13 Holistic Ways to Fight Off (+ Prevent!) a Cold

October 16, 2018

It's that bittersweet time of year. The time for bonfires, apple cider, tailgating, and all of the colds. I have a garbage immune system, so from October to March I'm catching colds every few weeks no matter how much I do to prevent them. This used to result in me making countless trips to the drug store every month for every cold-curing product I could find. I've never been a fan of putting a ton of chemicals in my body, but it used to seem like the only option to get me back on my feet. 


This past year, I've really tried to be more conscious of what I'm putting in my body, which led me to explore some alternative, natural remedies to replace cough syrup, cough drops (basically candy) and harsh medications I was putting in my body (while understanding, appreciating and utilizing pharmaceuticals when necessary.) 


Below I've listed my top recommendations for fighting a cold the natural way. They're better for you short term + long term, and I promise they'll bring you much more comfort than a gulp of cough syrup.



If you've tried any of these already, or have any of your own holistic cold remedies, leave your thoughts in the comments below! 


If you're reading this because you're currently battling a cold, feel better soon! 


1. Local, Raw Honey

Honey is antiviral, antibacterial, and contains antioxidants. The reason it's important that it's local is that it contains local pollens, helping you to build up immunity to your local allergens. You can add it to tea, or just take it by the spoonful. 


2. Apple Cider Vinegar 

Apple cider vinegar is known for it's anti-bacterial properties and ability to help promote good bacteria in your gut. The easiest way to reap the benefits of ACV is to make yourself a little tea with 2 tablespoons ACV, 1-2 tablespoons of honey (to taste), lemon juice (to taste) and hot water. If you'd rather get it over with, you can take this like a shot, but if you're a baby like me and would rather sip it, you can add a whole cup of water. 


3. Zinc Lozenges

Taking zinc when you have a cold is said to help stop the rhinovirus causing your cold from multiplying. These are essentially cough drops, but make sure you're taking ones with zinc. Take these at the first sign of your cold for best results. 


4. Ginger

Ginger can help a cold by helping clear congestion, reduce inflammation in the body, and supporting your immune system. You can take ginger in the form of capsules, putting grated ginger in a cup of hot water, or simply purchasing a ginger tea. You can hit a few birds with one stone by adding local honey or ACV to your ginger tea. 


5. Increase Vitamin C + D

Every one knows Vitamin C is known for boosting your immune system and fighting colds. You can either take it in the form of 500-2000 milligram capsules, a supplement such as Emergen-C {which also contains zinc, B-Vitamins and electrolytes which can also help you while fighting a cold}, or by eating foods naturally high in Vitamin C like oranges, berries, and dark leafy greens. Vitamin D is good for helping to prevent colds, so during cold season I add it to my daily vitamin regime. 


6. Neti Pot

I know they're kind of gross, but they really work. If you've never used a Neti pot before, it essentially uses salt water to flush all of the dust, bacteria, and mucus out of your nasal cavities. Most Neti pots come with salt packets, but you can also just add about 1tbsp of table salt to warm water. 


7. Eucalyptus Oil 

Eucalyptus is another anti-inflammatory beneficial in fighting colds, plus, it's scent is super relaxing. My favorite way to reap the benefits of eucalyptus oil is tying a bushel of it to my shower head so when I take a hot shower, steam is released from the plant. If you don't like the idea of a plant in your shower, you can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the bottom of your shower/tub before taking a shower. If you're looking for a more intense eucalyptus steam experience, you can add a few drops to boiling water and put your face over it. Breathe deeply for 5-10 minutes and enjoy the anti-inflammatory mini-facial. 


8. Lay Off The Sugar + Dairy  

Sugar weakens your immune system, and dairy contributes to mucus production, which if you have a cold, you definitely do not need any more of. Opts for sugar-free and dairy-free options of your favorite comfort foods like popsicles, ice cream, and mac + cheese. 


9. Rest

If you're anything like me, you ain't got time for a sick day. With our busy schedules, we underestimate just how much sleep can do for our bodies, and neglecting it will only make us sicker in the end. Take the day off early on, you'll thank yourself later.


10. Lavender Bath 

I'll take any excuse to take a hot bath, and adding lavender oil to it is like your own at-home spa experience. You can also add eucalyptus or thyme oil to release some pressure in your head. Make the water as hot as you can stand it to help soothe your body and sweat out all the toxins making you sick. Plus, the steam will help clear your sinuses. Pour yourself a large glass of water {save the wine for a not-sick time}, light some candles, and relax! 


11. Andrographis 

Andrographis is an herb used to treat infections and inflammation, and can be taken orally to reduce the duration of pretty much any cold. You can find Andrographis in the vitamin aisle at health stores like Whole Foods and some nicer grocery stores will carry it as well. You can also have it on your doorstep tomorrow by ordering it on Amazon here.


12. Salt Water Gargle

Another gross, but effective remedy. Salt will help kill all the bacteria in your throat, helping relieve coughs and sore throats if done regularly. 


13. Spicy Foods 

The easiest, most effective way to clear those sinuses out. If you have an upset stomach, I wouldn't recommend spicy foods, but if you're just fighting nasal systems, crank up that cayenne and siracha. 





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