Today, let’s talk about the best natural remedies for cold and flu season. With school starting and Autumn on its way, cold and flu season is quickly approaching. I want to suggest some easy swaps that you can make to your medicine cabinet so that you can provide natural care and support for yourself and your family.
Why You Should Opt to use Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu Like Symptoms
Harmful Ingredients found in OTC Medications
Medications that are typically purchased over the counter, like Ibprofen, Acetaminophen, cough suppressants and expectorants, throat sprays and cough drops often contain many harmful, toxic ingredients. These ingredients, when used frequently, over time, can contribute to many serious health issues. Further, many of these ingredients don’t actually serve a purpose other than making the medications look “pretty” and making them last longer. Here are some ingredients to avoid in typical over the counter medications:
- Dyes & Artificial Colors- linked to cancer, ADHD & behavioral issues in children
- Sodium Benzonate- a preservative that can produce Benzene (which is a known carcinogen)
- High Fructose Corn Syrup- associated with obesity, high blood pressure & type 2 diabetes
- Propylene Glycol- linked to neurotoxicity & cardiac arrhythmia
- Sorbitol- linked to bowel inflammation
- Sucralose- linked to leukemia, liver inflammation & metabolic disorders
- Butylparabens- endocrine (hormone) disrupter that causes reproductive issues
Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen deplete your glutathione
In addition, Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen deplete the liver’s glutathione stores. What is glutathione? Glad you aksed! Glutathione is an antioxidant that is created by your liver to bind with free radicals and toxins so that they can be eliminated from your body. It’s role in the function of your immune system is very important. When your glutathione stores are depleted, your liver cannot properly eliminate toxic materials from your body, so in a paradoxical way, the thing you’re trying to use to get better may actually be damaging your ability to fight off illness in the future.
Acetaminophen is linked to an increased risk of ADHD & ASD
Further, this study of 996 participants, showed a significant increase in the development of ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorders in children of mothers who took Acetaminophen during their pregnancy. As the article states,
“Cord biomarkers of fetal exposure to acetaminophen were associated with significantly increased risk of childhood ADHD and ASD in a dose-response fashion. Our findings support previous studies regarding the association between prenatal and perinatal acetaminophen exposure and childhood neurodevelopmental risk and warrant additional investigations.”
The risk of taking Tamiflu far outweigh the benefits
Likewise, Tamiflu is often prescribed after a positive flu test, however, Tamiflu only reduces the symptoms of the flu by one day! The cost of it’s potential side effects far outweigh any benefit of taking it. This study showed,
“Tamiflu use could induce sudden deterioration leading to death especially within 12 hours of prescription. These findings are consistent with sudden deaths observed in a series of animal toxicity studies, several reported case series and the results of prospective cohort studies. From “the precautionary principle” the potential harm of Tamiflu should be taken into account and further detailed studies should be conducted.”
Tamiflu use in specific populations
This was taken from the Tamiflu insert provided by the FDA:
As you can see, Tamiflu is not safe during pregnancy, breastfeeding, or for infants under the age of 1 year.
So, now that I’ve given you some information on why I think it’s important to choose natural remedies for cold and flu like symptoms, let’s dive in to some easy, effective swaps that you can make to care for your family!
Natural Remedies for Fevers, Body Aches & Headaches
Genexa Kid’s Pain & Fever– This still has the active ingredient of Acetaminophen, but is a lot more clean than Tylenol. It’s a great option if you want to move in lower tox direction.
Kids Relief Pain & Fever– safe 6 months & up
Dr. Talbot’s Pain + Fever Relief– safe for 6 months & up
Oscillococcinum– safe for ages 2 & up
Hyland’s Kids Pain Relief– safe for ages 2 & up
Genexa Flu Fix– safe for ages 4 & up
Dr. Green Mom Nature Profen– safe for infants starting at 10lbs
Dr. Green Mom Temperature Tamer– safe for infants starting at 10lbs
Earthley Feel Better Fast– safe for infants 6 months & up & can be used for children & adults.
Lemon Balm Calm– safe for 12 months & up.
Rowe Casa Organics Relief– Be sure to select if you’d like the one for adults, or for children (with no willowbark).
Natural Remedies for Congestion, Cough & Sore Throats
Cough Syrups & Tinctures
Earthley Cough-B-Gone– safe for 6 months & up
Maty’s Cough Syrup– safe for 12 months & up
Genexa Kid’s Honey Cough Syrup– safe for 12 months & up
Hyland’s Cold & Cough– designed for children ages 2-12
Genexa Kid’s Cough & Chest Congestion– safe for 4 years & up
Congestion & Cold Relief
Zarbee’s Soothing Chest Rub– safe for 2 months & up
Boiron Cold Calm– safe for 6 months & up
Genexa Cold Crush– safe for 4 years & up
Sore Throat Relief
Beekeeper’s Natural Throat Spray– Comes with an option for children or adults
Sometimes congestion can lead to ear infections in little ones since the ears, nose and throat are all connected. If your child is battling an ear ache or you suspect they might have an ear infection check out my post on how to treat ear infections naturally.
Natural Remedies for Nausea, Diarrhea & Dehydration
Earthley Electrolyte Powder– safe for 6 months & up, and also safe for pregnancy & breastfeeding
We also love to sip on warm bone broth when we’re not feeling well. This one from Kettle & Fire has anti-inflammatory turmeric and ginger in it. This one from Perfect Supplements is a powdered bone broth that you mix into water, making it easy to have a warm cup of bone broth whenever you’d like! Not only is it hydrating, but it contains proteins and collagen as well!
General Immune Support for Cold & Flu Like Symptoms
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Cod Liver Oil
Cod liver oil– I especially love to give this to my girls after they’ve had a fever to restore their vitamin A.
Probiotics– These are pricey but they’re high quality and 1 bottle contains 1,000 servings.
Best absorbed from the beautiful sunshine. Sitting in the sun for a few minutes each day while you’re sick can be so healing and feel so good!
Infants & Toddlers
Humidifier & Essential Oils
Frida baby 3-in-1 Diffuser, Humidifier & Night Light– We’ve had so many humidifiers and diffusers but this one is our favorite for when someone is sick!
Not all essential oils are created equal. I, personally, love Plant Therapy oils! They are high quality, third party GC/MS tested, affordable, and they have a whole Kidsafe line which gives me so much peace of mind. You can click here for $10 off your first purchase of $20 or more.
Some of my favorites oils for when the kiddos are sick are:
One more note, because essential oils are so powerful, some oils are not safe to be used with children. With this in mind, I always use caution when choosing which oils to use, and I always make sure to use the proper dilution rate for my child’s age. Another great resource for safely using essential oils with your children is The Complete Book of Essential Oils for Mama and Baby: Safe and Natural Remedies for Pregnancy, Birth, and Children. I love this book and use it frequently!
Epsom salt bath
Epsom salt is soothing and detoxifying, plus who doesn’t enjoy a warm bath?
This one goes without saying, but rest really is the best medicine!
- There are situations that require standard, allopathic, medical care. This post is in no way suggesting that you should never go to the doctor, take prescription medication, or use any other standard medical treatment for any illness that you might be experiencing.
- This is not medical advice. This post was not written to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. This is just my experience of what I do with my family. ALWAYS use your intuition when it comes to the health of you and your family.
What About You?
What are your favorite natural remedies for cold and flu like symptoms? Please share with us in the comments below!