Natural Cold & Flu Remedies

 

Oh those cold winter months, they really take a toll on you don’t they!?

I swear, my whole body, every single cell, is craving sunshine right now. We have the odd day when the sun shines, but it’s cold, and a lot of days are rainy or grey.. and it does get pretty hard. It’s quite taxing on your body after a while, especially because I tend to hibernate in the winter, which is great but not moving my body as much really gets you down.

I have this list on my phone called “Natural Cold Remedies” because I swear all my friends and family come to me for advice when they’re ill… I think it mostly comes from the fact that I’m fascinated by health & nutrition, and I research every condition and little illness like the dreaded common cold, and find the best natural remedies, and I try them all!

I have to keep track of them because I forget otherwise, and every time I’m ill again I have to research again.. same when someone asks me! But by now I know this by heart and these below are my go-tos.

I am not a doctor or a nutritionist by any means, but I am a health nut and I truly believe in the body’s ability to heal itself with a little support from mother nature.

So let’s look at what I normally do, first are a few things I take or use as ‘prevention’ and if I don’t catch it early enough, I’ll take some of these while I’m ill also..! and then further down you’ll find what I use when it’s too late and the germs got you!

P R E V E N T I O N

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

E C H I N A C E A :

This is my number one ally, if anyone asks me what I do to keep germs away, and boost my immune system in the winter - echinacea is always the answer. Echinacea is a beautiful plant with amazing colourful flowers. It has been used for centuries by Native Americans to treat many illnesses like coughs, fevers but also wounds. I just found out that Native Americans found out about the plant by watching elks seeking out the plant when they were sick or wounded, and they nicknamed it “Elk Root”

Elks aside, it is a powerful plant, with powerful immune boosting properties. As prevention (ie. someone around me is ill, or I start to feel ‘off’), I immediately start taking 15 drops in water once or twice a day, until I start to feel better. If I’m too late and I’m ill already, I’ll increase to taking 15 drops to 3 times daily.

As with all herbal remedies, pick the highest quality you can find, do your research and ask your doctor if you have any doubts.

I like this brand called ‘A. Vogel’ that does drops (the one in the picture), or if you don’t like the herbal taste, I like the echinacea pills from Boots too.

P R O B I O T I C S + P R E B I O T I C S

This should have actually been first, because this is not just in prevention for the common cold & flu, this should be something we should all focus on every single day, for the rest of our lives..!

Did you know that 70% of your immune system resides in your gut? Your gut is the queen of the castle, if the queen isn’t happy… ain’t nobody happy. There is so much recent research discovering how powerful and important the gut is, so much so that it is known to be your ‘second brain’.

Not only is your immune system mostly in your gut but it is also estimated that 90% of the feel-good chemical called serotonin in your body is made in your digestive tract. Which means if your gut isn’t happy, if it’s causing you problems, it’ll also be affecting your mood and mental health. Have you ever thought about those ‘butterflies' in your stomach, or how we commonly say ‘trust your gut’ or having a ‘gut feeling’..? The gut is lined with over 100 million nerve cells.. hence why it’s called the ‘second brain’.

Did you know that the surface area of your gut lining if laid out (gross) would be the size of a tennis court!! It is around 100 times larger than the area of the skin… HOW FASCINATING! This goes to show, it is so very important to look after your second brain as much as you would the one on top of your shoulders! It is the root of so many problems if not looked after. So listen to and trust your gut..!

Probiotics :

One of the best ways to look after your gut is to feed your microbiome, and repopulate the bacteria by eating raw fermented foods as well as supplementing with a high quality probiotic. There are plenty out there, but do your research and find the best quality you can wherever you are, with multiple strains and aim for at least 50 billion bacteria (but the more the better!), and I’d also recommend getting some with acid resistant pills (so they reach your intestine intact), as well as of course being vegan and cruelty free!

We should all aim to reincorporate cultured fermented foods into our daily life, a little goes a long way and it is often more powerful than any probiotics out there. Try raw sauerkraut, kimchi, miso, tempeh, plant yoghurts, coconut kefir, raw apple cider vinegar (more on that later!).. the list is endless and it is actually very easy to make some of those ourselves with the help of a few jars. Check out this recipe by Mama Eats Plants.

