Natural Cold and Flu Solutions

Doug from Nebraska Writes:

Are there any natural ways to avoid getting the basic cold and flu during the holidays? I always seem to get sick during the holiday season.

Dear Doug,

This is a big concern for many during the winter months. Our immune system can be weak or strong depending on our daily habits. It is interesting that we actually have a “cold and flu season.” The reality is that we have a “winter” season that decreases our time in the sunlight, which decreases our vitamin D, coupled with more processed foods at grandma’s house, which lowers our immune system overall. The latest research tells us a proven way to build our immune system is to focus on keeping a natural food based diet steering clear of many processed foods. The other key ingredient is vitamin D. Because of the decreased sunlight exposure, we need healthy levels of vitamin D. You can get vitamin D from foods such as salmon, mushrooms, nuts and seeds, however, I am a big fan of supplementing with a good natural source. Have your family doctor or nutritionist look at your blood test and check your levels before the winter season and directly afterwards. The vitamin D healthy range is from 30-100. Most research tells us to keep the number between 60-80 for a healthy level. 

The next powerhouse for our immune system is Echinacea. Many studies show that this power herb can shorten the life of a cold. Many practitioners in herbal medicine use this for upper respiratory as well as colds and flu as an adjunct support. The other natural support that may currently be in your kitchen is raw honey. Honey has been used for centuries for its anti-microbial properties. 

Here is a great grandma medicine home remedy that supports immune system function:

  • ½ cup raw honey
  • 1/2 oz. thyme tincture

Of course, getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated will help support you during this time as well.