Here are my best tips for natural solutions for colds and flu this winter. These natural remedies work!
The common cold is caused by a family of ever-mutating viruses. The common cold will cause a cough, sneeze, sore throat and runny nose, which fade in a week. For the most part, these viruses are benign, and we can catch the same virus several times in our lives. However, as we age, our immune system grows better at warding off colds, so as adults we tend not to get so sick with colds. Having said that, your immune system is only as good as the food you eat, the sleep you get and the time you take to recharge.
How can you support your immune system during the winter? How can you ward off colds well?
My Top Natural Remedies to beat the cold:
Sliced Raw Onions
Onions are high in Vitamin C, so they are great at fighting colds. Finely chop up an onion, place in a deep dish, drizzle with a teaspoon of local honey and leave overnight. Collect the juice in the morning and take a teaspoon twice a day. Sounds awful, but it works and tastes delicious.
Rosemary and Thyme
A cough is helped by putting a teaspoon of each of the herbs, rosemary and thyme, into a pot of boiling water and leaving it in your bedroom overnight. It fragrances your room, but importantly it helps to soothe an irritated and inflamed chest. You can, of course, also make a herbal tea from those herbs and sip away at it during the day.
This humble drink is hugely important when fighting a cold. Your mucous membranes in the chest and nose are working overtime to expel the nasty virus invading your system, causing a runny nose. Help it by thinning the mucous. Herbal teas, including peppermint, rosemary, thyme and sage, are great for fighting a cold.
Drink hot broth if you have otherwise lost your appetite. It’s high in minerals and amino acids which are useful in supporting your immune system to fight nasty invaders. Tip, next time you make a roast chicken, don’t throw it out. Instead, throw the carcass into a large pan with some onion, carrot and a bay leaf, bring it to a boil and allow it to simmer for 1-3hrs. Drain and freeze it to have on hand. People swear by the Echinacea plant as a preventative. The evidence is quite clear in favour of its beneficial effects on the immune system. There are many good quality brands available in health shops and pharmacies. However, you may prefer to count on a good multivitamin supplement. Whichever choice you make, remember to start early (now!) and ensure you take them regularly throughout the winter.
How do I know if it’s the cold or flu?
If it’s the flu, your symptoms will set on over the space of a few minutes or hours. You’ll feel completely wiped out, and nothing will motivate you to get up. The flu (influenza) is caused by a different virus and will last longer than the cold. It causes more serious symptoms, including high fever. Please note that if you are in any doubt about how to treat your illness, contact your GP or pharmacist. And if you’re in a high-risk group (the elderly, pregnant women, carers) you should speak to your pharmacist or GP about vaccination this winter.
Check out some of our other blogs to get you ready for this winter!