Best natural cold remedy

How to treat a cold without drugs

The average adult gets two to five colds a year. Children suffer the worst, with seven to 10 a year. The news today is that scientists may in the near future be able to cure colds and other viruses. But for now, only the immune system can cure a cold and in most cases, it takes four to seven days. Conventional medicines might provide relief from symptoms, but don’t work against the virus or help our immune system throw off the infection. Some don’t even do that. Standard cough medicines, for instance, have been found to be no better than placebo. Some doctors say suppressing coughs can be a bad thing since they are nature’s way of getting rid of respiratory debris. The good news is, you can take action to help your cold without even going out.

Inhale steam

“The common cold is a collection of different viruses and your immune system’s response to them causes the symptoms of inflamed nasal passage and lining of the sinuses – which causes sneezing, runny nose and sore eyes,” explains Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of General Practitioners. “The best way to reduce this inflammation is to keep the nasal passages clear. Steam is wonderful at achieving this.”

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Put a towel over your head and inhale steam from a bowl of boiling water, ideally using drops of a plant oil such as eucalyptus or olbas oil for added relief. “Or take a nice hot shower with plenty of steam or sit in a really steamy bathroom – particularly good for children,” adds Professor Field.

Have a hot drink

Hot drinks work wonders, says Professor Ron Eccles, director of the Common Cold Research Centre at Cardiff University. One study found the effects of a hot fruit drink on nasal airflow and common cold and flu symptoms were surprisingly positive. “The hot drink provided immediate and sustained relief from symptoms of runny nose, cough, sneezing, sore throat, chilliness and tiredness,” he says.

Drinks with slightly bitter flavours are particularly beneficial. Many doctors suggest hot water with honey (a mild antiseptic), grated ginger (anti-inflammatory) and fresh lemon (tastes nice but the claim that vitamin C can cure colds is still unproven).

Eat chicken soup – or some curry

The brothy goodness of home-made soup has everything going for it, particularly if it’s chicken. It flushes out the nasal passages with its aromatic steaming and offers hydration and comfort.

There are also claims that chicken has anti-viral properties, particularly if the skin is left in, and in 2000, scientists at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre in Omaha found that some components of chicken soup inhibit neutrophil migration, which may have an anti-inflammatory effect that could perhaps lead to a temporary easing of the symptoms of illness.

A cold is a good excuse for a hot curry, says Professor Eccles. “Spicy food and drink promotes salivation and airway mucus secretions that soothe coughs and sore throats,” he explains.

Take it easy

Take one or preferably two days away from the office, insists Dr Beata O’Donoghue, sleep consultant at the London Clinic. You will save others from your germs and a cold can be the body’s way of telling us to take a break. She says: “Listen to your body. We do not repair ourselves during wakefulness, but during sleep.” Professor Field agrees: “With any virus that involves inflammation, even light exercise can be harmful, especially as we get older.”

Drink water

“When the body is fighting infection, it becomes dehydrated,” says Dr Rob Hicks, GP and author of Old-fashioned Remedies From Arsenic to Gin. “You need plenty of fluids.” Provided it’s not alcohol anything palatable is acceptable, says Hicks. Others disagree. Soft drinks contain high levels of sugar, which means they are absorbed much more slowly than water so they don’t hydrate the body as quickly. Really high-sugar drinks cause a rapid rise in blood sugar level, followed by a sudden dip, making you feel worse.

By the time you feel thirsty, dehydration has set in – so drink regularly.

Raid your store cupboard

“Nutrients with potential immune-boosting properties include vitamin A (in eggs, milk and orange fruit and vegetables such as carrots and apricots), vitamin E (nuts, grains, vegetable oils and wheatgerm) and selenium (in brazil nuts, seafood, meat, and poultry),” says Sara Stanner of the Nutrition Society. And try to eat as much garlic as possible because of its antimicrobial action.


Everyday life pressures can make you more susceptible, says Professor Eccles: “Experiments on volunteers show they are more likely to become infected if they have recently suffered problems.” Stress has long been associated with the suppression of general resistance to infection.

Wrap up warm

“Granny was right as far as wrapping up warm is concerned, in the prevention of colds,” says Dr Rob Hicks. “When the nostrils get cold, the immune system functions less efficiently. And if your temperature falls, your immune system is not as efficient.”

You could also try…

* Blowing your nose regularly rather than sniffing the mucus back into your head. Ideally, press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.

* Gargling can moisten a sore throat to bring temporary relief. Try a teaspoon of salt dissolved in warm water, four times daily. Or use honey, popular in folk medicine.

* Sleeping with an extra pillow will help with the drainage of nasal passages.

How to Get Rid of a Cold Quickly

  • From soothing detox teas, to targeted supplements, to cleaning your nasal passages with salt water, these natural cold remedies will help you kick a cold before it starts — or limit the days it has you down.
  • Your grandma was right. Learn how garlic, ginger, lavender and a hot bath can soothe your symptoms, and how vitamins help boost your body’s immune resistance.
  • Plus, get Bulletproof recommendations for supplements designed to help you feel your best all season long.

