Let me start by saying I hate winter… Essentially we have endless darkness for the three months after Christmas with little reprieve. This post will have a little science integrated into it so bear with me…
This year I’ve tried my best to keep all my kids as healthy as possible. I have four kids in elementary school and a 5 month old at home so this has proved to be a challenge. Here are the tools that I have found to be extremely beneficial for keeping my kids healthy this winter.
There is no cure for many viruses and the common cold. I’m sure someday a brilliant group of scientists will find a cure and become millionaires overnight. Working as a nurse I’ve seen people who run to the doctor immediately expecting a quick fix as well as individuals who wait until they are on the verge of dying. I don’t think either approach is healthy and so I’ve done some personal study to find treatment options to help my family. I definitely want to give credit to the work of Aviva Romm. She is a medical doctor, midwife, and herbalist. Her work is very thorough and a great resource if you are searching for more in depth information.
Common symptoms include fever, chills, malaise, nausea, a stuffy nose, fatigue, and a cough. Anti-viral medications (like Tami-flu) can be helpful in reducing the duration of flu symptoms especially if they are started within 48 hours of symptom onset (1).
There is no definitive cure for the common cold***
Antibiotics do not help. Colds are viral and trying to take antibiotics to fight a cold is like trying to kill a deer with a fishing pole. It’s the wrong tool for the job. Additionally, chronic antibiotic use can contribute to other serious health problems as both good and bad bacteria are eliminated from our systems.
That being said I did a brief literature review, and I did not find strong evidence to support these recommendations. However, I have personally found them to be beneficial. It is often difficult to get studies to support the use of alternative treatments because of the lack of continuity with how supplements are formulated.
~Sleep… Seriously go to bed and rest!
~Eat real food… Pizza doesn’t count. I’ve found homemade soup recipes with bone broth to be very healing as well as comforting. Danielle Walker has some incredible recipes! Be sure to check her out! https://againstallgrain.com/2014/03/03/chicken-stock-bone-broth/
Finally after all that let’s talk about these cold remedies! The first list includes remedies that I found to have a moderate level of evidence to support their use in improving cold symptoms (2). (I really like the Herb pharm brand. Click on the title for amazon links)
- Use a humidifier: This helps prevent your mucus membranes from drying out which improves your ability to remove mucus. Dry air makes mucus sticky whereas moist (yes I used the word moist!) air loosens secretions.
- Pelargonium sidoides: Helps fight invading bacteria and viruses and also helps support the immune system.
- Andrographis paniculata: This herb is often used in traditional chinese medicine and has some evidence to support its use in cold care.
These are supplements I use but was unable to find research to support their use. However, I have found them to be very effective!
- Oregano and Thyme: I try to find recipes with these spices, and if I’m desperate I will take a shot of these essential oils in elderberry juice. Both of these have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- Garlic: Smash a clove of garlic, cover it with honey, and swallow it. I got this idea from listening to the balanced bites podcast. This works wonders but doesn’t taste the best. Thankfully my kids are good sports! Garlic is anti-inflammatory and has anti-bacterial/anti-viral properties as well
- Elderberry juice: I use this for its immune boosting properties.
- Herbal teas: This brand creates multiple teas that are very beneficial for a variety of disorders. I use them often whenever my kids have a cold or stomach ache.
- Immune Avenger: This is helpful to boost immunity.
- Essential oils: I use both the young living and doterra brands. I find them very useful not only for cold care but other complaints as well.
- Smarty pants vitamins: I don’t give my kids vitamins all the time but I will supplement when we are fighting sickness.
- Dynamed (2017, September 9). Clinical presentation of influenza in adults. Ipswich
MA:EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved February 23, 2018, http://web.a.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.wilkes.edu/dynamed/detail?vid=9&sid=6732045f-63ee-4e0b-9c82-e6c5824561ad%40sessionmgr4006&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZHluYW1lZC1saXZlJnNjb3BlPXNpdGU%3d#AN=912569&db=dme
- Dynamed (2017, November 29). Upper respiratory infection (URI) in adults and adolescents. Ipswich
MA:EBSCO Information Services. Retrieved February 23, 2018,