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Natural Health

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Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu Season

During the cold winter months, finding natural ways to ease cold and flu symptoms may help prevent or shorten the length of symptoms. While the days of being sick can be miserable and long, finding enjoyment and relaxation from a warm bath, a cup of hot tea or the warmth of a cozy bed are some of the best natural medicines. Thanks to friendly advice from family, friends and neighbors, here are a few of my favorite natural cold and flu remedies.

Epsom Salt Bath
Photo by Kristy Severin

Warm Epsom Salt Baths

Epsom salt, otherwise known as magnesium sulfate, is known for its therapeutic properties, including relief of minor aches and pains, reducing inflammation, improving circulation, helping detox the body, aid in stress relief and helping raise energy levels. Epsom salt can be found at your local drug store, at your nearest natural grocery store or online. To start, sprinkle 1 to 2 cups Epsom salts to warm water in a standard bathtub and soak for 20 to 30 minutes. Add a couple drops of your favorite essential oils to enhance your experience. I added a couple drops of peppermint essential oil to help alleviate congestion.

Elderberry Syrup
Photo via This Organic Life

Elderberry Syrup

Whether you decide to make your own or purchase elderberry syrup from your local natural-food store, this powerful natural medicine is known to fight against colds and flu.

OJ Smoothie
Photo via Healthy Happy Life

OJ Smoothies

Start your morning or end your day with a bright orange smoothie filled with tons of vitamin C and other vitamins to help fight or prevent a cold. I found this recipe from one of my favorite vegan recipe blogs, Healthy Happy Life.

Herbal Teas
Photo by Kristy Severin

Hot Herbal Teas

Thyme, licorice root, echinacea, cinnamon and eucalyptus are just a few herbs that can help prevent and relieve cold symptoms. To make an herbal tea for cold-relief, boil dried herbs in hot water to steep and strain, or use a simple pre-made tea bag. The powerful properties of herbs are extensive and certain herbs can be used to help with specific symptoms.

Pure Honey
Photo by Kristy Severin


Honey can help calm a cough, soothe a sore throat and sweeten a warm cup of tea or lemon water. I am always sure to have honey on hand during a cold and take a teaspoon of pure, raw honey when needed or add it to a warm cup of herbal tea with lemon.

Hot Soup
Photo via Monsoon Spice

Spicy Hot Soups

A warm spicy soup can help relieve congestion and soothe a cold body. Enjoy your favorite soup recipe and kick it up a notch if you wish. I don’t typically like spicy foods, but I enjoy the relief and regaining the ability to taste again with a hot and spicy soup.

Vapor Chest Rub
Photo via Sustainable Suburbia

Natural Vapor Chest Rub

Help alleviate congestion with a natural vapor chest rub. From a simple mix of peppermint essential oil and coconut oil, to a more complex recipe such as this one from Sustainable Suburbia, enjoy the relaxation and relief from congestion.

Warm Bed and Happy Thoughts

Rest and happy thoughts can go a long way! Remember to use your best judgment and do what feels best for your body during a cold or flu this season.

Kristy SeverinKristy Severin is a mother of two, a certified art instructor, photographer, painter, writer and cook. She earned her BFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda, East Africa. Inspired daily by her children and love of the earth, you can find her fine art and writings at The Art of Green Living.