Whether it’s the weather change, traveling by plane or visiting someone in the hospital, something or someone exposes you to whatever bug is going around. Next, you feel that tickle in your throat, the slight burning in your sinuses and that first chill — uh oh. Your body is giving you clear signs that you’re getting sick.

Once you feel a cold coming on, you might think you’re past the point of no return. Instead of just letting it run its course, there are things you can do to make yourself stronger, have fewer sick days or kick your cold altogether.

Below, get the best tips for how to beat a cold. Further down, learn the science behind why these cold remedies work.

Your feel-better-fast checklist

You feel like crap and just want some relief. Here is your quick-and-dirty guide to natural cold remedies that actually work.

See the Checklist

  • Eat garlic: To get the benefit of garlic’s strong antibacterial properties, mince two cloves and let them sit for 15 minutes for the active compounds to develop. Combine with olive oil and salt, then spread on your tasty snack of choice.
  • Drink ginger tea: Ginger’s antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties help ward off the cold virus and soothe headaches or sore throats.
  • Supplement with curcumin: Turmeric’s active compound reduces inflammation to relieve congestion. Don’t love the taste of turmeric, or find it hard to fit regularly into your diet? Try Bulletproof Curcumin Max — it absorbs 10 times better than standard 95% curcumin powders.
  • Pop vitamin C: The jury’s out on whether or not vitamin C will help prevent a cold, but studies show it can reduce the number of days you’re sick.
  • Add glutathione: Master antioxidant glutathione strengthens the immune system and works with vitamin C to blast your cold. Take a glutathione supplement or get it from a high-quality whey protein.
  • Don’t forget vitamin D: Vitamin D keeps your immune system in fighting shape, and it works even better when it’s paired with vitamin K.
  • Take zinc: Studies have shown zinc can shorten your cold by as many as three days. When loading up on zinc, make sure it’s paired with copper so you don’t deplete your stores.
  • Use a nasal rinse: Sounds weird, but rinsing your sinuses helps clear out germs and relieve cold symptoms.
  • Take a bath: Add epsom salts, essential oils or bentonite clay to your tub to soothe symptoms and ease inflammation. Don’t have time for a soak? Try taking a magnesium supplement.

Get what you need to tackle your cold with Bulletproof Immune and Detox Supplements

Eat garlic for added immunity

The scientific community needs more data on garlic’s ability to keep vampires away, but research and centuries of traditional use have solidified garlic’s abilities as a natural cold remedy. Raw garlic has strong antibiotic and antifungal properties that give your immune system a boost, so you can get rid of your cold, stat.

Garlic is in the caution zone on the Bulletproof Diet roadmap because it can inhibit alpha brainwaves and may affect your mood. So while it might not be best to eat garlic every day, eat it immediately when you feel the first sign of a cold.

Avoid elephant garlic because it doesn’t have the same antimicrobial oomph that other varieties have. Also, get your garlic from a grocer you can trust, and check the bulbs for mold.

Here’s our recommended preparation: Smash two garlic cloves in a bowl and let them sit for a couple of minutes. This allows the active compounds to develop so you get the full cold-busting benefit. Mix this with olive oil and spread on something fresh and tasty — or if you can handle it, pop a smashed clove in your mouth and eat it raw (as the tears stream down your face).

Sip ginger tea to kill the cold virus

When you feel a cold in your sinuses, most of the time you’re dealing with the germ rhinovirus. Ginger contains sesquiterpenes — antiseptic and anti-inflammatory chemicals that can target rhinovirus, making it an ideal cold remedy. Ginger’s energizing aroma and warming effects can help ease headaches and sore throats, too.

Ginger is easy to add to your cold-busting regimen. If you’re hardcore, peel the root, slice it thin, and eat it raw (again, queue the tears). If you want a more soothing experience, make ginger tea or peel and grate a knob of the root and add it to bone broth, another cold-soothing elixir.

Take turmeric to feel better

When you see a bright golden curry or sauce, you can guess that turmeric is a star ingredient. Historically used to treat a variety of diseases (and for its flavor), turmeric has been a staple in Eastern medicine and cuisine for thousands of years. It’s likely you’ve seen it popping up in capsules and extracts for its inflammation-reducing properties and antioxidant and antiviral activity.

Reaching for turmeric when you have a cold makes perfect sense because the active compound, curcumin, can help keep your inflammation in check and regulate your immune system. Translation: It has potential to take the edge off of your symptoms, and depending on what you have, it might shorten the duration of your cold.

Your body doesn’t readily absorb curcumin without some help. That’s why Bulletproof Curcumin Max is designed to absorb 10 times better than standard curcumin 95% powders, and it’s made with Brain Octane oil to boost the absorption of complementary ingredients like boswellia and ginger.

