Home Remedies for the Common Cold and Flu

When You Feel Sick As A Dog

Since returning home from Tucson, I've come down with a severe cold accompanied with high fever and, of all things, hives. For the past 4 mornings, I wake up with sniffles, high fever, incredible thirst, and hives. When my son was 1 years old, he had a fever accompanied with hives. It's quite a rare occurrence for an adult to have hives along with a fever; and even after speaking to a nurse, I still don't know what I have, except that it's probably a virus. I don't like taking unnecessary drugs, so I'm limiting myself to Acetometophin to reduce my fever.

Echinacea to Get Better Faster

I use two products that contain Echinacea, Natural Factors' Echinamide Throat Spray, and Trader Joe's Lemon Ginger Echinacea Juice.

I've used the Echinamide spray since 2004. Every time I get a tickle at the back of my throat, or I feel a bit under the weather, I give myself a spray and I usually avoid falling ill. Despite using the spray, I fell sick anyways due to exhaustion from my trip. I continue to use the herbal spray as it relieves my sore and itchy throat.  My family purchases  20 sprays annually from iHerb.com.
The Trader Joe's Echinacea juice is a soothing drink when warmed in the microwave for a minute. I like the combination flavors with the ginger and lemon. It's great just before bed.

Echinacea is a north American herb from the Asteraceae family (daisy flower)  that is used in many natural-based cold remedies. There have been a few studies that indicate that when used at the onset of cold symptoms, and 10 days thereafter, Echinacea speeds the recovery of upper respiratory tract infections. Other studies indicate that Echinacea has no effect at all.

Taken orally, Echinacea usually has no side effects, except if you are allergic to certain flowers, such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies.

Echinamide Throat Spray

Trader Joe's Lemon Ginger Echinacea juice

Trader Joe's Lemon Ginger Echinacea Juice

Hydrate with Coconut Water

The usual recommendation is to drink lots of fluids when you are sick. With my current illness, I am incredibly thirsty. In fact, I drank a litre of water in a couple of hours and I still felt dry. My hubby suggested that we get some Gatorade, but I really didn't like the idea of drinking sugar and food coloring. We drove out Costco and picked up a box of Zico Coconut Water, which contains naturally derived sugars and electrolytes. I mix 3 parts coconut water with 1 part water. Coconut water can be found in virtually any grocery store today.

zico coconut water

Nutrition to Feed Your Body and Starve Your Cold

While we were at Costco, we picked up some bananas and a tray of "Indian" mangoes to make a vitamin-packed smoothie for my family and me for the next couple of days. Indian mangoes have a smooth skin and are green when unripe, soft and yellow when ripe. They are smaller and thinner, and less "stringy" than the Mexican variety. 

Mango Banana Smoothie

1 Indian mango, peeled and de-stoned
1 banana
2-3 cups of fat-free milk
2 scoops of fat-free frozen yoghurt (we like Kemps)

Blend on medium-high until thoroughly mixed. If you have a small blender, half this recipe.

Mango Vitamin Facts
Serving Size 1 cup sliced
Banana Vitamin Facts
Serving Size 1 cup mashed

From the website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/fruits-and-fruit-juices/1952/2

Chicken Soup Cures Colds

Another well-known home remedy is chicken soup. However, when you are suffering from a cold and fever, cooking up a pot of home-made chicken soup seems to be an insurmountable task. 

The solution: crock pot chicken soup.

This past Xmas, I purchased a cheap (>$25) 6-quart crock pot from Walmart. Throw all the ingredients in the morning and by dinnertime, you have a big pot of nutritious and tasty soup.

Hamilton Beach Crock Pot from Walmart or Amazon

Super-Easy Crock Pot Chicken Soup

4 pieces boneless chicken thighs, rinsed
1 cup baby carrots
1 pepper seeds removed and chopped into 1-inch wedges
3 celery sticks chopped to 1 inch
3 zucchinis, top and bottom removed and chopped into large wedges
2 cups of chicken broth (I recommend Trader Joe's Free Range Chicken Broth)
1 8 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 can of great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried basil
bay leaf
1 tbls dehydrated minced onion 
5 whole cloves of garlic

Throw the garlic, carrots and celery at the bottom of the crock pot. Then place the chicken thighs on top of the veggies. Sprinkle salt, parsley, and basil on top of chicken. Add peppers and zucchini, the can of beans. Finally pour the can of diced tomatoes and chicken broth on top. The liquid should only be halfway up the pot. Use a spoon to even out the pot. Turn on the "Low" setting (NOT WARM), and cook for 8 hours. That's it!

To make this even easier, you can just add a bag of mixed veggies instead. Place the frozen veggies at the bottom of the pot before anything else. 

I also added a can of pinto beans

Bed-time Relief and Relaxation

I think we can all agree that going to bed while suffering from a bad cold is an activity fraught with anxiety and frustration. Your sinuses hurt, your nose is dripping, and you can't breathe. I've managed to fall asleep with this nightly ritual:

  1. Rinse with Saline
  2. Blow my nose
  3. Use baby decongestant nose drops (adult variety is stronger but can keep you awake at night since it's a stimulant, and there is also a risk of addiction)
  4. Pop some Vitamin D and Multivitamin Gummy Vites
  5. Wear warm neck roll filled with azuki beans with lavender scent. The neck roll is warmed up in the microwave for 2 minutes. 

(Cough! Sniffle!) I'm going to bed now. Good night!

Ayr saline and Little Noses Decongestant Nose Drops, both can be purchased at Drugstore.com

Heatable neck rolls from Amazon

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