9 Natural Remedies To Conquer Winter Colds & Fight Off The Flu

OH HEY WINTER! YOU ARE THE WORST.

You may remember that nearly one year ago we professed our immense disdain for cold weather and graced your screens with all the ways we could think of to beat the winter blues. I like to think that article was the most important piece of cold weather content ever displayed on the Internet, but my boyfriend simply calls it “useful.” Anyway, we’re back(!) one year later with Part II of that feature, this time with a very helpful and equally useful winter Rx spotlighting 1000+ words on how not to get sick and 9 weird, witchy, holistic ways to prevent those nasty winter colds and flu. Besides avoiding other people for the next three — four if you’re from New England — months, refusing to touch doorknobs, and issuing your own travel ban anywhere past your front door, there are a number of healthier, more practical ways to sidestep getting sick. But before we dive straight into our farmalogical medicine cabinets, let it be known that we are not doctors, just Pollyannaish hypochondriacs that believe plants rule the world.

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9 Hot Tips To Combat A Cold And Keep Away The Flu

1. Get More ZZZ’s!

Sleep is the best medicine when you’re feeling under the weather. While we won’t get into the laundry list of health benefits sleep provides (we’ve waxed poetic on the subject more times than we can count), opting out of a night or two of after-dinner drinks to go to bed early could save you from hacking up a lung later in the week. Netflix and snooze as much as humanly possible when you feel a cold coming on. It’s for your health!

2. Oil Of Oregano

An intensely potent and totally natural antibiotic, antiviral, and antimicrobial, a few drops of oil of oregano and you’ll be good as new in no time. Although oil of oregano tastes admittingly horrendous, you can buy it in capsule form to forgo the taste or throw a drop or two in this small but mighty ultra immune boosting concoction.

3. Double Up On Your Vitamins

This is a really, really good time to double down on real foods like greens, fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, seeds, high-quality protein; to double up on your vitamins; and to ditch immune suppressors like processed foods, dairy products, refined sugars, and alcohol. High vibe nourishment is key to keep you from getting sick. If the flu is floating around your workplace or you know you’re going to be in a position where you could potentially catch something, try upping the following.

Vitamin D3: The most bioavailable form of Vitamin D is from the sun which, even in southern California, we typically don’t get enough of during the winter months. To compensate for the lack of light (direct sun to skin exposure is required for Vitamin D synthesis), a Vitamin D3 supplement is crucial. Studies have shown that adequate Vitamin D levels are even more effective at preventing the flu than the flu vaccine itself. The dose for adults is 2000-5000 units daily; for kids its 400-2000 units/day depending on age. We recommend this one by Pure Encapsulations.

Vitamin C: This powerful antioxidant is proven to reduce the likelihood of colds and help you feel better fast. Pro tip: Use the liposomal form of Vitamin C so you don't get loose stools.

Zinc Citrate: Not only does supplementing with zinc greatly reduce the severity of flu symptoms but if you catch that very first tickle in your throat, you’re in the clear. Research shows that when taken within 24 hours of first symptoms, zinc can cut down the time you feel sick by a full day.

Cod Liver Oil: Clearly not vegan, but labels are SO last year. Our natural health mama Dr. Aviva Romm suggests a daily dose of Vitamin A rich cod liver oil to support the immune system and keep the respiratory passages clear. Note: Pregnant women should not take Vitamin A.

4. Echinacea

A powerful herbal ally known for boosting immunity and reducing the symptoms of a cold. Try 1 teaspoon twice daily (decrease the dosage for children to ¼ of a teaspoon). We like the Gaia brand. Note: Echinacea is not recommended for those with autoimmune conditions like hypothyroidism.

5. Raw Garlic

Known for its natural antiviral, antibiotic, and antifungal properties, garlic is a powerful force against the flu. Again, gross — unless you’re into that sort of thing — but in the name of health, we’ve been known to add it to juice.

6. Elderberry Syrup

Antioxidant rich elderberries have been recognized for centuries as a natural cold and flu fighter. Elderberry syrup or sizzurp as it’s known in our household is the easiest and most delicious way to receive this ancient remedy. If you’re into DIY activities, you can make your own elderberry syrup at home if not, you can just as easily order it off amazon.  

7. The Flu Shot (But Not That Kind Of Flu Shot)

Not to be confused with an actual flu shot, this small but mighty ultra immune boosting liquid flu shot previously mentioned in #2 warrants its own category. It’s that powerful. Loaded with turmeric and ginger root to fight off viruses, recharge your immune system, and decrease inflammation; fresh lemon juice to promote alkalinity and add Vitamin C; raw apple cider vinegar for a healthy dose of gut-friendly probiotics; the miracle worker manuka honey; and a kiss of cayenne pepper, this quick shot will flush out all your toxins.

8. Break A Sweat

A hot bath or steamy shower with copious amounts of ginger could be just what the doctor ordered to knock your fever, clear out congestion, and kick your cold to the curbside.

Ginger Bath How To:

Fill your tub up with the hottest water you can stand, add 1-2 cups of Epsom salt and 3 tablespoons ground ginger. Try to soak for 20-30 minutes, you’ll feel yourself start to sweat. When finished, towel off and hop in bed for an hour so you can sweat it out. Rinse off in the shower and rehydrate with plenty of fluids.

9. Dial Down The Stress A Full 180 Degrees

Stress takes a major toll on you and your immune system which, if you haven’t already figured out (we’ve been hinting around it this whole time), makes you much more susceptible to getting sick. Although it’s certainly easier said than done, to decrease your stress levels you might have to a.) set better boundaries, b.) back out of certain obligations, c.) say no to bright and shiny opportunities, d.) let other people down, or e.) all of the above.  

We’re probably also drinking insane amounts of coconut water, reishi, alchemical concoctions, and gallons and gallons of herbal tea with honey. Having another human around to tend to your every need also helps. What about you? What are your go-to natural remedies to fight off flu season and conquer winter colds? Leave your best tips in the space below!

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