Try this: To get the cold-busting properties of turmeric into your diet, take a curcumin extract supplement, mix fresh or powdered turmeric into your bone broth or try this soothing turmeric latte.

Pop vitamin C to shorten your cold

The jury’s out as to whether vitamin C can help you prevent a cold, but studies show that vitamin C can help you get over a cold more quickly.

How much vitamin C should you take? According to the Mayo Clinic, the recommended daily amount for adults is 65-90mg a day, and the upper limit is 2,000mg a day. When you have a cold, your body will burn through much more vitamin C than it usually uses, so experiment with the dosage throughout the day and see how you feel. You’ll know when you’ve had too much — you’ll feel digestive discomfort when it’s time to scale back.

Heads up: If you have a stomach issue like acid reflux or GERD, high-dose ascorbic acid (vitamin C) might exacerbate symptoms. Ask your doctor about other forms of vitamin C, like a whole-food version or ascorbate. Some people swear by intravenous (IV) vitamin C — talk to your doctor before you try it.

Help your body make more glutathione

Antioxidants are molecules that fight free radicals — compounds that can damage your cells. Your body makes some of its own antioxidants, including a powerful one called glutathione. It detoxifies your body, helping it fight off infections like the common cold.

Glutathione is busy when you’re under the weather, acting on inflammation, toxins, free radicals and pathogens. However, your supply can deplete quickly when your body is stressed — like when your immune system is battling a cold.

Glutathione has a hand in antioxidant defenses, too, so get a little extra juju out of your vitamin C when you take it with glutathione. Try it as a supplement, like Bulletproof Glutathione Force, or load up on foods that help your body make more glutathione, like whey protein.

Supplement with vitamin D for killer defense

Vitamin D is arguably the most important nutrient for almost everyone to supplement. Well, everyone who wears clothes and doesn’t live in the tropics. Of the bajillion benefits of vitamin D, one of them is its role in the immune system.

Vitamin D supports your cytotoxic T-cells, otherwise known as the “killer cells.” These cells hang around the body, waiting for the immune system to signal them into action. Once the immune response is underway, these T-cells search for and destroy invaders like the cold virus. Vitamin D has a key role in the signaling mechanism. Just as importantly, vitamin D plays a role in the “at ease, soldiers” signal to the killer T-cells when the attack is over.

Vitamin D supplements are easy to find. Take it with vitamin K to support its effects, make sure you’re getting enough vitamin A to combat inflammation by giving those T-cells an even bigger boost. Bulletproof Vitamins A-D-K gives you science-backed doses of all three vitamins in one pill. Easy.

Take zinc (with copper) to attack germs

The typical American diet doesn’t include a whole lot of zinc-rich foods. Even if you get adequate amounts, fighting a cold really plows through your supply, and your body cannot store it. Zinc is one of those nutrients you have to keep up on.

Your immune function and energy production (which your cells need when you’re fighting a cold) depends on an adequate supply of zinc. Of course, you can find zinc supplements everywhere, and it’s a start. But zinc and copper together (like what you’ll find in Bulletproof Zinc with Copper) form an antioxidant powerhouse called copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD). It’s one of your body’s most effective defenses, so consider it a must-have in your arsenal of cold remedies.

Another reason zinc and copper play better together: If you’re supplementing zinc, your body will find copper wherever it can to make CuZnSOD, which can deplete your supply if you’re low. The problem is that a zinc-to-copper imbalance may increase your risk of heart attack. If your zinc supplement doesn’t have any copper, up your intake of foods like dark leafy greens, cacao and organ meats.

Detox with lemon honey lavender tea

When you’re under the weather, combine lemon juice, lavender tea, coconut charcoal and raw honey to taste. The ingredients of this calming tea have amazing properties, like:

  • Lavender: Soothing, relaxing and anti-microbial
  • Lemon: Vitamin C powerhouse
  • Coconut charcoal: Binds to toxins and helps get them out of your system
  • Raw honey: Anti-microbial and helps soothe sore throats

Oh, and it tastes amazing. Don’t let the black charcoal throw you — it doesn’t taste like much. The lavender and lemon steal the show here.

Use a sinus rinse to wipe out sniffles

Irrigating your nasal passages sounds like a really unpleasant experience, but people who do it swear by it as a head-clearing cold-remedy. The basic premise is that rinsing your sinuses will clear out the snot, relieve your congestion and prevent your cold from spreading throughout your sinuses.

Nasal irrigation comes in many forms — saline spray, neti pot and yogic basin rinses. Saline (saltwater solution) keeps the sinuses moist, making your nose feel more comfortable. You can buy saline solution for an at-home nasal rinse, or make your own.

Take a detox bath to soothe cold symptoms

When you have a cold, soaking your cares away in the tub makes you feel better almost instantly. While not a remedy, per se, the warm water can relax stiff muscles and joints, while the moist air opens up congested sinuses and calms coughing. Adding things like essential oils, epsom salts and bentonite clay can turn your plain old soak into a detox bath.

