I don’t know about you, but I hate being sick. I mean, I am the biggest baby. It’s good I live alone, because I don’t want to talk to anyone, I hate loud noises, I whine and make noises not normally heard from the living. Even my dogs know to stay away. Let’s be really honest, being sick with a cold or the flu sucks!
I’m not one for taking loads of medication to help my situation. I really dislike the wooziness or drowsiness that comes with taking modern over-the-counter remedies. I’ve done the research and this stuff in not good for me. Sure I may get some immediate relief by being knocked out by that little pill or cough syrup, but the lingering aftereffects make me feel even worse.
So I went in search of some natural remedies that work just as good or better. Just in time too, because I got hit with the worst head and chest cold and I want to crawl into my bed and hide.
Here is what I found and tried:
Two vitamins are in the forefront as possible cold and flu deterrents. Both Vitamin C and Vitamin D have been studied and both seem to have some benefits and effectiveness. The evidence for Vitamin C seems to suggest it helps to reduce the duration of a cold or flu. Plus, it boosts your overall health, including your immune system.
Vitamin C Supplements are the most popular, but people respond differently with dosage - some benefit from 1,000mg for others it takes 2000mg. It’s also recommended getting Vitamin C through food. The fresher the food the better. Organic oranges rather than orange juice or supplements works best. But be careful not to over do it on the vitamin C supplements (not dietary vitamin C), because it can lead to an upset stomach, kidney stones or diarreah.
Vitamin D supplements have been tested in the prevention of colds and the flu, but the tests were contradictory. There were three studies. The first two found there were no significant results taking the supplements. The third, which half were given vitamin D and half weren’t, found those given the Vitamin D were significantly less likely to contract and upper respiratory infection. You'll need to work harder to find natural food sources to get your daily requirement of vitamin D, but fatty fish like mackerel, tuna, swordfish or salmon have high levels or vitamin D fortified orange juice is available too.
My experience: I ate at least one organic navel orange a day. I’m not sure how it worked, but I did feel better after eating one. As for vitamin D, I take a supplement every day, but I found going outside and getting some fresh air and sun worked wonders too.
There are benefits to drinking hot tea. The steam can help to unclog congested nasal passages. While swallowing this hot liquid and soothe a sore or help to relive a nagging cough. Tea also helps keep you hydrated. If you consume black or green teas, you will also benefit from their antioxidant properties which help to fight disease. Black and green tea contain catechin, a phytochemical purported to have natural antibiotic and anti-diarrhea effects
My Experience: I’m already a big green tea drinker. But adding in some fresh lemon juice (more vitamin C) and raw honey, really made me feel less congested and hydrated. I also came up with my own “magic” tea that I swear by! A cup of hot water, add about two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, juice from half a lemon and a tablespoon of raw honey. This definitely made a difference! It broke up the congestion in my chest and subdued the hacking cough.
While it may be a bit pungent, studies show garlic can help fight colds and the flu. Garlic helps you recover faster. Garlic contains compounds that help the immune system fight germs. Whole garlic contains allicin. This compound has been shown to boost disease fighting responses of some types of white blood cells in the body when they’ve encountered viruses such as the common cold or flu. Allicin supplements work best, but make sure you find 100% standardized pure Allicin.
My Experience: I had never heard of garlic for colds. I knew it was healthy for you, but that’s about it. A friend of mine told me about Allimed. She had some and brought me the rest of the bottle she had. Let me tell you, this was a game changer. I swear, the morning after I took Allimed the aches and pains were gone and I had energy and my symptoms were minimal. I kept taking until all that were in the bottle were gone. I think this really was the key to beating this awful cold in just three days. I have friends who have been battling the same cold for three and four weeks.
Steam and/or a Steam Shower:
Steam works wonders! It works its way into clogged nasal passages, easing congestion and relieving dry, irritated sinuses. To get the benefits in an entire room, try using a humidifier.
Hot, steamy showers moisturize your nasal passages and may help you relax. If you're
dizzy from the flu, run a steamy shower while you sit on a chair nearby or allow the water to run over you. Just make sure you don’t burn yourself.
My Experience: This is one of my routines when I get sick. Definitely a must-do. I always feel so much better and sleep better when I’m sick, after a hot steam shower.
Blow Your Nose:
It's important to blow your nose regularly when you have a cold rather than sniffling mucus back into your head. But when you blow hard, pressure can carry germ-carrying phlegm back into your ear passages, causing earache. The best way to blow your
nose: Press a finger over one nostril while you blow gently to clear the other.
My Experience: Who’d have thunk there was a “proper” way to blow your nose. But yes, don’t keep that stuff in, that just seems to prolong the cold or flu.
Using an Extra Pillow When You Sleep:
Elevating your head helps to relieve congested nasal passages. If the angle is too uncomfortable, try placing the pillows between the mattress and the box springs to create a more gradual slope
My Experience: I tried this and it worked wonders. I was able to sleep without coughing and get much needed rest.
Consume Infection-Fighting Foods
When battling a cold or flu, what you eat can help tremendously. Here are some good foods to eat when you're battling a cold or flu:
- Bananas and rice to soothe an upset stomach and curb diarrhea
- Vitamin C-containing foods like bell peppers, citrus fruits, etc.
- Blueberries curb diarrhea and are high in natural aspirin, which may lower fevers and help with aches and pains
- Carrots, which contain beta-carotene
- Chili peppers may open sinuses, and help break up mucus in the lungs
- Cranberries may help prevent bacteria from sticking to cells lining the bladder and urinary tract
- Mustard or horseradish may helps break up mucus in air passages
- Onions contain phytochemicals purported to help the body clear bronchitis and other infections
My Experience: Of the list above, I tried the bananas, citrus fruits, blueberries, and carrot, but made a cold pressed juice and also added in some kale, spinach, apples and Spirulina (a really healthy blue-green algae). I have no doubt this also helped in my recovery.
Please remember, serious conditions, such as sinus infections, bronchitis, meningitis, strep throat, and asthma, can look like the common cold. If you have severe symptoms, or don't seem to be getting better, call your doctor.