You’re going to love these 26 homemade recipes for cold and flu season. Now you can feel better the natural way!
26 Homemade Recipes To Fight Off Cold And Flu
We all know it’s coming with its inevitable tide of nausea, aches, and congestion – cold and flu season is here. I’ve tested multiple natural home remedies for colds, coughs, and flu and have been happy with the results of most of the remedies I’ve tried. Bare in mind that these remedies may be effective to me but not to you so don’t treat this article as a medical basis for your illness. I’ve been homesteading for years now and my body has adapted to natural remedies that may not apply to you so please please please be cautious and don’t self-medicate. I strongly suggest you consult your doctor before doing any of the home remedies on this list.
1. Grapefruit Seed Extract
Grapefruit Seed Extract provides a wealth of antioxidants making it the perfect immune system booster. Put 5 to 15 drops in a small cup of juice. If using capsules, take 2 capsules, 3 times daily. I suggest, though, to use it as a preventative measure rather than a cure for your cold or cough.
Note: Grapefruit Seed Extract should not be used during breastfeeding; also exercise caution if giving it to a child. It can be strong and cause stomachaches.
2. Catnip Tea
This is one of my favorite home remedies for bringing down a fever. Catnip induces sweating and acts as a sedative to ensure the deep sleep you’ll need after your fever breaks. I buy my catnip in bulk and brew it in a tea bag or strainer.
Note: Avoid use while pregnant as it can induce contractions.
3. Tea Tree Oil
To ease a sore throat place a drop of medicinal grade tea tree oil on your finger and suck it off; repeat as needed. Tea tree oil is also used as a natural remedy to treat congestion when added to a hot bath. I tried this one and it helped ease my headache too.
4. Hot Salt Water
Saltwater draws out the bacteria and provides a bacteria fighting environment. Gargle salt water (1/2 sea salt to 6 oz water) 3 times in 10-second intervals. Do this 3-4 times a day. This will not cure your cold or your cough but it does relieve sore throat.
5. Apple Cider Vinegar
To help your body fight infection, cut through phlegm and ease a sore throat sip a mixture of hot water, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of raw honey. I’m also a fan of this remedy.
6. Sinus Tea
Brew tea: green, black, or herbal (mild tasting teas do better with this remedy). Add a pinch of cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon raw honey, and juice of half a lemon. Mix well and drink the tea as hot as you can to loosen mucus and soothe a sore throat.
7. Activated Charcoal
Take doses according to directions on the label to bind toxins and sickness-causing germs in the digestive tract. Drink lots of water to flush all the harmful toxins out. I’ve heard many good things about carbonated charcoal, but I personally haven’t tried them.
8. Bentonite Clay
Bentonite clay works similarly to activated charcoal where it binds and flushes out toxins. Bentonite clay can also be used in a bath to relax sore muscles and draw out toxins. You can purchase it in liquid or powder form.
9. Garlic Oil
Garlic acts as an antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal. It kills antibiotic resistant bacteria by ingestion for flu and cold relief. For ear aches, place 1 drop warm garlic oil in each ear, or place a small garlic clove in the ear and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. The ear is a very delicate organ close to your brain, if you’re not used to doing this please consult a professional, first.
10. Valerian Tincture
If you’re having trouble sleeping well just take 2-3 tablespoons of valerian tincture 30 minutes before bedtime. Your body needs rest to recover and Valerian Root made a HUGE difference for me in being able to rest well at night.
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11. Omega 3 Oil
This home remedy essential is especially good for boosting children’s immune system; I place ½ to 1 tsp oil in our children’s juice (mix well). The taste is very fishy and is not received well so I never give it to them on its own.
12. Grated Horseradish
For a severe congestion-busting blast, grate fresh horseradish and take a small amount. To protect against upset stomach and wait until after a meal to do this.
13. Elderberry Extract
Elderberry extract has been tested repeatedly and is found to lessen the duration of illness by as much as four days. In addition to being highly efficient on fighting up to 10 strains of flu virus almost all of the scientific studies administered on elderberry have been used in a commercial product known as Sambucol, which you can find in liquid form from several different companies.
