20 Tried and True Natural Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season

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It’s that time of year again. Yes, the cold and flu season.

Those pesky little germs that you just can’t seem to get away from, especially when you have children.  In between outings, church, family, and friends, it’s inevitable that someone is going to come down with something and pass it off to the next.

As much as we try to prevent illness in our family by eating real food, cutting down on sugar, drinking elderberry syrup, and vitamin c, we always seem to get something.

This year has been no exception.  For the past two weeks we’ve been dealing with congestion, sore throats, and pink eye.  (Goodness that pink eye is contagious!)

Year by year, I depend less on medicine and antibiotics and opt for natural medicine and remedies for the cold and flu season.  Last year, I treated my children naturally for just about all of their illnesses.  It was much easier since I didn’t have any babies.

This year; however, with my new little mama in the house, I had to learn new ways to deal with her congestion.  I was really happy to have my friend, Mare from Just Making Noise, guide me. She taught me a bit about using aromatherapy with essential oils.  Also, warm compresses with olive, coconut, and essential oils to open up pores allowing the oils to loosen up the congestion.  All of these methods worked wonderfully and allowed my baby to get the rest she needed.

I also used these methods with my son which allowed him to sleep peacefully and sound.

Mare knows a lot about treating her family naturally and one thing she said that really stuck with me is this…

Using natural methods takes time.


We’re so used to conventional medicine with quick results that we expect the same from homeopathic treatments.  She told me to be patient, monitor the child, and to continue treatments until you see improvement.

She then told me that the best thing about treating naturally is that we’re strengthening their immune systems.  Not that they will never get sick again, but that when they do, their immune systems will be stronger and able to heal quickly.

Out of all of my children, big brother is the one that has the weaker immune system. This time; however, his little body healed naturally and quickly.  He had fever for a day, which I allowed to stay, and today he’s jumping around all over the place.  He still has some congestion so I’ll continue with his warm compresses throughout the day.

I was so impressed and excited that these treatments are working so well that I decided to ask all of my readers on facebook what their favorite methods are for treating cold and flu symptoms naturally.

The response was amazing.  There were many, many, treatments that have been tried and true so I decided to share the top five for each category with you.

20 Tried and True Natural Remedies for the Cold and Flu

Please remember, none of these treatments should ever take the place of visiting your doctor.  If your treatments are not working and symptoms are not improving, please visit your family doctor.

I asked Spain in Iowa readers, “How do you treat pink eye naturally?”

  • The number one answer was breast milk.  I learned this from the Healthy Home Economist this year.
  • Garlic poultices/compresses.
  • Black tea bag compresses. Steap for 1 minute, then squeeze out excess moisture and cool. Put it on your eye for 10 min. a few times a day until the infection is gone (obviously if it doesn’t heal, or gets worse, you should discontinue and consult a health professional). The tannins draw out the infection.
  • Chamomile tea bag compresses.
  • For itch I use cool wet tea bags. Steril water and a tsp of salt for saline solution to keep them clean. Raw honey to kill the virus.


I asked Spain in Iowa readers, “How do you treat ear infections naturally?”

  • The number one answer was garlic drops.  (I buy the brand gaiakids for children)
  • Elevate the head with a few pillows, and make a warm compress & wrap up in a towel. Place compress under hurting ear. Heat and elevating the head helps the ear to drain naturally.
  • Diluted hydrogon peroxide.
  • Chopped onion compress on the ear.
  •  A couple of drops of EO of rosemary in a tbs of olive oil – warm up in your hand – use dropper to treat the affected ear several times a day.


I asked Spain in Iowa readers, “How do you treat congestion naturally?”

  • The number one answer was a warm steam vaporizer with a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
  • Homeopathic pulsatilla when its really thick and hard to pass and homeopathic chamomilla when its really watery and constant.
  • Cut dairy from the diet until well.
  • Homemade “vicks”
  • Rub eucalyptus essential oil with coconut and olive oil on chest. Place warm compress on chest to open up the pores and allow the oils into body.


I asked Spain in Iowa readers, “How do you treat a cough naturally?”

  • The number one answer was lemon and raw honey.
  • raw honey with a LOT of cinnamon in it. 1 tsp every hour for a couple hours and then every 4 hours. And lots and lots of fluids and rest.
  • Low boil fresh thyme for 6 minutes. The oils should release. Strain, add honey, and sip like a tea.
  • Chopped onions in a few Tablespoons of honey, stir and let sit for a few hours…up to 24, works and tastes great. Sometimes I mix it with some horehound tea. This is one that the little folks love, even the picky ones.
  • Chamomile peppermint tea with fresh lemon and local raw honey.

Isn’t this community awesome!

Thanks everyone that participated and sharing your knowledge on tried and true natural remedies for the cold and flu season.

Another great resource for treating your family naturally is the ebook, Herbal Nurturing, by Michelle Augur of Frugal Granola.

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Are there any natural remedies not listed that have worked for your family?  Please share in the comments below.

7 Responses to "20 Tried and True Natural Remedies for the Cold and Flu Season"
  1. Laura Cunningham says:

    I’ve cured pink-eye in humans and animals with Fennel Water. Boil 1 T of fennel seeds in 1 cup of water for 15 minutes. Allow to cool, and strain through a coffee filter. Apply as often as you need. It soothes the itching, and is also good for eye irritations.

  2. Teri Vogeli says:

    Wonderful treatments – many my favorites. FYI -Kids are susceptible to pink eye because they aren’t as careful with washing after potty visits. That’s where the bacteria comes from.Once the bacteria is multiplying and kids are rubbing their irritated eyes, they spread it fast. An once of prevention is worth a TON of cure! :)

  3. Mare says:

    This is great Diana! So glad I was able to help you out with your little mama :) It really warmed my heart that you mentioned me above… didn’t expect that at all! Thanks amiga! xoxo

  4. Raia says:

    I’ve used warm honey water to treat pinkeye, if the case isn’t very far along. If you don’t catch it before it gets bad, though, coloidal silver works wonderfully! It also works for ear infections.

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