Tis’ the season… of more than just Christmas cheer. Flu and cold season are upon us, but it doesn’t have to be scary & dreadful. If you know what you are up against and have a cupboard stocked full of remedies- your sicknesses will be milder and shorter lived.
I get a TON of questions about what remedies I use for anything from the flu, to a baby earache, to the common cold. I am going to break it down for you and list everything I keep on hand at all times- so I’m prepared for any weather (or sickness).
First up, the immune building basics. I talk about the critical need for zinc and a high quality multivitamin in THIS post, which is focused on children’s health but applies to adults too. Both products linked in that post (also linked below) are great for adults as well as children. However if you prefer a zinc in capsules form, this is the one I recommend (linked below). I can’t stress it enough- zinc is CRUCIAL. I take it every single day and take extra if I am fighting an illness.
Another essential boost for the immune system is elderberry. Elderberry is AMAZING for a whole list of reasons which are written below. Hippocrates (the father of medicine) called the Elderberry his “medicine chest”, because it is that good! Elderberry is one of the top antiviral herbs on the planet. It is great at building the immune system & giving you support to prevent colds and flus. But even better, once you do have a cold or flu Elderberry can treat it- shortening your symptoms by several days. It can treat a sinus infection, inflammation, nerve pain (usually caused by virus), allergies, constipation, fever, and even cancer. It also helps detoxify the liver with its high antioxidant/flavonoid profile. We use elderberry in our house regularly. Three times a week I add 1/4 tsp of elderberry syrup into my daughter’s smoothie for immune maintenance. If she starts to come down with something I give it to her twice a day until she is better. I take elderberry capsules myself on & off throughout the year, but particularly if I feel something coming on. It is one of those herbs you definitely want in your medicine cabinet at all times. Linked below are the elderberry supplements we use (adults and kids). PLEASE NOTE: The Gaia kids elderberry syrup linked below contains honey and therefore should not be used in children under 1 year of age. Elderberry can be given to children 3 months and older if you make or buy a supplement without any honey, like THIS one from Eclectic Herbs . Elderberry is safe for breastfeeding mothers.
Vitamin C is also absolutely crucial. Along side zinc, Vitamin C forms the building blocks of your immune system. It strengthens all of our immune cells giving them the power to fight off bacteria, virus, and other pathogens. Vitamin C nourishes the adrenal glands when they are tired, cleanses your blood and lymph, and supports liver detoxification. For a more detailed list of how vitamin C works in our bodies, click HERE. Vitamin C deficiency is very common. For the best immune system function, you should take vitamin C regularly. My favorite kind to take is Ester C because it is highly absorbable, but gentle on the digestive system. Traditional Vitamin C supplements can cause an upset stomach. Linked below are the vitamin C supplements I use for adults and children. Any Ester C formula that is free from additives will be great though.
A good probiotic is also great to have. Anyone who has taken antibiotics or eats a traditional American diet will have disturbances in the gut flora. Studies have proven the immense connection between intestinal flora and the immune system, concluding that the gut houses 70% of the immune system. Eating raw and organic fruits and vegetables helps to restore proper balance of bacteria in the intestines. Probiotics also help restore that balance and support the function of the immune system. Below is the probiotic I use for our family, adults and children. The Mary Ruth Organic’s brand came recommended by Anthony William of the Medical Medium. Their products have worked so well for us.
This list is not inclusive– other wonderful and important immune supporting supplements include vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin/adenosylcobalamin) I use THIS one, and a good vitamin D3.
So now that we know how to keep our immune system healthy & strong, we need to know what to do when the sickness comes on. Because despite our best efforts… at some point all of us will probably catch a cold. Listed below are some of the things that make up my medicine cabinet.
