Natural Ways to Combat the Cold and Flu

Natural Ways to Combat the Cold and Flu

by Cordelia Howell

Herbal Pillow

  1. Cut your fabric into two square pieces. Each piece should be the same size as your finished pillow plus half an inch seam allowance. A six-inch square is good, but you can make it any size you choose.
  2. Place the right sides of the fabric pillow facing each other. Sew them together along three sides, leaving the fourth open for stuffing. Turn the sewn fabric the right side out and press with an iron.
  3. Place your choice of herbs in a bowl and add your fixative. Different mixtures of herbs are used for different things:
    • Restful herbs – Chamomile, hops, lavender, rose petals, lemon verbena and mint
    • Herbs for a crying baby – Lavender, catnip and mugwort
    • Herbs to induce dreams – Balsam needles, lavender, rosemary, sweet marjoram
    • Herbs to relieve headaches – Chamomile, lavender, rosemary
    • Herbs for romantic slumber – Sweet marjoram, lavender, rose petals, lemon grass
    • Herbs for cold and flu are listed below.
  4. Leave your pillow in an air-proof bag for at least a day before you use it. This allows the scent to strengthen and enhances its therapeutic effects.
  5. At bedtime or naptime, tuck your herbal pillow inside your regular pillowcase, attach it to your pillow or just lay it beside you.

Herbal Inhaler for Stuffy Nose

  • 2 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried yarrow
  • 1/4 cup fresh or 2 tablespoons dried peppermint
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fresh or 2 teaspoons dried thyme

Place the water in a saucepan on the stove. Add all of the herbs. Simmer uncovered over low heat for 30 to 45 minutes. This allows the herbal essences to drift through the house. Do not allow the pan’s contents to boil dry. To simmer these herbs without having to keep as close an eye on them, place the herbs and hot water in a slow cooker.

Leave it uncovered and set on high. This can be left unsupervised for an hour or two.

Cold Remedies

Apple Cider Vinegar


It has been found that the pH factor (the acidity factor) of the body becomes a bit more alkaline prior to a cold or flu striking you down. When you take apple cider vinegar it helps to rebalance the acid level of your body. One teaspoon of ACV to ½ cup of water several times a day.  Another remedy for colds and flu, and said to be specifically beneficial for chest complaints during the winter, is to soak a piece of brown paper with apple cider vinegar, and to place pepper on the one side of the paper. You then tie the paper, pepper side down, on to your chest and leave on for 25 – 30 minutes.

Two teaspoons of ACV and 1-2 teaspoons of honey mixed with a glassful of water should be taken before meals, or when the irritation occurs.

Sore throat

A gargle made from apple cider vinegar and water could prove to be a great relief for a sore throat – be that a bacterial or virus infection. The solution is a 50/50 mixture, and it is best to spit out the solution after gargling, which should be repeated every hour. After gargling rinse the mouth with clean water to prevent the acid from eroding the enamel on your teeth.

Ginger Honey Cough Remedy

  • Half ounce of fresh Ginger
  • Half a stick of Cinnamon
  • Honey

Boil the above ingredients for about 8 minutes, and ingest while still very warm. This will cause you to get rid of that nasty winter cold that you may contract.

Kick the Cold and Flu

This remedy works extremely well for the flu, as well as colds:

  • Half an inch fresh Ginger root, grated
  • A clove of garlic (two or more, if you can stand it), minced
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne powder
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Honey

Pour boiling water over the other ingredients and let it stand for 20 minutes or until cool enough to chug down. Remember that it’s a medicine and is not meant to be sipped!

Herbs for Cold/Flu

Oregano is used to promote perspiration as a treatment for colds, flu, and fevers. It is used in baths and inhalations, as well drinking the infusion, to clear lungs and bronchial passages. Pregnant women should not ingest large amounts of oregano.

Thyme — is an anti-parasitical agent and a powerful antiseptic. A fusion of thyme has been known to help bronchitis, colds, and whooping cough.  It is used in cases of anemia, bronchial ailments, and intestinal problems. It is used as an antiseptic against tooth decay, and destroys fungal infections as in athlete’s foot and skin parasites such as crabs and lice. It is good for sore throats, headaches, whooping cough and colds as the active constituents are known to loosen and expel mucous and as a digestive aid and a hangover remedy.

