Holistic remedies for cold/flu season, sinus problems & allergies
Updated: Mar 27, 2022
I have had pretty terrible allergies my entire life, and although I've done a good job at managing them through diet/lifestyle and I don't have to take meds regularly anymore, I still am very prone to sinus infections. I have found that if I'm in a season of high stress and I'm not sleeping well, it affects my immune function and sometimes results in a sinus infection.
Fortunately, this does not happen often- but I find myself knocked down pretty hard with a bad sinus infection 1-2 times per year. The only medical solution I have been given in the past is antibiotics, and although I believe antibiotics have their place in the world, I do my best to avoid them unless absolutely necessary.
SO- that leads me to this blog post. Here are my tried-and-true holistic remedies for colds, flu, sinus problems/infections, allergies, and even COVID-19! I used to be knocked out for almost two weeks with a sinus infection, but with these remedies I can usually get my recovery time down to 1 week or less. It's important to listen to our bodies and give them rest when they need it, so NEVER rush it!
If you are seeking some natural remedies for cold/flu symptoms, you came the the right place! Here's some of my favorite natural remedies to ease these symptoms.
1. Ginger/Lemon Elixir
This simple, homemade tea helps open sinuses and soothe a sore throat. Ginger is a powerful anti-inflammatory and one of it's active compounds-gingerol- has been shown to soothe a sore throat & reduce nausea. Here's the recipe:
1 tsp ginger juice (I buy mine from The Ginger People- find it on Amazon, at Whole Foods or Central Market)
Juice from half a lemon
1 tbsp raw, local honey
1 cup hot water
Just mix it all up and drink a couple throughout the day to help ease symptoms.
2. Ginger Bath
Not only is ginger an incredible anti-inflammatory, but it also has a thermogenic effect on the body. A ginger bath can help you gently sweat out toxins and potentially support your body in getting better faster. I have been doing these for a couple of years and I always feel AMAZING the next morning. Get the full "recipe" here.
3. Sinus Rinse
Another huge lifesaver for me when I have sinusitis or postnasal drip from a cold. This low-cost, at-home tool can help to gently rinse the sinuses with a saline solution that can help keep the nasal passages healthy, clean and open. Find it in most drugstores or online here.
Some of my favorite dietary supplements for cold/flu/sinusitis include
Quercetin- a flavanol that is found in many fruits and vegetables (like onions). It can help reduce inflammation and it's a natural antihistamine so it can help reduce allergies.
Bromelain- a group of enzymes found in pineapples. It can help reduce the symptoms of sinusitis, break down mucus, and even support digestion.
*Many companies now make a supplement that has both quercetin & bromelain in it- I use this one.
OM Immune Multi-Boost- this supplement powder has many medicinal mushrooms as well as vitamin D3, vitamin C, zinc, and elderberry. I drink this every day when I'm sick. I recommend drinking this with a meal, because vitamin D3 is fat-soluble so it needs to be consumed with a fat in order to be properly absorbed.
5. Dietary changes
Last but not least, I cannot stress the importance of eating an anti-inflammatory diet while your body is recovering. You might be tempted to eat junk food while you are resting, but I recommend cutting out gluten, dairy, corn, soy, alcohol, coffee, and DEFINITELY cutting out processed sugar so that your body can heal faster. Consider pumping your body full of fruits & veggies and LOTS of water to help you recover faster.
When I'm sick, I'll sometimes even do a 3 day juice fast to kick my body into gear and help me heal even faster. It's like night and day! (This works really well for me because I usually lose my appetite when I'm sick, but I recognize this might not be a great solution for everyone).
I hope this short article gave you some ideas on how to help next time a cold, flu, or sinusitis gets you down! Just a friendly reminder that there is not shortcut for REST and it's important to give your body adequate time to recover, but hopefully these natural remedies can help you feel better faster.
*Please note that everything is this article is based on research & personal experience, but every body is different and this is not a replacement for medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any medical advice.