Friday, 1 June 2012

Natural Remedies for Colds & Flu

Here are a couple of home remedies we use for preventing and fighting off colds & flu.  They are not magic cures, but have helped us avoid coughs and colds turning into anything worse, and get rid of them a little sooner than usual, although some people will be able to avoid them altogether using these tips :-)

Chicken Stock! 

Chicken soup made from scratch with lots of chicken bones (save your roast leftovers in the freezer for stock making day!) and 2 TBS of vinegar (helps to draw the minerals out of the bones) contains natural antibiotics and will boost your immune system, helping to fight off the winter ills.  Not an old-wives tale after all, this has actually been scientifically proven to contain these goodies!


Take at least 2 or 3 chicken carcasses (or whole chicken/s, cooked about 30 - 45 minutes, then remove and take off the meat and return the bones to the stock, putting the meat in the fridge to add back into the soup later).  I like to order free-range chicken frames, which actually have enough meat on them to make a nice chicken and vegetable soup.

Bring bones to the boil with 2 TBS vinegar, then reduce to a simmer for 6 - 24 hours.  In the last hour or so, add in a couple of chopped onions, celery and a carrots.  Strain bones and veges (chuck them out) and allow stock to cool, transferring to the fridge.  When cold, scoop off chicken fat that has risen to the top and freeze stock for later or make soup straight away.  The stock can also be used for rice risotto type dishes or anything that uses stock and you will get the benefit of this immune boosting, natural antibiotic, mineral rich stock, even if soup isn't your thing.

Coconut Oil & Active Manuka Honey!

Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties and boosts the immune system (and the metabolism!).  Add it to smoothies, or eat if off the spoon.  I like to mix it with Active Manuka Honey (my favourite is Mossops UMF 5+ because it's a raw honey and cheaper than the other brands - I buy it from New World New Lynn) to feed to the kids when they have a cough or cold.  Also very dark chocolate (I like Green & Blacks 85%, but it does contain a small amount of raw organic sugar) helps with bad coughs. 

You can read more about the benefits of coconut oil here in a collection of articles by Dr Mary Enig (author of 'Nourishing Traditions' and 'Eat Fat, Lose Fat' - a book I highly recommend!).  Coconut oil has a very impressive list of uses and remedies.

Check out this list of 80 Uses for Coconut Oil.

Clean Air Indoors!

Apparently, it's not the cold weather that makes us more prone to colds & flu in the winter, it's the fact that we spend so much time cooped up inside with little fresh air, so the germs get passed around more easily.  So make sure you are opening the windows for at least an hour a day (even when it's cold!) to let the fresh air in, and try and have a couple of windows around the house that are always left open a crack.  Also having pot plants, especially these types, such as Peace Lillies. ferns and palms, which will purify the air for you, which is especially helpful during the coldest parts of winter when you can't have the windows open too much.

Just as a little side note, sadly, it is just a myth that a cut onion will absorb bacteria in a room, so don't even bother with that old wives tale!

Natural Vitamin C!

Forget the synthetic vitamins you can buy...these are hard for your body to absorb and it's always better to get your vitamins from whole food sources.  I like to eat a couple of kiwifruit a day during winter.  You can read why kiwifruit is a better source than supplements here.  You can view a table with the vitamin C content of various fruits here.  If you'd rather have a supplement, a good one is Acerola Powder, which is a whole food source, but doesn't seem to be readily available in NZ, except added into Lifestream Spirulina Powder + C, which would be a great supplement to take over winter if you don't/can't eat alot of fruit, and you can fit it into your budget.

Apple Cider Vinegar!

Apple Cider Vingar (ACV) has a very long list of conditions that it is reported to help with.  Buy the real stuff (raw & unfiltered - I like this one because it's made in NZ).

Sore Throats

The good old favourite lemon and honey drink works a treat, and you can boost it's effects by adding two tablespoons of ACV (Apple Cider Vinegar) and a big teaspoon of Active Manuka Honey. 

You can also gargle half a teaspoon of sea salt in half a cup of warm water (kills the germs), which works especially well if you catch it early.  A tsp of ACV in half a cup of warm water will also do the same as the salt (and I guess you could combine the two!).

Well, hopefully you picked up a tip or two you can use and I didn't spend a good part of my Saturday writing this blog post (instead of doing housework) in vain!  LOL.

Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Great post! We try and eat a whole food diet too and I'm a big believer in natural remedies. Jeremy and Ben are gluten free and Ben is allergic to egg so that makes life interesting but one good thing about it is that it's taught me to really look at what we eat. I look forward to reading your posts!

    1. Thanks Becs! I am discovering that I'm intolerent to dairy and grains (and getting more so over time), so I'm working on changing my diet at the moment certainly does make things a little more tricky! I suspect a few of our kids are lactose intolerent too, but at the moment they are still having a lot of dairy. I'm going to try and wean them off it! We currently get 14L of Raw milk every week and I make heaps of yoghurt and kefir which is yummy, but we're going to have to cut down!