Here are a few simple and natural treatments that will help you be more comfortable and recover faster from colds and flu. The most important thing when you are sick is to take time to relax and sleep. Often becoming ill is a sign that you need and want to cleanse, refresh and rebalance yourself. You bring unique gifts to this life and the community that surrounds you--taking the time to care for yourself when you are sick is a way for you to recognize and affirm your value and appreciate your life.
In case you get sick...
EASY HOME TREATMENTS
If you have mucus distressing your sinuses or giving you a sinus headache, use steam to loosen it up and follow with a neti pot rinse. Possible sources of steam are a hot shower or bath, a pot of boiling water heated on the stove (lean over it with a towel over your head to trap the steam in), or an electric steam inhaler (available in many grocery and drug stores).
For extra strength, add a drop or two of essential oil to the water: peppermint for thick yellow mucus (this works wonders); eucalyptus for clear mucus.
Follow up the steam by rinsing your sinuses with a mild saline solution using a neti pot (1/4 tsp sea salt dissolved in 8 oz warm water). You can find them and similar devices in many grocery, drug and health food stores.
Using a neti pot daily is also a good way to help prevent colds and reduce sinus irritation from allergies. Click on the image of the neti pot above to see a fun instructional clip with Oprah and Dr. Oz!
The two "do it yourself" herbs I recommend most for colds and flu are peppermint and ginger. Peppermint for yellow or thick mucus, ginger for clear mucus. Make them into teas, sip them from a carry mug, and they are a great no sugar no calorie substitute for cough drops or decongestant/cough suppressant cold remedies.
It's not practical to drink tea at night, so my suggestion is an herbal salve. The most readily available one is Vicks Vaporub, but any aromatic rub that has herbs like eucalyptus, pine, camphor, menthol (i.e. mint!) can be a good choice.
Simple and effective relief for an irritated throat. Same concept as the neti pot, rinsing away mucus and soothing irritation.
Herbs and Salves
Salt Water Gargle