Colds and flus are some of the most common ailments, and are easy to find relief from using natural tools like herbs and teas.
Is it a cold or the flu?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, both are respiratory illnesses caused by separate viruses though their symptoms are very similar. The biggest difference is that the flu is more severe than a cold and can potentially be dangerous. Symptoms of both can be: fever, chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headache, and fatigue. The only way to know for sure if your illness is a cold or the flu is a test within the first few days of illness.
If you’re treating your symptoms at home, there are a number of methods to help alleviate the discomfort and annoyance that comes along with them. As always, this is not intended to be medical advice, and you should always consult your physician if you feel like you’re in need of medical attention.
How to treat cold and flu naturally
Nasal congestion – Our Flu Fighter tea works extremely well to open up your sinus passages. There’s no caffeine in it to keep you from sleeping and resting when you need to, either. I’d advise you to stock up on the tea at the beginning of cold and flu season, as we tend to sell out of it quite often.
Chest congestion – My favorite method of relieving chest congestion is the onion poultice. My daughter suffered from this when she was younger and we did this often because it worked. Because of her tender young skin we would let the poultice cool quite a bit before applying it, but then we would sit together and I would hold a heating pad over it and her chest so that she could sit with the poultice long enough for it to work. There is a more extreme version of an onion poultice in Where the Lillies Bloom where one of the characters takes a full-body onion bath.
Cough – Keeping hydrated with water or herbal tea is great for combatting a cough. Honey is nice for coating and soothing your throat. I find nice relief with a cup of Ayurvedic Chai made only with water and honey to be greatly helpful for coughs.
Fever/chills – Unless your fever is dangerously high, I find it best to just let the fever ride itself out. It’s your body’s way of burning out the germs.
Sore throat – Licorice Spice tea nicely coats and soothes a sore throat. Again, there’s no caffeine to keep you from resting. If you’re not a fan of black licorice or anise, don’t worry. Licorice root does not taste like black licorice.
Achiness – Rest, rest, rest.
Fatigue – Rest, rest, rest. And rest some more. Stop trying to be superhuman.
I also love Boiron’s Cold Calm. It relieves all of my congestion and cough without that drowsy cotton-headed feeling. It’s one of my favorite tools in how to treat cold and flu naturally.
Natural Recovery from congestion, cough, and fever
The best thing you can do for yourself or someone you’re taking care of is to push rest and hydration. Any and all of the herbal teas listed above will help with hydration, then allow rest to happen. Even if you can’t take a full day off from life, do what you can to make life easier for a day or two and get to bed early. Illness is a sign your body needs to slow down, so honor that. You’ll feel better faster.