Some of us get the flu every year, and even those who avoid the worst of the flu season may catch a cold at this time of the year. There are many ways to boost your immunity and fight the flu or the common cold naturally. Many simple home remedies relieve flu symptoms.
1. Take a bath with anti-viral essential oils to fight the virus and to get relief from the aches and the chills. Add a total 6 drop of essential oils into a warm bath and relax for at least 20 minutes. Read Bath Blends for the Flu Season for suggestions on essential oils to use. Effective oils against colds and the flu include Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Manuka, Niaouli, Ravensara and Lavender (the last two are especially suitable for children). Ginger helps with the chills.
2. Steam inhalations are effective natural treatments for respiratory infections. If I’m very congested I often do do 3-5 inhalations a day. Inhalations with decongestant, antibacterial and antiviral essential oils relieve pain, ease sinus and chest congestion, fight infections and soothe sore throats. Try Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Pine, Lavender or Rosemary oils for your inhalation. Lavender and/or Ravensara are great for kids’ inhalations. Read Sinus Steam Inhalation and How to Do a Steam Inhalation with Essential Oils for step-by-step instructions.
3. Make your own hand sanitizer to use during the flu season; it’s easier than you think! See this simple recipe: Hand Sanitizer for the Flu Season, and remember to wash your hands often enough, too.
4. Make a chest rub to relieve chest or sinus congestion. Try the easy recipe in Homemade Chest Rub Recipe for Coughs and Colds.
5. Drink ginger infusions with lemon and honey to relieve cold or flu symptoms. Fresh ginger is warming, lemon contains vitamin C, and honey is a soothing remedy for sore throats. Slice some fresh ginger, place into a pan with water, and bring to boil. Leave to infuse for at least ten minutes and add lemon juice and honey. I use a piece of ginger about the size of half of my thumb, the juice from half a lemon, and a teaspoon of honey, for one mug of this warming drink.
6. Stock up on herb teas. It is important to drink a lot of liquids during the flu. Warm peppermint tea is one of the best options during colds and the flu. An infusion of thyme or red sage is ideal for sore throats (pregnant women should avoid red sage).
7. Echinacea is a traditional herbal remedy for upper respiratory tract infections. There are differing opinions and varying test results about using echinacea for the flu. In some studies it has reduced the severity and lenght of symptoms of the common cold if taken at the start of the cold. If you take echinacea, it is best to take several doses a day for a short period of time.
8. The best thing to eat during the flu is a bowl of soup: homemade chicken soup or, for vegetarians, vegetable broth. It could be helpful to avoid milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy products that can increase mucus production.
8. Burn anti-viral essential oils in a burner or a diffuser throughout the flu season: try a few drops of Tea Tree, Ravensara, Manuka, Niaouli, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Lemon or Lavender in your burner. A diffuser or oil burner in the bedroom keeps the air humid, which can help to relieve nasal congestion.
9. Some home remedies and cold remedies are not safe for pregnant women. Read Natural Cold Remedies for Pregnant Mums for safe and natural options.
10. Make sure you get enough vitamin C; while research on using vitamin C for colds and flus comes up with varying results, I take high doses of vitamin C during a cold or a flu to reduce the length of the infection.
One of the best things you can do if the flu gets you is to rest. Bed rest is especially important when you have fever, and sleep is often the best medicine. Boost your immunity by eating well, sleeping well and taking care of your and your family’s health around the year.
Mayo Clinic: Cold remedies: What works, what doesn’t, what can’t hurt (online article)