Natural home remedies can save you money and boost your immune system
Try these natural home remedies this winter, they may help to boost your immune system, or help you to recover faster from colds and flu. Traditional over-the-counter treatments and medicine can be quite expensive. You can often achieve the same results for a fraction of the cost by making your own alternative natural remedies.
Obviously, these are alternative, natural, home remedies, but if you are feeling unwell, use common sense to determine if you need to visit the doctor also.
If you are feeling unwell or have a fever, give your body the best chance of recovery by resting, staying warm and keeping hydrated.
Drinking warm drinks will help to hydrate you. Breathing in the steam will also help to relieve congestion. Some herbal teas have additional benefits, which you might be quite surprised to discover. You can buy herbal teas, but why not get thrifty and make your own – just steep fresh herbs in warm water and drink!
Herbal Tea & Warm Drink Home Remedies:
Echinacea – a natural antibiotic, immune stimulant, anti-allergenic and anti-inflammatory. Taking echinacea as a tea, or in tablet form, can help to boost the immune system and also prevent recurrent infections.
Peppermint – to help the digestive process and relieve stomach ache, the menthol released in the steam can help to clear a stuffy head and also loosen catarrh.
Ginger tea – is an aromatic, spicy tea that helps to combat nausea, sooth the digestive system as well as warming the body. Ginger is a natural antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can also help the body to expel catarrh. Breathing in the steam from the tea will help if you have a blocked or sore nose. To make your own, buy a piece of ginger root from the supermarket, slice off a few chunks, pop it in a mug and top up with hot water.. leave it to steep for a couple of minutes then enjoy. If this is too spicy for you, simply add a teaspoon of honey.
Home remedies can be rather tasty! Honey, lemon & ginger.
Honey and Lemon – a teaspoon of honey and a couple of slices of fresh lemon in a mug with warm water… soothing and wonderful at relieving cold symptoms. Lemon is great for the immune system as it is naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, an antihistamine, antiviral and antioxidant. It can also help to reduce a fever.
Honey, lemon and turmeric -To make a more medicinal honey and lemon tea, why not try adding a teaspoon of turmeric. Turmeric is anti-bacterial and anti-viral.
Honey, lemon and ginger – Another more medicinal honey and lemon tea, adding fresh ginger as it is an antiseptic, circulation stimulant, and can help the body to expel catarrh.
Lemon and Basil tea – Basil leaves can really help to relieve a sore throat as well as lift your spirits. Basil is a natural antidepressant, antiseptic, can relieve bloating and can help to clear catarrh naturally.
Honey and cinnamon tea – Cinnamon is an effective antiviral and antibiotic. Add a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of honey to warm water and drink. Cinnamon can also help to lower a fever.
Cider vinegar – drink a couple of teaspoons mixed with a teaspoon of honey in a mug of warm water. You can also use cider vinegar as a gargle if you have a cold or sore throat. Cider vinegar has quite a strong taste so the honey really helps! The Cider vinegar is antibacterial and anti-viral.
Lavender tea – As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, this is a soothing tea that can help if you suffer from anxiety or insomnia. Why not save money and make your own. Just add a few heads of lavender to warm water in a mug and leave it to steep for a few minutes. It tastes delicious and is very relaxing.
Lavender and Lemon balm – For a truly delicious tea, try adding lavender heads and lemon balm leaves, the combination is fantastic. Lemon balm is a naturally uplifting herb so works very well for those who are feeling a little low as well as anxious. Lemon balm is sedative, antidepressant, antiviral, antibacterial, relaxant for the nervous system and a digestive stimulant. It can also be used to treat tension headaches.
Food Home Remedies
Cheap and effective remedy for fighting colds & flu
Onions – are anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory. A great natural remedy if you have a persistent cold. Try adding onions to meals or eating raw in a salad.
Garlic – the king of home remedies, is a natural antibiotic, packed with antioxidants. It is a real all-rounder, especially good at helping to prevent coughs and colds. Garlic is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, antihistamine and anti-fungal. Garlic is also an expectorant, so can help your body to naturally get rid of catarrh. Add it to your meals often or, if you are feeling brave, eat raw garlic for maximum benefit.
Chilli – Spicy food is a tasty way of clearing congestion and helping the body to expel infection by loosening mucus. Chillies are wonderful for this and simply adding a chopped chilli or two to any soup, stew or curry will certainly do the job.
Chillies are a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, digestive stimulant and circulation stimulant. Again, if you are feeling brave.. just eat one raw!
Both Elderberry and Rose Hip syrups are traditionally taken to help prevent and combat cold and flu symptoms.
Rose hips – also known as the fruits of the wild or dog rose, are absolutely packed with vitamin C.. 20x as much as oranges! Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.
