Suffering from a cold is uncomfortable and inconvenient, however sometimes it’s a necessary “system upgrade” so to speak. If you’ve got young ones at home, you’ve probably already learned that avoiding a cold or a flu from time to time is nearly impossible. Little humans are building their immune systems and part of that includes getting bugs and beating them. This is nature’s way of ensuring the body can get through hard times and develop immunity to certain strains of viruses down the road. With that said, no one is arguing that being sick is a drag. So if you’re sniffling as you read, check out this list of superfoods, herbs and natural remedies that can help you recover faster and get back to feeling like yourself again.
1. Turmeric for inflammation
This brightly colored orange root is being studied intensely these days for its potent anti-inflammatory effects on the body. Some scientists are beginning to discover that consuming turmeric on the regular may lead to an increased lifespan. Curcuminoids are the phytochemicals that give turmeric its punch and in recent years over 9,000 studies have been conducted to investigate the healing possibilities Turmeric has to offer. Turmeric is available in powder form as a spice which can be used for soups and other meal ideas, or it can be taken at more medicinal doses in capsule or tincture form. A tincture is an extra potent herbal dosage, usually extracted in alcohol.
While the medicinal benefits of Ginger are no longer active in store-bought Ginger ale, you’re wise to incorporate real Ginger into your healing regimen when you’ve got a cold or flu. Full of anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties, Ginger really works. You can slice it and boil it in hot water, and use ginger powder or fresh grated ginger in your recipes. If you’re looking for recipe ideas that integrate ginger, try this one.
For a cold remedy, mix a few drops of ginger essential oil in warm water with lemon and honey for an anti-fungal, bacteria killing recovery tea.
Anti-fungal Ginger Tea
1-3 drops of ginger essential oil
1.5 cups warm/hot water
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp. raw honey
3. Bone Broth
Bone broth has been used throughout the ages to nurse someone back to health when in the throes of cold or flu. This is in part, due to how rich in minerals bone broth can be. Chicken bone broth especially adds the much needed nourishment to your body when you’ve come down with something because it contains an amino acid called cysteine. Cysteine can help thin out the mucous in your lungs making it easier for you to expel from your body. Other amino acids and fats help lower inflammation levels, while the broth itself is simple for the gut to digest. Eating simply in times of illness gives your body an edge to focus on regeneration and healing rather than directing that energy towards digestion.
Cold & Flu Recovery Broth:
4 Cups Chicken bone broth
2 Cloves Crushed garlic
1 Tbsp. Crushed ginger
2-3 Tbsp. Dulse or seaweed
½ Tsp. Turmeric powder
Pinch of Cayenne
Salt to taste
These little medicinal berries are traditionally concocted into a syrup and consumed during times of cold and flu. Rich in Vitamin C, Elderberry helps to boost the immune system and lowers inflammation too. In Panama in 1995 they used Elderberry to treat a flu epidemic and it’s been used throughout the ages for this very purpose. You can add the dried berries to make a tea, or more commonly cook them with honey to make an elderberry syrup that can also aid a sore throat.
A compound called Allicin is largely responsible for the antibacterial effects found in Garlic. Numerous studies have been conducted on garlic and its impacts on the cold and flu. In one study with a focus on aged garlic extract, colds were shown to reduce in length up to 61%. Source 1.
Add crushed garlic to your bone broth soup and supplement with aged garlic extract when you’re feeling low to recover more quickly and kill bad bacteria off in your body. Be sure to supplement with probiotics during this time as well to create harmony in your gut.
6. Cordyceps Mushroom
You can find cordyceps mushroom in capsule form at most health food stores or organic grocers. The mushroom kingdom is full of natural wonders that provide a host of benefits from killing cancer cells, soaking up radiation to boosting the immune system and fighting influenza. Cordyceps in particular are proven helpful for combatting a flu and may also help support the lungs when under stress. Source 2. Take cordyceps to aid symptoms like coughing and wheezing and give your immune system a lift.
7. Manuka Honey
Manuka honey is a raw honey produced in New Zealand that is much richer in enzymes than most other raw honeys and carries an impressive antimicrobial profile. It tastes medicinal in nature and it’s also quite expensive so this is a honey you won’t want to use frivolously but instead keep it on hand as a medicinal food. Manuka honey is a potent source of vitamins and minerals, which can help your body build resistance to the common cold and flu. Try adding 1 tablespoon to a cup of the bone broth recipe above or stir into elderberry tea when you’re feeling sick to boost your recovery and ease your system. Here are 5 more reasons honey is much more than just a ‘sweet treat’.