Feeling congested, drowsy and just generally run down?  It’s not uncommon this time of year.  According to webmd.com, the incidence of colds and flu peaks in January and February.  You and your family could be the next victims.  Instead of running to the drugstore for medicines that often come with hefty price tags and bothersome side effects, why not try one of these all-natural home remedies for relief?  Chances are you’ve already got some or all of the ingredients necessary in your pantry or medicine cabinet.

Sore Throat For minor irritation, try gargling with a warm saltwater solution.  It gently eases the discomfort and washes away mucus.  For more severe pain, mix honey and apple cider vinegar for a thicker, more viscous gargling solution that will coat the throat.  Neither should be ingested, and both can be used as needed. 

Congestion Hot liquids, whether inhaled (via steam from a bath or shower) or ingested (by drinking fluids like tea or chicken broth), can work wonders to open clogged nasal passages.  Bonus: Ingested liquids can also prevent dehydration issues often associated with these illnesses.  Feeling brave?  Many swear by eating chili peppers.  It’s a surefire way to clear your sinuses quickly.

Upset Stomach Bananas and rice are both known stomach settlers, making them smart choices for much-needed sustenance when battling intestinal issues.  Decaffeinated herbal teas infused with ginger and peppermint can also help soothe stomach upset. 


5 Healing Supplements

1. Echinacea 

Purpose: Fights colds and infection and reduces duration and symptoms of illness.

Usage: Begin at first sign of illness and use up to four times daily for up to 10 days. 

Caution: Should not be administered to ragweed allergy sufferers or used for more than eight weeks as it can be damaging to the immune system.

2. Elderberry

Purpose: Boosts immunity and reduces swelling and inflammation.

Usage: Should be administered in first 24-48 hours of symptoms for up to five days.

Caution: Can counteract other medications, so consult your doctor before using.

3. Oscillococcinum

Purpose: Reduces duration and severity of symptoms.  Note: It’s the #1 over-the-counter flu remedy in France, where it has been sold for more than 60 years.

Usage: Dosage varies depending on factors such as age and health.

Caution: There are no known side effects associated with it.

4. Vitamin C

Purpose: Reduces duration and symptoms of illness.

Usage: Should be administered at first sign of illness via supplements, juices, lozenges and/or foods, especially citrus.

Caution: Follow dosages, as excessive quantities can cause side effects such as nausea and diarrhea.

5. Zinc

Purpose: Fights infection, keeps the immune system strong and reduces duration of illness.

Usage: Should be administered within 24 hours of symptom onset.  Take with food to avoid stomach upset.

Caution: Can counteract other supplements or antibiotics.


Up to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu annually. 

 Be prepared!

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