Bentonite clay

Bentonite clay is an adsorbent. That’s not a typo — adsorbents attract molecules with a positive charge. A lot of impurities have a positive charge, so bentonite clay draws the yuck to the surface of your skin, shortening the path to your pores where it can be eliminated.

Epsom salts

Epsom salts are magnesium sulfate crystals found at pretty much any pharmacy or supermarket. They are super easy to use — simply add some to your bath as the water fills the tub.

When the hot water opens your pores, your skin absorbs magnesium from the epsom salts. Magnesium has calming effects, and coupled with the relaxing warmth, you’ll be ready for a good night’s sleep when you get out of the tub. Your immune system fights hard while you’re sleeping, so anything you can do to get a restful night’s sleep will help your body recover from a cold more quickly.

Since you absorb electrolytes in an epsom salt bath, you’ll probably need to drink a little extra water after your soak. Water is essential for flushing your system, so keep your fluids up whether you tub it or not.

Essential oils

Essential oils are another fantastic addition to your bath when you’re working on getting rid of a cold. The steam from your tub diffuses the oils so you can breathe them in, and the oil moisturizes your skin. You cannot dilute essential oils in water — they will form full-strength drops at the surface. Instead, dilute a few drops in a teaspoon or so of carrier oil before adding them to the water. Of course, be careful exiting the tub so you don’t slip.

Each essential oil offers unique benefits. Eucalyptus can soothe stuffed sinuses and open up a stuffy nose, lemon boosts the immune system and lavender has a calming effect that goes great with a warm soak.

How quickly you get rid of your cold depends on what bug you have and how strong your immune system is when it hits. Be sure to consult your doctor if you get hit with a superbug that takes you down quickly. Some illnesses are no match for any of these remedies, and others will respond to something as simple as a little extra vitamin C — you’ll learn more as you experiment with different remedies.

Now you have a variety of tools to throw at your next cold, so you can get back in the game pronto. Want more tips to boost your immune system? Discover ashwagandha’s benefits for stress, anxiety and immunity. Or learn why CLA, a quality fat in grass-fed butter, can help you support your immune system and fight inflammation.

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  • Home Remedies: Cold remedies that work

    Cold remedies are almost as common as the common cold, but are they effective? Nothing can cure a cold, but there are some remedies that might help ease your symptoms and keep you from feeling so miserable. Here’s a look at some common cold remedies and what’s known about them.

    Cold remedies that work

    If you catch a cold, you can expect to be sick for one to two weeks. That doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. Besides getting enough rest, these remedies might help you feel better:

    • Stay hydrated.
      Water, juice, clear broth or warm lemon water with honey helps loosen congestion and prevents dehydration. Avoid alcohol, coffee and caffeinated sodas, which can make dehydration worse.
    • Rest.
      Your body needs to heal.
    • Soothe a sore throat.
      A saltwater gargle — 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water — can temporarily relieve a sore or scratchy throat. Children younger than 6 years are unlikely to be able to gargle properly. You can also try ice chips, sore throat sprays, lozenges or hard candy. Don’t give lozenges or hard candy to children younger than 3 to 4 years old because they can choke on them.
    • Combat stuffiness.
      Over-the-counter saline nasal drops and sprays can help relieve stuffiness and congestion. In infants, experts recommend putting several saline drops into one nostril, then gently suctioning that nostril with a bulb syringe. To do this, squeeze the bulb, gently place the syringe tip in the nostril about 1/4 to 1/2 inch (about 6 to 12 millimeters) and slowly release the bulb. Saline nasal sprays may be used in older children.
    • Relieve pain.
      For children 6 months or younger, give only acetaminophen. For children older than 6 months, give either acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Ask your child’s health care provider for the correct dose for your child’s age and weight. Adults can take acetaminophen (Tylenol, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) or aspirin.Use caution when giving aspirin to children or teenagers. Though aspirin is approved for use in children older than age 3, children and teenagers recovering from chickenpox or flu-like symptoms should never take aspirin. This is because aspirin has been linked to Reye’s syndrome, a rare but potentially life-threatening condition, in such children.
    • Sip warm liquids.
      A cold remedy used in many cultures, taking in warm liquids, such as chicken soup, tea, or warm apple juice, might be soothing and might ease congestion by increasing mucus flow.
    • Add moisture to the air.
      A cool mist vaporizer or humidifier can add moisture to your home, which might help loosen congestion. Change the water daily, and clean the unit according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t use steam, which hasn’t been shown to help and may cause burns.
    • Try over-the-counter (OTC) cold and cough medications.
      For adults and children older than 5, OTC decongestants, antihistamines and pain relievers might offer some symptom relief. However, they won’t prevent a cold or shorten its duration, and most have some side effects. Experts agree that these shouldn’t be given to younger children. Overuse and misuse of these medications can cause serious damage.Take medications only as directed. Some cold remedies contain multiple ingredients, such as a decongestant plus a pain reliever, so read the labels of cold medications you take to make sure you’re not taking too much of any medication.

