Natural Remedies for Illness

25 Natural Remedies for Cold and Flu

When the flu bites, when the cold stings… these are a few of my least favorite things… Fortunately, some cases of illness can be easily prevented, and even once an illness has struck, natural and herbal remedies can help shorten the duration and get you feeling better faster. I posted before about what I keep in my medicine cabinet (and in my purse when traveling), but since we are getting in to the heat.. er, cold, of flu season, I thought more information could be helpful.

Cold and Flu Prevention

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure… you’ve heard it a million times, but how does it practically relate to illness prevention? In short, giving the body what it needs and keeping a constant supply of nutrients will help ensure that the body can resist any pathogen it encounters. Following a basic Wellness Lifestyle will go a long way toward preventing illness, as you will be supporting the body to function optimally. Avoiding grains, sugars and other highly starchy foods will also ensure that the body is functioning at peak immunity should it encounter a virus or bacteria. Some studies show that optimizing vitamin D goes a long way to preventing illness and shortening duration. Getting enough sleep is also crucial to preventing illness, and even a couple nights of interrupted or not enough sleep can leave the body worn down and unable to resist illness. Regular exercise has also been shown to reduce the number of times a person gets ill per year and the duration. But I’m sure you are already doing all that… so in the off chance you are doing all of the above and you still get sick, don’t worry- there are natural ways to heal faster!

Natural Remedies for Cold, Flu, & Illness

Once you or your child has contracted an illness, there are a lot of natural options that can shorten the duration of the illness and lessen the symptoms. I’ve included my whole bag of tricks below, so pick and choose what works for you. I get all my herbs that I don’t grow myself from Mountain Rose Herbs, though there are a lot of places that carry them. Just look for organically grown herbs and make sure they are fresh.

Home Remedies From Things Already In Your House

  1. Garlic– A powerhouse natural antibiotic, anti fungal, and antibacterial, garlic can tackle almost any illness. For the most potent effect, finely mince 1-2 cloves or garlic and float in a small glass of water. Drink quickly- if you are sick enough, you won’t even notice the taste. Note: Pregnant women should not take more than 1 clove of garlic medicinally per day, and children often resist this remedy.
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide– At the first sign of cold, flu, sinus infection, or ear infection, put a dropper full of hydrogen peroxide into each ear. Have the person lie still with the hydrogen peroxide in the ear until it stops bubbling. Do this on both sides. This is especially effective for kids. Repeat every few hours until infection is gone.
  3. Hot Liquids– This one is pretty instinctive, but load up on the hot herbal teas and hot lemon water at first sign of illness. The heat helps boost immune system and a variety of herbs can help with infection.
  4. Cinnamon– Good for more than just stabilizing blood sugar, cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. When sick, mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.
  5. Face Steam– In a pinch, this can be made with kitchen herbs. Boil 1-2 cups of water in a large pot. Remove from heat, add 2 teaspoons each of thyme, rosemary and oregano. Cover for 5 minutes with a lid, and then remove lid and put face directly over pot with towel covering your head to hold in the heat. Breathe in the steam as long as you can, aim for 15 minutes. This will help loosen congestion and kill viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials or sinuses. Alternately, you can use 1/2 cup vinegar in the steam. It won’t smell great, but it will help fight the illness.
  6. Remove White Foods– At the first sign of illness, completely remove all white foods from the diet. This includes grains, sugars, milk, cheese, dairy, sweeteners, soda, etc. These foods suppress immune function and slow the body’s healing ability. When you are ill, you don’t actually need to eat a lot of food, as the body needs to focus more on healing than digestion. Eat fresh chicken soup and drink hot liquids to keep strength up.
  7. Hydrate and Rest– If the body is running a fever (which means it is fighting the illness) the best support you can give is to stay well hydrated on water and herbal teas and to rest enough. The body needs several extra hours of rest a day when ill, and often several extra glasses of water also. If you are running a fever, it is easier to get dehydrated, so drink enough water!

Herbs to Help Remedy Cold and Flu

There are many herbs that support the body when healing from an illness. I recommend buying these from a trusted source online or growing them yourself, though you can find some of them at supplement stores.

  1. Nettle Leaf Some natural doctors say this is the only herb needed for illness treatment. It contains large amounts of vitamins and trace minerals and helps the body stay hydrated and remove toxins. In a tea with Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa and Peppermint, it makes a powerful immune supporting and illness preventing remedy.
  2. Elderberry– Elderberry is well known for supporting the body, especially during flu. You can find conventionally made elderberry syrups at many stores now, or to save money, make your own. Here is the recipe.
  3. Ginger– In capsule form, ginger can greatly help with nausea and vomiting associated with the flu. It can also help with high fever and headache. Fresh ginger root can be steeped in boiling water to make a tea that is very effective against sinus symptoms and congestion.
  4. Yarrow Unsurpassed for flu and fever, and great for children. If used abundantly in tea or tincture at the beginning of an illness, it will usually shorten the illness to less than 24 hours. It is especially good for fevers as it induces perspiration and is great for all childhood type illnesses. It is naturally bitter, so it is often good to include peppermint and stevia leaf when making a tea. It is great for the liver and kidneys and supports the endocrine system.
  5. Chamomile– An absolute staple, especially for kids. Chamomile calms the nerves, helps children sleep better and reduces inflammation or fever. Soaking a chamomile tea bag in warm water and placing over an eye for 15 minutes every 2 hours will relieve pink eye in less than 24 hours. Chamomile tastes great and is easy to get kids to take. We use it in tea and tincture formula. It is also great for regulating hormones and for the skin and can be used regularly for good sleep.
  6. Peppermint– Great for all digestive disturbances and for lowering fever. It can be used as a tea or tincture or rubbed on the skin to bring a high fever down. It is antimicrobial and antiviral and kids usually love the taste. It can be consumed as a hot tea or cold tea during illness in any amounts.
  7. Catnip– A traditional cold and flu remedy, and a great herb for children. It helps induce sleep and settles the stomach. As a tincture or tea, it is a great herb for combating flu, cold or other illness.
  8. Red Clover– Very high in nutrients, Red Clover purifies the blood and relaxes the body. It has been used in hormonal preparations, but is also useful in treating almost any illness. Can be used in tea or tincture.

