Cold and Flu Season

slippery elm

slippery elm

Herbdoc discusses some tried and true herbal cold and flu treatments:

If you were to ask an old-timer what could be done for colds and flu, you probably get a quizzical look and a “Nothing you can do” answer.  My grandmother always said “Three days coming; three days staying; and three days going”, and she was right.  Once you get a cold or the flu, that’s the approximate amount of time you’re stuck with it!

There are, however, several ways to give your immune system a boost prior to the season hitting its full swing.  I’ve used Echinacea for years if I think I’ve been or will be exposed to viruses or germs.  For instance I’ve never gotten a respiratory illness from plane travel.  It is also said to reduce symptoms significantly if you contract a cold/flu.  It can be taken by capsule or in a tea or tincture.  One aside though…if it’s a good Echinacea tea or tincture, your tongue may feel numb for a while.  This is not dangerous though.

Another miracle immune system booster is garlic (Allium sativum).  It contains allicin which is one of nature’s most potent antibiotics.  Use it liberally in your food, or if you don’t like the taste, it is available in capsule form.



Scientists have also isolated sesquiterpenes, a chemical, in ginger (Zingiber officinale).  Ginger is particularly good for preventing or lessening the severity of the most common cold, the rhinovirus.  Gingorols and shogoals, other chemicals in ginger, help to reduce pain and fever and reduce coughing.

Two other herbs to have on hand are goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis) which has antiseptic and immune building properties and Slippery Elm (Ulmus rubra).  Slippery Elm’s bark contains large quantities of mucilage which soothes sore throats and acts as a cough suppressant.  It is FDA approved.

Keep a few of these on hand in your medicine cabinet or borrow some from your pantry shelves.  Old folklore says that hot chicken soup is excellent for the colds and flu, and recent research has proven it to be true.  Throw in some onions and garlic and those veggies that you preserved from the garden this summer, and you’ll have a potent tonic and a great lunch!

Disclaimer: the above text is for informational purposes only, and is not meant to take the place of a doctor’s diagnosis.


About dirtynailz

Writer for a daily newspaper, gardener, tree hugger, orchid-grower, photographer, animal lover, hiker, wilderness seeker. Proponent of clover in the lawn and a dog on the bed.
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2 Responses to Cold and Flu Season

  1. Nell Jean says:

    Once when I had a really bad cold and went to a Chinese restaurant to get Hot and Sour Soup, which I find really soothing, the waitress suggested that I drink Hot ginger ale. Simple remedies are helpful.

    Yesterday at church, we old folks discussed having been given Castor Oil as a child. The consensus was that the healthier of us had all taken the nasty stuff. We decided that perhaps our peers who didn’t take Castor Oil were all dead by now. Maybe not, but we certainly survived it.

    My belief is that a cold, untreated, will last about 7 days. Treated, it will last a week. Comfort measures will make the time seem to pass faster.


  2. HerbDoc says:

    Thanks, Nell Jean! You’d get along well with my grandmother. She encouraged my mom to give me that nasty Cod Liver Oil stuff when I was a kid…it truly was gross, and I remember hiding the bottle a few times so I could get out of taking it!

    Now Omega 3 fatty acids are all the rage in health care and that’s just what Cod Liver Oil is! The old wisdom is often the best.


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