Last week it almost got me… I woke up, stretched, yawned and then I felt it… that pang of hot pain in my throat that meant “I’m about to get sick”.  Over the next 48 hours, I unleashed my ultimate natural cold and flu medicine arsenal of herbs, supplements and acupuncture.  Lo and behold, I didn’t get sick!

I am certainly a believer that once every fall/winter, it is healthy to let the body get really sick, stay in bed, read books and just wimp out.  It is like a work-out for the immune system.  That being said, for the other times over the winter, when I wake up with that “about to come down with something” feeling, and I just don’t have the time to get sick, I have solutions!

Here is my arsenal of natural cold and flu medicine to stop sickness right in its tracks…

1. Hot ginger and lemon and honey drink: Nothing gets the immune system revved up like ginger.  It is a surface immune stimulant, which means it is most effectively used when the sickness is just starting to come on.  Honey is added as an antimicrobial (this means it helps to fight the bugs that make us sick).  It also has a specific attraction the throat, so when that hot, sticky, sickly feeling creeps into the area, honey is what you want.  Lemon is added for it’s astringent properties and hot water helps to raise the body temp.  This creates the ideal environment for the immune system while creating a hostile environment for bacteria and viruses – the little germs that cause cold and flu.

To make the drink, take some fresh ginger root and cut it into thin slices – leave the skin on.  Bring one cup of filtered water to a boil.  Steep the ginger root in the boiled water for 15 minutes, with a lid.  After that, stir in 1 teaspoon of honey (any honey is fine).  Squeeze in the juice of 1/3 of a lemon.  Sip while still warm.

2. Oil of oregano: Oregano has very potent antimicrobial properties, which can help the immune system to fight viruses and bacteria.  Ideally, it should be applied directly to the throat.  This can be done by adding 2-3 drops to warm water and gargling, before you swallow it.  Remember to use this remedy only when you’re getting sick.  If you use it on a regular basis, it can actually begin to kill the beneficial bacteria that live in your digestive tract – not good. Those little guys are there for a reason!

3. The Simple Scarf: There is actually something to what your grandmother said about keeping your neck warm to prevent illness. In Chinese Medicine, it is believed that one of the most vulnerable places in the body is the neck.  When the neck is regularly exposed colder temperatures and wind, you are more likely to get sick.  Thankfully, big, puffy, warm scarves are trendy right now, so lay it on!  Its pretty simple.  When its cold out, dress appropriately.  Wrap yourself in a cozy scarf.

4. Take it Easy: Even if you’re only feeling a little bit sick, your body is actually fighting a Battle Royale inside!  Your immune system needs all the energy it can get.  This means, take it easy.  If you’re starting to get sick, take a day or a half day off work if you can.  It may save you from having to take a few days off work if your illness becomes full blown.  Stay in bed. Read a book. Relax.

If you can’t take the day off work, try to create a calm work space for yourself. Breathe deeply. Eat something nourishing for lunch.

5. Acupuncture: When I realized I was getting sick, one of the first things I did was e-mail my acupuncturist for an appointment.  Many people don’t know that acupuncture can be a great addition to any anti-flu battle!  Your acupuncturist can give you a treatment to rev up your immune system.  This can help you get over the cold more quickly or stop it from becoming full blown.

**For all of you pregnant ladies, all of these remedies are safe in pregnancy except for the oregano oil – so skip that step.  As always, please check with your healthcare provider before you commence any kind of treatment**

Michelle Kapler
Michelle Kapler
When I’m not working, you can find me knitting socks, writing for my blog, eating oysters that my husband has lovingly shucked, creating and co-creating meals for loved ones or hanging out with my Herbal Medicine Textbooks and and a very specifically pulled espresso.
Related Posts

Leave a Comment