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With my twins back in school and the cold and flu season in full swing, I’ve found myself fully utilizing my stock of natural remedies for cold and flu.  

Best natural remedies for colds and flu that boost the immune system, clear nasal congestion, sinus infections, runny nose, and cough. Actually works well for toddlers, for kids, and for adults. #nutrition #remedies #healthyliving #naturalremedies

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October is when I aim for my family to get their annual flu shots.  However, we all inevitably get sick with the changing seasons and unpredictable weather.  

It’s sometimes a challenge just to get everyone healthy enough before we can go get the flu shots! 

Over the years, I have tested and compiled my go-to list of natural remedies that have been effective for keeping my family and friend’s families healthy through the cold and flu season.

5 Best Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu That Actually Works

MANUKA HONEY

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu - Manuka Honey

Manuka honey is made by bees that pollinate New Zealand’s Manuka trees and is known for its antibacterial, antiviral and other powerful healing properties. 

A 2014 study found that manuka honey can stop the spread of influenza viruses by selectively causing them to self-destruct by committing suicide (1).  

Feeling a sore throat?  Not only does manuka honey reduce inflammation and attack harmful bacteria, but it also coats the inner lining of the throat to soothe the pain.

I take a spoonful of manuka honey as soon as I feel a sore throat coming on.  I’ve also been giving my toddler twins manuka honey whenever I hear them cough.  They love its sweet taste and are happy to lick the spoons clean. They also enjoy these Manuka Honey lollipops.  

Manuka honey is graded according to its level of methylglyoxal (MGO), the naturally occurring compound that makes Manuka honey so special. 

Another common grading standard is the Unique Manuka Factor (UMF).  The higher the grading number, the higher the concentration of Manuka nectar, and the higher the price point. 

I’ve been using this MGO 400+ Manuka Honey for years.  Not only has it been one of the most effective natural remedies for colds and coughs, but it was also highly effective in lowering fevers when my son was battling recurring ear infections. 

As manuka honey can be expensive, only use it when there is a health need like the way you’d use a medicine. 

Please note that the American Academy of Pediatrics does NOT recommend giving honey to babies younger than one due to the risk of infant botulism, which is a type of foodborne illness.

ELDERBERRY

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu - elderberry

Teas and syrups made from the elderberry plant have been traditionally used to fight upper respiratory infections and boost immunity for hundreds of years.

One specific elderberry plant, Sambucus nigra, is the most studied and used in herbal formulas.

In a study of 60 participants with flu-like symptoms, those who took 15 mL of the elderberry syrup four times a day saw symptoms clear up on average four days earlier than those who took a placebo syrup (2).

Another clinical study found a significant reduction of cold and flu duration and severity in air travelers that were supplemented with elderberry. (3)

My twins and I love the taste of this elderberry syrup and found it an effective remedy to fight the cold.  Lately, we are also loving these convenient elderberry gummies that are easy to bring on our travels.  

BEE PROPOLIS

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu - propolis

Propolis, also known as “bee glue”, is the resinous substance accumulated by the bees from different types of plants to seal holes and cracks in the reconstruction of the beehive.

Studies have found propolis and its extracts to have numerous uses in treating various diseases due to its antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal, antiulcer, and anticancer properties (4).

These days, you can find propolis in health food stores as a popular alternative medicine for treating cold syndromes such as upper respiratory tract infections, common cold, and flu-like infections.

When I had a persistent cold earlier this year that wouldn’t go away despite taking my doctor-prescribed antibiotics and steroids, I decided to give bee propolis a try.  

Within a few days of taking the propolis, my sinuses and chest congestion started clearing, and I felt better and had more energy.  

I also mixed a couple of drops of propolis with the manuka honey (stir thoroughly to reduce pungent taste)  and gave them to my twins when they had a persistent cough that lasted over a month.  It worked like a charm.

PROBIOTICS

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu - probiotics

Probiotics are beneficial bacteria that live in our gut to support our health and may help prevent us from getting the cold or the flu.

A study demonstrated that probiotics were safe and effective for fighting the common cold and influenza-like respiratory infections by boosting our immune system (5).

Fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kombucha, kimchi and sauerkraut are excellent natural food sources of probiotics.   

You can also take probiotic supplements.  A high-quality probiotic supplement should have:

  • A minimum of 1 billion colony-forming units (CFUs).
  • A diverse bacterial culture that contains strains from the Lactobacillus family and Bifidobacterium family because these strains are naturally found in our gastrointestinal tract.
  • BioShield capsules that are able to withstand our stomach acid so that its content is released within the more alkaline environment of the small intestine for better bacteria survival.

I take this one as it fulfills all the above requirements and its probiotic pearls are easy to swallow. 

VITAMIN D

Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu - vitamin D

Taking vitamin D supplements on a regular basis may help to prevent or reduce the chances of getting a cold.

A study in the UK found vitamin D supplements protect against acute respiratory infections including colds and flu (6). 

Results of the study fit with the observation that colds and flu are most common in winter and spring when levels of vitamin D are at their lowest

It’s estimated that at least one-third of Americans may have insufficient levels of vitamin D

Personally, my own blood tests used to come back with vitamin D deficiency so I now take a vitamin D supplement regularly.

I recommend this vitamin D supplement by NatureWise.

I hope you found these natural remedies for cold and flu helpful in preparing you and your family for this cold and flu season.

Getting a flu shot is still the best prevention method for the flu.  If you are concerned about going to the doctor’s office and being exposed to other patient germs while waiting, I highly recommend getting your flu shot at a large pharmaceutical chain such as Rite Aid, Walgreens or CVS. 

They take insurance, the wait is short, and you are not surrounded by sick patients in a small confined space.

Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor, nor do I claim to be one.  If you have concerns about any sickness, talk to your family physician. Do your own research on natural remedies to ensure that you think they are safe.  I earn a small commission through the links above that helps me keep the site going at no additional cost to you. 

As always, supplements are not substitutes for a healthy diet!  Clean eating is one of the most sustainable healthy lifestyle changes you can make.  Sign up for the FREE clean eating grocery list below to get started today!

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