    Cold remedies that don’t work

    The list of ineffective cold remedies is long. Some of the more common ones that don’t work include:

    • Antibiotics.
      These attack bacteria, but they’re no help against cold viruses. Avoid asking your doctor for antibiotics for a cold or using old antibiotics you have on hand. You won’t get well any faster, and inappropriate use of antibiotics contributes to the serious and growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
    • Over-the-counter cold and cough medications in young children.
      OTC cold and cough medications may cause serious and even life-threatening side effects in children. The FDA warns against their use in children younger than age 6.

    Cold remedies with conflicting evidence

    In spite of ongoing studies, the scientific jury is still out on some popular cold remedies, such as vitamin C and echinacea. Here’s an update on some common alternative remedies:

    • Vitamin C.
      It appears that for the most part taking vitamin C won’t help the average person prevent colds. However, taking vitamin C before the onset of cold symptoms may shorten the duration of symptoms. Vitamin C may provide benefit for people at high risk of colds due to frequent exposure — for example, children who attend group child care during the winter.
    • Echinacea.
      Study results on whether echinacea prevents or shortens colds are mixed. Some studies show no benefit. Others show some reduction in the severity and duration of cold symptoms when taken in the early stages of a cold. Different types of echinacea used in different studies may have contributed to the differing results. Echinacea seems to be most effective if you take it when you notice cold symptoms and continue it for seven to 10 days. It appears to be safe for healthy adults, but it can interact with many drugs. Check with your health care provider before taking echinacea or any other supplement.
    • Zinc.
      There’s been a lot of talk about taking zinc for colds ever since a 1984 study showed that zinc supplements kept people from getting as sick. Since then, research has turned up mixed results about zinc and colds. Some studies show that zinc lozenges or syrup reduce the length of a cold by one day, especially when taken within 24 hours of the first signs and symptoms of a cold. Zinc also has potentially harmful side effects. Talk to your health care provider before considering the use of zinc to prevent or reduce the length of colds.

    This article is written by Mayo Clinic staff. Find more health and medical information on

    10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies That Work

    The irony is not lost on me that I’m currently writing this post while recovering from a cold/cough. I generally get one really bad cold every year and seeing as I managed to evade it for most of 2017, I’m not surprised that it reared it’s ugly head in the final weeks of the year. Hoping this will be the only one I get during cold and flu season!

    Sometimes you get sick. It happens to all of us. And even though it could always be worse, it still totally sucks to be coughing up a lung or plowing through tissues like it’s your job. Sometimes sympathy is the best remedy!

    But when that doesn’t work, I have my go-to protocol to help my body heal faster. I’m someone who takes meds as a final course of action. I’m not against western medicine and using medication to treat your body, but for things like colds and flus, it’s just not my jam. There are so many effective remedies for treating colds and flus naturally that I’d rather reach for my kitchen cupboards than my medicine cabinet.

    I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, so I’m thrilled to see big brands jumping on board with consumer demand for natural remedies. I’m thrilled to be partnering with CVS pharmacy on this post, who has just come out with their Live Better line full of products that provide simple solutions that help your body heal naturally. Using only essential ingredients, Live Better products are free from artificial preservatives, dyes, colors and flavors, so you can feel good about using for yourself or sharing with your loved ones. It’s amazing to see consumer demand driving business supply. Let’s keep it up!

    With that, I do have a protocol I like to follow when I feel my body getting sick or if the illness has already set-in. These 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies will help your body heal naturally without the use of over-the-counter drugs. Do all 10 or pick a few to stick to, but remember to remain consistent and be kind to your body. Stress can also induce and perpetuate illness so don’t forget to relax, sleep and let your body slow down. With that, here are 10 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies that actually work:

    1. Gargle with salt water

    Do this as soon as you start feeling sick! Not only can it help relieve a sore, scratchy throat, but if you go back to your middle school science days, water follows salt (#osmosis) so the idea is that gargling salt water actually pulls viral fluids out from the throat area. 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt dissolved in an 8-ounce glass of warm water and gargle it all 1-2x a day.

    2. Honey

    Honey not only helps soothe a sore throat it also works as a cough suppressant. Honey can soothe irritated mucous membranes which helps remove the irritation that is fuelling the cough reflex. CVS’s Live Better Cough Syrup is a great drug-free remedy, which uses a blend of dark honeys, vitamin C and zinc. Both vitamin c and zinc have been shown to help support your immune system so that’s a triple whammy! There’s also no artificial ingredients or added dyes or flavors so it’s a great natural solution for your cold and cough symptoms. Don’t forget to reach for the Children’s Cough Syrup for children over 12 months.

    3. Take a Ginger Shot

    Ginger is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial. It has been known to help with congestion, nausea, colds, and fevers. Either pick one up from a local juice store or juice a knob of ginger yourself. Eating ginger can also help but for the best bang for your buck, go for the juice shot.

