I Believe in Magic! Home Remedies for Cold and Flu

“Healthy people eating healthy food should never need to take an antibiotic.” -Dr. Joel Fuhrman

Tis the season for colds, flues, viruses, sinus congestion and just feeling plain yuk! Many run to the doctor at the first sign of illness, which usually is not necessary and simply spreads your germs or sends you out only to pick up some more.

For a virus, antibiotics do nothing but mess up your normal good bacteria in your digestive tract (mouth, stomach, intestines).

When I get sick there are a few things I do that seem to shorten my days on the couch, but I try to start my natural regime at the first sign of a depleted immune system (scratchy throat, achiness, fatigue, or what I call the eewy geewies when I just know there is a bug in me).

If you have incredibly horrible symptoms like a high fever, cough, sore throat, sneezing and blowing out green or yellow gunk for more than a week – you may need to make an appointment with your doctor but generally rest, stress management, and supporting your immune system with a healthy diet and natural remedies will decrease your time on the couch or bed.

Before you try any of these remedies, although you probably don’t need the doctor, I would at least ask what he or she thinks of the magic. More than likely your doctor will say “whatever works” or “there is some research to show…” or “never heard of it but it can’t hurt” or just take some Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or Aleve and rest. That’s all good advice but is there anything else you can do? Yes! Here are some home remedies you can try.

Natural remedies

First and foremost eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins and antioxidants-vegetables and fruits, green smoothies and soups with added healing herbs and spices such as garlic, ginger, onion, and turmeric. Apple cider vinegar added to your food or taken as a drink has long been known to heal sore throats, colds, and viruses. Horseradish root is an excellent natural antibiotic and decongestant great for loosening mucous or encouraging a blocked sinus to drain. Avoid sugar except for raw honey, which has long been used for its antibiotic properties. Honey added to a cup of ginger tea and sprinkled with a pinch of cayenne pepper is an excellent sore throat remedy.

My favorite natural remedy is garlic. I carry garlic with me when I travel and at the first sign that I feel like there is a bug in me. I eat raw garlic chopped up on bread or mixed with my food. When I am dining out, I don’t hesitate to ask my waitress or waiter to bring me a side of chopped garlic. And yes sometimes you do reek to those around. There is a famous quote “Since garlic then hath powers to save from death, bear with it though it makes unsavory breath.” – Salerno Regimen of Health.

I can remember a time when I was traveling and while at the airport waiting for a flight, I felt like I was coming down with something. I went to one of the airport restaurants and ordered hot soup and a side of garlic. I ate it all. While on the airplane I heard the people in the seats behind me saying “ I smell garlic. Wow! I bet she just ate Italian food!.” It seemed my garlic ingestion was noticeable.

And speaking of garlic, check out my recipe for Garlic Soup.


Start with Chicken or Vegetable Broth (You can use any clear soup or make your own with bullion cubes). Bring to a boil

Add Several cloves of fresh garlic cut up. (I add as many as 10 cloves to about 4 cups of broth) Use as much as you can stand and don’t over cook the garlic.

Simmer the soup with the garlic for a minute or two. (Another variation is to sauté the garlic in the pan before adding the broth. This makes the garlic more tolerable if you don’t like it raw.) I eat garlic raw so I cook as little as possible.

Remove from heat and add: 1 tsp of Apple Cider Vinegar. Sprinkle with Cayenne pepper. (According to taste -a dash can create quite a tang so add according to what you can tolerate).

Other helpful spices are Turmeric, Cumin and Ginger which all have healing properties.

Another variation is to add a beaten egg to the boiling broth like egg drop soup.

If you want to make a more hearty soup, go ahead and add some cooked chicken, turkey or sautéed vegetables. Onions are always good for healing.

Be sure to chew the garlic pieces when you eat the soup.

Enjoy! And Be Well!





Ten Things to Know If You Have To Take Antibiotics

  1. They kill bacteria, not viruses, fungus infections, or any other infection. Antibiotics do not kill a cold.
  2. It is best to get a lab culture done through your doctor’s office before taking an antibiotic. If not, make sure you see the doctor or dentist before taking an antibiotic so that he can properly determine if it is a bacterial infection.  If you suspect Strep throat, the doctor can do a quick test that takes 10 minutes in his office to determine if you need an antibiotic.  Hopefully, if he/she prescribes one, they have also sent the culture to a lab to verify negative or positive results.
  3. There are hundreds of antibiotics and millions of bacteria. Your doctor will determine the best antibiotic for you. If you are not feeling better after a few days, call your doctor. You may be on the wrong antibiotic.
  4. They kill good bacteria too. We have healthy bacteria in our bodies called “normal flora” or “friendly bacteria” that support our immune system, gastrointestinal functions, and genitourinary tract.
  5. Antibiotics have side effects, the most common being the result of the # 4 -diarrhea or constipation and oral and vaginal yeast infections. When you take antibiotics, eat yogurt with “live cultures” or ask your doctor about taking acidophilus supplements or “probiotics.” These add the good bacteria back to the body so that you have fewer side effects.
  6. Some antibiotics are best taken with food and others are best taken on an empty stomach. Make sure you know the proper way to take your antibiotic. Usually the most important precautions are on the label. READ THE LABEL.
  7. Most important is to TAKE AS PRESCRIBED AND FINISH THE ENTIRE PRESCRIPTION. If you stop it after you feel better, the next time you need that antibiotic it may not work. The bacteria are smart, and if there are some left over they may attack again with greater strength, called “Super Bugs.”
  8. DON’T SHARE ANTIBIOTICS. The prescription is for you. If anyone gets an infection, they need to see the doctor and get their own prescription.
  9. Some antibiotics can interfere with birth control pills. If you are taking birth control pills, you may want to also use another form of contraceptive while you are taking antibiotics. Talk to your doctor and pharmacist about this.
  10. Many people are allergic to antibiotics. Be sure to tell your health care providers about any reactions you have had from antibiotics. Allergies to Penicillin and Sulfa drugs are very common. If you have any reactions while taking any antibiotic call your health provider immediately or go to your nearest emergency room.

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