Vitamins For Cold and Flu Treatment

  1. Vitamin D3– A hormone precursor, this vitamin is finally getting recognition as a necessary nutrient for health. Optimizing Vitamin D levels can help prevent illness in the first place, and taking several thousand IU a day while sick can help speed recovery. Blood tests can help determine any underlying deficiency. This can also be obtained from supplements like Fermented Cod Liver Oil.
  2. Vitamin C– Perhaps the best vitamin for cold and flu, vitamin C in large amounts can greatly speed recovery. We take a real food form from camu camu and acerola cherry.
  3. ZincCan reduce the severity of a cold or flu virus and can help shorten the duration of illness.

Natural Antibiotics and Antivirals for Illness

There are several potent natural antibiotics that in some cases work much better than store bought varieties. The following are ones I keep around at all times:

  1. Oregano and Oregano Oil– Oregano oil is a potent natural antibiotic and antiviral. I diffuse this as needed during illness or use a tiny amount (diluted) on the feet.
  2. Thyme and Thyme Oil– A tea (not nice tasting) made from thyme is very effective against cold and flu. Thyme oil rubbed on the skin will help the body fight infection. Pregnant women and small children should not use thyme.

Other Effective Natural Remedies

  1. Coconut Oil Coconut oil is high in lauric acid and is thought to dissolve the  lipid coating around some viruses and make them more susceptible to attack by the immune system. If sick, aim for 5-6 tablespoons per day in food or melted and stirred into hot tea. Coconut oil has many other health benefits as well and is known to boost the immune system.
  2. Onions and Garlic on the Feet at night– For extreme cases of illness, I slice onion and garlic and place all over  the bottom of the infected person’s foot (rub olive oil on the foot first). I then wrap the foot in saran wrap and place a sock on overnight. Onions and garlic have been shown to pull toxins and help the body heal. Some natural practitioners even claim that having cut onions around will absorb toxins and keep others in the family from getting sick, though I have not tried this.
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar Gargle and Drink– Yes, it tastes awful, but if you are sick enough, you won’t taste it anyway. Drink a tablespoon in water (gargle first) at the first sign of illness and repeat hourly until symptoms disappear. This alkalizes the body and helps kill viruses and bacteria.

A Natural Remedy Reference

There are a lot of options in natural illness treatment, so what do you actually do when illness hits? Below is my reference sheet that I keep in my herb cabinet for reference whenever anyone in the family starts to show signs of illness. The earlier you can catch an illness, often the easier it is to beat.

  • Hydrogen Peroxide in ears (be careful if you have sensitive skin. only use 3% and dilute if needed)
  • Removal of all grains, dairy, sugars, etc.
  • Consumption of only water with chlorophyll and herbal teas
  • Garlic in water followed by cinnamon honey tea (twice a day)
  • Chamomile, Yarrow, Catnip and Peppermint tincture (every 3 hours)
  • Cool nettle, red raspberry, alfalfa and peppermint tea to sip with grapefruit seed extract added
  • Elderberry syrup every 2 hours
  • Vitamin C and Zinc every 2-3 hours in small doses until bowel tolerance
  • Apple cider vinegar gargle and drink every few hours if they will take it
  • Hot tea with melted coconut oil before bed
  • Onions and garlic on feet during sleep

How to Make Your Own Herbal Tincture for Kids

This tincture is great for symptom relief for kids and adults. I have found it to work better than Tylenol or cough syrups and it is healthier too! It is simple to make, and you can get all the ingredients here.

Herbal Tincture Ingredients

Herbal Tincture Instructions

  1. Put all herbs in 1 quart mason glass jar
  2. Pour 80-100 proof vodka over herbs, filling jar
  3. Let steep at least two weeks, but preferably 2 months, shaking daily.
  4. Store in cool, dark place.
  5. After 2 weeks-2 months, strain liquid through cheesecloth and store in glass dropper botles for easy use. Store in a cool, dark place and it will last indefinitely.
  6. Use 8-10 drops for kids over age 2 whenever ill.

Important Notes: I am not a doctor, nor do I claim to be one. I cannot treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any illness. If you have concerns about any sickness, talk to your family physician. Do your own research on natural remedies to ensure that you think they are safe. I earn a small commission through the links above, though the price is the same for you. If you do not wish to use my affiliate link, go to the site directly. If you are pregnant or nursing, consult a qualified specialist before taking any herb or supplement.

What natural remedies do you use to help beat the flu or other illness? Share below!

Beat illness faster with these tips and natural remedies including herbs, supplements and nutrition for avoiding and recovering from illness.

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Reader Comments

  1. Thanks for all your suggestions. I started coming down with a cold Thursday night and tried a couple of your suggestions and I am feeling better. Not eating as much has helped too. I love your website! You are one of my heroes – I wish I had known even some of the information on your website 10 years ago. Thank you for your passion and your willingness to share what you know with others. You have been a huge blessing to me!

