It is the time of year for runny noses, coughs, fevers and chills. How do you protect yourself from the cold and flu viruses that you are bound to come across this winter?
I like to try to keep my immune system strong in the first place by eating a clean, real food diet, getting plenty of sleep, keeping my vitamin D levels up, taking cod liver oil, drinking homemade elderberry syrup and eating fermented foods several times a day. I also like to use immune boosting essential oils, especially during the winter.
I do, however, add some other things to our winter arsenal.
Here are 3 of my favorites that you can easily make at home and have on hand. (These recipes can be adapted to fill any size jar. I note what size jar I used, so you can adjust amounts accordingly).
Cinnamon-Coconut Oil-Honey Elixir:
This winter, I keep reading about the benefits of cinnamon, raw honey and coconut oil for the immune system. Cinnamon is said to relieve congestion, stimulate circulation, be anti-inflammatory and is also a anti-microbial agent that kills bacteria.
Coconut oil has myriad benefits. It and raw honey (honey that has not been pasteurized) has powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and can strengthen the immune system.
I thought, why not mix these goodies all together and have it on hand this winter! We take spoonfuls of this almost every day. This is a super simple recipe and tastes delicious…almost like a cookie!
Ingredients and Method (8 ounce jar):
- Mix equal parts coconut oil and raw honey together. (I used my Kitchenaid mixer, but you could do this by hand. Just be sure your coconut oil is slightly warm so it will mix well).
- Add cinnamon. I added 1 tbsp cinnamon to an 8 oz. jar. (*update: you can add more or less cinnamon depending on your taste preferences)
- Please note, if this melts, the coconut oil and honey will separate. No big deal…just give it a stir!
I saw a similar recipe (honey/lemon ‘tea) earlier this year on Pinterest. Soon after my daughter had a sore throat, so I thought why not make my own batch!
This is deliciously soothing as a tea with hot water. My daughter sometimes has it with her breakfast.
In addition to the benefits of raw honey mentioned above, raw honey is also very soothing for the throat and if the honey is local can be helpful for seasonal allergies.
Ginger is very helpful for stomach upset as well as boosts the immune system and protects against bacteria and virus.
Lemons are high in vitamin C and phytonutrients and are anti-bacterial.
Ingredients and Method (16 ounce jar)
- Fill a jar with sliced organic lemons.
- Add approximately 2-4 tbsp chopped fresh ginger.
- Fill the jar with raw honey.
- Store in refrigerator.
- Scoop 1-3 tbsp into hot water and drink like a tea.
Kelly has a great recipe for a cough salve that you rub on your feet. This recipe of mine is really just a take on Vick’s Vapo Rub. You know the jelly in the blue bottle that you rub all over your chest and back (maybe even a little under your nose) when you (or your child) are stuffed up?
This recipe has a similar ‘nasal opening’ property but leaves out the petroleum and turpentine oils. Now this isn’t going to prevent a cold but it definitely is helpful when you have contracted a cold and can’t breath! Eucalyptus oil has been found to have excellent effects in supporting breathing, helping with respiratory viruses (source) and helping with coughs (source). Rub it on your chest, under your nose and go to bed! (As always with something topical, test for sensitivity on skin first.)
Ingredients and Method (4 ounce jar):
- Melt 1/2 cup of coconut oil on the stovetop.
- Add 40 drops eucalyptus essential oil.
- Pour into your jar. Store either in the refrigerator or in a cabinet. I leave mine in a cabinet so it is easily spreadable. Sometimes, if my kitchen gets warm, it is melted. Decide what works for you.
Looking for more natural cold and flu remedies?
Here are is a roundup of natural cold and flu remedies from some of my favorite bloggers:
- Here are some great tips for avoiding cold and flu in the first place.
- I love these natural remedies for sinus infections.
- Elderberry syrup is a very effective way to ward off or to fight the flu. Here are a couple of different recipes: One for elderberry tonic, elderberry syrup and elderberry syrup with ginger and cinnamon. There’s also a great recipe for an elderberry and echinacea syrup that is delicious! I have made some and mix it with cod liver oil to give to my daughter each day.
- Looking for some cough remedies? In addition to Oh Lardy’s cough salve, I found a few good recipes from fellow bloggers. Make your own garlic cough salve. Here’s a recipe for cough and cold syrup, that doesn’t have the nasty artificial colors and sweeteners like some name brands ones do at the drug store! Here’s another cough syrup that contains honey and lemon. How about another with an onion cough syrup? Wow, our coughs should be covered this winter!!
- Keeping your vitamin D levels up is very important for sustaining your immune system. Since we synthesize vitamin D when the sun’s rays mix with oils on our skin, it can be hard to maintain in the middle of winter. I know where I live in Chicago, I feel like we don’t see the sun for months on end, and I know (from blood work results) that I become vitamin D deficient. Vitamin D can be a great defender against illness. Here are some of the best ways to get vitamin D. Personally, I keep my levels up with D3 supplements, cod liver oil and a UVB light box from mercola.com.
- How about a cold and flu busting smoothie? This sounds like the perfect antidote!
- Here are some general immune tips to help you ward off the bugs in the first place! All natural immune boosters will do the job for sure! Here are some immune boosting foods for the cold and flu season.
- You can also use essential oils to boost your immune system. I have found this to be very effective. Here are some essential oils you need to stock up your holistic wellness kit.
I hope you enjoyed my Roundup of Natural Cold and Flu Remedies!!!! Keep those immune systems strong and you will bypass most illnesses and the ones you do contract, you can fight off quickly!!! Stay healthy!
Do you have any tips or natural cold and flu remedies you would like to share? Please do so in the comments section below!
Sources: http://drhyman.com/blog/2010/05/19/wintertime-immune-support/ http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/03/25/vitamin-d-deficiency-is-why-you-get-flu.aspx http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/12/13/holiday-spices.aspx http://www.naturalnews.com/035493_raw_honey_health_benefits_antibacterial.html http://www.naturalnews.com/031403_coconut_oil_colds.html http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx Nourishing Traditions Prescription for Nutritional Healing http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=27#healthbenefits
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