It’s the change of seasons.
The last couple of years have helped us to forget the colds and flus are a normal part of the transition from summer to autumn or if you’re in the Northern Hemisphere winter to spring.
The trick is to embrace it rather than fight it.
Prime your immunity pump
Rather than focusing on immunity boosters, think in terms of priming your immunity pump. Think of it in terms of your boiler or internal heating system. Keep it running full bore and something will eventually fail. Turn it on when you need it most and settle in for a relatively comfortable ride.
Herbs that help with colds and flu
There are herbs which for most people are helpful to take over the cold and flu months. Herbs such as echinacea, thyme and andrographis. Start taking them from now. It’s also a good time to get your natural remedies ready as you won’t feel like making them when you’re full of cold.
These are the ones you reach for along with the vitamin C, vitamin D and zinc at the first inkling that you’re coming down with something.
Below you will find my three favourite natural remedies for colds and flu. They’re my favourite because:
- they help when you’re under the weather,
- they’re easy to make,
- they’re a great thing to do with the kids, and
- they feature ingredients which are readily available.
how to make Fresh ginger root tea
- Peel your ginger.
- Blitz it in the blender.
- Top up with boiling water and add honey to taste.
Ginger can be fibrous so if you don’t like bits in your tea, pass the ginger water through a sieve or tea strainer.
Ginger ice cubes
I like to make a load of ginger tea and freeze it in ice cube containers. Then when I need some ginger tea or as a base flavour, I add 2- 3 ginger ice cubes to a mug and top up with boiling water.
I like to sweeten with thyme honey, add a slice of lemon to make the taste pop.
Thyme honey is honey from bees who for the most part have visited thyme flowers.
Cold and Flu herbal tea
The other tea I like to have on hand is more of a cold and flu base.
I combine equal parts of dried yarrow flower, elder flower and peppermint.
Leave out the peppermint if you suffer with heartburn as it can aggravate symptoms.
This combination warms you up so it helps you to sweat stuff out. The elder flower is also a natural decongestant and the yarrow is anti-inflammatory. Keep this combination in your kitchen cupboard and add extra herbs for taste or to address additional symptoms.
Sage for sore throat. Thyme or coltsfoot for chesty things. Chamomile or cinnamon for settling the stomach or for soothing cold and flu pains. I like to add a slice of lemon to peak the taste.
Sage Infused honey
Sage infused honey is a wonderful natural remedy for sore throats or overheating type conditions. All honeys are anti- microbial. Some such as thyme or Manuka are more potent than others. I also like to use a multiflora, wild flower or bush honey.
- Chopped your washed freshly picked sage so it’s really fine.
- Add the chopped sage to a clean jar that has a lid.
- Add your honey to the jar.
- Grab a chopstick and start mixing the sage into the honey.
You want the sage to be completely saturated and there needs to be enough honey so there’s at least Icm of honey above the sage. Put the lid on your jar and place in a dark cupboard. Leave it for 3 days but check it each day to make sure the sage continues to be covered in the honey.
Take a teaspoon of this sage infused honey each day as a preventative. Or add it to your cold and flu tea.
You can also use a combination of herbs, for example: sage, thyme, and calendula flowers. The key is to ensure all the herbs are completely covered in the honey.
Garlic infused honey
Another variant is garlic infused honey. It’s the same process as the sage infused honey. Add the finely chopped garlic to your honey. This one is ready after 24-hours so it can be made up really quickly. It’s an acquired taste, but highly potent.
Onion syrup is another cold syrup that can be ready to use the next day. For this you’ll need raw onions and sugar.
Chop your onions. For this cold syrup we’re going to layer the sugar, the chopped onion and then the sugar. Add a layer of onion then add a layer of sugar.
Keep going until you reach the top of the jar or you run out of ingredients. Always start with a layer of sugar on the bottom and finish with a layer of sugar on top.
Screw the lid on your jar and store overnight in a dark cupboard. The next morning, the onion will have dissolved completely in the sugar.
Store in the fridge-take a teaspoon a day as a preventative. Like the infused honey s you can increase the dose to 3-4 times a day when you’re coming down with something.
Natural remedies for the cold and flu season
These are the natural remedies I have on hand through the cold and flu season. They’re traditional recipes that can be used as a first port of call.
Notice how your symptoms progress and reach out to a medical professional if you feel really unwell or if your symptoms don’t show improvement after 3 or 4 days.
If you’re on medication or have an existing medical condition please do seek professional advice from your herbalist or naturopath for using these natural remedies.