  2. Any recommendations on preventing / treating stomach viruses?

    • What we do is get a lot of probiotics from kefir/kombucha/fermented
      foods, optimize vitamin D, eat a lot of healthy fats and veggies and
      take vitamin C. If a stomach bug hits, I just give big doses of
      probiotics every few hours until symptoms go away. Apple cider
      vinegar also works well, but the kids aren’t so big on taking it…

      • I’ve just stared reading your website and I love it.  Im really trying to get healthier.  How do you make kombucha?  The ones that I have read says to use sugar and from what I’ve read on your website…No Sugar.  And also, if you can’t get pasture fead meat can you still eat the other?  Any sugestions? Thanks

        • The sugar actually ferments out and is turned into enzymes and probiotics but it is needed to ferment the tea correctly. The longer you leave it the less sugar is still in it.

          • When a stomach bug hits my kids, I chop some garlic (i give them a minced clove on a spoon and they swallow it with a cup of water) this usually makes them throw up within 5 min, but then NO more throwing up! ( in severe cases I might need to do another bout of garlic, within the hour) but this is our 99.9 % works pretty much everytime!

      • Vitamin c had no proven efficacy in bidding immune system or fighting cold and flu. Basically taking large amounts simply puts you at risk for dehydration and you are counteracting drinking increased fluids.

      • When you say eliminate dairy and white food….wouldn’t that include kefir? Here in the comments you recommend kefir. Should kefir be drank during an illness or not?

    • You can sip water that has activated charcoal in it. NOT the kind you cook on a grill with. You can get it in powder or pill form. The charcoal will absorb the toxins. Also great to gargle with for sore throats. I have even used it to brush my teeth!

    • I used for treating stomach flu
      (and it worked!):

      – licorice extract alcohol free
      – probiotic Culterelle
      – turmeric and ginger, you can make tea from them.
      – goldenseal or Oregon grape root
      – elderberry syrup

      Stay healthy!

  3. How do you use a tincture? Do you take it straight or in water?

      • How often? Once every two hours for two days? Adults vs. kids 2+ years?

  4. Can you tell me if any of these remedies should NOT be used while breastfeeding? 

    • I avoid essential oils for the most part while breastfeeding, but the vitamin C, vitamin D, elderberry, and others should be fine.

      • thank you!!

        my 8 month old baby is coming down with a cold, i want to try to catch it before it gets worse, i know somethings shouldnt be taken while pregnant and nursing, but what about for babies?

  5. Thanks for all the great info!  I want to make the tincture you suggested which calls for 2/3 cup chamomile, yarrow, peppermint, and catnip each.  Mountain Rose herbs sells the aforementioned products by ounces.  I’m not sure what 4 ounces (the smallest amount you can buy) of a dried herb (flower equates to.  What is the minimum I need to buy?  Is 4 ounces enough?

    • Four ounces is plenty. They vary a little bit, but that should be plenty of each to make the tincture.

      • I want to make this tincture, too. But when researching yarrow, it says it needs to be taken hot for to reap the benefits for fighting infection. So is a tincture with yarrow pointless?

  6. thyme essential oil in the vaporizer tray will help loosen congestion

  7. What would be your go to for an almost 2 year old that woke up with a runny nose and sneezing?  Probably a cold/mild infection (no green yet) I am assuming.  Want to catch and stop it before he gets really sick.

    • No white foods (sugar, flower, even fruit), lots of fluid, vitamin C and fermented cod liver oil if you have it.

      • Also, are all the herbs (used as a tea or tincture) you listed okay for that age (almost 2)?  

        • Sorry, one more question.  What would you suggest for nasal congestion/runny nose?  It is getting snottier as the day goes on and getting less clear.  We have been through the ringer with him the last 4 months – mono, double ear infection, gingivitis, tonsilitis, strep, and hand foot mouth disease that I am honestly terrified of him being sick again.  We have almost completely changed our diet because of it – only a little dairy.  Want to try and keep him from any more antibiotics.  Thanks for all your help.

    • Not feeding grains, fruits, etc cuts out a lot of breakfast food options. What would you recommend as a good breakfast food in that case? Also do you avoid fruits that are good for colds like pineapples, oranges, etc?

  8. I have a 6 year old that has had occasional adenoid issues and one case of tonsillitis. The pediatrician thinks he needs to see ENT again and possibly remove his tonsils…I am not down with that. I am really trying to give him things to prevent another illness. Been dong vit c and recently 5ml elderberry syrup. Do you have any other suggestions to prevent a tonsillitis?
    Thank you

    • Probiotics that target ENT health are great. Do research to make sure they are the real deal. The best are in Italy but the US has one comparable. In youth that had strep, it healed over 80% and stopped reoccurance.
      Streptococcus sinusitis

      • Would you share the brand name of the Italian and Us brand you say in comparable in probiotics. I have searched tried and feel like what I bought was the best but I never feel comfortable that I don’t know where the ingredients are sourced. Maybe we are not allowed to mention brand on this blog so how about website or something to point the way. thanks,Joan

  9. We chop a clove of garlic, put it in a spoon and pour enough honey over the top to cover it then gulp it down. Its how I get my 3 years old to take it and it works! Healed me of the beginnings of a breast infection too!

  10. How much Chlorofresh would you recommend for a 2 year old? My bottle says for children 12 and over. Also, what is your treatment recommendation for the stomach virus for a 2 year old?

