The Top 10 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies

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Every year, on average, adults in the U.S. develop between two and four colds. Anywhere from 9.3 million to 49 million people will develop influenza (or the flu) as well.

We’re firmly in the midst of flu season right now, and we’re going to be stuck here for the next few months.

If you’re like most people, you’re probably eager to do whatever you can to avoid getting sick now that the weather has cooled down. However, you might also want to maintain your health without relying on conventional treatments.

The good news is that there are lots of natural, yet effective, cold and flu remedies you can try out this winter. Let’s explore more about these o’ natural methods, you ready?

The Top 10 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies | Naturopathic Dr

What’s Wrong with Conventional Remedies?

Before we dive into the different natural remedies for colds and the flu, let’s first address the potential risks associated with conventional treatments. You may be wondering why someone would want to go the natural route when conventional remedies exist.

Conventional remedies can indeed be helpful and, sometimes, they’re necessary. However, they aren’t without risks, and it’s important to weigh those before you choose a conventional treatment over a more holistic one.

Common medications used to treat colds and the flu come with a myriad of side effects. Even seemingly innocuous medicines like acetaminophen pose threats when they’re consumed in excess. Too much acetaminophen, for example, can lead to liver damage.

Other medications can contribute to poor cardiovascular and respiratory health, as well. This is especially true for people who already suffer from conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and lung disease.

There’s also the issue of drug resistance. 

Bacteria and viruses (including those that contribute to the development of colds and the flu) are continually changing. Over time they become resistant to antibiotics and antiviral medications. As a result, you may take these drugs and experience the potential side effects that accompany them without necessarily eradicating your illness. 

The Top 10 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies | Naturopathic Dr

Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

So, we now know that there are potential side effects associated with conventional remedies. We have also explored the fact that there are increased rates of drug resistance in the air. 

That’s why it’s essential to consider novel and more natural remedies to overcome colds and the flu. The good news is that there are lots of options you can consider, including the following:

1. Proper Hydration

It’s common for people to become dehydrated when they’re dealing with a cold or the flu. Dehydration can worsen your symptoms and make it harder for your body to fight off pathogens. 

To avoid this, make sure you’re consuming plenty of water, as well as electrolytes like sodium and potassium to help your cells maintain proper fluid balance.

2. Vitamin C

Many people know that vitamin C can help to strengthen their immune system, so they’re better equipped to avoid colds and the flu. 

Research shows that vitamin C can also help to shorten the lifespan of these illnesses. So, even if you’ve already been stricken by the flu, drink some orange juice!

Start supplementing with vitamin C or eating lots of vitamin C-rich foods so you can heal faster.

3. Essential Oils

Diffusing certain essential oils can be very soothing when you’re dealing with a cold or the flu. 

Essential oils like peppermint and eucalyptus, for example, can help to clear your sinuses and improve your breathing. 

Lavender can also be soothing and help you get extra rest so you can recover faster.

4. Elderberry

Elderberry is amazing! It can help to shorten the duration of colds and the flu. 

It is rich in antioxidants, including vitamin C, which your immune system needs for optimal health and functionality.

Elderberry’s effectiveness may also be because it increases your body’s serum antioxidant capacity and helps make you more resilient.

5. Ginger

Ginger may have antiviral properties that can help to protect you against the flu and other respiratory infections.

Many people like to drink ginger tea when they start feeling ill. You could also suck on ginger lozenges if you prefer. 

6. Licorice Root

Licorice root is another powerful antiviral supplement to include in your arsenal. This is because it contains glycyrrhizin, a compound that inhibits the replication of the influenza virus. It also helps to reduce inflammation associated with the flu and other illnesses.

7. Lomatium

Lomatium is a plant that’s a member of the carrot family. Many herbalists swear by it as a flu remedy, and it’s long been used among Native Americans to treat various infections. 

Keep in mind, though, that you should not use lomatium if you’re pregnant.

8. Zinc

Like vitamin C, zinc is an essential nutrient that helps to strengthen the immune system. 

Taking high amounts of zinc can help to prevent a cold or the flu, but it can also help you to fight off the illness and get back to routine faster. 

This is especially true if you start taking it within the first 24 hours after your symptoms present themselves.

9. Honey

Honey, especially if it’s raw and local honey, is a superfood that does a great job of shortening the lifespan of colds and the flu. 

Honey contains natural antibacterial and antiviral compounds. It’s also very soothing when you’re dealing with symptoms like a cough or a sore, scratchy throat.

10. Propolis

In addition to including honey in your flu prevention and treatment toolkit, you may want to add propolis as well. 

Propolis is a compound produced by bees when their saliva and beeswax combine with secretions from trees and other botanicals.

Propolis protects the beehive from a variety of bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens. 

It can help to speed up your healing from a cold or the flu as well, and it will bolster your immune system, so you’re better able to fight off illnesses in the future.

The Top 10 Naturopathic Cold and Flu Remedies | Naturopathic Dr

Try These Remedies Today

As you can see, there are lots of natural cold and flu remedies for you to choose from. 

If you want to stay healthy and keep your immune system active while flu season rages around you, these tools can help.

If you need some extra help maintaining your health, or if you’d like to get tailored advice from a licensed medical professional, contact Dr. Karen Threlkel.

Dr. Threlkel is an award-winning naturopathic physician who’s eager to help you feel your best and provide you with all the information you need to make the right decisions for yourself. Schedule an appointment with her today.

About The Author:

Picture of Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Karen Threlkel, Naturopathic Physician, Washington DC

Dr. Threlkel received her degree of Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine from The National College for Naturopathic Medicine (now called The National University of Natural Medicine) in Portland, Oregon. She also holds a Bachelor Degree in Kinesiology from The University of Maryland. She is licensed in Naturopathic Medicine by the Government of the District of Columbia Department of Health. Dr. Threlkel is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians, past president & current member of the Washington DC Association of Naturopathic Physicians.

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