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12 Ways to Beat Your Cold and Flu…Naturally

12 Ways to Beat Your Cold and Flu

Last week I was feeling slightly under the weather. Thanks to my home remedies, I am feeling a lot better, thankyouverymuch. However, Kaiden developed a nasty cold which always progressses into a cough for him. It’s a typical chain of events that I can pretty much guarantee will happen every time he gets a stuffy nose.

When he was little, Kaiden seemed to ALWAYS be fighting cold. Probably due to the fact that everything goes in a kid’s mouth at that age. And wait, didn’t I just see that other kid chomping on the same puzzle piece 2 seconds before mine? Geesh. A stuffy nose turned into a cough which then turned into an ear infection. Every. Single. Time. Off to the doctor we would go for a round of antibiotics. It got so bad, by the time he was 20 months, we had tubes placed in his ears after he had roughly 8 ear infections in a 5 month time frame. It was frustrating and I hated that he had to be on so many antibiotics since they can really take a toll on your body.

According to Dr. Fuhrman in his book, “Disease Proof Your Child,” he states:

“The unnecessary over prescription of antibiotics during past decades has been blamed for the recent emergence of antibiotic-resistant strains of deadly bacteria. Besides these potential risks, in every single person who takes an antibiotic, the drug kills a broad assortment of helpful bacteria that live in the digestive tract and aid digestion. It kills the “bad” bacteria, such as those that can complicate an infection, but it also kills these helpful “good” bacteria lining your digestive tract that have properties that protect from future illness.

If you take antibiotics repeatedly when you are young, you further diminish the population of good bacteria that protects you against harmful bacteria. In addition, the harmful bacteria become more resistant (harder to kill with antibiotics the next time). Over 100 different helpful intestinal bacteria are lost with the use of antibiotics, which then give pathogenic (disease-causing) microbes and yeast the chance to proliferate and fill the ecological vacuum created by the repeated administration of antibiotics.”

He’s had a few ear infections here and there after the tubes came out which put me on a quest to seek out natural alternatives, because there was no way I wanted him to continue to have antibiotics time and time again. Since then I have learned a thing or two and I can thankfully say that we have not been to a doctor for a sick visit in well over 2 years for either of my kids (knock on wood). Sure, we have been ill a time or two. A cough here, a sniffle there, maybe even a fever, but nothing that has required a visit to the doc because I have learned how to treat sicknesses early and naturally.

I am in no way saying that there isn’t a time and place for prescription medications when absolutely necessary. But who says that you need a prescription for every illness? Sometimes a home remedy is all it takes to feel better in a few days. I want to share my list of top 12 natural cold and flu remedies I turn to at the onset of sickness in hopes that you, too, can help facilitate you or your child’s body to heal itself.