  11. We also believe turmeric is a key anti-viral.

  12. What about breast milk? I am still BF my 1 year old so when my 4 YO gets sick, i always bump her a glaas a day. It’s a white food…but I’m assuming it still can only help correct? When my 4 YO asks for the breast milk I automatically know she isn’t feeling well:)

    • Breast milk is loaded full of great stuff, including a ton of antibodies from you. And it’s all natural! 😉
      Seriously, I don’t think it counts in the “avoid white foods” category. Both of my kids’ pediatricians told me to switch them back to only breast milk for at least a day whenever they got sick in the first couple years – it helps them get better much more quickly.

      • Definitely agree… breast milk is a category of its own and is great for sick babies!

  13. This is so great!!! Thank you!
    Go Mama Go!

  14. What a great resource. I’ll be referring to this all winter long! I also like to keep garlic oil or mullein oil on hand for putting in ears when illness is developing too.

  15. So do you have the kids drink the tincture? I’m wondering for infants.

  16. Thanks so much for compiling this info all together, especially for adding the specific things you do and in order. I very much appreciate this!

  17. THANK YOU SO MUCH! So many good recommendations here! We try to fight illness naturally, and I feel more confident having these remedies to refer to.

  18. Thank you Katie. This article is very specific and helpful! I’ve been trying to decide what tincture to make first with my growing collection of herbs over the past few months, and this just decided it for me! ‘Tis the season…I plan to bottle it up and send some to my daughter in Kentucky for my grandchildren. You’re the best, thanks again!

  19. I have a question about the cinnamon honey mixture. Last night I tried putting 1 Tbsp of Cinnamon with 1 tsp Honey in a mug of hot water and it seemed like way too much cinnamon. I was unable to finish the drink. Today I’m trying the Cinnamon in a cup of applesauce, hoping it would mix better. It tastes a bit better, but it still seems like too much cinnamon. Now, I have really cheap cinnamon, which might be influencing it, but is the ratio listed correct? Should I just look for some higher quality cinnamon? Thank you.

    • It could be the cinnamon, but if you need to reduce it to get it down, you can definitely do that.

    • Ceylon cinnamon is the best (pure form), and Raw honey. Made a mixture of this for my husband who was developing a cold. Placed 1 cup of water in a mug in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes….then stirred in the tbsp of cinnamon and the tsp of honey. Had to stir from time to time as he drank it since the cinnamon didn’t seem to really dissolve. I guess you’d say drink it more quickly, like a toddy, than you would sip as a tea. Point is to get it all down so it can do it’s work.

  20. I have just ordered the herbs I will need to make this tincture. What symptoms cause you to reach for the tincture and How often do you give children a dose? My son is 3. What about a dose for an adult? Thanks!

  21. I have a daughter that just turned 1, and last winter she had an ear infection and a low fever and all the doctor wanted to do was give her antibiotics. This year, if she gets sick I want to use a more natural approach. What remedies are safe for her age?

  22. Why do you choose ascorbic acid? What do you think about “real” vitamin C from food, like the Healthforce Nutritionals brand?

  23. Any suggestions for poison ivy? My husband keeps getting it and takes prednezone which weakens his immune system.

    • No no no . . . go out and find some jewelweed. Usually grows near cattails and water. Has an orange flower. Crush up the stem and put that juice on the poison ivy . . . works like a charm! Also can use it with other skin rashes, and insect bites 🙂

    • I had poison ivy all growing up. One day I discovered Rhuss Toxx. We live in the woods and poison ivy is all around. After taking it one year for 7 days out of 3 months, I was totally cured! It is a homeopathic remedy that works like a charm. I haven’t had poison ivy for years. Hope this helps.

  24. I bought oregano oil in capsule form, do you think that would help with a sore throat?

    • If you put the oregano oil, liquid form, in about a shot glass amount of water, then hold your nose and down it, it’s not so bad. I’m able to take 10 drops of Oreganol P73 this way, and it immediately knocks out a sore throat.

  25. For sore throats and upper respiratory infections we’ve always done garlic tea: a clove of garlic, 1/4 tsp cayenne, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice in boiling water, add up to 1 tsbsp raw local honey to taste. Sometimes I put apple cider vinegar in it too. My kids got whooping cough this summer, and we added your elderberry syrup recipe & high doses of ascorbic acid. They recovered much quicker than other kids we knew who got it. Thanks so much for your website and helpful advice!

    • I have a sore throat today. I am going to give your recipe for garlic tea a try! Thanks, Sonja!

  26. What would you recommend for a sick baby under the age of one? For runny nose, cough and/or fever?

  27. About the Herbal tincture for kids. My Daughter really has a problem with me using 80- 100 proof alcohol to make this for my Grandaughter. So, I used purified water instead. Are the herbs going to be ok seeping in that rather than the alcohol?

    • I noticed a lot of questions regarding the alcohol based tincture being given to the little ones. I am late seeing this blog. But for future reference for making a tincture, I don’t recommend using water at all. The reason being is mold can develop within the herbs. So only use water if it will be consumed within 24-48hrs like making a tea.
      As for making a tincture for the lil ones I would recommend all tinctures be administer for ages 2 and up only, in case of a allergic reaction to any specific herbs. For a kid friendly non alcoholic
      tincture it is recommended to use vegetable glycerin, or raw honey in place of the vodka or brandy which can also be used for making tinctures. Just place all dry ingredients into a small pint mason jar, fully cover all the herbs with either the honey, or the glycerin. The only downside to this method is it is impossible to remove the loose herbs. I recommend the honey, as you can do a speed method by putting everything into a pot, and letting it steep for about 4-5 hrs on a very low/simmer temp. The herbs can then be removed by hand easily. Then just jar with lid off let cool then cap and store at room temp. It will last indefinitely as honey is a natural preservative in it’s own right. Hope this helps to answer anyone’s concerns. Sorry for such a long type.

