Natural, Effective Remedies for Colds and Flu

These natural, effective remedies for colds and flus will help you stay healthy. Put your immune system in top-notch form to fight colds and flu by employing a variety of natural methods for hastening recovery and easing symptoms, such as herbal remedies, water therapy and dietary supplements.

| December 2007/January 2008

Research has failed to demonstrate that over-the-counter cold medications do much good; in fact, they can do harm.

Research has failed to demonstrate that over-the-counter cold medications do much good; in fact, they can do harm.

Photo by Istockphoto/Kutay Tanir

Learn about natural, effective remedies for colds and flus: The best herbs, vitamins and simple strategies to stave off winter illnesses this cold and flu season.

Natural, Effective Remedies for Colds and Flu

Few people make it through the winter without a scratchy throat and an annoying runny nose. You can’t very well hold your breath all winter, but you can put your immune system in top-notch form to fight colds and flu by employing a variety of natural methods for hastening recovery and easing symptoms, such as herbal remedies, water therapy and supplements.

Common Cold and Flu Causes

The reasons many of us get winter colds and flu are numerous: One, we’re indoors with other people while windows and doors are closed. Two, viruses causing most respiratory infections are always mutating, and our immune systems have trouble handling these ever-changing germs. Three, viruses can survive on non-porous surfaces for hours. If you turn a door handle recently touched by a sneezing, sniffling person, then lift a hand to your nose, you’ve infected yourself. Four, some respiratory viruses, notably influenza, become airborne when someone coughs. You only need to inhale three tiny viruses to become sick.

Several families of viruses cause colds. This viral mafia produces runny nose, sneezing, sore throat and cough. Though symptoms are usually mild and gone within a week, colds produce rampant absenteeism from work and school.

Influenza is not as common as colds, and vaccines can help prevent the infection. Two main types of influenza viruses — A and B — cause most cases of the flu. Influenza viruses spread in the air and via direct contact. Flu symptoms are usually dramatic, with sudden onset of chills, fever and muscle aches. Nasal congestion is not as marked, but the cough can take weeks or even months to resolve.

Take to the Waters

When you come down with a cold or the flu, your respiratory tract works hard to expel the invading viruses along a veritable “Slip ’n Slide” of mucus. Rather than drying those mucus secretions with an over-the-counter antihistamine, it’s better to accelerate the healing process by thinning them, thus making it easier to expel them.

t brandt
12/31/2012 11:24:37 AM

Caveat lector: There is no product available that will "boost your immune system," unless you are morbidly malnourished- highly unlikely if you don't have some sever GI disease or cancer.Even if this is America where " if one is good, two must be better." you can only put 1 gal of water in a 1 gal bucket. Save your money...Nobody denies that there's beneficial drugs available in "herbs", but they are the same things available in purified drug form & can have all the same side effects.( Eg'- echinacea contains ephedrine- bad for bp & coronary problems....We get fewer common colds as we age simply because we become immune to each bug we've already been exposed to. so having fewer colds now than you used to get doesn't necessarily mean you've discovered some new cure.

tyler jordan
12/30/2012 9:54:18 PM

The only natural remedy for a cold or flu that has worked for me is BioProtein Plus. Since I started taking it 3 years ago I haven't been sick or had to go the doctor. I didn't really believe in natural medicine until i tried it but it has worked miracles for me. You can get it at or on Amazon I think.

dr. rachael nunez
9/19/2012 6:14:22 AM

From what I've seen, everything listed works only sometimes. The only product I swear by is called IsLife. It is an all natural product and contains seaweed extract and lots of vitamin D. It has worked every single time within 2 days! You can get it at It is a little pricey, but worth it if you consider the cost of doctor visits, missed work/school, prescriptions,etc

adam swenson
12/6/2011 2:19:00 AM

Don't use echinacea if you have an auto-immune problem though; it actually can boost the immune system to a fault.

ted birnbaum
12/5/2011 4:23:43 PM

For the reason why zinc is often, but not always effective, see and also get the real scoop on defeating colds...look for Ted Birnbaum. Also I have used echinacea and found it effective...but only at certain times. Use echinacea at the very beginning of a cold that just starts with some increased chest congestion or nasal drip. And use it with 500 mg of lysine & 5-20 mg of vitamin B6...if at nite also add lemon balm (aka melissa...which also helps with sleep). Quite often the cold symptoms will disappear and you will not get any cold.

