As November ends, cold and flu season grows more and more prevalent. Since prevention and natural medicine are some of my favorite things, I believe that when it comes to colds, if prevention fails, natural medicine can often be the most easy, useful, and effective way to kick a cold!
Some of my favorite natural ways to boost the immune system to prevent colds and flu:
Echinacea: Echinacea is an herbal supplement that has been shown to boost the immune system and help fight colds. According to WebMd, “When you combine the best studies they support the conclusion that Echinacea reduces the risk of catching a cold and reduces the duration of colds.”
Garlic: Garlic is an effective immunity booster as well as antibiotic, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. You can integrate it into your cooking as well as ingest it through garlic capsules. Garlic can also be useful for allergy relief!
Apple Cider Vinegar: ACV is one of my favorite natural health products. Having a couple tablespoons of ACV a day will most definitely keep the doctor away. According to home remedies web, “ACV is an effective natural bacteria-fighting agent that contains many vital minerals and trace elements such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, chlorine, sodium, sulfur, copper, iron, silicon and fluorine that are vital for a healthy body.”
Because disease cannot survive in an alkaline environment, ACV keeps disease away and your immune system up. Though there are more health benefits than I can articulate in one article (anti-cancer claims included), ACV is one product I am very passionate about. Braggs organic apple cider vinegar is a well-known and trustworthy brand.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a common and popular immune booster. One study found that after two weeks of increased vitamin C intake, the 12 study participants increased their anti-viral immunity, thus making them less prone to colds.
Local Honey: Adding honey to a hot tea can help soothe a sore throat because of its antimicrobial properties. Along with a myriad of other health benefits like being an antiseptic, local honey is also great for treating allergies. Because honey contains nectar from plants that may trigger allergies, some believe it acts like a vaccination by building up immunity and decreasing the allergic reaction.
If the preventative steps you take before getting a cold aren’t successful, herbal or medicinal teas work great. My go-to tea recipe to kick a cold contains ingredients that have properties to help get you well.
For this tea you’ll need hot water, ginger, honey and mint. After peeling about an inch or two of ginger, put it in a garlic press and throw it into some boiling water, along with the mint. Ginger helps dispel congestion, kill cold viruses, and is well known for boosting immunity. Mint adds a soothing effect and helps with any intestinal discomfort.
The best and easiest way to stay healthy is to eat healthy. Because food has all of the nutrients we need, I believe that oftentimes food is the best medicine. By knowing about medicinal uses of food, you can create healthy and medicinal food recipes! Honey, apple cider vinegar and olive oil makes a great dressing, for instance. Best of luck staying healthy this season.
Eat well, live well, be well!
Adams, M. (2005, May 8). Vitamin C can strengthen the immune system, new research indicates. Natural health news. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from http://www.naturalnews.com/007434.html
Garlic Cures. (n.d.). E A R T H . C L I N I C - Folk Remedies and Holistic Cures. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from
Health Benefits Of Honey. (n.d.). Your Online Resource About Honey Bees and Beekeeping. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from
Study: Echinacea Cuts Colds by Half. (2007, June 26). WebMD - Better information. Better health.. Retrieved November 27, 2011, from
Reviewed November 30, 2011
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith