Homemade Natural Remedies for the Flu, Colds and Their Symptoms

Reader Contribution by Rhonda Crank
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I don’t know about your area, but the flu is moving around in ours. As a retired nurse, I can tell you that I have never seen any benefit to flu shots, medicines, or antibiotics for treatment or prevention of the flu or colds. The old timers did not run to the doctor for every little thing as most Americans do today. So what did they do? Some of the very things that we homeopathic people are doing today.

Here are my Top 5 remedies for a cold/flu and their symptoms:

1) Hydrogen Peroxide: Putting hydrogen peroxide in our ears, is the first thing we do in our home when we feel “something” coming on. Using a dropper, fill the ear canal. Let it bubble until the bubbling action subsides – usually takes 3 to 5 minutes per ear. Once the bubbling action dies down, place a towel over the ear and turn over allowing it to drain while you do the other ear. When you’ve done both ears, gently use a cotton swab to remove any excess. We have been doing this since I was a little girl and it has proven very effective. If we are very sick, we do it once a day for the first three days of illness.

Just a note about this: In 1928, Dr. Richard Simmons, M.D., stated his belief that colds and flu viruses enter the body through the ear canal, as opposed to the nose and throat as most people believe. Of course, his findings were dismissed by the medical community. Then in 1938, German researchers had great success using hydrogen peroxide as a treatment for colds the flu. Since their data has been ignored for more than 60 years it is almost impossible to find.

2) Flu and cold tea – A tea made with organic echinacea and roots tea – I use this one; 3 to 4 slices fresh ginger root; the juice of one lemon or 1 to 2 teaspoons organic, raw apple cider vinegar; 3 to 5 teaspoons raw honey, adjust according to your taste (I prefer less); 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon; and 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, adjust according to taste (again, I prefer less). This is also great for a sore throat.

Prepare your echinacea and roots tea. Some people make the tea without using this as a base, but we use it at our house. Add the ginger root to the simmering tea for the last 10 minutes of simmering. Once the simmering is complete, pour through a strainer into a large mug and add the other ingredients. Drink and feel better.

3) Honey Cinnamon – Raw honey is excellent for anything respiratory: allergies, sinus, bronchitis, coughing. By adding cinnamon to it, you create a perfect anti-inflammatory treatment which strengthens your immune system. It is excellent at calming coughs, treating bronchitis, and soothing sore throats. Mix 1/2 to 2 teaspoons cinnamon in 1/2 cup honey, adjusting the cinnamon to taste. Take by the teaspoonful as needed, 4 to 6 times a day. You want to be sure not to use honey on anyone under 1 year of age.

4) Essential Oil Inhalation – Rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus essential oils are proven to soothe the bronchial tubes when you have bronchitis. They also open clogged sinus causing them to drain and can soothe coughs and aches. All of these oils have anti-bacterial properties. Eucalyptus has been proven to have antiviral properties, especially when inhaled. I boil some water and pour it into a large ceramic bowl. Add 3 to 4 drops of each oil to the water and stir. Then drape a towel over you and the bowl to keep the steam in and breath deeply. This is an old timey trick that was used especially for young ones with croop. Adjust the drops to suit your needs, but be careful that you don’t add too many drops as the peppermint will burn your eyes and nose if it is too strong. I buy mine here.

I also keep with me a handkerchief with a few drops of these three oils on it whenever I am sick or around sick people. Taking a deep breath clears my sinuses, if I am sick. If I am around sick people, I believe it helps keep the germs away – silly maybe, but I am seldom sick.

5) Menthol Rub I can remember when I was sick as a child and having good ole Vick’s Vapor Rub put on my feet along with a clean pair of socks. It is an old remedy that actually works. We don’t use petroleum based products in our home any more so we had to find a natural alternative. This is the one we like best: 1/2 cup organic coconut oil, 2 tablespoons beeswax pastilles, I buy mine here, 20 drops eucalyptus oil, 15 drops peppermint oil, 10 drops rosemary oil, and 10 drops lavender oil, 5 drops tea tree oil (optional).

To prepare, put the coconut oil and beeswax pastilles into a medium-size jar. Place this jar into a pot of water and turn on medium heat until they are both melted. You could use a double boiler, but I don’t have one so I use this method. Add the essential oil drops and stir well. Let the mixture sit in the jar, or you can pour into a smaller jar if you like, to cool and firm back up. I like to put mine in the frig and when it has set, put it into my mixing bowl and use the whisk attachment to whip it up. It really doesn’t affect anything other than the texture, but I like whipped texture. Then I put it back into the jar and there you go.

You can adjust this to get the potency, smell and texture you like. More beeswax will make it firmer. If you need it for a small child, you should use about half the drops of essential oils. Also, you don’t want to keep it near a heat source as it will melt easily. Remember to always dilute essential oils before putting them on your skin.

This is not intended to be an exhaustive list, these are just what we use for our family. I did not put hot toddy on the list because so many people don’t like it. When I was a little girl, my grandmother had an unmarked brown bottle on the top shelf in her bathroom. We could see a peppermint stick in it, but did not know what it was for. When I was grown, I realized it was a bottle of whiskey with a peppermint stick steeping in it.

I don’t keep a bottle steeping all the time like the old timers did, so I heat 1 to 2 ounces  whiskey in a pot with 1 ounce water. When it is just about to boil, turn off the heat and add a couple drops peppermint oil, a teaspoon or two honey, and sometimes a dash of cinnamon, just depends on how I feel. Let it all sit for about 10 minutes; then drink it and sleep.

There are several more we could talk about: ear candles for earaches, baking soda and honey for throat irritation, and the fabulous elderberry to name just a few.

Unfortunately, in our day and age, I have to say that none of these statements have been evaluated by the FDA and I am not a doctor, so I am not prescribing these things for you. There now that we’ve covered that, I hope you don’t have to use any of these this year. Like the old saying goes, “It’s always better to be prepared for rain and it not come, than to get caught without an umbrella.”

Be sure to leave your comments, your homemade natural remedies, or contact me with your questions or comments.

Safe and Happy Journey,

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