Friday, 21 June 2013

Winter Wellness - Homemade Cold and Flu Remedies and Tips

I'm quite used to using NATURAL REMEDIES for colds and flu's as in the past 4 years I've either been pregnant or breast-feeding, so much so that I don't ever think of going to the chemist or supermarket for drugs. I have a few health store brought natural products but mostly I rely on my pantry and garden for easing symptoms.

It's around this time of year that we notice a increase in sniffles and colds. Having 2 small people in daycare this at the forefront of my mind "how do I keep my family well through winter?"
I've noticed a lot of Facebook posts with poorly families stricken with colds, chest infections etc. it can be a vicious cycle, by the time last family member is just getting over it's passed on again or pick-up from elsewhere.

Although there are a large number of store brought remedies available for cold's an flu's, natural cures can often be just as effective. In fact, many individuals prefer to avoid the chemicals and possible irritants present in store brought remedies and opt instead for natural treatments. Finding the best one depends largely on the preferences of the individual

So what can you do? This list is quite basic but often these simple tips are forgotten.

Below you'll find some #Savvy Tips from our Savvy at Home Family

The first 3 things ...


  • It might be a no-brainer but hygiene is the first fight against spreading germs. Washing hands with soapy water. 
  • Cleaning the children toys (mine are always chewing on them)
  • Teach children not to put fingers in their mouths, nose and eyes as this is a easy way to spread infection. 
  • Clean Drink bottles daily, don't share drink bottles!

  • Eat a rainbow - lots of fresh vegetables and fruit
  • Hydrate - water, lemon water to flush out toxins
  • Soup - Bone Broths, Chicken, Vegetable etc
  • Fresh Juices
  • Include foods containing probiotics - Yoghurt, Miso soup, Kefir Water/Milk, Kombucha

  • A good nights sleep lets the body restore.

And some more ...

Exercise - not something you would maybe immediately associate with Cold's 'n Flu's
  • Regular exercise is a crucial strategy for increasing your resistance to illness. There is evidence that regular, moderate exercise can reduce your risk for respiratory illness by boosting your immune system.
  • Vitamin D - Yes, get some sun (if there's any winter sun get some on!) 

From the pantry ...
These won't cure or prevent a cold or flu but may help you through more comfortably and reduce the duration.

Hot lemon drink
Squeeze the juice of 1 lemon in to mug, 1 tsp of honey (Manuka if you can afford) and add hot water. Sip slowly to sooth a sore throat.
Savvy Tip # add a small pinch of Cayenne Pepper

A simple broth is not only soothing but beneficial. Here's a simple chicken broth recipe.
As soup can be blended smooth it is a soft option for those with sore throats. Depending on the ingredients you can find some relief from sinus infections - garlic, chilli, ginger.
Check out this recipe

Homemade Fruit Ice Blocks
Blend/Process ripe fruit and freeze in ice-block molds - perfect for soothing a sore throat and a healthy treat for the little ones with the bonus of extra vitamins.

The allicin in garlic is also a powerful antibiotic, which fights infection and bacteria. Garlic helps to open clogged sinuses.

# Add into soups, stir-fry and curry
# Make Garlic Tea

Ginger can not only be warming on a cold day, but can help promote healthy sweating, which is often helpful during colds and flu's.

Savvy Tips ...
# Grate some fresh ginger into your hot lemon drink 
# Add to freshly squeezed juice
# Add ginger to a seasonal stir-fry for a extra boost. 
# Grate into a bowl, pour over boiling water and inhale to relieve sinus congestion.

Cayenne pepper
Antiseptic and Antibacterial. The active ingredient in cayenne pepper is called capsicum. Capsicum increases appetite and helps fight colds. It is used to treat the flu, chills, heart problems, and throat problems including hoarseness. Capsicum also helps ease pain – even severe migraine and cluster headaches.

Chilli Peppers
Chilies produce capsaicin. Capsaicin is a natural antioxidant and helps protect against disease caused by toxins. Capsicum increases endorphins and other mood elevating, good feeling substances, thus, it helps fight depression and relieves stress.
Savvy Tip
# Add fresh chilli's into your salsa (remove the seeds if you don't like it too hot!)
# Make a curry using a chilli paste

Vitamin C

If you want to take vitamin C to help your immune system, we try and get it through diet instead of supplements. 

Foods high in vitamin C include ..
Green and Red Peppers
Citrus Fruits
Dark Leafy Greens
Brussel Sprouts

Essential Oils 

Eucalyptus oil: can be beneficial when you have a cold because it is anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. In addition, its decongestant qualities help you break up the phlegm and mucus that causes painful congestion.

# Adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the boiling water for a steam inhalation provides additional relief because it is a decongestant.

Lemon oil: Its health benefits can be attributed to its stimulating, calming, carminative, anti-infection, astringent, detoxifying, antiseptic, disinfectant, sleep inducing, and antifungal properties.

# Try 2-3 drops in a steam inhalation.
# Add to carrier oil and rub on chest and neck.
# To cool fever, use 2-3 drops in a cold compress. 

Lavender oil: is widely used for various respiratory problems including throat infections, flu, cough, cold, asthma, sinus congestion, bronchitis, whooping cough, laryngitis, and tonsillitis. It may also induces sleep and give pain relief.

# Try 2-3 drops in a steam inhalation
# add to carrier oil and rub on neck and chest
# Rub a couple of drops into the temples to relieve headaches

Also you could add a couple of drops to a handkerchief to inhale, thus making a portable remedy.

As with many other essential oils, pregnant and breastfeeding women should consult a medical professional before using.  A wide variety of essential oils can cause irritation on sensitive skins: always do a patch test to check allergy reactions when using on sensitive skins. If unsure consult a health professional before using.

Sinus Relief

Many people have also found that adding eucalyptus, Lemon or Lavender essential oils to a pot of boiling water and inhaling the steam to be beneficial. 

The steam from a hot shower can help to loosen mucus from the nasal passages and relieve congestion.

Try sniffing a cut onion can stimulate a stuffy nose to start running it may help relieve congestion and unblock the nose.

Drinking water can help to loosen mucus and relieve congestion.

Sore Throat Relief

Place 1/2 tsp of salt in a glass of warm water and swirl, then gargle and spit out.

Sip on hot soup

Make up a hot lemon honey drink

Suck on a homemade fruit ice-block


Adults try this Homemade Cough Syrup

Do you make any of your own remedies? Has the flu hit your house this year? 
Let us know below…

Wishing you a happy and healthy winter!

Trish and Treena x

We hope these tips and home remedies a helpful to you and your family. We do recommend that if symptons persist that you seek medical advice. This blog post informational only and should not be used in place of medical advice.

Honey should NEVER be given in any form to children under the age of one year, due to the risk of infant botulism–hence the remedy should never under any circumstances be given to an infant.

References for this blog post.

Family, Friends and Personal experience.

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