We try hard to keep our family’s immune systems strong enough to fend off any bugs that come our way by eating whole foods, taking our homemade elderberry syrup as a preventative, promoting gut health with probiotics, and making sure we get plenty of Vitamin D. But but sometimes they end up getting the best of us anyway!
We’ve been testing various natural remedies for colds and fevers since we first learned many years ago that antibiotics and medications weren’t always what they cracked up to be. Sometimes they even have unwanted side effects that make it harder to beat the flu. No thanks!
We’re grateful for the amazing community of natural living experts we have access too, so we’re excited to share the top 15 natural remedies we personally recommend. Here’s to good health and an arsenal of the right weapons for your next battle with the sickie ickies!
Top 15 Natural Remedies for Colds and Fevers
1. Take a Lukewarm Bath to Regulate Body Temperature
Drawing a lukewarm bath can help regulate the body’s temperature. Both cold water and hot water will have the opposite effect and increase your fever, about room temperature is perfect. Be sure to wrap up in a towel afterwards so that you don’t get chills.
2. Eat an Asian Pear + Local Honey
This Asian pear & honey combination is an ancient Korean go-to remedy that Dr. Lee's grandmother, aunts, and mother used – and still use – for a hacking cough. What is so great about Asian Pears? They are high in Vitamin C and K. No wonder we used it for colds! Just make sure to finish it within a day because freshness is key.
3. Soothe a Nasty Cough With Homemade Cough Syrup
There have been many herbs over the centuries, that have been used to heal coughs of all types. The Hippy Homemaker did a massive amount of research and made a list of the most commonly used herbs for helping to soothe a cough, no matter your need! You can pick and choose the herbs you want to try in your homemade cough syrup with her special recipe.
4. Rinse Your Sinuses
A Neti Pot uses pure saline water to irrigate your sinuses and remove those allergens and mucus build-up. It can clear you up and relieve pressure that can lead to pain. For those of you who are uncomfortable with this process, you can steam out your sinuses, just by running hot water in your bathroom and putting a towel over your head and faucet to trap the steam.
5. Homemade Herbal Cough Drops
Many of the cough drops that are sold at your local grocery store are made with more than just herbs. Most of them contain high fructose corn syrup (and other artificial sweeteners) as well as artificial dyes. With a household full of ADHD, these are ingredients that we are constantly trying to avoid. All you need to make your own cough drops is an herbal infusion, raw unfiltered honey, and powdered sugar (or powdered herbs).
6. Make a Simple Syrup Packed with Herbs
This particular syrup includes marshmallow root, licorice root, cinnamon, and ginger. Ok so this syrup isn’t the sweetest of examples, but it is effective! Marshmallow root and licorice root are infamous for helping soothe racking coughs and sore throats, as they are rich in mucilage which provides a soothing coating for the mucous membranes. Cinnamon and ginger help with congestion, flavor, and pain-relief.
7. Try Osteopathic Manipulation (OMT) to Get Fluid Moving
OMT is a very gentle form of osteopathic manipulation, which can enhance the immune system, and help keep the fluids draining from the head and neck so bacteria and viruses are less likely to be able to grow. This can help to reduce or even prevent chronic ear and respiratory infections. OMT has been shown to have a dramatic effect on fluid in the ears, and works well on any type of upper respiratory infection.
8. Diffuse Essential Oils with a Warm Steam Humidifier
Some essential oils that are generally considered safe for babies 6+ months and are great for loosening congestion and fighting the cold itself are cedarwood, sandalwood, cinnamon leaf, thyme, lemon and ginger. Be sure to use certified organic essential oils when available to make sure you’re not absorbing or inhaling concentrated amounts of harmful chemicals or pesticides used during the growing process.
9. Get Serious Antibacterial Action with Garlic
Garlic was always considered the poor man's antibiotic, but these days it's the synthetic antibiotic alternative! There is a reason why it’s in season from November to February. We NEED garlic in the winter to fight those bacterial infections in the winter. Always go for the whole real food, when you can and if you just can't stomach it, go with Kyolic drops.
10. Make Essential Oil Infused Shower Bombs!
You can place these on the floor of the shower and as the hot water hits it, the steam will rise and help clear your congested head or sore throat and cough. You can also place these in a stainless steel bowl and place your face over the steam with a towel over your head (not recommended for children as you have to be sure not to spill the hot water).
11. Take a Bath in Apple Cider Vinegar
Take a warm bath with 1 cup apple cider vinegar. Dry off and put on warm, comfortable clothes. A cool wet cloth with apple cider vinegar wrapped around feet also brings a fever down. Dip your socks (or a towel) in a mixture of 1 part water to 2 parts apple cider vinegar. Place them on your feet and cover with a plastic bag. Leave on overnight or for several hours.
12. Place Hydrogen Peroxide in Your Ears
At the first sign of cold, flu, sinus infection, or ear infection, put a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. Have the person lie still with the hydrogen peroxide in the ear until it stops bubbling. Do this on both sides. This is especially effective for kids. Repeat every few hours until infection is gone.
13. Whip Up Some Chocolate Peppermint Herbal Cough Syrup
Coughs can be tricky because there can be so many symptoms – dry, wet, irritating, etc. When you have an unrelenting cough that just doesn’t quit, herb-infused cough syrups can be so helpful. This particular recipe touts super star ingredients that are soothing, calming + are a combination of demulcent, antibacterial, antiviral and stimulant. Combined with the amazing properties of raw honey and the flavor of chocolate, this cough syrup is a winner that your kids will love + you will too!
14. Don't Forget the Bone Broth!
It seems that Grandma was right after all – chicken soup is good for more than just the soul. may contain a number of substances with beneficial medicinal activity, and the cartilage it contains supports healthy immune function by stimulating just about every type of white blood cell the body needs to mount a strong defense against unwanted microbes.” (Nourishing Traditions, page 95).
15. Breathe Easier with DIY Vapor Chest Rub
It only takes about 15 minutes from start to finish, and then you’ve got yourself a completely natural, non-toxic chest rub to give your family that extra healing boost when the inevitable wintertime bug comes your way. It only costs a fraction of those retail brands too!
What's your favorite natural remedy for colds and fever?