Cold and flu season is in full swing and there have been lots of runny noses and coughing around these parts lately! Fortunately, we have some great natural remedies for all those yucky symptoms.
The elderberry syrup recipe featured below is one of the first supplements to turn to when you start feeling something coming on. Rich in vitamins A, B, and C, elderberry syrup is a natural alternative to flu shots that you can make at home for only a few dollars. Not only has elderberry syrup been found to prevent the flu, but it also shortens the duration of illness for those who’ve already succumbed to the flu. Plus, you can customize homemade elderberry syrup to suit your needs — for example, substituting manuka honey for extra antiviral and antibacterial benefits, adding a spoonful or two of cocoa powder to relieve coughs, or turning it into gummy candies to better appeal to kids.
We have also found vitamin C powder to stop colds in their tracks, and many studies indeed support vitamin C’s ability to lessen the severity and duration of a cold. Catie’s Vitamin C Plus is made from organic plant foods, not synthetic ascorbic acid. Mix a spoonful into a glass of water for a tasty fruit punch that’s actually good for you! Or try Pure Radiance C , a mix of wild-harvested camu camu berries and organic acerola cherries with antioxidant-rich organic fruits and berries combined to be a 100% natural form of vitamin C.
To alleviate the sinus pressure and congestion accompanying winter bugs, VAXA Sinus Formula combines traditional herbs with homeopathic ingredients to reduce sinus congestion and post-nasal drip, decrease sneezing, coughing, and swollen eyes, and eliminate that “stuck in a bell” feeling caused by blocked ears, dizziness, and vertigo. If you’re more prone to respiratory problems than sinus troubles, GHC AllerTrex eases swollen, inflamed bronchial passages and helps clear out mucous and supports the lungs.
Finally, for the congestion and all-over aches and pains that the flu may cause, Calm Balm is a natural alternative to vaporub, relieving congestion and soothing aches and pains with healing fermented cod liver oil, high vitamin butter oil, coconut oil, menthol camphor, and essential oils. And don’t forget the old standby of hot tea with lemon and honey — just a cup or two always makes me feel so much better!
While colds and flus don’t generally require antibiotics — in fact, antibiotics may be completely ineffective in these situations and contribute to the development of superbugs — some bacterial infections such as strep throat, certain sinus infections or ear infections, and some types of pneumonia may require additional treatment. Natural remedies for bacterial complications include colloidal silver, raw garlic, and manuka honey, all of which may be more effective than prescription antibiotics, without the dangerous side effects and the ability to breed superbugs.
If you do opt to take antibiotics, the best way to protect your immune system and digestive tract is to take probiotics daily during and after the course of antibiotics. Prescript-Assist restores the beneficial bacteria that are wiped out by antibiotics so that you can return to good health quickly and get back to the activities you love. Feel better soon!
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Homemade Elderberry Syrup
Wellness Mama makes this yummy elderberry syrup to prevent flu, as well as treat it. Use regular honey when making for a preventative, but use manuka honey when taking for treatment of an active illness, to give an added boost to the immune system. In addition to having powerful illness-fighting abilities, elderberry syrup is a delicious topping for pancakes, waffles, plain yogurt, or even a bowl of newly-fallen snow!
- 2/3 cup black elderberries
- 3 1/2 cups filtered water
- 2 Tbs ginger root
- 1 tsp cinnamon powder
- 1/2 tsp cloves or clove powder
- 1 cup raw honey (preventative) or manuka honey (acute illness)
- Add all ingredients except honey to a saucepan. You do not want to heat the honey, as this will destroy many of the beneficial compounds, so we’ll add this at the end.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until liquid is reduced by about half. Wellness Mama said this will take 45 minutes to an hour, but it took me over 2 hours.
- Remove saucepan from heat and allow to cool a bit.
- Use a mesh strainer or cheesecloth to strain the liquid into a jar or bowl.
- The elderberries are no longer needed; you can compost them, but they are also great in pancakes or muffins!
- Allow the liquid to cool, then mix in the honey.
- Pour into smaller mason jars and refrigerate.
The preventative dose for kids is 1/2 – 1 tsp a day; for adults, take 1/2 – 1 Tbs a day. Many suggest skipping the weekend doses to further boost immunity.
During a cold or flu, take the usual dose, but increase the frequency to every 2-3 hours until symptoms subside.
- 1/2 cup elderberry syrup (recipe above)
- 1/2 Tbs organic lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbs unflavored gelatin
- 1 1/2 Tbs raw manuka honey
- In a small saucepan, combine elderberry syrup and lemon juice.
- When it is hot, slowly add the gelatin. If it is added too fast it may clump and leave gross lumps in the gummies. Stir constantly until the gelatin is completely dissolved. The mixture gets a glassy look when this has occurred.
- Remove from heat and let cool. You want it to be no warmer than 115° before you add the honey. The mixture should still be a warm enough to mix the honey easily, but not so hot it will destroy the beneficial compounds of the manuka.
- If you don’t have a silicon mold, then use coconut oil to grease the sides of a bread pan. Once the honey is completely combined into the mixture, pour into silicon mold or into the bread pan.
- Put into the freezer for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and pop out of the mold. If you used the bread pan, then cut into bite size pieces for easier removal from the pan.
Manuka Honey & Lemon Cough Drops
If you or your child has a cough you want to treat, then these homemade gummy drops are an excellent choice. Even regular honey has been used medicinally for treating coughs, and has been shown in studies to be just as effective as over-the-counter cough suppressants. Manuka honey does this and more with its extra immune-boosting and healing properties. Coconut oil is loaded with antioxidants and contains lauric acid, which gives it its ability to kill viruses and germs, so these little babies can help suppress the cough and help your body fight the cold at the same time.
- 1/4 cup high quality coconut oil
- 1/4 cup organic lemon juice
- 1 1/2 Tbs grass-fed gelatin
- 2 Tbs manuka honey
- In a small saucepan, combine coconut oil and lemon juice.
- When it is hot, slowly add the gelatin. If it is added too fast it may clump and leave gross lumps in the gummies. Stir constantly until the gelatin is completely dissolved. The mixture get a glassy look when this has occurred.
- Remove from heat and let cool. You want it to be no warmer than 115° before you add the honey, as higher temperatures will reduce the effectiveness of manuka honey.
- If you don’t have a silicon mold, then use coconut oil to grease the sides of a bread pan. Pour the mixture into a silicon mold or bread pan.
- Freeze for 20 – 30 minutes.
- Remove from freezer and pop out of the mold, or if you used a bread pan, use a knife to cut into bite size pieces.
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