The weather is cooling off, and people are spending more time inside. It’s also that time of year when candy, cookies, coffee drinks, and other sweets seem to be consumed in greater quantities. All those sweets make it hard for immune systems to function well; the more it is consumed, the more weakened the immune systems become. Weakened immune systems combined with more time inside with people who may already be sick leads to even more people getting sick since your immune system has difficulty fighting the illness.
Take matters into your own hands by supporting your and your loved ones’ immune systems with herbal tinctures. Limiting sugar for two weeks before visiting family or a big event can also help.
No one wants to be sick or to have their children and loved ones sick. Being preventative is always the best way to stay healthy. You can support your and your loved ones’ immune systems with these simple and effective ways to stop a cold in its tracks.
Not only are most of these methods easy to do/prepare, but you will also find yourself saving money!
12 Tips to Stop a Cold in its Tracks
1. Herbal Tea
Tea is one of the easiest and tastiest ways to treat a cold. Sipping on a warm cup of tea is soothing and relaxing even when you are not sick. When you have a cold, you can make a pot of herbal tea that will heal and nourish your body. All you need is a teaspoon to a tablespoon of dried herbs and 8oz of hot water. Steep for 5-10 minutes and enjoy. You can add raw honey for a little sweetener, too, if you like.
Here are some common, easy to find and use herbs:
- Cinnamon — check out our cinnamon herbal profile
- Echinacea — check out our echinacea herbal profile
- Fenugreek — check out our fenugreek herbal profile
- Ginger — check out our ginger herbal profile
- Marshmallow root — check out our marshmallow root herbal profile
- Mullein — check out our mullein herbal profile
- Peppermint — check out our peppermint herbal profile
- Spearmint — check out our spearmint herbal profile
Tinctures are one of the most effective ways to get herbs in your system. They get into your bloodstream very quickly. They can be made from vodka or glycerin. Typically, vodka tinctures are given to adults and glycerin tinctures to young children. You can buy or make tinctures to suit many different needs.
Here are a few blogs on how to make your own tinctures:
- How to Make a Herbal Extraction (With Any Herb)
- DIY: Herbal Multivitamin Tincture
- DIY: Immunity Tincture
Tinctures made with immune support in mind are extremely healthful when exposed to sickness or starting to feel ill. Aside from the previously mentioned herbs, here are a few more immune-supporting herbs you can use in tinctures:
- Astragalus — check out our astragalus herbal profile
- Elderberry — check out our elderberry herbal profile
- Eleuthero root — check out our eleuthero root herbal profile
- Garlic — check out our garlic herbal profile
- Orange peel — check out our orange peel herbal profile
3. Chicken Bone Broth
Who hasn’t been told to eat a bowl of chicken noodle soup when they are sick? Reaching for a can of soup from the store shelf may feel comforting, but unfortunately, it does little to heal you. Homemade bone broth is the way to get the most nutrients. As they simmer, the bones release gelatin, sulfates, glucosamine, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, silicon, phosphorus, and trace minerals that are easily absorbed into the body; they heal and soothe as well. Adding carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, celery, and other vegetables increases the broth’s vitamin and mineral profile. Top it with spices like bay leaves, salt, pepper, parsley, thyme, and rosemary for a broth bursting with nutrition and flavor. Making your own chicken bone broth is easy!
4. Fire Cider
Fire Cider stops a cold like nobody’s business. Our fire cider recipe combines apple cider vinegar, horseradish, onions, garlic, ginger, hot peppers, and turmeric. This concoction packs a punch. Its flavor profile might leave you sputtering, but its strength in supporting the body’s ability to fight colds is worth it.
