I’m always learning new ways to supplement my natural medicine cabinet. As a holistic practitioner with a daughter that has latent food allergies and chemical sensitivities, it requires an arsenal.
I am always on the lookout for new effective all-natural cold & flu remedies.
I only use remedies that are gentle, safe, and effective and don’t cause allergic reactions. We also cycle through them to avoid creating new sensitivities and to cover the full spectrum of possible pathogens.
You can find my other all-natural cold & flu remedies here —
Home Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season
DIY Herbal Cough Drops: Sore Throat Remedy
Plague Tonic: a Safe Flu Shot Alternative
Homemade Cough Syrup, Witch Doctor Style
Katie just had her first (and hopefully only!) cold of the year and hubby has been fighting it too. I figured it’s a good time to open up my medicine cabinet and share a few more of our home remedies to help your family too.
I’m including my personal recommendations based on the use in my home. This does not constitute medical advice or instructions for use. Please use your best judgement when giving remedies or medication to your child.
All of the product links are to the products we use and trust. They are also affiliate links that help pay for upkeep of this website (see full disclosure here).
Activated charcoal is carbon that has been treated to make it more porous. It is completely safe for consumption and is commonly used in conventional medicine for ingestion of poisons.
Charcoal is adsorbant, which means that it attracts and grabs substances including gasses. I use it in cases of excessive intestinal gas, food allergy reactions, intestinal toxin build up, and for pathogens. It has been known to prevent and stop stomach flu in its tracks.
(buy it here)
Take 1/3-1 capsule with 6-8 oz of water at the first sign of illness. Take away from food (1 hour before or at least 1 1/2 hours after). I suggest no more than 3 capsules per day for normal use. Littles can take 1 capsule divided for intestinal illnesses (1/3 capsule 3x day).
Lymph massage is one of my favorite party tricks as well as an important remedy for reducing congestion. Most people carry around congestion in their sinuses without realizing it. After a minute of practicing this technique, the blocked lymph fluid and mucous flows freely.
During an illness, it’s especially important to keep the lymph system working properly. It delivers white blood cells to the sites of infection and carries away the toxins and waste so it can be removed from the body.
Learn how to do it here. Be sure to bookmark the video. You’ll want to revisit it often.
Essential oils are the most concentrated plant extracts available. I use them to help boost the body’s function.
They can be rubbed on the sides of the neck,along the spine, on the thymus gland (see thymus thumping below), and over the bottom of the feet to help boost the immune system.
I use a 1% dilution on children 2-6 years of age and during pregnancy (1 drop mixed into 1 teaspoon of carrier oil) and a 25% dilution on those 12 and over. 1-4 drops (1-25% dilution) three times a day should be enough for most people during a mild illness.
Some helpful oils (safe for children over 2 and during pregnancy/breastfeeding) are Lavender, Tea Tree/Melaleuca, Frankincense, Lemon, and Patchouli. Be sure to research your oils well before choosing brands and only purchase 100% organic (therapeutic grade oils that I use).
- Diffuser – An essential oil diffuser is very helpful for creating an unfriendly environment for bacteria, yeasts, and fungi in the mucous membranes. The ears, eyes, nose, and throat are the most common place that pathogens sneak in, and the tiny airborne particles of oil get breathed in and settle on our skin.
It also works well to prevent the spread of germs. I diffuse oils for 10-15 minutes when symptoms increase throughout the day (usually around 5 pm and just before bed when the body gets tired) and during the night.
(buy it here)
Thymus thumping stimulates the thymus to mature T cells that fight pathogens. It can be done anywhere at anytime and is a perfect immune booster when you’re around others who are coughing and sneezing.
Learn how to do it here.
Iodine kills bacteria and fungi, can be used as an expectorant, and boosts production of the thyroid gland. We take 1 drop in water once a day during an illness to help kill pathogens and boost the immune system.
If thyroid autoimmune disease is present, only supplement while working with a qualified holistic practitioner.
(buy it here)
More on the importance of iodine —
Top 5 Immune-Boosting Supplements: Iodine
How to Lose Weight and Have More Energy: At-Home Iodine Protocol
Vitamin D levels are at an all-time low during the cold & flu season and contribute to the population’s lowered immunity.
I recommend supplementation with Vitamin D3 unless you are in a warm climate with access to sunshine year-round and have an adequate fat intake. Most conventional and holistic practitioners will be able to test your levels to determine how much to supplement with.
(buy it here – 400 IU or 4,000 IU)
Here in Michigan, I supplement with 2,000 IU-10,000 IU daily during an acute illness depending on size. My 5 year old daughter is under 40 pounds, so she gets 2,000 IU for 3-4 days.
Garlic honey is admittedly an odd pairing, but it’s amazingly effective. It combines two of the most powerful antimicrobial foods to create another remedy that will fight both cold and flu bugs and is especially effective against throat infections like strep.
(buy manuka honey here)
*Children under 1 year of age should not consume honey due to the risk of botulism.
I recommend 1 teaspoon twice daily to start. Dose and frequency can be increased as needed.
- 1 bulb fresh garlic
- enough honey to cover (honey must be raw, preferably local or manuka honey)
- Peel garlic cloves and place in glass jar.
- Pour honey into jar until garlic is covered. Amount will depend on size of garlic clove and size of jar. Honey should be at least 1/2 inch above top of garlic cloves.
- Cover with cheesecloth and place in cool, dark place for about 1 week.
- Shake daily (gently) to redistribute honey around cloves.
- Remove cheescloth when honey mixture no longer bubbles and place lid on the jar to store.
Leave at least 1 1/2 inches at the top of the jar for mixture to expand as it incorporates and ferments.
The garlic will release its juice and thin the honey.
Should last 1 year if kept in a cool, dark place. If yeast or mold begin to grow in the jar, discard.
You can also add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and stir into spoonful of garlic honey just before taking a dose.