    4. Elderberry syrup

    Elderberry is a fruit grown from the elder tree that has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties making it a powerhouse when it comes to fighting colds. Studies have shown taking elderberry syrup can shorten colds and flus and also relieve sinus infections. Triple threat.

    5. Propolis

    Did you know that bees produce more than just honey? Yep, they make propolis too. Propolis is the substance bees use to seal in their hives so it’s super anti-viral and anti-bacterial. It’s great at fighting the common cold or sore throats. This one is my favorite.

    6. Essential oils

    Power to the plants! There are many powerful essential oils for cold and flus but here are a few that are easily accessible: Eucalyptus oil has antiviral and antimicrobial properties which have historically been used to treat the common cold. Peppermint oil is used as a natural decongestant and fever-reducer. It’s like a natural VapoRub. Just make sure when applying topically that you mix with a carrier oil!

    7. Garlic

    Garlic is a powerful antioxidant with antimicrobial, antiviral and antibiotic properties. Garlic is packed with minerals, enzymes, vitamin C, sulphur, and selenium which all help bust colds and flus. Enjoy garlic in your meals or eat a clove whole if you’re seriously brave.

    8. Probiotics

    This one is a little tricky. If you read my SIBO post, you might remember that when my gut wasn’t healthy, probiotics did me no good (in fact, they made things worse) HOWEVER if you have a healthy gut, probiotics can help give your immune system a boost. Whether through a probiotic pill or probiotic rich foods like yogurt and sauerkraut, it all starts in your gut!

    9. Bone Broth

    Bone broth, or that chicken soup Jewish grandmothers have been making for centuries, actually isn’t just a tall tale. A bowl of chicken soup, or homemade bone broth can be effective in helping to fight colds and flus. Bone broth contains anti-inflammatory amino acids and is packed full of immune supporting vitamins and minerals that are extra easy for your body to digest.. Don’t reach for those bouillon cubes though – you gotta use the real stuff to get the benefits!

    10. Epsom salt bath

    Add epsom salt to a hot bath along with some essential oils if you’d like to have a relaxing, detoxifying evening. Again with the osmosis thing, the minerals in the bath cause the toxins in your body to be released in the bath so not only is it relaxing, but it’s good for you too.

    BONUS: Sleep! Give your body the rest it needs. I’ve learned this lesson many times over, but to really help your body heal you need to sleep as much as your body needs. Don’t just try to push through illness. Your body is working extra hard to fight something so rest and allow it to recover. If you’re having trouble sleeping, check out Live Better’s Immunity + Melatonin, which is a mixture of immune-boosting vitamins + minerals plus melatonin to help you sleep.

    * * * * *

    Huge thank you to CVS for partnering with me on this post and offering natural solutions for helping our bodies fight common illnesses. I’m excited to see what products you come out with next! In the meantime, I’m super excited that they are offering one lucky THM reader and awesome prize pack full of Live Better products + a $25 CVS gift card! All you have to do is share your favorite natural cold and flu remedy below. Giveaway is open to US residents and runs until 12/21 at 12:00 AM PST. Good luck!

    Disclaimer: I’m proud to be working with CVS Pharmacy to help spread the word about #BetterHealthMadeEasy and how to #FindYourHealthy. All opinions expressed are my own, and all product claims or program details shared should be verified at or with the appropriate manufacturers. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make THM possible!

    What are your go-to natural cold and flu remedies? Did I miss anything?


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    Cold season has officially arrived, with coughing, sinus congestion, and the dullness that colds impart. Fortunately, natural cold remedies can help you to beat colds more quickly, and reduce the severity of symptoms. Here are a few of my favorite remedies, which are free of side effects.

    1. Fresh Ginger root

    Spicy and inexpensive, fresh ginger root is my all-time favorite pick for cold care. Buy ginger fresh (organic is preferred), and cut a piece about an inch and a half long. Either chop that piece very finely or grate it. Put the finely minced ginger into a tea strainer, and put the tea strainer in a cup. Pour fresh boiling water into the cup. Let the tea sit for five minutes. Remove the tea strainer, and squeeze the ginger with a spoon to get a bit more of the ginger juice into the cup. Flavor with a spoonful of honey and sip. The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root will help to relieve a sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which cause colds in the first place. Drink three or more cups daily until you are well. You can also drink the same ginger tea to warm up on a very cold winter day. For children, reduce the concentration of the tea a bit, so it’s less spicy.

    Ready-made Ginger teas are also good. Try Organic Ginger Tea, by Traditional Medicinals, in tea bags. It’s easy and convenient, and certified organic. >Alvita Ginger Root Tea is also very good. For more info, visit our Ginger page.