Elderberries – are also packed with vitamins A, B & C, they are anti-inflammatory, help to boost the immune system and can help to prevent recurrent infections. Can be foraged in the late summer and early autumn.
There is a recipe for each at the bottom of this article, or you can jump straight to each:
Rose hip Syrup recipe
Elderberry Syrup recipe
Inhaling Eucalyptus or peppermint oil can help to decongest a stuffy nose.
Mix 5 drops of oil with 2 teaspoons of Vaseline and apply the ointment – either a little under the nose, or rub into the chest for best effect. This can also help to warm you and boost circulation. If you don’t fancy walking around smelling of eucalyptus or mint, simply apply a few drops of the oil to a tissue and inhale.
Steam Home Remedies
You can breathe in your favourite essential oils and fresh herbs using a home-made steamer. Breathing them in via steam will really help to clear a stuffy head. It can loosen congestion whilst killing viruses and bacteria in the lungs, bronchials or sinuses.
Inhaling herbal steam to help fight a cold
Get a large mixing bowl and carefully fill it with boiling water. Add a few drops of essential oil or a handful of herbs. Lean over the bowl so that the steam is rising into your face. Place a towel over your head covering both your head and the bowl, so that the steam does not escape, and breath deeply for a few minutes.
The steam will not only help to open your pores and cleanse the skin but the essential oil or herbs will have a chance to enter your respiratory system via the steam.
Herbs such as mint, oregano and rosemary and oils such as Eucalyptus, and Tea-tree will help if you have a cold.
Eucalyptus – is a natural antiseptic, antiviral and antifungal.
Worried that essential oils are expensive? This tea tree oil was £1 in Poundworld.
Rosemary – is a natural antiseptic, antidepressant, circulation stimulant, bile stimulant and digestive remedy.
Tea-tree – is a natural antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antiviral and immune stimulant.
Peppermint – is a natural antiviral, bile stimulant, and can relieve bloating and calm the digestive system. Additionally, the menthol released from peppermint can help to clear catarrh.
Oregano – is a natural antibiotic and antiviral and is often used to treat infections of the respiratory system and digestive discomfort.
Lavender – If you also suffer from anxiety or insomnia, breathing in Lavender oil, either directly or as a steam, can really help to ease and sooth a busy mind. As well as having antibacterial properties, to treat your cold symptoms, it is also very calming and is often used to treat tension headaches. Lavender is a natural antiseptic, antibacterial, antidepressant, relaxant and can also help to stimulate circulation.
Enjoy the benefits of naturally boosting your immune system with these delicious home remedies:
Rose Hip Syrup Recipe
- 1kg rose hips
- 3 litres of water
- 500g dark brown soft sugar
1. Bring to the boil 2 litres of water.
2. Mash rose hips by hand or in a food processor, then add to the boiling water.
3. Bring water back to the boil, then remove from heat and allow to steep for 20 minutes.
4. Strain the rose hips and liquid through a cheesecloth or jelly bag into the sink.
5. Take the separated rose hip pulp add it to the saucepan add 1 litre of water and bring back to the boil. Then remove from heat and allow the contents to steep for another 20 minutes before straining through the cheesecloth or jelly bag once more, this time keeping the strained liquid and pouring into a saucepan.
6. Add sugar to the strained rose hip liquid and dissolve, allow to simmer for five minutes, then pour into hot, sterilised bottles.
Use the syrup as a drink made up with water, or serve on pancakes, or with thick yogurt, or ice cream. Alternatively, just take a spoonful when you need a vitamin C boost because it is a delicious way to help your immune system.
Elderberry Syrup Recipe
- 1 part fresh elderberries (or ½ part if using dried elderberries)
- 2 parts water
- 1 part honey (you may like to use raw honey for its antiviral properties)
- optional – you can add a little raw ginger, cloves or a cinamon stick to taste
**please be sure to remove all of the stems from the elderberries before adding the fruit to the recipe, because they can contain toxins and are not good for you**
1. Pour water into a saucepan and add the elderberries (and ginger, cinnamon and cloves if you are adding these)
2. Bring to a boil, cover and then simmer for about 45 minutes to an hour until the liquid has reduced by almost half. Then remove from heat and let it cool. Mash the elderberries, then pour the mixture through a strainer/cheesecloth into a glass jar or bowl.
3. Discard the elderberries and let the liquid cool to lukewarm, then add the honey to the liquid and stir well.
4. Once well mixed, pour the syrup into a pint sized, sterilised jar or bottles.
5. Store in the fridge and take a tablespoon or two a day for its immune system boosting properties.
There are many more natural home remedies out there. Why not do a little research on google, or at your local library, or ask family and friends if they’ve tried anything that has worked for them.
Enjoy naturally good health!
If you would like to receive Thrifty Sustainability updates by email when a new article is added, please subscribe here: