Picture: Pexels

When it comes to colds and flu, I’ve got some good news and some bad news. 

First, the bad news: cold and flu season has arrived and is here to stay awhile. Now the good news: natural remedies for cold and flu symptoms are as close as your kitchen pantry and refrigerator. Mother Nature has provided us with natural and plant-based remedies that can help prevent illness or help you feel better faster once you’re already under the weather.

There are a multitude of home remedies in the world, but the basic ingredients of most of those remedies fall into these seven categories.

Essential Oils

You’re not ready for flu season until you have your essential oils ready. My two favourites are oregano and the Thieves blend (a blend of clove, lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary), both have properties that may boost your immune system and prevent the spread of illness. Start by giving your medicine cabinet a make-over with all natural cold and flu solutions. You can use essential oils to make a sinus steam to relieve congestion or you can make an immune-boosting foot rub. Alternatively, craft a homemade vapor rub from coconut oil, camphor and some lemon-eucalyptus for those nasty chest colds.

Elderberry Syrup

Whether you make your own or buy ready-made elderberry syrup, taking this syrup daily during cold and flu season is a must.

Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey

Apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, honey and ginger make up this cough kicker shot. I find it not only soothes sore throats, but also stops most coughing. And this sore throat remedy that uses honey and essential oils.

Lemonade

Yes, you heard me right. Lemonade, to make you feel better. I’m pretty sure this one is an emotional boost as well. Mix in a little whiskey for the 18 and over crowd and you’ve got yourself a cold toddy. Or serve it hot for a lemonade hot toddy.

Chamomile

As an herbal remedy, chamomile is one of the most diverse. Among its numerous benefits is that it may help you get over a cold faster due to its antibacterial and immune boosting properties. It also helps promote perspiration, which can have a beneficial effect on fevers, colds and flu.

Spices

From cayenne pepper and turmeric to ginger to cardamom, spices are a key component in many cold remedies used around the world.

Garlic

This pungent plant is a well-known immune booster, garlic also helps fight off infections.