  28. Ginger all the way for me! I make it in a tea with mint and turmeric. Works a charm. I was not down once with flu since I started using ginger 2 years ago, touch wood.

    • How do you make it? I would like to make some to take. Thanking you in advance for your response.

  29. i have a remedy for colds and flu that i’m thinking of patenting it’s so good. in fact – a friend was bed bound with terrible flu for a week, and was back on her feet a few hours after trying this:
    Blend up several large cloves of garlic, a big chunk of raw ginger root, a few large dollops of raw honey, and the juice of a whole lemon. Whoosh it all up together and store in a jam jar until needed. when needed, take a few tablespoons of this concoction and add hot water. drink. Add more or less of one ingredient according to taste. It’s a knock-you-off-your-feet type drink that zings through your body with virus-pounding goodness. enjoy!

    James from England

  30. can I use Oregano Oil more than once a day? for an adult, I mean

  31. Some very good suggestions and herbal remedies, like the recipe too! Thanks for sharing.

  32. Thank you for this extensive list! What precautions would you recommend while nursing? I know I need to be cautious of oregano and thyme for supply reasons, but I’ve also seen mixed suggestions on yarrow and garlic. Would you (in your non-medical, purely friendly advice opinion of course) use these while breastfeeding?

  33. Can I have the proportions for Nettle Leaf, Red Raspberry Leaf, Alfalfa and Peppermint?

  34. Hi Katie,

    Love all these remedies – thanks for sharing! 🙂

    I have a question about the honey/cinnamon tea. I’m all for raw honey and am wondering if when mixed in a tea (the key here being the hot water), if it looses any of its goodness in this process? I’ve heard people say that “cooked” honey – aka honey that’s been heated at all – is “poison.” I feel this is a pretty extreme view but do wonder what your thoughts are on heating honey. Would you recommend mixing it in just warm water or actually into boiling/hot water as you would with tea?

    Thank you!

  35. what do you recommend for an 18 month old?

  36. Hey there, love all the suggestions (we have personally been doing a very similar regime with our family during colds/flu) but I wanted to share from personal experience that garlic can cause extreme chemical burns on the skin! We learned this the hard way. Even after taking precautions with oil and placing the garlic in gauze, my son still managed to wake with burns on his feet. Our only guess is that he may have stood on them in the night (possibly breaking through the gauze..). Totally a fan of the raw garlic orally, but won’t be placing on skin again. Just want to put that out there. Thanks.

  37. I nurse my 7 month old.who has the.flu…..he is 20 lbs., I drink apple cider.vinegar.and take garlic….is there.anything I can do for him

  38. are these remedies safe while pregnant? I am 23 weeks pregnant and sick for the second time. Other than tylenol, there is not much I can take.


  39. The last few years I noticed that whenever I googled something for a natural remedy, it brought me to your site. I love all your info! I downloaded your app… It isthe first app I have paid for… Ever!
    I do have a question… I have a 6 month old. Hehas had a runny nose, a cough and now a mild fever. Are all the remedies above ok to use on him? I actually feel dumb asking because I always think about back in the day and other cultures that only use natural ways…. But when you have something so precious, it’s hard to just go ahead and give him these remedies.
    I am wanting to try the honey and garlic or the cinnamon…. Would these be ok?
    Thank you so much for all your amazing info. I love that you are to the point, and do this to help people. <3

    • I don’t give honey to kids under 1 year. Is he still nursing. that will be the best thing for him and he will benefit from all the healthy things you do…

  40. Thanks! Appreciate your wisdom

  41. Could you please clarify the percentage of hydrogen peroxide you’re using? I’ve got 6% and 35% but both are too strong to use on the skin to my knowledge.

  42. Would “already minced garlic” in a jar that you buy in the grocery store still work?

  43. I think you are doing a great job thank you for all your information

  44. I had a cold sore so used essenal oil four thives on the coldsore and it did cure it. I read that the four thrives has antifungal properties and canbe use to fight infection. And help with mold and bacteria.

  45. I have a three month old who woke up this morning with enough goo in her eye that it was stuck closed. Would the chamomile tea bag be safe at this age or effective on this?

  46. My 2.5 is having fever and I’m start giving her black elderberry and oreganol oil into her water. Do you have any other suggestion will help her fever go away faster ?

  47. For the nettle tea, how much of each herb do you use in a cup of water? At what temp and how long do you steep it?

  48. (YOUR WEBSITE IS MAGICAL. thank you. )

    What do you think about putting rosemary and thyme essential oils and oregano oil into the chamber of one of those facial steamers? I tried one drop of each in my steamer which holds about 4 oz of water. It did burn a little at first but nothing unbearable. My sinuses and chest felt so much better after 15 mins of steaming.

    Also- does heating vinegar reduce or destroy its medicinal qualities? I put one tbsp of vinegar in my lemon ginger tea with coconut oil and honey and it tasted really good!

  49. concern , my son when pee’s he leave’s a sticky residue, on the toilet and the rim of the toilet, does anyone know what this is? if so how do i help cure my son with herbs, thank you .

  50. Thank you for the healing and getting me better mama.

  51. Is all of this safe during pregnancy? I’m not currently sick but I have a sick husband at home and I want to prevent it.

  52. Hi Wellness,

    Just wondering if you have any information on alcohol in tinctures and how it affects children? I have 8 year old, 4 year old and 2/1/2 year old twins so would be great to know if the alcohol dissipates when added to herbs?

