Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season

Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season (allergy safe)

Since my little Katie is sick, I thought I would share my witch doctor remedies for eradicating those bad bugs that knock us down from time to time.

There are many wonderful remedies out there involving garlic, onions, raw honey, lemon, raw apple cider vinegar, mustard, cayenne pepper, chamomile, echinacea, fermented cod liver oil, etc. that we can’t use with Katie’s plethora of allergies.

If you can have alliums (garlic and onions), try my tried-and-true Plague Tonic: a safe alternative to the flu shot.

Then there’s the standard home treatment that I grew up with – popsicles, canned fruit cocktail, canned chicken noodle soup, Jell-O, oranges and/or ascorbic acid chewables (a component of vitamin C), and bottled juice. When it was available, watermelon, cantaloupe and strawberries were always on the menu too.

(Love jello? Try my kombucha jello!)

I washed those down with cough syrup, Tylenol, or other pharmacy medication liberally supplemented with antibiotics as “needed” depending on how ill I was. With allergies and those foods on the menu, it’s no wonder I was sick so often.

Here are the tried and true remedies that keep us all out of the MD’s office and support our bodies as they heal. I also use the other natural remedies for hubby and I as needed.

Electrolyte tonic

Mix about 1/8 teaspoon of unrefined salt with 8 ounces filtered water. Stir until salt is dissolved.

It’s good for replenishing fluids and replaces the need for chemical-laden Gatorade or Pedialyte drinks

‘Vapor Rub’

  • 1/4 cup solid carrier oil – raw shea butter, tallow, coconut oil, my skin balm
  • 6 drops Tea Tree/Melalauca essential oil
  • 12 drop Lavender essential oil
  • 12 drops German chamomile essential oil

(safe for children 2 and above; oils with a high 1,8-cineole content should be used with caution in young children due to possible respiratory distress – peppermint should only be used in children 6 and over and eucalyptus in children over 10 years of age)

I use these therapeutic-grade essential oils.

I mix and store with the date and recipe written directly on the glass jar with a permanent marker.

Rub a thin layer on the soles of the feet, chest, and/or back depending on the severity of congestion. Apply two to three times a day. I generally do it every twelve hours.

Freshly-pressed juices

Healing Foods: a great resource for the healing benefits of many fruits and vegetables

Chicken stock and boiled chicken

Gentle, anti-inflammatory, and full of goodness. Find out the benefits here and the only recipe I use here.

Vitamin C


Right now, we use dried elderberries (affiliate link). I’ll be searching for local sources of fresh organically grown elderberries this summer to freeze for the year.

Ginger tea


  • Use about ½-1 inch of fresh ginger per cup of water. I use about 3 ½ inches in 7 cups of water.
  • Peel ginger and grate or slice into paper-thin slices and add to pot of water.
  • Bring to boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  • Strain ginger from tea and drink. You may add freshly squeezed lemon and honey to taste.


Use a cool mist humidifier to avoid mildew and mold issues that may come with the warm air ones. Keep a humidifier running consistently while sleeping. Dry sinuses and throat will encourage microbes instead of fighting them.

Steam room

Since we can’t do a steam tent with a 3 year old (for the obvious wiggling, impatient, can’t sit still, don’t want to burn her reasons), I take her in our smallest bathroom, shove a towel against the bottom of the door to create a better seal, and turn on the shower and sink to full hot while we sit in there and play.

We stay until the water starts to cool and the steam begins to dissipate. Plastic blocks like Mega or Duplo are great to take in, since they’re easy to dry.


Used to counteract the bad bug invaders and to boost the soldiers of the immune system.

This post is part of GAPS Friendly Fridays.

Photo Credit: original photo by spcbrass


Jennifer Nervo is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Reiki Master Practitioner & teacher, and Aromatherapist. Her focus is on digestive, nervous, and immune system dysfunction and the fields of functional nutrition & psychoneuroimmunology. She works with all conditions and diseases including environmental and food allergies, autoimmune diseases, multiple chemical sensitivity, diabetes, eczema, anxiety, weight loss as a symptom of dis-ease, and gut-brain disorders like autism.

When she’s not herding her small troupe of monkeys or seeing clients, her free time is packed with researching and perfecting new wellness techniques (her not-so-secret passion). Jennifer is currently a group leader for the newest class of Nutritional Therapy Practitioners out of Ann Arbor, MI, studying for the national board exam in holistic nutrition, and running a combined distance and brick and mortar practice in metro Detroit. She’s also a homeschooling suburbanite, foodie, and mama to two littles and a schnoodle.

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