My Natural Approach to Colds, Flu, Bronchitis and Strep

I've been into natural health since I was a teenager!  Yes, it's been a long time and a passion of mine.  However, I didn't get into full-fledged herbalism until several years ago when I encountered a slew of health problems and got desperate and tired of being sick and tired!  I've gained a lot of experience, knowledge and practice with natural health and over the years found what works for us.

Whenever we get sick with a virus (almost always is a virus, rarely bacterial), this is my routine to help bolster our immune systems and get us through the virus as quickly as possible.  Sometimes it works the first day and knocks it out and other times I'm late giving the herbs and we suffer a bit more but still shorter than if I hadn't given herbs.  You can find the links to recipes for some of these in this post.

At the first sign - very first sniffle, sore throat or any other sign indicating we're on the verge - I start giving these:

  • Echinacea - a tincture combination of the whole plant (Purpurea) and root (Angustifolia)
  • Umcka - a tincture of Umckaloabo (Pelargonium sodisides 1x)
  • Elderberry syrup - I make this homemade and it lasts several months in the fridge
  • Thyme cough syrup - I make this homemade and we use it at night for coughs
  • Probiotics - keep gut flora healthy!  I like Garden of Life's Probiotics for Kids.
  • Mullein tea - as needed for chest congestion and coughs
  • Garlic/Onion Soup - I make a potent soup with garlic cloves and onions and it tastes good and packs a punch!

I give the Echinacea, Umcka and Elderberry 2-3 times every day.  I only give the probiotics every other day.  Then, I make sure we eat vitamin C rich foods and/or take some vitamin C.  We stay away from cow's milk during times we have a cold, so we don't get thick mucus.  If need be, we do the netipot or natural salt/baking soda water nasal spray to cleanse nasal passages (use distilled water only!).  If there is a sore throat, we do Throat Coat tea at the first sign of it.  We also do sage gargle rinses a few times a day and/or warm water salt gargle rinses.

We also wash hands any time we touch our eyes/nose/mouth and I disinfect door handles, faucet/toilet/sink handles and keyboards and mouses!  Also, we make sure to drink lots of water to flush it all out.  I make sure to have the house at at least 40% humidity in the winter, so constantly running humidifiers helps keep our membranes moist and will also help with congestion. 

Diffusing essential oils like lemon, eucalyptus and tea tree helps purify the air.  If congestion is really bad in the nose but especially if in the chest, we do steam baths under a towel with boiling water and eucalyptus oil.  It not only helps open the passages, the eucalyptus coats the bronchioles to PREVENT bacteria from adhering!  If the cough needs help thinning during the daytime, we do use Guaifenesin tablets with lots of water.  At night, we use the thyme cough syrup to stop that tickle and if we wake in the night, we use more and/or Ricola original herb cough drops, which are my favorite.  You ought to read the story behind Ricola, but I will tell you the 10 herbs in the drops are: 

Lemon Balm
Linden Flowers
Wild Thyme

Other common sense things to do would be wash bed sheets and pillowcases dailyDisinfect your toothbrush daily with Listerine.

*I only give Tylenol or ibuprofen if there is unbearable pain or fever over 102.

Doing the above things, we have survived strep throat, flu, colds and bronchitis without prescriptions drugs or antibiotics.  If anything doesn't get better or shows sign of bacterial instead of viral, we see a doctor but it usually never gets to that point thankfully!

Keeping your immune system strong throughout the year as well helps.  You can do that by eating healthy foods, taking a multivitamin and watching your stress levels.  Also, we sanitize every time we get in the car - either from church or the store, etc.  Then, when we get home, we wash our hands.

Most importantly - PRAY and get some SLEEP!