Prebiotics :

Something as important as probiotics, are PREbiotics. The resistant starches that feed your friendly gut bacteria. Prebiotics help the bacteria to proliferate on their own, which is ideally what you want them to do..! Some Probiotics also contain natural prebiotics, but ideally you’d be getting these “at the source”. These plants are your best bet for keeping your gut happy and feeding your microbiome : asparagus, chicory root, carrots, raw garlic, Jerusalem artichoke, jicama, leeks, okra, onion, radishes, tomatoes, turmeric, cinnamon..! (most of which are higher in prebiotics if consumed raw rather than cooked)

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

F I R E C I D E R

I discovered the wonders of Fire cider a while back and since then every winter I make sure I have a few bottles of it stocked up in our pantry. In cold & flu season, I try and have a shot of it a day (2 to 3 tbsp)

This magical tonic is based on an ancient herbal medicine called an ‘oxymel’. Fire Cider has been used for centuries, it is made by steeping, raw ginger, garlic, onions, citrus peels, horseradish, turmeric and hot peppers, as well as often herbs like rosemary, thyme & oregano, in a base of raw unfiltered apple cider vinegar, it is often sweetened with raw honey but could be made with another sweetener or not.

It is very potent and works like magic. It has strong antifungal properties, great for people suffering with candida issues! Antimicrobial properties, it helps the gut to fight off bad bacteria and by definition helps to boost your immune system, it also helps to balance out the PH in your body, as well as being anti inflammatory.. pure liquid gold!

At first you’re going to think it’s very strong, and tastes like a mad concoction, but I now quite enjoy it.. just chase it with a glass of water if it’s too much! This is the one I have, but I am tempted to try and make my own with this recipe!

T R A C E M I N E R A L S

I could talk about minerals for days, but did you know there are over 60+ minerals found in the body, 16 of those are considered ‘essential’, but only 3 of them are required to be added back into our soil? Over the past 100 years our soil has seen a huge shift due to commercial farming, soil erosion, removal of organic matter, intensive irrigation etc.. and it is completely depleted of many, many minerals.

Eating organic as much as it is possible and available to you is something to aim for, but despite all of our efforts some of us might still be mineral deficient, and it might affect us in many ways. If you ever doubt about being mineral deficient in any way, go to your doctor and ask to get tested!

After some research I found this product to be an efficient source of most trace minerals, I don’t take it daily, only when I remember it or when I feel run down. I add 20 drops to my smoothies, or into water (it does make the water taste a little strange, but a squeeze of lemon and it’s more palatable!)

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane
Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

C O L D S H O W E R S

This is something I’ve heard over and over again, and never really stuck to, which is strange because I do LOVE a cold swim, I am obsessed with wild swimming.. I don’t do nearly enough of it living in London but I know that amazing feeling that comes post cold swim.

For the past few months I’ve been ending most of my showers with up to a minute on cold.. (unless I shower in the evening and I don’t want to feel too energised by the cold rush!) and I now look forward to it every day.. believe it or not!

At first there was a lot of screaming and swearing but after a few showers I became hooked, and was always looking forward to ending with a cold splash. So much so that between you and I, I have actually gone back into my shower a few times after forgetting to end on cold.. just because it feels so good!

Take it for what it is, but I haven’t gotten sick this Winter… now I’m probably shooting myself in the foot saying this, but I swear the cold showers have something to do with it!

It is supposed to get your lymphatic system moving, it activates your immune system, improves circulation, is good for your skin and hair, reduces inflammation, helps you manage stress better, and most of all it makes you super alert and ready to cease the day!

D I E T

Plant-Based

You know this about me already, but I follow a whole foods plant based diet, and in my opinion it is a wonderfully healing diet which fights inflammation, boosts your immune system, and makes you feel full of energy. Whatever diet (and by diet I don’t mean a set plan to lose weight, I mean literally what you eat) you follow, ditch the dairy (ALL of it.. cheese, milk, cream, milk powder hidden in processed foods..) especially when you’re ill or starting to feel ill. Amongst many things, dairy is extremely mucus forming, which is the opposite of what you want when you get a cold!

Vitamin C

Jam pack your intake of citrus fruits. Start your day with lemon/ginger/cayenne pepper water, drink freshly squeezed orange juice, add grapefruit to your smoothie, snack on oranges and clementines.. GO MAD. But remember that citrus is not the only fruit or veggie high in Vitamin C. Have some peppers, chilli peppers, dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli (one of the healthiest veggies out there!!), papaya, strawberries (if in season!), cauliflower, brussel sprouts, kiwis, mango…!