  1. Eat a balanced diet consisting of mostly real food.
    This goes without saying, but fueling yourself with real, healthy food will allow your body to work in tip top shape.
  2. Drink up.
    This seems pretty obvious, but water, fresh squeezed juices (I don’t buy juice anymore), green smoothies, fresh juice popsicles, coconut water or broth are all great for hydration. If you or your child is dehydrated you might need to turn to a Pedialyte or Gatorade type of drink to replace your electrolytes. Please, whatever you do, do not buy the commercial varieties of these. Have you ever seen the ingredients in them? It’s frightening. Look here and here at your own risk. Instead make your own ORS solution using 1 liter of clean water, 2 T sugar, 1/2 tsp salt. Add some fresh orange juice or mashed banana to improve the taste.
  3. Drink ginger tea. Check out my recipe here.
  4. Take elderberry syrup.
    Elderberry is used to boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was even used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995. I started making homemade elderberry syrup about 2 years ago. We use it all throughout cold and flu season to increase our chances of staying healthy. Take 1 tsp daily for prevention or 1 tsp every 2-3 hours while symptoms persist once a cold or flu has set in. I am not a fan of the store bought varieties since they often contain preservatives and/or added flavors in them. I buy my elderberries here along with cinnamon, raw honey and whole cloves.
  5. Take colloidal silver.
    This is my all time favorite alternative treatment for anything and everything. Colloidal silver is a natural antibiotic, anti-viral and anti-fungal agent. It’s been shown to kill bacteria that were resistant to all known antibiotics with no undesirable side effects. Pathogens do not become resistant to silver over time, unlike antibiotics, and even has the ability to eradicate antibiotic resistant microbes like MRSA. On the onset of a sickness I give my kids 1/2 tsp twice a day and adults 1 tsp twice a day. It can also be used on skin wounds, dropped in the ears, eyes and nose or used in a spray for the throat. I use the Sovereign Silver brand.
  6. Use a sinus rinse.
    I just recently bought these Nasopure nasal wash systems for my kids. I like the smaller size for them. At the first sight of a cold I have them rinse twice a day. I use this NeilMed rinse but like this larger Nasopure for adults as well. It takes a little getting used to, but actually it feels really good after you rinse. Just make sure you use warm water as opposed to cold.
  7. Try honey and lemon to soothe your throat and cough.
    Honey helps coat the throat when it is painful, dry or itchy. Honey and lemon both have the ability to kill bacteria while lemon cuts through the mucus. Together they are a force to be reckoned with. Always use raw honey, but not for children under the age of 1.
  8. Use a humidifier.
    Breathing moist air can help ease nasal congestion, soothe dryness, irritation or itchiness in the nose, nasal passages, sinuses, mouth, throat and eyes. Make sure to empty the water each day and clean the humidifier often with vinegar and water. We currently use this Crane model.
  9. Get enough sleep.
    This goes without saying, but sleep deprivation suppresses immune system function. Which, in turn, decreases your body’s ability to respond to cold and flu germs. Get a good 8+ hours of shut eye.
  10. Sweat it out.
    It takes a lot for me to muster up the energy and make it to the gym on days I am not feeling in tip top shape, but a good sweat always makes me feel better.
  11. Steam inhalation.
    Fill up a bowl with boiled water, add 2-3 drops of essential oil and lean over the bowl with a towel draped over your head so as to catch the steam. Do this for 10 minutes or until the water has cooled and there is no longer steam. Some of my favorite essential oils to use are eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree or lavender. Be careful and read up on using essential oils with children under the age of 10. I use just a steam with no oils for my kiddos.
  12. Eat raw garlic.
    Okay, here’s the deal. Admittedly, I have not had the guts to try this one. Garlic is known for it’s anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-viral properties. It’s like a natural antibiotic that supposedly works like a champ. But, in order for garlic to knockout cold or flu symptoms, it needs to be consumed raw. *shutter* While I love cooked garlic, I am a bit squeamish about chomping on a raw clove of garlic. Despite my lack of courage, I promise to give it a go next time I get sick and give a full repot. If you are braver than me, mince a clove or two, add a teaspoon of honey and whack it back. Just don’t expect your loved one to want to kiss you after. Take it on the first onset of a cold to prevent it from getting worse. If you didn’t do this early and you get sick, then consume it every 2-3 hours on an empty stomach.
    (UPDATE: Both hubs and I tried this for a cold and it, surprisingly, was not bad at all. We took it once in the morning for 2 days in a row and felt considerably better by the end of the day)

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have any favorite home remedies that help keep you healthy? Comment below.

Until next time, keep it real.

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Medical disclaimer: Although I am a sucker for a great fashionable coat, especially white ones, I am not a doctor. This post is not intended to treat, diagnose or take the place of taking prescription medication when necessary. Always check with your doctor first if you have any questions or concerns about your health or the health of your family.

Sources:
http://www.naturalnews.com/042769_antibiotics_healthy_gut_flora_immune_system.html
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/06/18/antibiotics-bacteria.aspx
http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/09/23/garlic-health-benefits.aspx
http://www.diseaseproof.com/archives/healthy-food-prescribed-antibiotics-and-you.html
http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/excessive-sleepiness-10/immune-system-lack-of-sleep
http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-elderberry.html
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22280901
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11697022
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9395631
http://thesilveredge.com/becker.shtml#.VNuvYfnF-So