Fighting the Flu Naturally

Our family recently endured the flu (all except me) and each person was sick for 3-4 days with high fevers and nasty coughs. The symptoms were intense, but thankfully short-lived.

I’m a registered nurse, but as a mom, I’ve been on a path toward natural wellness for the last 10 years. And this time around, I truly felt prepared!

I want to share the products and methods we use during sick seasons, and specifically for cold and flu. You’ll notice we use a lot of Earthley products. In the last year, we’ve transitioned most of our vitamins and wellness products to Earthley and we couldn’t be happier with their products! They’re natural (with recognizable ingredients), they’re affordable, and they work. Use code BRIGHTERDAY for 10% off your first order with Earthley!

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For boosting immunity during cold/flu season, here’s what we do:

  • Get plenty of vitamin D. We try to spend time outside in the sun every day, even if it’s cold. We also rub vitamin D cream on our thighs before bedtime (especially if we haven’t been outside). 
  • Move every day. Even when it’s chilly, it’s important for our bodies to stay active for immunity and for mental health. If we aren’t able to get outside, we have a dance party or do a workout with Nourish Move Love on YouTube (my favorite!). 
  • Focus our diet on whole, healing foods rich in vitamin C. Citrus, strawberries, cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and brussels sprouts, and white potatoes are all rich in vitamin C. We also love adding vitamin C powder to smoothies!
  • Limit sugar and processed foods. If a recipe calls for white sugar, we substitute coconut sugar or maple syrup instead. Sugar can wreak havoc on our immune systems, so we limit it year round.
  • Get plenty of sleep. Our family goes to bed early. My husband and I aim to get 8 hours of sleep each night, and the kids sleep for 10-12 hours. 
  • If we’re starting to feel sick, we take homemade elderberry syrup. Here's the recipe I use: Homemade Elderberry Syrup. If we're out of syrup, we use Elderberry Elixir by Earthley.
  • Hydrate. We drink lots of herbal tea and water in the winter.

Vitamins I take every day

  • Nourish Her Naturally - A liquid multivitamin with six herbs that balance hormones, boost energy levels, and promote wellness. I love this stuff!
  • Energy Plus (Herbal Iron)* - Taken daily for healthy iron levels.
  • Greens powder - Mixed into my morning matcha latte for an extra boost of energy and wellness.

*For a while, I was taking Grassfed Beef Organs every day for iron levels and energy. I loved them, but they are pricey! My recent labs confirm that Earthley’s herbal iron is working well, and it’s much more affordable.

Vitamins the kids take every day

  • Nourish Me Naturally  - A daily multivitamin tincture that consists of four powerful herbs.
  • Propolis throat spray for daily immune support. We spray this in the kids’ mouth every morning and they love the taste!
  • Vitamin D cream - Rubbed on thighs before bedtime, especially if we haven’t been outside much that day.
  • Vitamin C powder - ¼  teaspoon per person mixed into a smoothie for an immunity boost.

To promote good sleep, we all take:

  • Sleepy Time - An herbal tincture that promotes restful sleep and is safe for ages 1+.
  • Good Night Lotion (Magnesium Lotion): This might be our favorite Earthley product of all! We rub a pea-sized amount on our tummies before bedtime and it helps us sleep more soundly (and smells so good!).

Why liquid tinctures? Liquid vitamins and tinctures are easier to digest than tablets, where binders and fillers have to be broken down by the body. I have Celiac disease, and have always had trouble feeling nauseated when I take lots of vitamins in pill form. The liquids digest so easily and I’ve never felt nauseated.

At the first sign of illness, we take:

  • Feel Better Fast  - We take this at the very first sign of illness of any kind. We also use this for tummy aches with great results!
  • Oscillococcinum - This homeopathic medicine may help speed up the progression of the flu and mitigate symptoms (I believe it has for us).
  • Elderberry syrup or tincture - Adults can take 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup every 3 to 4 hours during sickness to boost the immune system. Children can take 1 teaspoon of elderberry syrup every 3 to 4 hours during illness. 
  • Ionic zinc - We add this to a small glass of orange juice and drink up to boost immunity.
  • Drinking a high quality bone broth (by itself or in soup) is incredibly comforting, can reduce congestion, and supports immune function.

For coughs 

  • Cough-B-Gone - An herbal tincture that’s safe for ages 6 months and up, it helps relieve coughs and sore throats and has no added sweeteners (but tastes great).
  • Hot tea with honey - I love steeping a cup of Throat Coat tea or Lemon Ginger with Manuka Honey tea and adding fresh grated ginger, fresh lemon juice, and a teaspoon of honey.
  • Breathe Well Salve - This is a natural vapor rub that can be rubbed on the chest or bottoms of the feet to help with coughs and chest congestion.

For fevers

My best advice is to treat the child, not the number. As a mom, I know I feel anxious when I see a 102.5°F pop up on the thermometer. But if my child isn’t complaining of a headache or chills and seems comfortable, it’s best to let the fever do its work. Fevers stimulate the body’s defenses and are powerful for attacking viruses! It’s best not to suppress them, if possible.

However, there are times when my child has a lower grade fever and still feels miserable (achy, chills, headache). If I’ve tried the tips below and he or she is still uncomfortable, I do treat the child with children’s ibuprofen to bring the fever down. It’s important no matter what you choose to keep your child hydrated: fruit gelatin, hot tea with honey, or watered down juice are great incentives to drink more and stay hydrated.

  • I always try an epsom salt bath to bring a fever down. Add a couple drops of eucalyptus essential oil to 2 cups of epsom salts and pour into a warm bath. The epsom salts help with body aches and the eucalyptus oil can bring a fever down and also help with breathing.
  • Wet sock trick: Take a warm bath, then dry off feet (and body) with a dry towel. Soak a pair of thin socks in a bowl of ice water, and ring them out so they’re damp. Place cold wet socks on the feet and cover with a pair of thick, dry, wool socks. Wear the socks overnight. The body reacts to the cold socks by increasing blood circulation, which can stimulate the immune system and decrease congestion. This can also help break a fever. (It’s pretty amazing!)

For sore throats

For headaches

Badger Headache Soother Stick - We rub this on temples or wherever headache is felt. If I don't have this on hand, I add a drop of lavender, peppermint, and eucalyptus essential oil to a teaspoon of jojoba or coconut oil, rub on temples, back of neck, and chest, then cup your hands and breathe in for a few moments.

Final encouragement

I hope these ideas and resources make you feel empowered, not overwhelmed! If you’re brand new to natural remedies, start small. I would begin with a daily multivitamin, elderberry syrup or elixir to have on hand during illness, and adding fruits and veggies to your diet (smoothies are a great way to pack these in!). Then, as you encounter various health needs and symptoms, slowly add to your natural medicine cabinet over time.