Home remedies for the cold and flu


I wish I could say that we made it through the winter without a cough or sniffle, but let’s be real here, we’re human.  Although we all caught the ugly flu bug in my family, it was of pretty short duration and quick turn around, thanks to the things I’ve learned and the tools I use to help in this process.  So with that, I will share with you my favorite things to have on hand when the flu bug bites.

1.  Essential Oils

In case you don’t know by now… I LOVE essential oils.  They are the first thing I reach for in almost every crisis.  They’re convenient, easy to use, and they work.  I know there is much debate on which brand of essential oils is the best and what you should be using.  I’m not here to tell you what you should do (that’s for you to decide), but I do have my favorites that have passed my criteria (and testing) for high quality, natural oils.  With that said, I get most of my oils from Butterfly Express, although I do use oils from other companies (when I feel the need arise, and I know the quality is good).  All the oils listed below are Butterfly’s, unless otherwise stated.

  • Aspire, Breezy, Mariah, and Stephanie–  These are amazing blends for the respiratory system.  I use all three since each blend seems to target different aspects for each person, and illness.  I like to use it (diluted w/ carrier oil) on the feet and chest, diffused, or in a bath.
  • Deliverance (or Spice Traders by Native American Nutritionals)-  A very potent antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal blend.  I use it in baths or showers, diffused, topically on the feet, chest or neck, and as a gargle (for a sore throat- just add a drop in warm water and gargle).
  • InsideOut– is AMAZING for the stomach flu or food poisoning.  Also, if you do have a cold or flu, it’s best to keep your bowels moving so your body can get rid of what it’s cleaning out.  I use this topically (diluted w/ a carrier oil) on the feet, or massaged on the stomach.
  • LifeForce– A great immune stimulant!  Use this for any illness (or traumatic experience) to strengthen the immune system and raise the over-all frequency of the body.  Helps lessen duration of illness and improve recovery time.
  • Oregano– Has strong antiseptic and antimicrobial properties as well as an immune stimulant.  It’s very useful in treating respiratory infections like bronchitis, pneumonia, and pulmonary tuberculosis.  I mostly use Oregano topically, but there have been rare occasions when I have used it in a bath and internally.  I normally don’t take oils internally, but this was a unique situation.  This oil is so strong so make sure you USE IT WITH CAUTION,  ESPECIALLY with children, and I would avoid using it on or around pregnant women.
  • Peppermint and Yarrow– Both have amazing anti-inflammatory properties, and are excellent at reducing fevers.  Just dilute with a carrier oil and apply to the bottom and insides of the feet.  Just a note on Peppermint- use caution with this oil since too much can be very stimulating, especially to pregnant women.  It is a good oil for massage, but is too strong to be added to a bath.  (I have learned that from experience).
  • Lavender–  How can I not mention this incredible oil?  Called the “grandmother” of essential oils, Lavender has been shown to balance and heal in a variety of ailments- both physically and emotionally.  If you could only use one oil, this would be it!  Lavender is antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, helps clear waste from the lymphatic system, helps digestion, lessens pain, and promotes sleep and relaxation.

2.  Herbs

Herbs are amazing healers!  They support your body with essential nutrients as well as provide incredible healing properties.  There are so many herbs that would benefit you during a cold or flu- way too many to list them all!  In fact, try doing a google search on natural home remedies and watch your eyes bug out of your head from the endless advice and recommendations!  My advice is- it’s not necessary to be a master herbalist in order to use herbs effectively.  Find a few favorites that target different areas, and stick to those.  It’s better to use a few herbs with confidence than a lot without being very effective.  I use a variety of herbal preparations when I’m dealing with a cold or flu- I love using tinctures (or extracts) because they’re so convenient.  But also love the benefits of a tea as well.  I have also used poultices and compresses when the need arises.

