7 Natural cold & flu remedies that actually work

Fall is upon us here in London. Temperatures are almost winter-like, the wind is blowing like crazy. No wonder everyone seems to be coughing and sneezing on the tube these days. And no wonder, I’ve caught a cold last weekend. But thanks to my magic potions, I’ve been able to fight off the cold in just a few days without falling really ill. Naturally medicine really works wonders and the great thing is, they’re travel-friendly – you can get most of them anywhere in the world!

So how can you prevent and fight the cold or flu just with natural, non-chemical medicine? Here are my top 7 that really work. I normally consume a little amount of them daily and find that I have been ill much less or the symptoms are much less severe. If I do show symptoms, I simply up my dosage by a great amount and normally it helps to fight off a cold within a few days.

 

1. Ginger

Sweat out those toxins with this delicious spice which may well be the most loved alternative medicine. Ginger boosts your immune system so I recommend consuming it on a daily basis. It is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, helps with decongestion, nausea, and digestion. It’s got a very strong taste so try adding it into your juice (it’s great with apple and carrot). I put a few slices in hot water every day and drink it mixed with some or all of the following: Fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper, turmeric (powder), apple cider vinegar (23 Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar), coconut water. As soon as I notice the first symptoms of a cold, I drink at least one shot of freshly pressed ginger every day.

In London, you can get this at any Pret-a-manger but the better option is Joe & the Juice. They have more and more stores popping up all over London and they do it right there on the spot. At both places, it’s mixed with fresh apple juice but it’s still super strong. Works wonders though! As ginger is growing in popularity, more and more cafes/restaurants all over the world are starting to offer freshly brewed ginger tea. In India and other Eastern countries, it has been popular for hundreds of years and I’ve actually had my first ginger tea in India four years ago. Now I can’t live without it.

Photo credit: Taste for Life
Photo credit: Taste for Life

 

2. Turmeric

I’ve only recently started incorporating turmeric into my daily life. It’s an anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and antiseptic. It inhibits cancer tumor growth, works against arthritis and joint issues, decreases liver cholesterol, clears respiratory infections, eases coughs, and improves overall immunity. What a super weapon! It’s not got the same spiciness as ginger but it does take time to get used to the taste. At the moment, I’m a big fan of “golden milk” – almond milk, turmeric (powder or ideally freshly grated), coconut oil and, if desired, agave syrup and/or cinnamon. Turmeric also tastes great in juices. Try pear, apple, turmeric and lemon – yummy!

They are now selling Turmeric Latte and Turmeric Tonic at Pod in London, using freshly pressed turmeric rather than powder. I love it.

You may want to try Pukka’s wholistic Turmeric capsules which is a concentration of the finest parts of whole turmeric root gathered from fertile organic soils. I’m also a big fan of the Pukka Turmeric Gold Tea. I use Organic Fairtrade Turmeric Powder from Steenberg daily, a little goes a long way here.

               

 

3. Lemon

Now lemons are just a great all-rounder. They add natural flavour to water (hot or cold) and are a great kick in teas or juices. They’re a fabulous source of vitamin C and great for treating throat infections, indigestion, constipation, fever and dental, hair and skin problems. If you’re struggling to lose weight, lemon juice can also help as it contains pectin, a soluble fibre that aids weight loss. I squeeze at least one lemon per day into my drinks.

 

4. Cayenne Pepper

Also one of my newer discoveries but I now consume it daily. Cayenne pepper does wonders for your digestion, prevents blood clot formation, relieves joint pain, prevents migraines and I love it for treating colds and flus. Its high amount of capsaicin gives it great healing powers. For example, it thins and clears mucus as the spiciness fires up your body. This can also help to reduce fever by bringing your body temperature down.

I spice most meals with cayenne pepper but I also add it to my morning elixir mixed with ginger, lemon and turmeric. You could substitute the lemon with honey or just use both.

 

5. Apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. That saying doesn’t exist for no reason. Apples are high in fibre and a great source of immune-boosting vitamin C. They can aid weight loss, are anti-oxidant and good for heart health. A very healthy source of vitamins overall and so damn tasty.

Why not chop one up to add to your porridge or yogurt? I also enjoy them as a health snack when I would otherwise grab a chocolate bar. And as I said before, juice them together with ginger and you get a powerful and delicious cold-fighting juice.

 

6. Pomegranate

The Pomegranate, a Middle Eastern superfood, is a great source of vitamins A, C and E, iron, fibre and other antioxidants. It’s said to work against heart disease, high blood pressure, inflammation and some cancers, including prostate cancer. I love sprinkling it on top of salads or roast veggies as well as my porridge or yogurt.

 

7. (Manuka) Honey

Sore throat? Honey will soothe it. As a kid, my granny let me it off a spoon or she brewed me a delicious tea with fresh lemon and lots of honey. When possible, go for Manuka honey. It is produced in New Zealand by bees that pollinate the native manuka bush and has amazing anti-bacterial properties. The UMF grading system appraises natural markers found in Manuka Honey, and assures purity and quality. You will want to buy Manuka honey with a UMF grade of 10 and upwards to ensure you’re getting the health benefits you’re looking for. UMF 10-15 is “useful level” and UMF 16+ “superior high grade levels”. I recommend Manuka Honey UMF 15+. It’s important you look for the ‘UMF’ on the product as some producers try to scam you by just listing the numbers, sometimes saying KFactor which is NOT the UMF.

 

                           

 

Besides eating and drinking well, make sure you get enough rest and keep warm. Sweating is good as it gets rid of toxins. Sleep with a hot water bottle or microwaveable softies. Eat light so your body can focus on combating the cold rather than having to digest heavy meals or sugar. Walking and fresh air is great but keep exercise to a minimum.

Which are your secret weapons to fight a cold or flu?

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