Turmeric — is used externally to heal wounds, relieve pain, and as a compress to break up chest congestion.

Echinacea liquid extract: Rich in immune-stimulating chemicals, Echinacea can be used for any type of infection. Liquid extracts are the most versatile because they can be used both internally and externally.

Elderberry capsules or liquid extract: Elderberry is essential for stopping a cold or flu from ruining your vacation. The berries contain compounds that prevent cold and flu viruses from invading and infecting cells. If you’re flying or otherwise potentially exposed to viruses, taking elderberry is a good preventive. If you do come down with a cold or flu, taking elderberry can hasten your recovery time.

Eucalyptus essential oil: A potent antibiotic and antiviral, eucalyptus is excellent for treating colds, flu’s and sinus infections when used as a steam inhalation. Dilute with oil or witch hazel extract before applying to the skin, and do not take internally.

Peppermint essential oil and tea bags: With its high concentration of menthol, peppermint soothes an upset stomach, clears sinuses and curbs itching from insect bites. If you have sensitive skin, dilute peppermint oil before applying. Taken internally, peppermint may aggravate heartburn.

Dill is useful in combating a chronic cough and does well when added to other herbs for the treatment of cough and colds.

Cilantro The essential oils of the cilantro leaves contain antibacterial properties and can be used as a fungicide. Rich in vitamin C.

Marjoram leaf is an expectorant that has long been used to loosen and expel phlegm from the lungs. It is a fine decongestant that is very useful for bronchial complaints, especially relieving congestion and mucus in the chest and sinuses. Marjoram leaf helps to ease Asthma, bronchitis, dry coughs, and sinusitis and sinus headaches. It possesses sedative qualities that help to relieve insomnia, tension headaches and migraines.

Cinnamon has a germicidal effect. Almost all highly aromatic herbs display some ability to reduce fungal infections and bacteria levels, and cinnamon in mouthwashes and gargles can help treat just these types of infections in the mouth.
To make cinnamon tea: Boil 1 teaspoon of dried bark in a cup of water.

Ginger–By combining the complementary ginger with garlic their anti-viral qualities are an excellent cure for colds and flu. Brewed as a tea, it induces sweating, which helps fevers run their course. It also tones and helps boost the immune system.

  • For a cup of fresh ginger tea, steep about five or six thin slices of ginger root to hot water. Add lemon and honey if desired.
  • Fresh ginger can be stored in the refrigerator in an airy container for up to three weeks if it is left unpeeled. Stored unpeeled in the freezer, it will keep for up to six months.

Garlic– The biting aroma of the allium family plants is due to its sulfur-rich, volatile oil, allicin. It is this substance that is primarily responsible for the power of garlic and onions to kill bacteria and stimulate circulation.

Garlic is not only antibacterial, but antiviral, antiseptic, anti-parasitic, antifungal, immune-stimulating, antispasmodic, hypo-tensive, diaphoretic, anti-protozoan, anthelmintic, and cholagogue.  Garlic kills bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract immediately on contact. To treat an active intestinal bacterial infection, consume lots of raw or cooked garlic, or take garlic capsules.

Honey can, and should be, thought of as a super food. It is a live food, stores its vitamins and minerals indefinitely, and is very easily digested by the body. Honey is an all around health and vitality enhancing substance.  Honey increases vitality, energy, immunity, libido, and life force.

Honey is antibacterial, helps to build the immune system because of its abundance of antioxidants.

Honey Relieves Coughs: Boil a whole lemon slowly for 10 minutes. Cut the lemon in 2 and extract the juice. Add juice to a 4 oz glass. Then add 2 Tablespoons of glycerine and fill the remaining glass with honey.

Dosage: 1 teaspoon during the day. Stir with spoon before taking. If you have a night-time cough, take 1 teaspoon right before retiring and then another one during the night. If your cough is severe, take concoction every 4 hours. As the cough gets better, you take less and less.

  • Honey for Asthma, Bronchitis and Cold/Cough: Right before going to bed, take a mixture of 1 tsp. honey with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon.

Mullein–The dried leaves are sometimes smoked in an ordinary tobacco pipe to relieve the irritation of the respiratory mucus membranes, and will completely control, the hacking cough of consumption. It is considered of much value in upper respiratory complaints, being given in the form of an infusion, 1 OZ. of dried, or the corresponding quantity of fresh leaves being boiled for 10 minutes in a pint of milk, and when strained, given warm, thrice daily, with or without sugar.