  53. Why do you say no to essential oils during breastfeeding? I was going to use them topically to help with post partum depression that’s been recommended by a couple other natural blogs

  54. Please use Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil for cold or flu…IT WORKS! I use 0.05 ml. ~a 1/4 of a eye dropper to swallow down…. It is Very Strong! I do this till better 2-3 days and all is well…for other infections 20 drops in a gallon of distiled water and drink this when ever you would as water… it will take one and a half days to finish the gallon. One person did 2 gallons and rid himself of genital herpes so he said. However for colds flu IT WORKS.

    EL Mohel Castorena
    P.S. Vitamin D3 at 1000ui per 100 lbs. of my body weight for “3 DAYS” also works on my cold if
    no Wild Mediterranean Oregano Oil is handy.

  55. i am so happy i found your post yesterday!! i came down with a bad cold/flu and felt horrendous. i had to call off work so i started googling natural remedies. this page came up first!!! i tried a handful of your remedies and i feel COMPLETELY FINE today. i could hardly walk up and down the stairs yesterday. the things i did were: onions in my socks, apple cider vinegar, raw garlic, frankincense and eucalyptus on my feet, neck, and chest, and drank tons of herbal tea with yarrow, eucalyptus, peppermint, and ginger.

  56. While I think this site is very helpful, I don’t think the use of essential oils are safe and I don’t consider them natural. Let the cold run it’s course, rest, and use natural ways to relieve the symptoms. No need to kill the virus with something so potent and toxic as oregano oil.

  57. Just want to tell you that i love your site. It is an awesome reference for all that is natural! I make all that i can from laundry soap, sunscreen to home remedies . Your site has everything i need. A big thank you from Canada

  58. The only adequate natural source of vitamin D is sunshine. Trying to get vitamin D from food sources is a losing battle.

    • Not if You take Vitamin D3 5000 iu In Capsule form.

  59. Very informative post! Are these all safe during pregnancy? I’m 24 weeks and woke up with a terrible sore throat! Is elderberry safe during pregnancy?

  60. Katie, Have you heard of using nutmeg to relieve congestion? My mother use to make a nutmeg plaster by spreading lard or margarine on a cloth and then sprinkling nutmeg all over it. It would be placed on our chest over the bronchial area for only 10 minutes. It was effective in loosening the congestion. I have never found any one else who has heard of using nutmeg in that way.

  61. I have a 6yr old who is showing early signs of a stomach bug, what would be the best way to treat and possibly knock it out before it worsens? He’s not gonna take anything that tastes horrible so the better tasting, the easier for me 🙂

  62. Are the remedies above ok during pregnancy (other than the garlic limit)? Thank you!

    • I need an answer to this question also.

  63. Quick question about the tincture recipe. How often should an adult use this to achieve the best results? And you wrote 8-10 drops for kids, does that apply for adults too? Thanks so much for this recipe! I just pressed it today and am excited to use.

  64. HemoForm is only the best product I have found that works well and works quick. I have used this for years. Won’t buy anything else to manage coldsores anymore. It took to long to discover this product and it really is the best thing out there. I recommend it any time I hear someone complain of cold sores.

    • Did you use a cream or take a pill? Where do you buy HemoForm from?

  65. There are at least 5 questions asking if these things are safe in pregnancy, but no answers. Anyone? I’d specifically like to know about high doses of vitamin C.

    • The answer really is that it depends. Check with a doctor for sure, but the main risk to the baby, from what I’ve read of high Vitamin C consumption is essentially a form of scurvy at birth, which does go away. Also this would not be long term use of Vitamin C, so the risks and benefits would have to be weighed. I know pregnant women who have taken high dose Vitamin C to avoid a much bigger problem, but I would personally not take high doses without a very specific need for it while pregnant.

  66. Thank you for the great information! I thought I recently followed a link on your website to a different Vit D product…. would you have any additional recommendations (other than NOW Brand Vit D)? Thanks!

  67. Thanks for all the home remedies. You have a fantastic website. There is so much of really great info. I too have eat 2-3 cloves of garlic a day and take the honey and cinnamon mixture twice a day as soon as i get a cold. I’ve been doing this for the past year and the colds haven’t lasted for more than 3 days. The year before i got colds that took weeks to ago away. I swear by these natural remedies for colds. I’m so glad i gave them ago.

  68. Thank you so much for all this wonderful information.
    I have an 11 month old who’s had a cold the past few days. he had a fever 102 that broke after 2 days. his runny nose has now turned to chest congestion. i’ve been trying a few different things: coconut oil, castor oil, elderberry and Braggs.

    Today I’m going to try filling up the sink with hot steamy water and adding eucalyptus.
    Which of your suggested remedies will be safe for him?

    Thank you So much!

  69. I mixed some coconut oil with my tea last night and a little while after drinking it I felt so sick I was nearly throwing up, it’s so rich!

    • It’s ok, maybe take a lil less next time. It’s called cell die off. It’s natural to feel like that. It will pass.

      • Kate ~~ Uum, coconut oil upsets some people’s stomach – that’s a fact. If you want to continue to use it, you can take a little less (like a teaspoon or less) and mix it with your tea. If you do that for a week or so and feel okay, then you could gradually add more and see how your feel. If you do some looking on line, you’ll find that feeling sick after having the coconut oil is not uncommon for many people. My daughter experiences that if she mixes it in something warm to drink, but she can cook with it and add some to her foods without the upset. ~~ And not trying to start an argument here, Vikky, but that’s way to quick for it to be some type of die off.

  70. How much Chlorophyll do you recommend giving kids? Is it safe for any age? I have read great things about Chlorophyll.

  71. Hi Katie. You mentioned taking oregano oil internally here but in a recent article I think you had said not to take EO internally. Can you clarify? Also I know you said peppermint and eucalyptus was unsafe for babies/toddlers. Is oregano oil safe? I’d like to diffuse oregano and lavender in my toddlers Ron while she has a chest cold. Can you let me know your thoughts?

