Cold and flu season has officially arrived. Curious how to keep symptoms at bay the natural way? Here are a few of my favorite treatments this time of year.
1. …are experiencing the first signs of a sore throat.
Start taking echinacea or astragalus root tincture. I recommend three dropperfuls four times a day. Both of these herbs support the immune system. Do keep in mind that most trials show that echinacea may shorten the duration of a cold, but not the intensity of your symptoms. Taking echinacea prophylactically doesn’t generally prevent a cold.
2. …have nasal congestion.
Try n-acetyl cysteine (NAC) at 500 milligrams three times a day. NAC is a mucolytic—it helps the body break up mucus. Irrigating your nasal passages with a neti pot or nasal squeeze bottle filled with distilled or boiled water can also be helpful. Over-the-counter products like Simply Saline and NeilMed are very easy to use and are widely available in drugstores.
3. …can’t stop coughing.
Elderberry syrup is a great go-to for coughs. Try a tablespoon every three hours. It coats the throat and minimizes the cough. Another great option is steam inhalation. Place five drops of eucalyptus, tea tree, or thyme essential oil in boiling water and breathe deeply over the steaming pot. Drape a towel over your head and keep your head about a foot above the pot so you don’t burn yourself.
4. …are stuck in an office full of sick coworkers.
Start with vitamin C. You’ll need a dose that’s higher than average: 1000 mg, three times a day. Vitamin C strengthens the immune system and may help you to ward off whatever ails your coworkers.
5. …are bedridden with the flu.
Lomatium is a great antiviral. Take Lomatium tincture at three dropperfuls, twice a day. This can also be effective when taken at the first signs of a viral infection, such as the common cold.
And always remember:
- Sleep is the best medicine. You feel tired when you’re sick because your body needs rest to heal and recover. Listen to that need.
- Don’t bother searching for supplements to treat a fever. A low fever (under 101 degrees) can be therapeutic in itself. It’s the body’s attempt to raise its core temperature in an effort to create an inhospitable climate for pathogens. However, when fever-related aches and chills become uncomfortable, good, old-fashioned Tylenol can help.
- A fever higher than 101 degrees may indicate a bacterial infection, so if your fever rises to this point, consult with your health care provider.