How To Fight Colds and Flu At Home

February 16, 2017

Herbal Medicine

natural cold remedies

As I type this I have three kiddos sick with a winter cold, and one just getting over it. I blame it on our recent trip to the local children’s museum. It never fails. No matter how much you sanitize their little hands, inevitably they’re going to get sick. When that little girl playing with the Legos hacked and snotted all over her hands, I knew we were done for.

Parents, for heaven’s sake keep your sick kids at home!

That was my short rant. This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

So now that my crew is dealing with stuffy noses, sore throats, and a hacking cough, I’m in doctor mom mode. I’ve pulled out all of the natural cold remedies in my cabinet and have been doing my best to help their little bodies fight off the bug as quickly as possible. My oldest son was the first to come down with the virus, and was miserable for two days but bounced back pretty quickly by day three, so I’m hopeful it won’t last too long for the rest of my guys.

I’ll share with you what my natural cold remedies protocol is when we get sick with a cold or flu. Since I’ve been using these natural cold remedies, we have not had to see a doctor for colds or flu in over eight years. We’ve been able to manage it at home – naturally.

The main idea behind these natural cold remedies is not to mask symptoms, but to give your body’s immune system the boost it needs to fight the bacteria or virus naturally. The more you enable your body to do what it was designed to do, the stronger your immune system will be and the faster you’ll get over future colds.





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Four Foods To Avoid When Sick

Food plays a big part in how strong your immune function will be and how quickly you get well again. If you sit around eating junk food and you deprive your body of the essential nourishment it needs to be strong and healthy, you can be sure that you will suffer longer. Your body will be trying to fight a battle without any ammo.

Here are the four foods you need to be avoiding as soon as you feel the symptoms of a cold coming on:

  1. Processed “Foods”. If it doesn’t grow out of the ground and you can’t pronounce the ingredients, don’t eat it. It isn’t really food and it won’t give your body the vitamins, minerals, and nutrients it needs.
  2. Gluten. Sometimes wheat and other glutens can trigger inflammation in the body and can slow down your immune response.
  3. Dairy. Milk products can cause more mucus to develop, which is the last thing you want when you’re sick.
  4. Sugar. Sugar is an immune suppressant, and bacteria thrives on it. You don’t want to feed the germs you’re trying to kill. Avoid all sugars, except a little honey when used in other remedies.

natural cold remedies

Garlic is Great for Coughs

Garlic has strong antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties. It’s probably the best natural remedy I know for treating many infections.

Here’s my go-to garlic salve recipe for treating deep coughs and upper respiratory infections. It’s from the book, “Be Your Own Doctor” by Rachel Weaver, M.H.

Garlic Salve

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cloves peeled garlic
  • 5 or so drops of lavender essential oil

Pour everything into a blender and mix until smooth. Strain off the bits of garlic, and store the liquid in a wide-mouth glass jar in the fridge. It will solidify as it cools. If your child has super sensitive skin, you might try adding more coconut oil and olive oil.

Apply liberally to the chest, back, and bottoms of feet (covered with socks) at least four times a day, and as often as every couple of hours, as needed. This isn’t something that you can overdose on, so don’t be afraid to use too much. If it doesn’t seem to be working, use more!

natural cold remedies

Honeysuckle Tea for Sore Throats

In spring I collect buckets full of honeysuckle blossoms to make a tea concentrate. I know I’ll need it during the cold and flu months to soothe sore throats. You can make the tea by steeping 2 cups of honeysuckle blossoms in 1 quart of boiling hot water for 10 minutes, then straining it off. Add 1 cup of honey to the tea, bring it back up to a boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and allow to cool. I like to pour the tea into ice cube trays to freeze. Store them in a labeled ziploc bag. You can suck on the cold ice cubes, or heat them up and drink as a hot tea.

natural cold remedies

Steam for Severe Congestion

For unbearable sinus congestion, steam with essential oils added can bring much needed relief. Boil some hot water and pour it into a glass bowl. Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Put a towel over your head and lean over the bowl to trap the steam. Close your eyes (to prevent the oil from burning them) and breathe deeply through your nose to help break up congestion. Blow your nose as much as you can while the mucus is loose. Do this treatment several times a day, as needed for relief.


natural cold remedies

Hot Herbal Tea

Hot herbal teas are wonderful for helping to clear congestion, for soothing sore throats, and for relaxing body aches and pains. Peppermint tea is a good decongestant, and will help loosen up thick mucus. Licorice tea is great for sore throats (as is the aforementioned honeysuckle tea). Chamomile tea helps to promote relaxation and rest. Rose hip tea has a ton of vitamin C in it and is a great immune booster. Many herbal teas are also great for relieving stubborn, dry coughs. There are plenty of herbal tea blends that are specifically designed for fighting colds and flu; check out what’s available at your local health food store or online.


natural cold remedies

Herbs and Vitamin Supplements

Certain herbs and supplements can help boost your immune system and help your body fight more effectively. The next time you get sick, make sure you have the following items in your medicine cabinet:

  • Echinacea & Goldenseal Complex
  • vitamin D
  • vitamin C with rose hips
  • Olive Leaf
  • probiotics

I also highly recommend taking elderberry syrup (Sambucus) for even more immune support. I’m all about doing everything you can to give your body the edge it needs to heal!


natural cold remedies

Diffuse Essential Oils

I absolutely love diffusing essential oils on a daily basis. Not only do they make your home smell amazing, they also put healing oils into the air for you to inhale and benefit from.

When we’re sick I diffuse peppermint for congestion, lavender for relaxation, eucalyptus for coughs, or a combination of oils.

Water diffusers are better at getting the oils into the air than the kind that use candles or reeds, so that’s what I’d recommend using.


Drink Lots of Good Stuff!

If you’re dealing with congestion, the best thing you can do to clear it out is to drink lots and lots of fresh, filtered water and hot herbal teas. Doing so will break up the mucus and phlegm and will help your body clear up quickly.

If you have a juicer, making fresh juice from organically grown fruits and vegetables will give your body an amazing amount of vitamins and minerals.

Definitely avoid soft drinks, sweet tea, prepared juices (yes, even store bought orange juice), and alcoholic beverages until you are completely well again.


When implementing these natural cold remedies at the first sign of a cold or flu coming on, you’ll be able to fight off infections in record time. By boosting your body’s own healing mechanism instead of suppressing and masking symptoms, you’ll find that your colds will be much less severe and will last for a much shorter duration of time.


About Kendra Lynne

Kendra shares all of her homesteading adventures on her website, New Life on a Homestead. Also be sure to check out her popular Canning DVD: At Home Canning For Beginners and Beyond!

View all posts by Kendra Lynne

One Response to “How To Fight Colds and Flu At Home”

  1. Jason Says:

    There’s a plant I got from a local farm, can’t remember the real name, but it’s nickname is Vicks plant. I live in the northeast so I have to bring it inside during winter months. If you crack a leaf it smells just like Vicks. I boil it in pots when my son or I have a cough. It smells just like Vicks however I can actually feel it soothing my lungs, so does little guy. I also will wrap it in cheesecloth for showers for whenever allergies or illness or just cold weather bothers our airways. I sometimes will mix it with mint leaves, or lavender, or a tighter cheesecloth with Epsom salt and baking soda for tubs. Besides the stuff you mentioned, I have three outdoor fig trees. Found a way to cover them in the winter and they survived. Figs have one of the highest amounts of antioxidants, loads of fiber, and one of the highest amounts of sugar in a fruit. Which makes it great to add in jams, make vinegar,and wine.


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