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Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies

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Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies
Posted in

Firstly, let’s get the terminology right:

  1. A COLD is an infection that usually affects the upper respiratory tract system – ear, nose and throat. Symptoms can include a sore throat, blocked/runny nose, sneezing, cough and blocked ears. A cold is milder than a flu and doesn’t cause serious health complications.
  2. THE FLU or an influenza infection can be more wide spread in the body causing fever, chills, body aches as well as headaches and a cough. The flu can be more serious than a cold and may cause bigger health complications and hospitalisation.
  3. AN ALLERGY is a condition whereby your body reacts or overreacts abnormally to a foreign substance. There are many different causes of allergies and they can occur at any age, depending on the type. Examples include a drug allergy, food allergy, contact allergy or a seasonal allergy, although there are many more.

You can treat colds and flu in similar ways especially in the early stages of infection. If more serious symptoms occur or the infection persists, then always seek out professional help.


Vitamins & Supplements

These are important to take during a cold or flu to assist your body by boosting its immune function and helping to relieve the symptoms. Things like a high vitamin C (1000mg – 2000mg), vitamin D3 (1000IU), zinc, magnesium (400mg) and selenium are great vitamins to take daily during a cold or even as preventatives if you have been exposed to someone who is sick.

Supplements and herbals such as Echinacea, Andrographis, Elderberry, Liquorice root and N-acetyl Cysteine are great to take for the immune system, mucous build up and inflammation.

Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies

Essential Oils

Natural oils are great to use in the home in the form of steaming, inhaling and purifying the air. Some edible, pure oils may even be ingested for healing properties (always make sure to check if it suitable for ingestion first!)

  • Eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil both have anti-viral and antimicrobial functions. Together, they can help to relieve coughs, congestion and inflammation in the body.
  • Lavender oil is great for relaxation as well as for increasing respiratory function and boosting the immune system.
  • Peppermint oil is amazing for a sore throat, congestion and headaches
Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies

Home Recipes

Sometimes, the home remedies are the ones that do wonders!

  • Teas are a great way to soothe sore throats and help break down mucous. Different traditions and cultures use various ingredients in their teas such as lemon, ginger, garlic, turmeric, honey, chamomile, cayenne pepper or cinnamon. Whatever ingredients you love to use make sure they are fresh and steep for a decent time to draw out the healing properties.
  • Honey is a magic ingredient for colds and flu with its anti-microbial properties that fight coughs and sore throats.
  • Garlic is a pungent one to have raw, but oh so helpful! Add fresh garlic into a nice vegetable or chicken soup to give your body the nutrients it needs. Adding some ginger in too will be great!
  • Rubs are also a popular way to relieve colds and flu. Vicks or herbs used on the chest and back or in foot spas and soaks. Some people even attach a cut onion onto the bottom of their feet to absorb the toxins!
Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies

Tissue Salts

Minerals in the form of tissue salts help to replenish these important substances at a cellular level.

  • Ferrum phos is great for the first stages of a cold or flu and decreases inflammation.
  • Kali mur is the best at breaking down mucous and relieving coughs.


Many people do not know that homeopathy can work very quickly in an acute situation such as a cold or flu. It helps your body to heal from the inside out. Do you always get sick around the same time every year? Homeopathy can also stop this cycle and boost your immune system to prevent getting sick too often and for long periods.

Remedies such as Aconite, Bryonia, Gelsemium, Belladonna, Hepar sulph and Nat mur, amongst many, are great for colds and flu. Always seek out a professional homeopath for a full consult before trying any remedies on your own.

Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies

Allergies, on the other hand, can be slightly more complex and depend on the person and their unique experience. There are different types of allergies and different triggers for people. As a homeopath, we deal with allergies often and will always take each case individually and see how we can try to help each person find a balance and ultimately decrease or eliminate their allergy.


All of the above Immune Supporting Methods

Often the symptoms of an allergy can be similar to a cold (runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes, etc.) and so using immune boosting supplements, teas and essential oils will help to alleviate these symptoms. Echinacea purpura is a wonderful daily herb to use because it modulates your immune system, which means that it keeps it in balance – not letting it become overactive or underactive but just right!

Find the Root Cause!

This can either be very simple, or more complicated. Some people know exactly what allergen triggers them such as dust, pet fur, mould, food sources, pollen, etc. However, it can often be a combination of different things that make it harder to single out. Start by eliminating the major allergy-triggering sources around your house and work/school environment through good cleaning, essential oils and cutting out food sources that cause triggers. Some big food groups include nuts, dairy, gluten and sugar as these increase inflammation in the body.


A simple, good quality probiotic can do wonders for your health. Did you know that 70% of your immune system is found in the gut? That means that if your gut is inflamed or the balance of microorganisms isn’t right, it can have an affect on your immunity!

Natural Remedies for Colds, Flu & Allergies


  • Omega 3 has shown the ability to reduce the incidence of asthma and helps to reduce inflammation.
  • MSM (Methylsulphonylmethane) helps to control the body’s reaction to allergic food or pollen in particular. It also increases the production of Cysteine (see below)
  • NAC (N-acetylcysteine) reduces asthmatic incidences and helps to open the airways for better breathing. It is also helps to get rid of excess mucous and helps the body to fight respiratory diseases.
  • Quercetin is an antioxidant and has anti-inflammatory properties. It also reduces the amount of histamine produced, which is responsible for allergic reactions in the body.


Homeopathy seeks to find the root cause of the illness and treat it naturally from the inside out. It doesn’t suppress the immune system or body but instead works with the body to try and bring about a balance. It is gentle and doesn’t cause any side effects and can be used by all ages, even during pregnancy and breastfeeding!

Blog Post by: Dr. Sarah Tandy – Homeopath (DUT MTech Hom)
Dr Tandy is available for consults at Thrive Kloof on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons as well as certain Saturdays.
To make an appointment with her:
061 528 2129  | |


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