    2. Eucalyptus essential oil

    You are congested, and your nose feels like it is plugged with baking dough. Fill the bathroom sink with hot water. Drop three to five drops of eucalyptus essential oil into the sink water. Drape a towel over your head, and bend over the sink. Breathe the vapors. Do this for five minutes. Eucalyptus essential oil is nature’s very best decongestant. As you breathe the vapors, you will feel your sinuses opening up. Do this as many times as you need. The eucalyptus vapors will also get deep into your chest, and can help to open up congested bronchial tubes. You can also get eucalyptus-based cough drops. They too will help you to decongest.

    Essential Oil Organic Eucalyptus, by Aura Cacia, is a good one, or try Aromatic Chest Rub Eucalyptus & Mint, by Badger.

    3. Echinacea

    Even though a recent study found little improvement in colds when Echinacea was used, many other studies have shown that Echinacea, a traditional herbal cold remedy, does in fact reduce both the severity and the duration of colds. Your best Echinacea remedies are those made from fresh Echinacea.

    Try Gaia Herbs’ Organic Echinacea Supreme.

    4. Umcka

    This funny name is a traditional San tribal name for the South African herb Pelargonium sidoides. You don’t need to remember the Latin name, but do remember Umcka. Especially when taken at the beginning of a cold, Umcka can cut the entire misery short. Human clinical studies show that Umcka works well. My favorite brand is Umcka Coldcare by Nature’s Way.

    5. Elder flower tea

    Both a traditional remedy and a well studied modern medicine, elder flower helps to relieve the symptoms of a cold. It is safe even for very small children, and is remarkably gentle. Plus elder flower has a pleasant taste, so kids won’t find it objectionable. Alvita has an excellent Elder flower tea.

    6. The super decongestant tea of all time

    If your local natural food store has loose herbs, buy equal amounts of Eucalyptus, Hyssop and Sage. Add equal amounts of the three herbs together. Put a teaspoon of the mixture into a tea strainer. Pour freshly boiled water over the herbs and let steep for three minutes. Strain and drink. I have found that when nothing else will provide decongestant relief, this remarkable tea will do so very effectively. Drink one to three cups daily, and stop if your sinuses dry out too much.


    Natural remedies work, and that is why they are the most widely used medicines on earth.

    I keep all the remedies above in my home, ready for use. If you supply yourself with natural remedies for when cold season hits, you won’t be left scrambling to get them once symptoms have set in. In addition to the remedies above, if you do come down with a cold, stay warm, get plenty of rest, and take time to recover. And yes, for reasons that we do not entirely understand, chicken soup does help too. There’s a reason it’s affectionately known as “Jewish penicillin.”

    Basically, follow the advice of wise grandmothers, and you’ll start to feel better.


    After getting phone calls from both my Mom and sister (who live in separate parts of the country!) asking what to do for their colds, I figured it might be worth mentioning my top cold holistic remedies.

    If you are suffering from a cold, try some of these remedies out. They are easy to do, more affordable than buying medicine and shouldn’t have any negative side effects.

    1. Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV) – Make an ACV tea to sip and/or gargle. Use 2 tablespoons ACV, 1-2 tablespoons honey (to taste), lemon juice (again, to taste) and a little hot water to dilute. It’s potent but the stronger it is, the faster it will work (of course you can change the amounts of everything to your liking). Use it 3-4 times a day (less is ok too but the more you do it, the better the results).

    2. Immune Support – Whole Foods has a few varieties (like Wellness Herbal Resistance Liquid from Source Naturals). Oil of Oregano is an excellent antimicrobial and antiviral treatment as well. Take 1-2 drops of medical/food organic grade, once a day (do NOT use if pregnant). Zinc lozenges can make the cold and sore throat shorter and less severe. Take any of these at the first sign of a cold.

    3. Ginger – Ginger helps bring down inflammation, clear congestion and support the immune system. Drink 2-3 cups of fresh ginger tea daily. Freshly grated ginger root (about 2 teaspoons) in a cup of hot water is best but Yogi Teas also makes a ginger tea. It’s great to soothe sore throats too!

    4. Increase Vitamin C & D – Vitamin C has long been known to support the immune system and fight off colds. As with any supplement, check with your doctor first but about 500-2000 milligrams every 2 hours is recommended. Fruits and veggies high in Vitamin C are oranges, kiwis, bell peppers, guavas, strawberries, dark leafy greens, papaya, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. Additionally, having enough Vitamin D reduces your risk of catching a cold in the first place. Sunlight and fish are great sources of D.

    5. Neti pot – Every morning and night, fill the net pot with a small amount of salt (about 1 teaspoon) in warm water to wash out sinuses. The salt kills bacteria and the warm water flushes out the nasal passages. Nasal irrigation can be an effective way to relieve sinus symptoms.

    6. Eucalyptus Oil – This can be done as a quick steam in the shower (just shake a few drops at either end of the tub/stall) or if you have more time, a more intense steam treatment. Put 4-5 drops of eucalyptus oil in a glass bowl. Add boiling water and lean over the bowl. Cover your head with a towel to trap the steam in and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes. Repeat twice a day (those with liver disease/problems should not use eucalyptus oil). The steam will open up your nasal passages so you can breathe better. Your stuffy nose with be a thing of history!