  • Red Raspberry and Yarrow– Make this as a tea at the first sign of infection, and give as much as the person can drink!  I have found if I give this early on, it greatly reduces the time of sickness and speeds up recovery.  This is also a great fever reducer!  Yarrow will break a fever that is high and dry by causing a sweat (this is what you want), while Red Raspberry leaf provides lots of healing vitamins and minerals.
  • Elder Flower– Increases blood circulation and promotes sweating, while detoxifying the body at the cellular level.  It contains sedatives and pain relievers, as well as an expectorant (expels mucus from the lungs).  I love using this for any sickness where the lungs are compromised.  Great used as a tea or tincture.
  • Chamomile– An excellent herb to induce sleep or relaxation.  I also use this in treating colic in babies, or when my kids have upset stomachs, or have trouble getting to sleep.  I like using this as a tea, but when I give it to my kids I use a tincture or homeopathic so I can control how much they take, since too much can actually be stimulating.  So start with a small amount, you don’t want your baby staying awake till midnight, completely wide awake.  (Also learned from experience).
  • Garlic– Known as nature’s antibiotic, it contains properties that are effective against bacteria which may be resistant to other antibiotics, and doesn’t destroy the body’s normal flora.  Garlic is also effective against fungus and yeast.  I like to use the herbal tincture Anti-Plague quite often.  It is a formula made by Dr. John R. Christopher, and contains garlic, along with other health promoting herbs.  I also add juiced garlic to my smoothies and juices- which are great to eat while your sick.  You can also make a poultice by mincing garlic and mixing it with olive oil and applying to the bottoms of your feet.  Wrap with saran wrap and cover with socks and leave on overnight.
  • Ginger– I think this herb is too often over-looked.  This herb is excellent for it’s ability to remove congestion, relieve body aches and pains, and clear sore throats.  Also great for upset stomachs and indigestion.  Like Cayenne, Ginger is an “accentuator”, that is, when combined with other herbs, it actually increases their effectiveness.  Try adding ginger to a bath at the first sign of sickness- use 1 dropper of tincture, or 1 Tblsp powder.  Soak for a few minutes, then wrap up in warm clothes.  This should produce a good sweat, so make sure you’re drinking plenty of fluids- red raspberry tea is great for this!  Stay wrapped for at least 30 minutes- an hour.  I like to do this right before I go to bed at night, so I can stay warm and sweat.  It’s not the most comfortable feeling, BUT, it’s very rare when I do this, that I wake up in the morning with a cold or flu.

3.  Other things I like to use

  • Redmond or Bentonite Clay–  I actually use this quite often, even when we’re not fighting a cold.  It promotes healing and reduces pain, and is amazing at pulling toxins out of the body.  You can also use this as a poultice on cuts, bruises, insect bites, bee stings, boils, rashes, achy joints, acne, and burns.
  • Hot steam tent–  Fill a pot about 1/2 to 3/4 full of water and bring to a boil on the stove.  When it reaches a boil remove it and set the pot on a table or somewhere at chest level- use a pot holder or something so you don’t burn your table.  Add a few drops of essential oils to the pot of hot water.  I like to use the Deliverance, or Spice Traders blend because of it’s antibiotic/antiviral properties.  Be careful here though, you just want few drops because it will be strong!  Sit with the pot about chest level and lean over the pot.  Drape a towel over your head and make like a tent so you can inhale the steam.  If you’re doing this for a child, have them sit on a stool or something so they can lean over the pot, and only use 1 or 2 drops of essential oil.  If it gets too hot just lift the edge of the towel and let a little air out.  You want to do this for about 10-15 minutes.  This is really good for sinus, or lung infections, irritating coughs, sore throats, stuffy head, etc.  I love doing this!
  • Foot Zone– This is an excellent way of helping the body do what it’s suppose to do.  In a foot zone, you work signals that are connected to every organ and system in the body.  I’ve seen some pretty amazing things from a zone, and love that I can assist the body to detox and heal when it needs it the most.  You do need to use caution with acute infections as it may make symptoms worse momentarily- for example, a fever could rise, a cough could get worse, etc.  I haven’t seen this happen too many times, but when it has, it has always followed a quicker healing response.




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