A plain infusion of 1 OZ. to a pint of boiling water can also be employed, taken in wineglassful doses frequently.

People use the tea as a beverage, but its best known as one of the safest, most effective herbal cough remedies. Mullein is an expectorant, and a tonic for the lungs, mucus membranes, and glands. An infusion is good for colds, emphysema, asthma, hay fever, and whooping cough. Strain the infusion through a cloth or the hairs may get stuck in your throat and make you cough even more.

Mullein Cough Drops

½ cup mullein leaves, packed
1 cup boiling water
1 1/3 cup brown sugar

Steep the leaves in the boiled water, covered, for one hour. Strain. Add brown sugar. Boil until the mixture reaches the soft candy stage, then pour onto a greased cookie sheet. With a butter knife, score out squares while the mixture is still soft. Allow to cool completely, then break into individual squares. Wrap each drop in waxed paper.

Mullein syrup is made from boiling 2-3 handfuls of mullein flowers in 2 ¼ cups water on top of which 1 1/3 cups of sugar are put. It is then boiled until the mixture becomes thick and sticky. It is recommended for the adults to consume 3 spoons a day and for children (up to 5-6 years old) only 1 spoonful a day.

Cold/Flu recipes

Cut an onion into small pieces, pour honey on the pieces, and leave for a few hours. Swallow one spoon every 4 hours.

Boil 1 cup of water, add 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds, cook for 5 minutes, cool and drink.

The following recipes can be used for both Cold and ‘Flu:


  • steep 2 teaspoon Peppermint leaves or tea in 6 ounces of boiling water dissolve 1/2 teaspoons of pure honey…drink often
  • steep 11/2 teaspoon dried Sage and 1/2 teaspoon of lemon thyme in 6 ounces of boiling water, strain, add honey to taste…drink 3 – 6 cups per day
  • steep 1 teaspoon of thyme, 1 teaspoon of dried Hyssop sweeten with honey to taste (decongestant)…up to 4 cups per day
  • steep 2 tablespoons of rose-hip tea(this is a great source of Vitamin C) in 8 ounces of hot water and sweeten to taste…drink often
  • boil 3 tablespoons of grated sassafras root in 18 ounces of water let sit for 6-8 hours, strain, reheat 3 ounces at a time (just hot enough to sooth sore throat) sweeten to taste with honey and add 1 teaspoon of pure lemon juice (sip slowly and let sit at back of throat)…every 2 – 3 hours
  • steep 2 teaspoons dried echinacea in 8 ounces of boiling water, once cool enough to drink add 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and sweeten to taste…drink often.

Caramelized sugar cough syrup technique: in large saucepan measure 3 cups of sugar place on stove burner stirring until melted and a dark golden brown, all at once add 2 cups of cold water [careful melted sugar can burn very deeply] sugar will ball around spoon for a couple of minutes but will melt again shortly. Used in any type of tea this syrup will add a delicious flavor, it will last in the fridge for approx. 3 months.

Children and teenagers with symptoms of flu or chickenpox should not take aspirin or products containing aspirin or other salicylates. Use of these products in young flu and chickenpox sufferers has been associated with Reye syndrome, a rare condition that can be fatal. Because cold symptoms can be similar to those of the flu, it’s best not to give aspirin to people under 20 with these types of symptoms.

Over the counter (OTC) medications are often used for symptom relief. Here is an explanation of what’s on the shelf:

Analgesics relieve aches and pains and reduce fever. Examples: acetaminophen, aspirin, ibuprofen, ketoprofen, naproxen. Warning: Children and teenagers shouldn’t be given aspirin.

Anti-tussives tell your brain to stop coughing. Don’t take an anti-tussive if you’re coughing up mucus. Example: dextromethorphan.

Expectorants help thin mucus so it can be coughed up more easily. Example: guaifenesin.

Oral decongestant shrinks the nasal passages and reduce congestion. Examples: ephedrine, pseudo-ephedrine.

Make your own antiseptic spray and lotion!

During the time of the Black Plague a family of perfumers made a living by robbing the dead. As perfumers they knew the antiseptic essential oils, and they infused them in vinegar and rubbed them on their bodies; by doing so they protected themselves from certain death from handling those who died of the plague.

