Many health-conscious people are reluctant to rely on medication or drugs. And, in fact, many physicians have stopped prescribing antibiotics to prevent patients from developing a resistance. Viral infections such as colds, flu and bronchitis are not responsive to antibiotics, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The good news: Many symptoms can be relieved with natural remedies. With cold and flu season just around the corner, take note of these natural remedies shared by Mary Beth Gierlinger, a certified holistic health coach and nutritional counselor, to relieve symptoms for everything from congestion and headaches to sore throats and fevers.
Oregano oil (dropper form) is brilliant at knocking out upper respiratory viruses and colds. Take 1 to 3 drops daily until your symptoms have subsided.
Elderberry syrup 1/2 to 1 tablespoon can be used to relieve coughs and colds, especially in children. It's also a beneficial immunity booster.
Peppermint essential oil, 5 to 10 drops in a teaspoon of honey, will take a fever down very quickly.
Buckwheat honey (local and raw) is helpful for easing allergy symptoms and soothing sore throats.
Vitamin C can speed up healing if you have a cold. Gierlinger recommends 500 to 1000 milligrams, but check with your doctor for personal dosing.
Wally's Natural Ear Oil is an alternative to chemical ear drops. The mix of essential oils and extracts includes garlic, known for its anti-inflammatory properties, and provides relief for those suffering ear infections or nasal and sinus issues.
Epsom salt, a mineral compound of magnesium and sulfate, is often used as a natural muscle relaxer and stress reducer. When added to a hot bath, the elements are absorbed through the skin. Many people rely on Epsom salt baths to ease body aches and muscle cramps, but it's also effective for managing stress and treating sleep issues. The addition of essential oils may increase these effects. Add 30 drops of lavender oil for stress and anxiety or eucalyptus oil for flu symptoms.
Essential oils are also helpful for managing headaches. Lavender or peppermint oil, or a combination of both, can be applied to the temples and nape of the neck for rapid relief. Use only pure, high-quality essential oils and make sure they are safe to apply to skin, Gierlinger says.
Ginger is Gierlinger's go-to remedy for nausea. Steep fresh chopped or minced ginger in hot water as if brewing tea. Add lemon and a bit of honey to this base recipe to soothe a sore throat. Ginger tea and peppermint tea are also helpful for nausea and upset stomachs.
Apple cider vinegar: About 1 to 3, 1-ounce shots per day has been helpful in easing joint pain for some individuals. Its alkalizing properties counteract the acidity in the body, so it can also reduce acid reflux and gastrointestinal issues by taking 1 tablespoon before meals.
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To maintain your health and avoid illness, Gierlinger recommends including garlic, onion, ginger and turmeric into your daily diet. She also suggests starting each day with a cup of hot lemon water to aid liver function and reduce toxicity within the body. Her favorite supplement for long-term health is a good quality probiotic.
"Eighty-five percent of the immune system is in the gut," Gierlinger says, "and a healthy bacterial balance is what you're aiming for."
Stock up on these items to feel better sooner the next time you're under the weather. "I recommend for everyone to gear up for winter and take a little shopping trip to the health food store," Gierlinger says.
Always be sure to speak with your doctor if symptoms last longer than 2 to 3 days.More: 11 Foods That Fight Inflammation
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