Turmeric

Turmeric is an antioxidant powerhouse. It’s a powerful medicine. I get mine in pills with added piperine (it absorbs better in presence of black pepper) but I also cook with it very often, in dahls, curries, in chickpea pancakes, scrambled tofu..! Just add a crack or two of black pepper with it too! Turmeric is pure gold, and not only good to fight the common cold, it has proven anti-cancer properties… this is how powerful the stuff is!

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

TREATMENT

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

S A L I N E + E S S E N T I A L O I L S P R A Y

This is my GO TO when I have a blocked nose, it’s all natural, just salt water and some germ fighting essential oils. It relieves me almost instantly, while also fighting the bacteria, it’s a win-win. I’m not fussy about which brand, but I look for the ones that are as natural as possible, no added nasties or strong medication. (this is the one in the picture!)

O R E G A N O O I L

Another one of nature’s powerful antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant medicine : oregano oil. You can normally find it as a tincture, but my favourite way is to take it as a gel capsule (because that stuff is STRONG and I’m not a huge fan of the taste!) As with anything, if you’re pregnant and breastfeeding check with your doctor before you start taking anything, this is all natural but it’s POWERFUL! (same goes with garlic.. you can buy garlic in pill form too if the raw kind isn’t your thing!)

L 5 2

I’ve been brought up on this stuff. I can count on one hand the amount of times I have been on antibiotics in my life. My mum was always an advocate for healing naturally.. especially when it comes to colds and flu which are viral, so it means more often than not you just have to ride the wave and support your immune system, give your body a boost and heal yourself with plants. L52 is a homeopathic tincture that you take 15 min before a meal diluted in a little water or one hour after a meal. It’s amazing for colds and flu, and also very good to take when you get those first signs that you’re feeling off.. to try catch it! It’s not easy to find in the UK but I’ve found it on this website - I normally stock up whenever I’m in France!

T E A S

When I feel down and stuffed up, I make sure to hydrate constantly. I make a point to drink all day long, and alternate between filtered water and teas. Often just a fresh lemon & ginger tea (squeeze of half a lemon, some crushed ginger, and a dash of maple syrup if you want it sweeter) but I’ve recently found this blend of echinacea, acerola cherry and elderberry from Yogi Tea and I’m hooked! (I love the little quotes on each bag!!)

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Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

E S S E N T I A L O I L S D I F F U S E R

I diffuse oils.. most days! Mostly because it makes the house smell amazing, and it’s very calming and soothing. but it also has anti-bacterial properties, while adding humidity to the air which is so important especially in the winter when the air gets so dry inside because of the heating. My favourites to diffuse are a blend of bergamot (3 drops), ravintsara (2 drops) and lavender (5 drops), and at night I mostly diffuse lavender by itself.

I’ve also recently discovered lemon and orange essential oils, which make everything smell so fresh but also have cleansing properties. I LOVE essential oils and use them for a lot of things.. I’m so eager to learn more about them! (a quick little tip actually that my mum has done to me my whole life, is a drop or two of ravintsara inside your wrist and rubbed between your two wrists, inhale a few times, and leave it. It’s so good when you’re trying to avoid the germs or you’re already ill!) {for anyone asking this is the diffuser I have and use, I love it!}

If you don’t own a diffuser, you can do an ‘at home’ inhalation, boil some water, pour into a bowl with a few drops of your favourite essential oils (I recommend eucalyptus, Ravintsara, tea tree, peppermint, cedarwood, or rosemary!), place your head over the steaming bowl with a towel over your head and stay under there as long as possible, breathing through your nose.. as much as possible!

Natural Cold Remedies | Joy Felicity Jane

Voila! these are my tips and tricks to boost your immune system all year round, but also on how to fight the germs if and when they do come and get you!

Eating well, lots of fruits and vegetables in abundance, whole grains, beans and pulses, hydrating all day long, moving your body once a day (even if it’s for some light stretching) RESTING as much as possible when you are down with something, those are the basics in my opinion!

I do love a good bath when I’m ill too, I add some essential oils in there (obviously!) and some magnesium flakes and then I have the bath on the hotter side to try and sweat out the germs..! haha while sipping on some cold water.. or if you’re hardcore sip on some hot tea for extra sweats, but don’t stay in too long!

I am mostly writing this post for my little sister Lizzie, who is CONSTANTLY asking me what to do when she’s ill.. so this is for you Lizzie ;) but I hope you find this helpful too!!

Do comment below all YOUR tips and tricks, I’m always keen to discover some new ones! If you’re ill reading this, I’m sending you lots of love and healing vibes!