The doctors of that time used these same herbs and essential oils to protect themselves while tending to those who were contagious. They wore big cloaks over their heads and attached to the cloak (over the nose and mouth) was a 10” long canoe-like shaped beak, full of antiseptic herbs and essential oils, one could call it a precursor to the modern day gas mask.

Vinegar of the Four Thieves recipe aka Grave Robber’s Blend.

  • Place a small handful each of dried lavender, rosemary, sage, rue and mint in a large jar, and cover completely with organic apple cider vinegar. You can check out my show archives and show notes from January 25th for instructions on how to make your own organic apple cider vinegar.
  • Cover tightly and allow it to set undisturbed for 6 weeks.
  • When the time is up, strain your vinegar into a bottle or container. Spray bottles work great for this.
  • Spray this on cuts, scrapes, etc. You can also spray this around your home, cutting boards, counter tops, door knobs, etc. Just be careful not to get it in your eyes.


Hyssop is a blood nourisher, an immune system strengthener, and possesses potent antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial activity.

Hyssop contains a number of camphor-like constituents that help to loosen phlegm.  Hyssop has traditionally been used as a remedy against colds, flu, coughs, bronchial congestion, pulmonary distress, asthma, sinus congestion, and sore throats. A  syrup made from the flowering tops of hyssop is especially soothing.

Usnea, or old man’s beard as it is commonly called, is a common lichen found hanging from trees around the world. It possesses strong antibacterial and antifungal agents and is a potent immune stimulant.

Usnea is actually two plants in one. The inner plant looks like a thin white stretchy thread or rubber band, especially when wet. The outer plant gives usnea its color and grows around the inner plant. The inner part is a potent immune stimulant, the outer part strongly antibacterial.

Usnea is effective in tincture form, 30-60 drops, 4 times daily to boost immunity, 6 times daily to treat an active infection. Drink 2-4 cups of infusion for acute illness. Use 10 drops in an ounce of water and use as a nasal spray to treat sinus infections.

Usnea can sometimes be irritating to delicate mucous membranes of the mouth, nose, and throat, so the tincture should always be diluted in water before using. Usnea easily absorbs heavy toxic metals and can be potentially toxic, so gather in a clean place.

Pine needles contain 5 times the vitamin C found in lemons and several other citrus fruits. A handful of pine needles or ¼ cup of fresh chopped needles, steeped in boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes provides 100% of the USRDA of vitamin C.

Pine needles are also an anti-mutagen. By drinking 3 cups of pine needle tea daily, you are increasing the strength of your immune system to do battle against any virus that attempts to mutate within your system.

They used pine oil to treat lung infections and added it to baths to revitalize those who were suffering from mental or emotional fatigue. Additionally, the needles and shoots have been prepared in various ways for use with coughs, bronchial complaints and rheumatic pain.  When taken internally, Scots pine needles have a mild antiseptic effect within the chest.

Essential oil from the needles have been used to reduce or completely eliminate the symptoms of asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory infections, and for digestive orders.

Resveratrol, a natural compound found in Scots pine, grapes, peanuts and other plants, has been touted as an anti-cancer agent and a phytoestrogen (acts like estrogen in the body). Resveratrol may protect against cancer and cardiovascular disease by acting as an antioxidant, anti-mutagen, and anti-inflammatory. It has also been confirmed to reduce the occurrence of skin tumors.


Immune activating fungi have been used as allies against disease for millennia.

There are many common medicinal mushrooms with immune enhancing properties, including maitake, the abundant birch polypores, turkey tails, honey mushrooms, and hens of the woods.

Shitake mushrooms have been used in China for thousands of years to mobilize the immune system to fight off disease. An immuno-stimulant, shitake increases the activity of the human immune system against any invading organism.


This is one of the effective herbal home remedy for ear ache using Garlic oil : Garlic is a natural antibiotic. You just have to take bulb of garlic and crush it well. Put it in small jar and pour some olive oil in it and let the mixture settle for day or two. Before applying, warm up the oil for some time and then allow it to cool at room temperature. Apply in the affected ear with the help of a dropper and cover the ear hole with some cotton ball. Keep this for at least 20 minutes before washing. Try this for at least 3 to 4 times a day. This will completely remove ear ache.


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