From a stuffy or runny nose to body aches, headaches and coughing so much that it keeps you up at night, getting sick is never fun. Of course, the best way to avoid getting a cold or the flu in the first place is to live a low-stress, healthy lifestyle, where you eat lots of anti-inflammatory foods and get plenty of zzz's. However, if you’ve already on your second box of tissues this week, you’re probably more interested in finding out how to get over those nasty cold and flu symptoms as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, when you get a cold, the flu or even a mild case of Covid-19, there’s no magic bullet that can cure you immediately, but there are lots of all-natural remedies you can use to lessen a your symptoms and help support the body's fight. (Please note that the symptoms of a cold and flu may also be symptoms of Covid-19. If you feel that you have any of the symptoms of Covid-19, such as fever, fatigue, a dry cough or shortness of breath, please contact your physician).
GET A LOT OF SLEEP As soon as you start to feel a cold or flu coming on, your first line of defense should always be to go back to bed. “It’s vital to get a lot of sleep because it helps bolster your immune system and increases the production of T-cells, which fight off foreign invaders. Just remember, however, that you have to actually sleep for your body to fight off an infection. Having trouble Sleeping?
Sleep with an Extra Pillow If you’re waking up to cough or blow your nose all night, you won’t get a very restful sleep. To sleep more soundly, try elevating your head to relieve your congested nasal passages. You can either put an extra pillow under your head, or you can try putting pillows between the mattress and the box springs so you’re inclined on a gentle slope.
Use a Mist Humidifier or Diffuser Both can reduce congestion and help you sleep more soundly. Plus, higher humidity can help stop viruses and bacteria from spreading. Using a diffuser is a great option, as adding some oils that can assist in diffusing the bad guys from the air is a plus.
WHAT TO EAT
Avoid Eating Mucus-Producing Foods If your cold symptoms include a runny or stuffed up nose or cough, it’s a good idea to avoid eating any foods that will produce additional inflammation, especially refined sugar, as well as foods that create mucus in the body, including dairy products, bananas and peanut butter. Instead, raw fruits and raw vegetables, can help reduce mucus. A warm concoction of fresh garlic, thyme, ginger, lemon and raw honey is holistically soothing and bug fighting!
Stay hydrated That’s because your body is using liquid to produce mucus, and you can also lose liquid if you are sweating from a fever. Hot liquids like soups and tea can with honey can soothe the inflamed membranes in your nose and throat. Bone broths are excellent as well. The collagen in the bones has amino acids that are the building blocks that can help your immune system repair.
Don’t Eat Too Much There’s an old-fashioned saying that goes, “feed a cold, starve a fever,” which is not too different from what Dr. Gore recommends. He says when you have the flu, it’s best to cut down on your food intake in general. “Don’t eat a lot of food while you’re fighting off the flu. Just eat enough to maintain health,” he says. “It’s better to under-eat rather than over-eat.”
WHAT SUPPLEMENTS TO TAKE There are many different supplements that are traditionally used to reduce the severity of cold and flu symptoms. Here are a few essential ones. However, for specific dosage information, please contact your provider.
Vitamin C Research has shown that taking vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of the common cold. That’s because when your body is fighting inflammation or an infection, your immune cells pump more vitamin C to help the cells fight off the infection. So, if you’re starting to feel sick, load up on foods that are high in vitamin C, such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes and more, or take a vitamin C supplement, such as Ester C, or a whole foods vitamin C product that has acerola cherries in it. Liposomal C is often suggested for better cellular absorption
Vitamin A Vitamin A also plays a key role in the immune system and is known as the anti-infection vitamin because of its role in helping the body fight viruses and bacteria. It can be found in foods (such as carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach) or can be taken in a supplement form.
Zinc Taking zinc supplements at the onset of a cold or flu may help to shorten the length of your cold and get you back on your feet faster. Practitioners recommends taking 15 to 50 mg of zinc a day when you’re sick, however for specific dosage information, please contact your physician.
Vitamin D Typically we get our Vitamin D from the sun, so it’s not surprising that when the days get shorter and we don’t get as much exposure to sunlight, our vitamin D levels drop and we’re more likely to get sick. Don't forget K2 for absorption and liposomal is also an option.
WHAT HERBS TO TAKE Traditions also have shown that there are many different naturally occurring herbs that can fight off infections. Depending on individual circumstances and symptomology custom designed protocols work well.
Echinacea Derived from a group of flowers similar to a daisy, echinacea has traditionally been used to fight off colds. It is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which attack bacteria. Oil of Oregano This essential oil – made from the same spice usually used in Italian foods – can be very effective in fighting colds and flus and has antiviral and antibacterial properties. You can either take it in drops that are diluted in water or in a capsule form.
Herbs like Thyme, Clove, Olive Leaf, Ginger, Elderberry and many more, have strong anti-viral properties. ( See blog on 10 Anti-Viral Herbs). For custom protocols, seek the support of a practitioner.
HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES TO TRY Homeopathic remedies are a great way of treating a cold or a flu because usually they don’t cause any adverse side effects and you can take different types of homeopathic remedies tailored to the specific symptoms you are experiencing.
Aconite 30c Taking aconite can be very helpful when taken at the very first hint of a cold. Dr. Gore says, “When you have a sudden chill and your energy goes down, take aconite and it may prevent you from getting sick.”
Oscillococcinum Another homeopathic remedy that can be very effective if taken at the first sign of getting sick.
Gelsemium 30c One of the most popular homeopathic remedies for the flu is gelsemium, which is ideal if your flu symptoms come on slowly and you are experiencing droopy energy, heavy eyelids or fatigue.
Eupatorium If your flu symptoms include severe pain in your limbs and back and if you almost feel as if your limbs are broken, try eurpatorium.
HAVE A HEALING ATTITUDE How you mentally approach being sick can also have a big impact on how quickly you will be able to recover. “This is a time to rest, a time to take a break from life’s stresses a time for self nourishment and self love, not a time for self-criticism or worry. People often try to push themselves to continue working from home instead of resting, but they recover more quickly when they give in to allowing themselves to take the time to heal.