If you’re familiar with fire cider, you know this recipe has countless variations. You could add different herbs if you wanted. You could use fresh herbs (preferred), or you could use dried herbs. As is commonly said, the best herb is the herb you have on hand. It is almost impossible to discuss fire cider without mentioning herbalist Rosemary Gladstar, who popularized fire cider in the US and has written an entire book based on this remedy. Our recipe is based on one of hers. Feel free to customize the recipe and change the proportions to your liking. The idea is to get vinegar loaded with heat to support the body through these “cold” symptoms common during the cold months.
5. Avoid Sugar
If you read our blog, Everything You Need to Know About Sugar, you know this anti-nutrient food additive is linked to various health concerns. We won’t get into every health concern now, but we will discuss how sugar, especially refined sugar, weakens the immune system. When you eat high amounts of sugar, it increases inflammation. Your white blood cells focus on the inflammation, not the virus you may have caught. Weak immune systems make it hard for your body to fight off the germs you are around. Instead, opt for honey, maple syrup, and other sugar alternatives.
6. Cut Refined & Fortified Grains
This practice can improve your health year-round, not just when coming down with a cold. Refined grains break down as sugar in your body. They’re often fortified with vitamins and minerals that are not bioavailable, making them harder for the body to absorb and use. Whole grains, soaked, sprouted, or minimally processed, offer the body nutrients it can use and are a good source of fiber.
7. Limit Conventional Dairy or Choose Quality Raw Dairy
People go back and forth on this one. Raw dairy is amazing for you. Fermented dairy like kefir and yogurt are rich in probiotics. If your gut is unhealthy, then you are unhealthy. The beneficial bacteria in fermented foods build up and heal your gut. The issue with dairy is that it creates more mucus. If you are already trying to clear up congestion, it can make it more difficult. Some are sensitive to all dairy unless it comes from A2 cows. Wherever you are with dairy, it’s worth noting for sicknesses.
If you read our blog, How to Handle Fevers Naturally, you know how important rest is, especially if you have a fever. We know that resting is always hard for busy people. Or Parents. Or both. The days seem never-ending; the stresses of day-to-day life don’t stop just because you’re sick. But guess what? You’re important, too, and you need rest. When we don’t have enough rest, our bodies don’t run as efficiently. In the long run, this makes us more susceptible to sickness. We can stay sick longer and get sick more often. It might be hard, but do your best to rest.
Looking for something to promote rest? Check out Earthley’s guide, The Secret to a Good Night’s Sleep. You can also try Sleepy Time paired with Good Night Lotion and nutrients to promote quality sleep.
If you read our blog, Everything You Need to Know About Electrolytes, you know proper hydration is so much more than just drinking water. We sweat and lose minerals throughout the day, especially during illness and sports; electrolytes are the easiest way to replenish them.
Fluids are very important in the healing process. Our lymphatic system, which uses fluid to support our immune system, relies on hydration. Be sure to drink lots of water, herbal tea, and bone broth. It is easy to become dehydrated when sick. Learn more about your lymphatic system in the blog post Helping Your Lymphatic System (And Why It Matters).
Salves are amazing! They aren’t just for treating wounds and rashes. Forget using vapor rub from the store. Instead, make one from healthy oils and herbs! We love making homemade vapor rub, but if DIYs aren’t your thing, Earthley offers Breathe Well Salve. In the meantime, don’t forget to make a GOOT salve!
11. Essential Oils
Essential oils can be a good tool to turn to when sickness hits. Of course, practicing essential oil safety, especially with children and while breastfeeding, is important. It can be a tricky topic, though, and when it comes to our loved ones, it is important to be safe! You can learn more about essential oil safety with children and while breastfeeding. Looking for congestion relief? Check out our blog, Kid-Safe Essential Oils for Congestion!
Cough and cold syrups from the local drug store are convenient, but they often have sugar and other junk in them that can prolong the sickness – the opposite of what we want! Here are a few blogs on how to make your own tinctures:
- How to Make an Herbal Syrup (With Almost Any Herb)
- DIY: Ultimate Elderberry Syrup Collection
- DIY: Kid-Friendly Cough Syrup