    7. Honey – Make sure it’s local and raw. Honey has antioxidants, antiviral and antibacterial properties, boosts the immune system and soothes sore throats and coughs. Add 1-2 tablespoons to your ACV tea, ginger tea or just a cup of warm boiled water. Add some lemon for the added benefit of Vitamin C.

    (Don’t give honey to infants and young children). As healthy as honey is, make sure you don’t overdo it (see #8 below!).

    8. Just say NO (to sugar!) – Sugar weakens your immune system! It may be tempting when you have a sore throat to have hard candies, sugar in your tea, pudding/jello, popsicles/ice cream but if it’s high in sugar … STEP AWAY! This will only make you sicker and prolong your cold. Opt for sugar free items or better yet, just stick to tea sans the sweetener and soups.

    9. Eat Healthy and Light – The more energy your body uses to digest food, the less it has for the immune system. So eat healthy and light like soups, teas, fresh fruits and veggies (no sugar, no dairy, no gluten). Chicken soup (broth, veggies, warmth and all) boosts the immune system and reduces inflammation of the lungs (which causes congestion/coughs). So Mom was right after all! Chicken soup is Jewish penicillin! J

    10. Rest – Get lots of rest (massage, anyone?) and sleep (do nothing, seriously!). Your body needs time and energy to fight off the germs and recover. You’ll find the duration of your colds are greatly reduced when you really stop and rest. Take the day off (no one likes to be around a sick person anyway and wouldn’t you feel bad for getting everyone in your office sick, too?). If you really keep pushing yourself, your cold will only last longer.

    Remember: A cold is really your body’s way of saying, “Yo! SLOW DOWN! I need a break!” So, slow down, take the day off and rest. You’ll body will thank you by recovering and rejuvenating itself and you’ll be back to your busy schedule in no time! And for all you spring time allergy sufferers, these tips would work great for you, too. Get well soon!

    A throbbing throat. A nose that’s somehow equal parts congested and runny. A rapid-fire succession of gesundheit-worthy sneezes.

    No matter what foreboding signs of the common cold come first, the reflexive need to eradicate them in one fell swoop is only natural—what with ubiquitous, heavily stocked medicine aisles bombarding you with promises of instantaneous, multi-symptom relief. But the clean medicine movement, which encourages a more natural, 360-degree approach to prevention and healing, is gaining traction—and not without good reason. So before filling your basket with over-the-counter medications, or begging your doctor for a preemptive Z-Pak prescription, it may be worth attempting a gentler holistic approach as the first line of defense.

    “Typical OTC remedies target symptoms like a cough, cold, headache, but don’t target the root issues and sometimes further depress the immune system,” explains integrative medicine physician Taz Bhatia, M.D., citing the example of antihistamines, which dry up drainage but then lead to sinus or ear infections since the drainage gets thicker and harder to expel. “Natural remedies can have fewer side effects with less exposure to harmful chemicals, as well as can treat the root issue to keep you healthier in the long run.”

    Every individual is different, and a doctor should advise on when it’s time to actually break out the proverbial big guns. But in the spirit of more holistic healthcare, Bhatia lays out an easy beginner’s guide to naturally warding off the basic cold this winter.

    1. Treat Symptoms as Soon as They Surface
    How a viral infection is going to play out in the days, or even weeks, that follow its onset is largely influenced by how actionable you are in the first 24 hours. Taking it easy and upping hydration to flush a virus out are, indeed, essential, but Bhatia also recommends incorporating astragalus, a traditional Chinese herb; elderberries, a flavonoid-rich fruit; reishi, a staple healing mushroom; or antioxidant-rich vitamin C (in the range of one to two grams), which are all believed to boost the immune system, into the mix. “The minute you start feeling symptoms, take one of these every couple of hours,” she instructs.

    2. Gently Draw Out Nasal Congestion
    To clear congestion, Bhatia recommends a saline spray that uses salt water to cleanse the passages. Another popular vehicle for nasal rinsing to battle a cold, or just to wash out sinuses and improve the quality of breath, is a teakettle-like neti pot—just be sure the water is distilled before it passes through your nasal cavities. One more way to loosen up blockages is by steaming with anti-inflammatory essential oils such as lemongrass, eucalyptus, rosemary, and oregano. “They’re natural antihistamines that do not dry up drainage too aggressively,” she assures.

    3. Soothe and Calm a Sore Throat
    Consider tapping the super-herb slippery elm (the inner bark of a native North American tree), which is often mixed in powder form (no more than one tablespoon) with water or tea to form a mucilage that lines the length of the gastrointestinal tract and aids digestion. “It coats the throat and helps to alleviate pain,” explains Bhatia, adding that marshmallow root and umcka can be similarly beneficial treatments. As for the old-fashioned, tried-and-true approach of honey and whiskey? “That’s not one I recommend,” laughs Bhatia.

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