As I’ve previously mentioned, naturopathic medicine has extremely effective ways to prevent and treat colds, flu’s and viruses (see here). At the first signs of feeling run down, visiting a regulated naturopathic doctor will likely be all you need in order to beat a cold or flu before it begins. For those who need additional immune system measures outside of receiving in office cold and flu treatments, here are some of the most effective naturopathic cold and flu home remedies that you can start today.
At bedtime, soak 1 pair of cotton socks in cold water, ring out, and set in freezer until almost frozen. Once in bed, put socks on, then cover in one pair of wool socks. Uncomfortable for a few minutes, yes, but socks will be warm and dry by the morning. Repeat nightly for 3 nights.
Benefit: stimulates the immune system, and improves circulation to reduce headache, congestion, cough, cold and flu.
Epsom Salt Bath
Fill bathtub with hot water, to maximum tolerance. Add 4 cups of epsom salts. Soak for 20-30 minutes.
Benefit: Relaxes tense muscles and mind, repletes lost magnesium, warms body, reduces fever and chills.
Take a hot shower, 2-3 minutes, followed by 10-30 second cold (to tolerance) shower. Repeat hot/cold 2-3 times. Always finish with cold water.
Benefit: Although the cold water is somewhat uncomfortable, similar to the wet socks therapy (above), this will improve lymphatic circulation, stimulate the immune system, and help relax tense muscles.
Draw a hot bath, and add herbal essential oils (drop doses to tolerance) such as thyme, eucalyptus, or peppermint. Relax in bath for 15-20 minutes. Alternatively, fill a stainless steal bowl with water and add drop doses of essentials oils (as per above). Lean head over bowl, and breath in steam and oils. Cover head with a towel to help keep steam in. *Be careful not to burn skin or eyes with hot steam or oils.
Benefit: Immune stimulating, anti microbial (kills infections), clears congestion and sinuses. Repeat 1-3 times per day.
Benefit: Stimulates immune system, anti microbial (kills infections), improves circulation, treats cough, bronchitis, pneumonia and lung infections.
This is a very commonly used adjunct to help treat throat infections and sore throat. Add approximately 1/2 tsp salt to pure water, mix, and gargle salt water for 30 seconds and spit out. Repeat 4-6 times per day or as often as needed.
Benefit: Reduces and soothes inflammation of the throat.
Homemade Cough Syrups
Honey: Consume 1 teaspoon of raw honey 4-6 times per day (not under 1 year of age).
Honey and garlic syrup: 1 garlic clove (minced) and mixed in 2 tbsp honey. Let sit for 1-2 hours. Dose in teaspoon amounts 4-6 times per day.
Honey, garlic and ginger syrup: Same as above, but add 1/4 tsp fresh minced garlic. Dose 4-6 times per day.
Honey and Turmeric: See link here
Garlic Oxymel: Peel and cut all garlic cloves of 1 full garlic bulb in half. Boil in 4 cups water until translucent. Add 1/4 cup raw honey and 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar. Mix well. Drink 1/2 cup 2-4 times per day, ensuring to also consume 1-2 of the cooked garlic cloves at same time.
Onion and Honey: Layer 1 sliced onion with honey between each layer. Let stand in fridge overnight, or, cook at low heat in cast iron pan for 2 hours. Collect syrup and consume 1-2 tablespoons 2-4 times per day.
Benefit: Multiple immune stimulating, anti microbial (virus and bacterial killing), soothing, regenerative.
Crush 2-3 raw garlic cloves, mince and let stand at room temperature for 10-20 minutes. Consume 1/4-1 full crushed minced garlic clove 2-4 times per day.
Benefit: Anti microbial (acts as an antibiotic), killing full spectrum microbes associated with cold and flu.
Fasting and Hydration
Reduce or stop eating at first sign of a cold or flu. Avoid all sugars for 24 hours if possible. Maintain hydration by consuming pure filtered water, herbal tea, green smoothies, green juices, vegetable and bone broths.
Benefit: Will help to starve cold/flu viruses, and prevents immune suppression.
In addition to the above, ensure adequate rest in order to support your immune system and aid in recuperation. As a naturopathic doctor, botanical tinctures and herbs play a critical role in creating an optimal immune response and provides anti viral and bacterial actions. In office, other highly effective means to avoid the full onset of a cold and flu include immune focused IV treatments, as well as other essential anti viral and immune boosting nutrients and vitamins.