1/19/2011 3:50:46 AM

One cure which beats all cures for the flu is cayenne pepper. It's fantastic, it has many healing properties for lots of problems. Might need a glass of milk to sip on until used to it though. One teaspoon in a glass of water does the trick. Good if you can take it daily.

1/5/2008 6:14:22 PM

Hello Again, I am the same Shannon that sent you my list of herbs and other supplements. You may also find this at It is a list of herbs shown to be effective against viruses. This list is for use in a neti pot, in teas or, for the oils, in vaporizers. Shannon D. Bennett List of antivirals and other important herbs bromelain (eats the spikes off the viral coat) nettle, (prevents the manufacture of prostaglandins, also useful for coughs) lemon balm (viricide and sooths nasal passages) skullcap (scutellaria baicalensis, anti-inflammatory, and antihistamine, aids in treating allergies or allergic rhinitis, particularly when used with stinging nettle) polygonum cuspidatum ( called Hu Zhang in Chinese, contains resveratrol a neuraminidase inhibitor, difficult to absorb through the gut this should allow it to be taken up directly into the bloodstream hence, bypassing the first pass through the liver) Verbascum, (hemagglutinin inhibitor) Tea or juice additive garlic, (viricide) fresh and very gently simmered in tea or added to fruit juice, tomato juice. Not for consumption, use in a humidifyer/vaporizer. Thyme oil (viricide) Tea tree oil (viridide) Eucalyptus oil (viricide) Disclaimer, Always Check the List for Contra-indications before trying any new herbs! Most of these will not have serious consequences, they are often used for making herbal teas or in the case of nettle, used as a potherb. The bromelain and the garlic can both cause bleeding in certain instances. Bromelain can also cause drowsiness. If you have any negative effects stop the nasal lavage or the tea. Do try to learn how to use a neti pot prior to the pandemic. Also, experiment with each of the herbs singly before using them in a tea or nasal lavage. The purpose of the nasal wash is to prevent someone from getting a severe case of the flu. It is used prophylactically or, in other words as a preventative. You can use this as a tea as well if you do get sick. D

1/5/2008 6:05:45 PM

Hello, I have been studying and participating on several flu forums for almost three years. You may find me on FluTrackers and CurEvents. My name is 'Shannon' on the boards. After exhaustive research, I compiled a list of herbs and other supplements. Nearly all of my imports are found on the RESEARCH thread in the Alternative and Traditional rooms of FluTrackers. The List Disclaimer. Do not start taking any herbs, or other listed compounds before checking with your doctor and also doing a quick search to see if any medicines you are taking will interact adversely with any on this list. This is especially true for pregnant or nursing women, the very young and those with chronic medical conditions. If traditional clinical medical help is unavailable, this section is devoted to preventing infection through traditional and non-traditional means, limiting the damage if infection occurs, and restoring health after infection. The key to reducing morbidity and mortality is to understand the process of H5N1 infection. The following is a much-simplified version of the process. In the case of avian influenza, it isn't the virus which typically kills, but rather the body's response to the virus that causes death. The over-production of cytokines, commonly called a 'cytokine storm', is responsible for the vast majority of mortality. The body uses cytokines to control infection. Some cause inflammatory response and others reduce the response. Ideally, in a healthy individual the two are balanced. Pro-inflammatory cytokines originate with linoleic acids which are transformed into the omega-6 family of fatty acids, (IL-1) (IL-6) (TNF-a). There are other pro-inflammatories but for the sake of simplicity these will remain the focus. When you have too many pro-inflammatory cytokines in your system, they start to feed off each other and stimulate yet more production of pro-inflammatory cytokines. When this happens we have chronic in

12/9/2007 11:25:02 AM

still hard to beat mom's homemade chicken noodle soup & hottie toddie. there is a beneficial chemical reaction released when chicken is boiled into broth. starve a cold, feed a feaver, some old wive's tale.

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