Recently I suffered a stomach bug. Luckily it was one of those that go through the system pretty quickly, but while it hung around, it was pretty unpleasant! By using natural flu remedies I was able to recover fairly quickly.
As you probably know, staying hydrated when you’re sick is of key importance and that’s why I wanted to share this article with you this week. Staying hydrated helps keep your energy up and allows your body’s detoxification system to get rid of whatever is ailing you more efficiently.
Try one of these easy recipes next time you’re feeling under the weather with a cold or flu. Maybe you can even enlist a loved one to mix something up for you while you rest!
1. Homemade electrolyte drink
Depending on how you are feeling, you may prefer a hot or cold version of this drink. When I was ill last week, I found the hot option to be an absolute life-saver.
Start by squeezing the juice of half a lemon. Add a little hot water and mix in 2 teaspoons of honey and a teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt. Now you have the concentrated base of the drink — it’s up to you whether you top up your cup or glass with hot water or cold water.
It’s worth noting that scientists have proven hot drinks, as opposed to cool or room-temperature drinks, are most effective at relieving cold and flu symptoms such as coughing and congestion. That steaming mug not only provides comfort but helps you get healthy again too.
2. Coconut water
Speaking of strategies for natural hydration, coconut water is a tasty and nutritious fluid to drink during sickness. Research shows that it is an effective whole-body hydrator which also provides a boost of natural sugar to keep you energized while you’re feeling under the weather.
Plus, that tropical flavor might momentarily transport you out of your miserable predicament and help you pretend you’re on a beach somewhere enjoying the sun.
Drinking broth is an age-old home remedy, and for good reason. It’s packed full of healing nutrients and minerals. It’s easy to digest and is soothing for an upset tummy. If you add some healthy salt, such as Himalayan pink salt or unprocessed sea salt, broth is also effective for rehydrating the body.
You could stick with plain bone broth (hopefully you have some in the freezer for easy access when you’re sick), or simmer some veggies such as onions, carrots and celery in broth to add even more nutritional value.
4. Spicy soup
Combining the benefits of broth, herbs and ginger is a nice bowl of spicy soup! In Ayurveda, hot foods such as soup, especially when they include earthy spices, are considered “warming” and thus beneficial in supporting the body to heal from common illnesses. This is especially true during seasons with cold, wet weather. Try one of these healing homemade soup recipes to help you get better quickly.
5. Cranberry juice
Cranberries contain polyphenols which were found in a 2013 study to encourage the proliferation of immune cells and reduce cold and flu symptoms. When shopping for cranberry juice, make sure you read the ingredients and choose a real, pure juice, as opposed to a “cranberry drink” made with flavorings, sugar and other additives.
6. Ginger tea
It’s not hard to imagine why you might want to drink ginger tea when you’re sick. Its warm spicy flavor is comforting and detoxifying. Ginger also helps ease nausea and motion sickness and provides antioxidant benefits. It has even been reported to ease migraine headaches without the side effects of pharmaceuticals.
To make the perfect ginger tea, simply chop off a small piece of fresh ginger root and cut off the peel. Dice the ginger into small pieces, or better yet, grate it, place in a mug and cover with boiling water. Depending on how spicy you like your tea, use less or more ginger. A powdered ginger root is also an option.
One thing to avoid, though, is regular ginger ale. Although many consider this a go-to drink for times when you’re not feeling well, it’s really just a sugary soda and doesn’t deliver the benefits of real ginger. You’re better off sourcing some fresh ginger root from the supermarket.
7. Teas with vitamin C
Hibiscus and rose hip are both high in vitamin C, which is a well-known immune booster and general illness-buster. Research shows that taking 1000 milligrams of vitamin C daily can reduce the duration of a cold by 30 percent, and also ease symptoms like chills and malaise. These vitamin C-rich herbs taste great together in a tea, and can be found in health food stores.
Echinacea is a superhero in the natural remedy arena. It’s scientifically backed to relieve cold and flu symptoms and help the body heal faster. A meta-analysis of several studies indicated that those taking echinacea were 58 percent less likely to develop symptoms in the first place, and those who did get sick experienced one to four fewer days of illness. Just make sure you only use this powerful herb in the short term — not for a period longer than two weeks.
9. Herbal teas
Regular kitchen herbs such as sage and thyme can be used to make a tea that is packed with antioxidants and may help ease coughs and sore throats.
10. Chamomile tea
And finally, studies support the traditional knowledge that chamomile could help you get the good night’s sleep you need to let the body heal naturally.
How to use healing herbs to make tea
Find readymade tea bags or buy some dried herbs from your local health shop. Simply pour hot water over two teaspoons of dried herbs, cover the mug and let steep for a few minutes before straining and drinking.
Mix in some honey
It’s a great idea to add honey to any of the above concoctions, since research has demonstrated that it is an effective natural antibacterial and antimicrobial agent helping to fight respiratory infections, Streptococcus, E. coli and Staphylococcus bacteria.
Be sure to get honey that is raw, not pasteurized. Most mainstream honeys are essentially just sugary goo, since all of the beneficial compounds have been killed through pasteurization. Seek out a good quality brand that explicitly states the honey has not been processed or altered.
Also, don’t mix the honey into your drink when it is steaming hot. Wait a few minutes and add the honey when your drink has reached drinking temperature. This ensures the active compounds remain intact.
Next time you get sick, take good care of yourself with these natural remedies, and get well soon!
— Liivi Hess