    • Updating article now. It truly depends on the source you ask. I’d only consider it in cases where the benefits outweigh the risk (severe illness) but I would diffuse if needed.

  72. Hi Katie

    I just wanted to let you know that I tried the Hydrogen Peroxide in my ears last night and this morning (for about 10 minutes in each ear), I could feel a slight cold coming on. It felt ok at first but then I experienced a bit of pain in once ear and then when I did it this morning, 1 hour after I had completed the treatment my ears became excruciatingly painful (all the way down to my jaw) for several hours, it was quite scary!

    I went to see my Dr who had a look and said I had burnt the inside of my ears. She said it is unusual and rare but she has seen it a couple of times before with people who suffer from allergies and have sensitive skin. I do have sensitive skin and interestingly, I suffer from allergies and the inside of my ears are often itchy (the kind of itch you can’t scratch). She has given me some drops to soothe the burn. I’m not sure if you want to add a little warning to the post about that, though as the Dr said, it is a rare reaction.

    I think I will stick with the Elderberry Syrup, which is delicious, thanks for sharing.
    Kate 🙂

    • Wow- will add a warning for sure. I’ve done it for years with no problem… so sorry it was so uncomfortable for you!

  73. Why is there a limit on garlic consumed during pregnancy? That is hamds down my favorite thing to use, and only one clove per day doesn’t seem terribly effective.

    • I would also like to know the reason because I’ve seen on other sites that it is recommended for pregnant women, but given that you caution against it, I am untrusting of their advice.

    • Looking for an answer to this as well.

  74. I am in my early 60s, retired, and got a heck of a flu. Tomorrow is my birthday and company is coming from out of state. I am trying to get rid of this as soon as I can (deep cough etc.). I will try some of your suggestions, but do you have like a top 3 I can try to heal sooner? I am so bummed as I am usually very healthy. Don’t take anything except some vitamins.
    Thanks, Lynn

    • Happy Birthday Lynn! If it were me, I’d be doing elderberry syrup, vitamin C and tons of water.

    • Happy birthday! Sorry about not getting back to you sooner. Everyone responds differently, but honestly the best thing I can think of is the elderberries.

  75. Shoot, chicken soup, NOT chicken “noodle” soup because noodles are a grain. Poop 🙁

  76. Thank you, very informative, I have a question – has anyone tried shungite water? One of my friends advised me to try it, in his case it helped. If anybody faced this situation and tried it please advise.

  77. In regards to peroxide in the ear — I’ve read at Dr. Mercola for years now and he recommends that, so, I tried it 2 days ago because I’ve been sick with some kind of cold/flu now for over a month. Well, put the drops into the left ear, heard nothing, felt no stinging, so after a couple of minutes, I decided these must not be working or maybe the peroxide was old, so I tipped my head onto a tissue and NOTHING, I mean NOTHING came out. (and yes my ears were clean before I started) I tried all kinds of things to get it out (although NOT the palm popping over the ear suggested by those who don’t know better). Thing that finally worked an hour and half later was using the blow dryer on low heat for a few minutes, then lying down on that side. Within a few minutes, most of the peroxide drained out; however, for the rest of the day I could still *hear* a bit of it still in there. Now 2 days later, my ear hurts, and now I am about to break down & call the doctor for whatever all this thing is that is hanging on. I’ve tried so many things over the past weeks giving each at least 3-4 days to see if it’s effective, and although I am somewhat better (my word, SHOULD be after all this time just in itself!), but still have a sore throat so bad that I can barely swallow. But back to the subject – I really would NOT recommend putting peroxide in your ear no matter what anyone says, especially a child’s ear.

  78. How many things from this list would count as “white”?
    Apple (the inside is white)

  79. I just put tea tree oil in my ears instead of hydrogen peroxide on accident. I tipped my ear over and tried to get it all out then filled ear with hydrogen peroxide and then dumped it out two times to try to rinse the ear out,,, then I tried to soak it up with qtips. It still feels like the oils in my ears, and its kinda hard to hear, what do I need to do? Thanks in advance for any advice

  80. I’ve recently found your site and am ecstatic of all the information you’re giving. This list seems amazing. My question is, besides the limit on garlic, is everything else safe during pregnancy? I work in childcare so not getting sick is truly a hard task. I am 7 weeks pregnant and just looking for natural ways to cure a cold.

    • In general, most are considered safe, but I’d absolutely check with a doctor or midwife to be sure before using anything, especially in early pregnancy

  81. I have a question about the liquid chlorophyll … I cannot find anywhere in the link that it is organic or at least gmo free. Since alfalfa is a gm crop this concerns me. Also I have read some startling reviews regarding the copper in all liquid chlorophyll supplements. Does this concern you? I went to a health food store to compare this brand with others on the shelf… and instead I stumbled across Now brand, Alfalfa, 650mg and says non-gmo right on the front. Of course since they are tabs, my 9 year old won’t be able to take. I was wondering if you could tell me if this would have the same internal deodorizing effects that I’ve read so much about the liquid chlorophyll having? ….I wish there was another way for me to contact you. I do not do any social media and it doesn’t seem that you offer email as a way to contact you….??

  82. is it true that some herb like garlic, ginger and lemon can cure virus

    ? and if yes how is it?

  83. I just used the cinnamon/honey in “Throat Coat” tea and violently threw up from it. I don’t have a flu bug, wasn’t even nauseous before drinking it. I just have a sore throat and head cold. Just letting anyone else know I case they may react the same way from the cinnamon.

