Best Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu  

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Best Natural Remedies for Cold & Flu   
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Eryl McCaffrey

Eryl McCaffrey

Eryl McCaffrey is a yoga teacher from Oakville, Ontario and a passionate health and wellness writer. When she’s not reminding students of how powerful they are on their mats, she’s writing about ways to find happiness, peace and freedom in this life. Eryl also loves hiking, singing and jumping out of her comfort zone whenever she gets the chance! Check out her blog.

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You have two options this cold and flu season: pack your body full of medications or take the all-natural route. I’m sure you can tell by my tone that I prefer to take care of my health the natural way, but the choice is yours! I ask only that you consider trying out a few of these 100% drug-free options for stomping out that virus this cold and flu season, before you head to medication alley. Besides, you’re bound to learn a lot more about your body and how it works when you experiment with naturopathic medicine, than you would on the back of that tiny pill bottle.

So, in the name of self-inquiry, learning and better health all around here are the top 5 best natural remedies to squash that cold or flu this season! I asked the expert, Dr. Erika Ristok, N.D, who runs a Family Naturopathic Clinic in Bronte and Milton, to shine some light on her favourite alternative treatments:

1)      Zinc lozenges- Zinc has antioxidant effects and helps your body resist infection. Research shows that taking zinc can prevent colds if you ingest it regularly, and shorten the length of illness if you start taking it when a virus hits you. Dr. Ristok says zinc lozenges are the way to go for sore throats and to look for products that are combined with other immune system boosters like Echinacea and vitamin C, as well as slippery elm.

2)      Vegetable broths- This soothing, warm stuff isn’t just good for your soul, it’s great for your immune system, too! To fight bacteria Dr. Ristok recommends adding onions and garlic to the broth. She says yellow and orange vegetables like carrots, squash and sweet potato should also be added to the mix, because their beta-carotene content will help support your lungs and immune system.

3)      Steam- I’ve personally turned to steam inhalation when I’ve suffered from a sinus infection or congestion of some sort, and it works! Dr. Ristok suggests adding a few drops of tea tree, lavender or oregano essential oil to your hot water. She says, “these herbs have antibacterial effects, and delivering them via the warm steam gets them directly into the nasal and respiratory passages to help ease congestion.” Boil some water, add in a few drops of oil, place a towel over your head and the bowl and let your neck relax as you open up your airways.

4)      Acupressure- This is an alternative form of medicine that is similar to Acupuncture, and it’s based on the idea that life energy flows through meridians in the body.  Physical pressure is applied to acupuncture points in the body during treatment, to release blockages in these meridians. An effective way to relieve head congestion is to massage the web in your hand between your index finger and thumb for a few minutes throughout the day. The technical term for this, Dr. Ristok says, is acupressure on LI4 or the Large Intestine 4.

5)      Rest- Illness is your body’s way of telling you that you need to bench-it for a bit. If you’re not very aware of your body’s wellbeing, it will send you signs to make sure you pay attention to it. It’s hard to function with a painful cough, right? Listen to your body, rest often and especially when you’re under the weather, give your body time to heal. Dr. Ristok says proper sleep will help your immune system to fight the cold or flu faster, and plus “you’re probably sick in the first place because your body just needs a break!”

I am not for or against traditional medicine, especially because I believe every case is unique and each individual has the right to seek treatment in whatever form they please. I’m only putting a question out there: what would happen to your body and mind if you tried incorporating some natural treatments into your life? The worst case scenario is they don’t accomplish what you want them to and you head to your Doctor’s office for additional help. However, the best case scenario is you rely on Mother Nature to cure your ailments, so that your body has the ability to fight off infection naturally, safely and powerfully!

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