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Cold & Flu: 10 Easy & Effective Home Remedies


This winter has been particularly cold and rough. As people around me were dropping like flies with cold and flu, I self righteously kept reassuring myself that I had nothing to worry about. I never get sick anymore! Until I woke up one morning with that feeling…sore throat, achy ears, stiffness all over. Uh oh. My worst fear was having to take antibiotics, so I diligently researched holistic, home remedies and tried a bunch. Within a week I bounced back. Here are some of my favorites, sans antibiotics…

1. Garlic

Garlic is a miracle drug; it’s been used for ages to fight disease-causing bacteria and viruses, so you’ll see it in a lot of my remedies as you read on. Since I couldn’t smell a thing while sick, it didn’t bother me at all; just know why your friends and family may be looking at you funny.

2. Tea

Add any or all of these first thing in the morning. The keys are water and lemon:

  • warm water
  • 1 freshly squeezed lemon
  • cayenne pepper to taste
  • turmeric
  • apple cider vinegar
  • crushed ginger
  • garlic (diced or blended…if you’re up for it!)

3. Miso Soup

Keep the liquids coming! Flush out all of those toxins and give your digestive system a break so your body can use its energy to heal itself. For miso soup, use actual miso paste (organic). This stuff is alive, so whisk it in at the end of whatever you boil (I love onions, kale, seaweed, etc.)…and top with chopped garlic.

4. Chicken Broth

I’m a huge proponent of plant-based, but I kept hearing how nothing heals like chicken broth. Maybe it’s the actual nutrients or the comforting reminder of what Mom used to make (or maybe a combination of it all), but I found this so nourishing and energizing, especially when not eating much else due to lack of appetite. Alternate between this and miso soup, or mix the two together!

5. Ear oil

My ears were clogged for a good 5 days. I finally got some ear oil and used 2 drops in each ear 3x per day. You can use regular old olive oil or coconut oil (slightly warmed) or buy some. Following my garlic obsession, I got some Garlic Compound Olive Oil drops.

6. Neti pot

This was a new remedy for me and weird at first, but worth it. I bought a cheap neti pot at my local pharmacy for $10, but you can also get nicer ceramic ones. Be sure to use distilled water, and mix with finely ground salt and baking soda or a pre-made mix. Rinse that nasal passage 2-3 times per day…it’s fun to see what comes out!

7. Oil pulling

This was also new, but something I’ve been meaning to try, as I’ve been hearing a lot about it. It’s basically an Ayurvedic practice where you swish around a spoonful of oil in your mouth for 20 minutes. You could use safflower, olive, coconut, etc. The oil grabs all the toxic stuff your toothbrush can’t, and many people report worthwhile results like clearer skin, whiter teeth, and improved sinuses. Just don’t swallow the oil (and all those toxins), and don’t spit it in the sink if it’s the type that hardens (like coconut oil).

8. Massage

Hippocrates, the “father of medicine,” wrote in the 5th century B.C. that “the way to health is a scented bath and an oiled massage every day.” Most of us, unfortunately, can’t (or don’t) make time for either of those things everyday (or even every week). Luckily, there are a lot of online, at-home guides to lymphatic drainage massage that are especially helpful if you’re dealing with sinus issues and clogged ears.

9. Bath

See #6. Use epsom salts, baking soda, essential oils. Light candles. If you’re like me and find it hard to sit still and relax for even half an hour, turn on an audio book or phone a friend (on speaker phone!) Mix together avocado and olive oil to deeply moisturize the ends of your hair while you wait. Or just give it up and chill out, which brings me to my last and favorite remedy….

10. Sleep!

I’m fairly convinced my lack of sleep is why I got sick, and it was really a blessing in the end, my body telling me to rest already! I was averaging 5 hours a night (if I was lucky), and now I aim for 8 or 7 at the very least. This means my early morning workouts are not as frequent, but it also means I’m craving far less sugar and carbs, and I just feel happier. I recommend the moment you feel ill, just crawl in bed and stay there for as long as possible.

carlynoelCold & Flu: 10 Easy & Effective Home Remedies

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  • earthchanges - March 3, 2014 reply

    Also we use oil of oregano in droplet form under the tongue. Usually it has a bit of olive oil in it. Great for killing a bug within a day or two. Try a health food store to buy it.

    Dine by Design - March 3, 2014 reply

    Great to know! I’ll try that next time (hopefully far in the future)! Thanks for the tip 🙂

  • Sheela Huddle - March 4, 2014 reply

    oil pulling works great with sesame oil, unroasted kind.

    Dine by Design - March 4, 2014 reply

    Hi Sheela! Yes, I’ve heard good things about sesame oil. That will be the next one I try! Thanks for the input!


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