  84. Thankfully, i don’t get sick often. I would like to have a stockpile of many of the tinctures, etc, however, it is just me in the house. What is the general rule of thumb of shelf-life for make it yourself tinctures?

  85. Katie I love your blog! I have a question for my son who is 2. He had high fever all weekend and yesterday the doctor found he has strep throat and gave him antibiotics. I started giving him more probiotics and vitamin c. I also had to give him Tylenol until this early morning. What else do you recommend!

  86. Hi! Wondering what you do for little babies that get sick with congestion cough .. Etc. like for a 3 month old ? How do you get them the herbs? Or do you use other methods?

  87. One more question… Wondering why you stay away from the oils when nursing?

  88. I use warm honey and lemonade. Super easy to make and relieves within a day. If not cured them certainly feeling better.

  89. Katie, any thoughts for treating strep throat? Taking the prescribed antibiotics would devastate my system & I’ve worked too hard to get healthy.

    • I’m wondering about strep throat too! Were you able to cure it naturally?

      • Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, cures complications after antibiotics or strangles, but may work for strep, too.
        1 Tablespoon turmeric in a large glass of orange juice, Only add a small amount of juice to mix it like paste, first.
        OJ helps most with the taste. Add some OJ concentrate to help, too and have water handy to add, as needed. It can be taken in water. Also eat food, as it may upset your stomach.
        Pills will work, but it takes a lot.
        Get a quality one, so it does not have heavy metals.
        It’s also great for severe, tooth infection, but may not take the pain away for a while.
        Minor pain is helped with 1/2 tsp. turmeric in OJ; or 500 mg, twice daily – from reflexologist/ massage therapist

        This is for pain, or digestion, and/ or brain;
        Pain management and more: liquid diet with no sugar for 2 days to give the digestive system a rest.
        Be sure to take greek yogurt with local honey and no sugar. – from a nurse

  90. Thank you Wellness Mama! What. Wonderful article. I’ve been following you on Facebook for a while now and I just love your work. Thank you so much, I appreciate your online “advice”.
    Queensland, Australia

  91. I, too, am concerned about the GMO in the liquid chlorophyll you linked to. Can you please address this, Katie?
    Thanks! 🙂

  92. I love this blog. I love learning more home remedies, herbs remedies and such. Have copied so much from here and will try a few of the remedies mentioned on here.

    Book Prescription For Nutritional Healing has many home remedies in it

    In that book, I learned to give a catnip tea enema for fever. OMG it works!
    Brought the fever down.

    This is a natural chemical free remedy.

    You can also give a garlic enema for fevers too.

    Read in that book how to prepare the enema and give it. To me much better than giving OTC meds, chemicals and such.

    Of course, must say, check with your doctor before giving any home remedy including enemas.

    I read on another blog to use egg whites for a fever. I haven’t tried that one yet. But next fever, hope doesn’t come soon LOL, I may try that remedy.

  93. Making the tincture, but could not find yarrow flowers at my health food store. Would it be worth it to order the yarrow online, or would the tincture be effective without it? Thanx for you blog. Very helpful.

  94. Thank you for your recommendations. Do you recommend hydrogen peroxide for adults and children — even if they don’t have ear symptoms?

    I find western herbs calming and enjoyable, but not as effective as some of the Chinese herbal formulas: Kid’s Immune Tonic (for children) and Cold Nip for adults.

  95. For those with ear problem, I read from another website to cut onions and place it on a handkerchief and tie it around your neck overnight. It should work. Wouldn’t hurt to try. 🙂

  96. I saw your note about thyme essential oil and pregnancy. Is the same true for the face steam? I used dried thyme, fresh rosemary and oregano unchopped. I was reading more while doing the face steam and came across your thyme eo note and immediately stopped 8 min in.


    • In face steams, you are using the spice not the EO and in culinary doses, which are generally considered safe. I personally do those without concern during pregnancy, but definitely ask a doctor if you are concerned.

  97. Hi my name is Linda, Love this site. I have a question. A couple years ago my daughter (at that time she was sixteen…now nineteen) caught a cold the gave her antibiotics. She then broke out in a rash all over her body. We changed antibiotics and now steroids. Well, turns out she is allergic to antibiotics. Everyone she has taken makes her break out in rash. I need to know what I can do to make her a natural antibiotic. She is sick now but not sure what i could do for her. Thank you

  98. This is such a great site! My 3 year old has had a 102-103 fever the past 2 days with a runny nose, a cough, and lots of wheezing. The Dr. prescribed the antibiotic azithromycin. I wish I had read your site before giving this to her, but now that I have already given her meds, any recommendations on how I can heal her after 5 days of antibiotics? Kefir, etc.? I never want to give her antibiotics of I can avoid it.

  99. How much water should go with this?
    Cinnamon– Good for more than just stabilizing blood sugar, cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. When sick, mix 1 tablespoon with 1 teaspoon of honey and stir to make a spicy and very effective tea that helps relieve cough and congestion and lower fever.

  100. If i would make a herbal tea for kids what are the proportions, with all the herbs listed, about 1tsp of each for 1cup of water?

  101. I love your blog and your articles are always so helpful!
    I always try to go for natural first!

  102. Hi!
    Wondering if you take Apple Cider Vinegar while breastfeeding? I did a search on your site but couldn’t find any specifics on that question. I have had digestive problems (bloating, irregular etc.) since giving birth 6 weeks ago and have begun taking ACV diluted in water. Will check with my dr but thought I’d ask for your opinion too if you don’t mind. Thank you!

    • I consider it a food/drink and do consume it while pregnant and nursing.