Make sure to have a supply of dried thyme or thyme essential oil because it will come in handy if any member of the family catches a cold or flu. Thyme is a popular expectorant, it clears out your lungs, thus it will help you feel better quicker. You can brew an herbal tea by steeping two teaspoons of fresh thyme in a cup of boiling-hot water for 10 minutes. Or, make a thyme steam bath.
15. Licorice Root
There have been a couple of studies showing licorice root extracts can fight off the flu and it filters the avian flu virus. Like thyme, I use licorice root as a natural expectorant. A couple of companies already making licorice root teas and supplements, but if using those, ensure they contain the actual licorice; some products – like licorice candy, often don’t contain any of the herbs but instead contain anise seed, which only tastes like licorice. Always talk to a pharmacist or doctor if you’re taking any prescriptions, as licorice has been known to intervene with some medications.
16. Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil is one of the most used oils in my cabinets during the winter season. It acts as an antibacterial, antifungal, analgesic (pain-reliever) and expectorant. At night, bust congestion by placing a few drops of the oil on a soft cloth and place it under your pillow so the fumes will diffuse throughout the night. During the day, place a few drops on a handkerchief and use as needed. While suffering lots of congestion or a painful cough, I also mix the eucalyptus oil with a little coconut oil which acts as a vapor rub. To relieve aches, massage a couple drops onto affected area 3 times daily.
17. Ginger Root
Just like the horseradish, grate the root and eat a spoonful. While ginger is known to aid with nausea, be sure to eat with a meal to prevent an upset stomach as fresh ginger can be more acidic.
18. Peppermint Oil
To get rid of any nausea the flu may cause you, rub 4-6 drops of peppermint oil on your abdomen, focusing on the naval area. Peppermint can also be used to reduce a fever by rubbing 5 drops of the oil onto the bottom of each foot. For congestion relief, just put a drop on your tongue and inhale – the peppermint will do the rest!
19. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is naturally abundant of lauric acid, that the body changes into a mixture with strong antimicrobial properties. This helps strengthen the immune system and deter illness. It can be consumed with food, liquefied into hot tea or consumed straight out of the jar.
20. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
The abundance of omega-3s makes this ideal for degrading inflammation (great for those swelling sinus areas), while naturally continuing levels of vitamins D and A help promote immune health. While you are sick you can double the suggested daily dose for boost immune support.
21. Nasal Wash
Use an eyedropper or a Netipot to pour a nasal wash through your nose to help clear up sinus troubles and congestion. Use 1 cup warm water, 1 tsp. natural salt (you can add more for more “punch” but it does sting), and 1/8 tsp baking soda to create this home remedy. Mix well, and while standing over a sink tilt your head to one side and slowly pour it through the nostril that is facing upwards. The fluid should drain out of your nose along with congestion.
22. Warm Liquids
Herbal teas, homemade bone stock, and hot lemon liquid help boost the immune system and relieve you when feeling ill. Ginger is helpful for clearing up sinuses and congestion. Chamomile helps decrease inflammation and has a calming effect, which can provide better sleep. I specially love turmeric hot drink!
23. Detox Bath
This will pull toxins from your body out through your skin. Mix 2 cups epsom salt, 1/4 cup grated ginger and any essential oils you please (best to use tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil, in my experience) into a bath. The temperature should be as hot as you can stand it without causing discomfort. Stay in the bath for 30 minutes or so (listen to your body – if it’s telling you to get out, then get out). All the toxins in your body will sweat through your skin. Be sure someone else is home that can help you as you may experience dizziness and lightheadedness after the bath.
24. Herbal Steam
In case you aren’t feeling well enough to withstand a bath or do not have a tub, an herbal steam is an excellent alternative. Put hot water that is just under boiling in a bowl with your preference of herbs (I use peppermint, tea tree, and peppermint oil). Use a towel as a ‘tent’ and put your head under it and close to the surface of the bowl being careful not to touch the water.
