November 28, 2023

5 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies

Becky Striepehold-the-sun

It has been an extra sickly flu season for a lot of the folks in my life, and I bet that a lot of you are battling the wintertime ick, as well. With more cold weather on the way in a lot of the northern hemisphere, it felt like a good time to round up a few of the cold and flu remedies that seem to actually make a difference. While there’s no way to totally cure a cold or the flu once it’s taken hold, these remedies can definitely help reduce your sickness’ severity and duration.


1. Oil of Oregano

I wish I could remember who hipped me to oil of oregano, but this stuff has been great for me this flu season. Oil of oregano is rich in vitamins and minerals and is said to reduce pain and inflammation.

The second you start feeling run down, you’ll want to pop oil of oregano pills twice a day between meals. I normally get a couple of bad illnesses during the winter, and this time around I managed to kick the sick in just a few days, rather than battling symptoms for a week.


2. Vitamin D

I’ve talked about vitamin D’s flu-fighting abilities before, and it bears mentioning again. You can get your vitamin D through dietary sources, supplements, or good old sunshine. The only trick with vitamin D is that you want to be careful not to take too much. Since this is a fat soluble vitamin, your body doesn’t eliminate it as efficiently as water soluble vitamins.


zinc3. Zinc

According to a recent article in the New York Times, zinc is a powerful natural cold and flu remedy. The trick is finding a reliable lozenge. Many of the ones in the drug store have additives that either make the zinc less effective or lower the zinc content too much. Stick to a brand you trust and do some careful label reading to find a zinc supplement without too many extra ingredients and a higher percentage of zinc.

neti-pot4. Neti Pot

I can’t say enough good things about the neti pot! While it’s a little bit tricky to use at first, once you get the hang of it, you’ll never want to be without yours. If you’re feeling congestion coming on, I’d suggest flushing with the neti pot a couple of times a day. Even if you still get sick, you’ll spend fewer days mouth breathing and nursing a dry, painful nose.

New to the neti pot? Here are some tips for getting started with a neti pot.

I’d heard folks singing the praises of the Neti pot, but I’ll be honest here: it sort of freaked me out. It seemed a little counter-intuitive to pour water into my nose. After months of deliberating, I finally took the plunge and am now a Neti pot convert! Here are some tips from one first time Neti pot user to another:

How it Works

This part is pretty simple. You’re basically using a very diluted saline solution to flush the gunk out of your sinuses. Water flows into one nostril, through your nasal cavity, and out the other nostril. This sounds a lot more uncomfortable than it is. If you get your technique down pat, you barely feel anything at all. The tips below will definitely help make it a more pleasant experience!

The Water

You want the water you’re using to be lukewarm. If it’s too cold or too hot, the Neti pot experience is a little less pleasant.

A lot of Neti pots come with packets and instructions for creating the saline mixture. If yours doesn’t, just combine a pint of water with a teaspoon of salt and 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda. A pint of water should be enough to irrigate both nostrils, and the baking soda helps balance the mixture’s pH, so it’s easier on your nasal passages. You flush each nostril separately, using half the pint on each side.

The Technique

Good technique is key to a pleasant Neti pot experience! It seems a little bit awkward at first, but remember: the worst thing that can happen is a little water goes up your nose, just like when you were a kid and swimming for the first time. No sweat!

Some folks recommend standing or sitting in the bathtub, but the sink works fine, too. To start, place the spout of the pot into your nostril. Bend over a bit at the waist, then tilt your head to about a 45 degree angle. The idea is to get one nostril over the other, where the one on top has the spout in it. You’ll also want to tilt your head forward slightly to help keep water from going up your nose.

The water should start to flow through at this point, and so try to relax and take deep breaths through your mouth. It’s easy to catch yourself holding your breath, so try to really focus on breathing. Don’t worry if you need to take a break. This will get easier every time you do it!

sleeping5. Rest

When all is said and done, rest is one of the best things you can do for your body when you’re under the weather. Your immune system needs time to do its thing, and resting gives your body a chance to heal. It’s sometimes hard to take a day off from work to nurse yourself back to health, but a day or two of rest now can help cut down the duration of your illness and save you many days of discomfort.

For more on this story go to:


Photo credits: Creative Commons

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Speak Your Mind