the mucus and a stuffy nose. By using distilled tepid water and a salt mixture, you can flush out irritants and help to thin out the mucus in your nasal passages. Quick video on how to use here.
- Cooling off with Olbas Oil: a perfect addition to a warm bath, or used as a vapor chest rub, this concentrated oil does wonders for opening up the nasal passages.
TAKE YOUR VITAMINS
Give your body the best tools to do its job - supplements can really help rev up your immune system.
- Vitamin C (obviously): did you know our bodies don’t naturally produce this vitamin? So the only way to get its powerful antioxidant benefits is to add it into our diets. The best form to get it is from citrus, specifically lemons. While studies are inconclusive on the exact benefits and how much we should take, we still always supplement with Vitamin C at the onset of a cold (placebo effect possibly? We’re okay with that).
- The leaves, stems, roots and flowers from the echinacea plant have been used for centuries to battle colds. Extracts of echinacea seem to have a positive effect on our body's defense against germs. Research shows it increases the number of white blood cells, which fight infections.
- A little off the beaten path, colostrum is an immune-boosting miracle. Derived from the breast-milk of mammals and created by the body the last few months of pregnancy and after birth, it’s been shown to fight off common colds and flus. It contains compounds that not only help improve our immune system, but also help to fight off invading bacterias. You can buy tablet forms of bovine-colostrum to supplement at the start of a cold.
These suggestions all come from our own experiences and at-home remedies. It’s always advised to check with your doctor first before implementing supplements and changes to your diet. We hope this gives you some new ways to help battle those colds for good and get back to feeling your best!