Note: Essential oils are strong and can be irritating to the eyes, so lower your head slowly to the bowl to avoid irritation.
25. Herbal Shower
Another alternative to the bath and the steam, the herbal shower can be done one of two ways. If you wish to be in the shower, place a washcloth with essential oils of your choosing (I would recommend the same ones used for the herbal steam) on the floor of your shower. As the steam rises, so will the oils and your body temp, pushing out all the toxins. For young children or if you are feeling faint, use the same process, but instead sit outside the shower and let the steam and oils do their work.
Add 3-5 drops of essential oils into a diffuser to create a lessened effect of the herbal bowl. Again, my favorites to use are peppermint, eucalyptus, and tea tree oil. This can also be enhanced by using a humidifier along with the diffuser.
Want to see how to make a homemade recipe for cold and flu? Check out this video from Honeysuckle:
Please remember that not all of these homemade recipes are for everyone. You should consult your doctor or physician before using them. Extra caution should be taken when administering these remedies to children or if you are pregnant.
Which homemade recipes for cold and flu will you use this season? Let us know how it went in the comments section below.
Want to know what are Mother nature’s best home remedies? Check out Mother nature’s best home remedies and I know you’ll be running into your garden once you find out what are they!
regarding grapefruit seed extract..does that interfere with some blood pressure meds like the grapefruit itself does?
Riley Carlson says
Hi Janet! I can’t speak for that personally as I am not a qualified physician. I would recommend talking to your doctor before taking anything especially if you are taking other medications. Thanks for your comment!
I was glad to see you included coconut oil in your article. It has amazing healing properties. All the processed oil we now use is doing us serious harm. I switch it out with the coconut oil to be used in just about all baking, I fry with it, or use instead of butter in rice dishes. Sometimes you can taste it, most of the time you can’t, but even if you can it is very mild and pleasant taste. The measurement is the same, if you need 1/2 cup oil, just add 1/2 cup coconut oil instead. You want to buy only organic, virgin, cold-processed oil. Anything else is processed at too high a temperature and it destroys the healing properties.
All in all, I thought the article was great and had a lot of information that you could use. I didn’t understand the Elderberry Extract piece, it didn’t have enough information for me to determine what it is I should be buying, the extract or the Sambucol? Why the vodka in the picture? Do I have to mix the extract with it for it to work? I enjoyed visiting your site and will be coming back a lot. Thanks!
Hey, I just thought I would drip by and say what a great post this is. I featured you in my latest blog post as I currently have a cold so I am doing my best to relieve its symptoms!
Thanks so much xx
When I was a baby my mom gave me catnip tea to help settle me down and sleep. I bought some for my grandson who has trouble sleeping, and although it didn’t work as well for him as it did for me (according to Mom), it did help a bit. Depending on what my respiratory problem is, I will use honey (cough), whiskey (bronchitis), or sit in the bathroom with the shower running, just hot water (nasal stuffiness). This also helps me cough up mucus when I have bronchitis. Grandpa swore by hot toddies (lemon, honey and whiskey mix, heated). Even if you can treat only one symptom, it’s bound to make you feel a bit better.
The only natural remedy for a cold or flu that has worked for me is BioProtein Plus. Since I started taking it 3 years ago I haven’t been sick or had to go the doctor.
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This post is amazing. My homemade recipes for the flu mostly include lemon, salt, warm water, honey and ginger. I make something like a hot lemonade like that jaja It doesnt have the best taste, but really works.
For #21, nasal wash, you must use distilled water, NOT tap water!
For #23, the detox bath, you must drink lots of water while sweating in the bathtub!!! Otherwise, you’ll be sick, dehydrated, and too dizzy to stand. The detox bath works, but one must drink water while soaking in this solution. Also, might want to bring a book or some magazines to help pass the time.
Please update post to include these tidbits.
marilyn thomas says
I would like to know how i can get oil’s like in so many at a time i us Frankincense oil for my Ulces pain when it starts hurting ,would like to buy like a kit or so many each month ,or tell me how your oil’s work .Thank you .