With the flu season upon us, it's likely that each of us will catch a cold that will leave us feeling miserable. Unfortunately, most flus are viruses and cannot be cured with antibiotics; but even if it is an infection that an antibiotic can cure, you may want to wait it out and try a natural remedy that could save yourself from potentially building a resistance to these wonder drugs. Not to mention, who wants to take groggy chemical medicines, such as cough syrup, to alleviate symptoms? Thankfully, there are plenty of natural ways to relieve your symptoms or kick your immune system into high-gear to knock that flu out of your system. Here are five natural remedies you may want to consider this cold season:
- Echinacea is an herb that has been said to have immunity boosting properties. This flower was used by Native Americans for centuries before Europeans came to the Americas. Echinacea advocates claim that the herb can reduce cold and flu symptoms as well as shorten the duration of an illness by boosting the immune system and pushing bad bacteria and toxins out of the body. It is available in capsule form at most drug stores and can also be made into a tea. For an extra immunity boost, try the Echinacea/Goldenseal complex capsules.
- Cayenne pepper has been known to have many different health benefits. Have a sore throat, stomach ache, allergies or congestion? Add one teaspoon of cayenne pepper to orange juice and knock it back for a spicy, natural remedy that will get your blood flowing and comfort your symptoms. You can also add it to your meals to achieve the same effects while spicing things up a bit. Cayenne pepper has anti-irritant properties and can break up mucus to make being sick a little bit more bearable.
- Honey is known for its ability to suppress coughs and has antibacterial properties. In fact, the ancient Egyptians were one of the first civilizations to use honey for medicinal purposes, such as dressing wounds. Honey is one of the few natural remedies tested in laboratories to prove its effectiveness. In these lab tests, honey has shown to stop the growth of food-borne pathogens as well as some bacteria such as staphylococcus aureus, more commonly known as a staph infection. Honey is a delicious win-win that will alleviate your symptoms while killing bacteria.
- In small amounts, whiskey has been known to help suppress inflamed membranes. If you're of legal drinking age, pour yourself a 1-oz. shot of whiskey or bourbon, heat it up and sip on it to relieve that congestion and sore throat. But be careful! If you drink too much, it will make the inflammation worse! One shot will do the trick; two or more will contribute to the problem.
- Ginger root can kick that cold back where it belongs. Ginger is said to have 12 antiviral properties and relieves many cold symptoms. Whether you have a stomach bug or a head cold – ginger can at least help you feel a little better. This root has been a Chinese cold remedy for more than 2,500 years because it thins mucus, warms the lungs and has yang energy. Whether it is in a tincture, a cup of tea or water vapor, use ginger root to get through the day and potentially shorten the duration of your cold.