Goldenseal. Goldenseal is one of the most popular herbs in the country right now, because it has so many health benefits. It is a natural antibiotic and a great immune booster. It has the power to kill streptococcus, which is the bacteria behind so many of our illnesses today. It has anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal properties as well. Goldenseal is great for treating sore throats, sinus infections, general upper respiratory infections that may come along with ear infections and pink eye, and stomach flu’s. You always want to start these supplements at the first onset of symptoms for best results. Linked below is a good goldenseal extract for adults, and you can go HERE to read more about its benefits. FOR KIDS: THIS Goldenseal/echinacea blend is great for immune support and the benefits listed above. PLEASE NOTE: Goldenseal is not recommended for use in pregnant or breastfeeding mothers.
Herbal Antibiotics. There is such a thing?? YES! And they are incredibly effective. These are great for treating strep, sinus infections, bronchitis, ear infections, etc. You always want to start these at the beginning of illness to be most affective. Eclectic herbs makes amazing herb combinations for adults and children. THIS herbal antibiotic is amazing for children and THIS is a good one for adults.
Sore throat spray and a good lozenge. So good to have on hand. This throat spray is great for adults as well as children, and uses the immune support of bee propolis to not only make your throat feel better, but actually assist in healing. The magic of the Bumblebee proves itself yet again 🙂 . NOTE: you will want to test this spray on skin first if there are any concerns about Bee or honey allergies. If you are worried about allergy, THIS goldenseal/echinacea throat spray is a great alternative. It is also very hard to find a cough drop or lozenge that is not loaded with fake sugars, preservatives, natural flavors, and other yucky stuff. I have searched high and low and finally found a winner. The lozenges linked below are perfectly clean, contain zinc, taste delicious, and are very effective (all the menthol soothing things). I don’t think I will ever use another!
A good nasal spray is a year-round must have. It is amazing what symptoms you can alleviate by clearing out the sinuses. Allergens, pollutants, and pathogens collect up in the nasal cavity and cause sneezing, congestion, runny nose and headaches. You can treat those symptoms by flushing the sinuses! The most effective nasal spray I have encountered is called XLear, it is a xylitol + saline spray, and is so effective at clearing out the sinuses due to that added ingredient of xylitol. It also contains Grapefruit exact which is a great anti-microbial. XLear has a spray for adults and nasal drops for little ones. We have used these drops on Indy almost every day of her life (she is prone to congestion) and we could not live without them. One thing I love is that you can safely use Xlear every day without any rebound effects. Linked below is the spray as well as the childrens drops.
Oscillococcinum. Try pronouncing that one! It might be hard to say but this stuff is the best. It is my favorite homeopathic and has saved me from many flu’s. If taken at the first onset of flu-like symptoms (fever, headache, body aches, sore throat), this homeopathic has the power to stop that Flu from actually taking you down. If by chance you still get the illness, it will make the duration and severity of symptoms much less. This is one to have in your medicine cabinet at all times. NOTE: homeopathics are generally regarded as safe during pregnancy and breastfeeding and safe for children. This package says to ask a doctor for children under 2 years of age. I personally would give it to my daughter under 2 at a half dose.
To learn how to be prepared for and treat an earache or ear infection, read THIS post I wrote a couple months ago. That post focuses on earaches in children, but the information also applies to adults. That Mullein Garlic oil referenced there is great for both children and adults.
If you slowly collect the things on this list, it will give you the confidence you need to know that you can manage sicknesses at home. Having these items on hand will ensure that you and your family are ready for whatever minor illnesses come your way. There is no greater comfort to me, than to know I can care for myself and my family. Please use your best judgment and instincts though, and visit the doctor when is needed.
I love natural medicine. I believe there is a fix for everything, it just requires us to be informed, knowledgable, prepared, and open minded. Using the tools above in addition to foot zoning and essential oils, our family has been able to avoid many doctor visits and the use of prescription medications, including antibiotics. I have said this before and I will say it again, antibiotics save lives and they are a gift to this world. However they are currently over & mis-used, and there may be another way for some particular illnesses. For example I have successfully treated 2 sinus infections recently with Goldenseal and the other immune boosting supplements listed above- no antibiotics.
I hope you find this helpful! Wishing all of you have a safe and healthy season 🙂
*All information in this post is simply a suggestion and comes from things that have worked well for me and my family. This is not medical advice. Please consult with your physician if you have questions.