My Amish friends are predicting a really cold winter based on the fuzz on caterpillars, the shells on acorns, the movement of squirrels, the size of pinecones and the bird migrations. Who knows if any of these predictions are accurate, but I’m actually excited at the prospect of a cold winter this year and hopefully even some snow (as all of you from north of us roll your eyes at this southern girl!). With the onset of cold weather, the common cold, flu, and general sniffles can become a regular occurrence. That’s why I like to stay prepared with a few natural remedies for winter.
Natural Remedies for Winter
My Amish friends are also stocking up on remedies (natural and conventional) in preparation for winter. Travel gets more difficult for them in the snow and ice and they are trying to be prepared ahead of time. In the past, I’ve found that they tend to be right about their predictions most of the time, so I’m working on stocking up too!
In particular, I’m stocking up on my seven favorite natural remedies that I always keep on hand as we approach cold/flu/general illness season. They are:
1. Elderberry Syrup:
I’ve written before about how much I love Elderberry Syrup for warding off cold and flu (or speeding recovery if we get it). My recipe combines dried elderberries, raw honey and herbs for a potent and effective natural syrup.
It is simple to make and much less expensive than store bought versions with similar ingredients.
Here’s my printable Elderberry Syrup Recipe.
2. Vapor Rub
If cough or cold strikes, I like to have homemade vapor rub on hand. I use it on the bottoms of feet and on the back and chest to calm coughing and congestion. Always ask a doctor before using anything herbal on children.
Here is my natural vapor-rub recipe.
3. Fermented Cod Liver Oil
We take fermented cod liver oil daily in the winter for the fat soluble vitamins and Omega-3s. I’ve found that it is especially important during months when I’m not getting Vitamin D from the sun, and from tracking my blood levels of Vitamin D, I absorb the fat soluble vitamins in a whole food supplement like cod liver oil much more easily than isolated capsules of D3.
This is the Fermented Cod Liver Oil I take daily during the winter.
4. Homemade Cough Syrup
Another thing I keep pre-made in the fridge is my homemade cough syrup. It combines raw honey with lemon juice and herbs to help sooth cough or tickling throat easily. I’ve found that the honey/cinnamon combination also helps speed up recovery from many illnesses, even if there isn’t a cough.
Here’s how to make homemade cough syrup.
I’ve written about the benefits of broth and talked about it on my podcast, but broth is a superfood we always have on hand in the winter.
I typically make my own broth and always have some cooking and in the fridge, but you can also buy pre-made broth to save time.
During winter months, I keep raw garlic on hand to speed recovery from illness (and for us in soups and stir frys). I typically mince one clove or raw garlic and drink with water when I feel an illness coming on.
I repeat this every few hours until the illness is gone
I also take probiotics preventatively and extra in case of illness. Hippocrates famously said that all illness begins in the gut, and in winter months, the gut needs some extra TLC. I take Probiotics to keep my gut happy and take a few extra in case of illness.
A little comfort goes a long way. See this post for my real-life version of hygge and the way I keep my winter blues away by staying cozy and making the best of the indoors.
What natural remedies do you keep on hand in the winter?
Discussion (27 Comments)
Great article Katie! Love all the ideas, especially the elderberry syrup – we’ve got an elderberry tree in our garden and I had never thought of using the dried berries for syrup, yay!
My favorite go-to anti-cold or anti-winter-weird-who-knows-what-virus remedy is a ‘ginger bomb’. Not my term – I got it from a friend who specializes in juicing.
You basically get a big knob of ginger and put it through your juicer with a small amount of fruit and or veg: carrot, apple, pineapple, or orange are all good. The idea is to use as much ginger as you can stand. It will ward off just about anything – or at least it does for me. Plus it tastes fantastic!
(Real) Cinnamon in lemon and honey tea……With garlic and oil of oregano…..Apple Cider Vinegar….(Gut health).
I definitely co-sign having garlic, as I consume a raw close daily. Thank you for sharing. Good luck to you this Winter season and beyond.
I keep garluc fermented in honey on hand. It is amazing and really simple to make!!
Recipe, please? This sounds wonderful!
Lara, how do you do this? Sounds awesome for illness!
Those sound great, thank you…However, instead of mixing raw garlic with water, I think I will mix raw garlic with avocado and eat it with tortilla chips until my illness is gone!
Thanks for the great tips! I’ve been making your homemade elderberry syrup for the second year in a row now. I just made a fresh batch the other day! I actually ended up using Manuka honey this year and found that it was really effective. Both my children and I had the beginnings of a cold last month and by taking the syrup every couple of hours, we were all back to normal in no time. I also take oil of oregano. I always have it on hand. I find that it works really well too and nips a cold in the bud. Have a happy and hopefully cold/flu-free winter!
Ginger tea is another favorite remedy I use in winter. About 1/2 an inch of raw, peeled ginger, lemon, orange peel, star anise, and a cinnamon stick simmering away on the stove or in a crock pot. It’s good cold, too, if you’re not feeling so great in warm weather!
I have a cold remedy for you;
8-10 garlic cloves chopped
2,5 cups of (some sort) of milk
Simmer for 10min
Remove garlic cloves and drink as hot as you can.
I put some coco in it to taste better. Or why not honey instead.
Drink just before sleep so you can rest after drinking this. You will sweat out any illness during the night.
Thanks for this! I was so needing a list of must-haves for this winter. I recently got a bottle of Cinnamon Tingle FCLO and my 1yo really likes it 😉 I also have been wanting to make my own Elderberry Syrup & vapor rub, so this will give me the push I need. Thank you so much for all you do! You were the first blog that got me deep into the ‘crunchy’ world I now know and love 🙂
You mentioned in the past you were taking Bio kult probiotics? Why do you know longer take them? Are they still a good brand? Thanks just curious
Katie - Wellness Mama
They are still a good brand too, I’ve just been taking the prescript assist lately for more focused strains of certain probiotics since I’m working on rebuilding gut bacteria