Not-so-Common Remedies for the Common Cold

It’s that time of year again.

Either you’ve already been sick or you’ve managed to hold out while everyone else around you topples like dominoes from the cold and flu…and you know you’re about to be next.

Here are a  few preventative and therapeutic aids to both prevent the cold and flu, and if you get it, to significantly shorten the duration and severity.


Drink Green Tea:

Green tea has been used as a medicine for thousands of years, originating in China but widely used throughout Asia containing powerful antioxidants and polyphenols. This beverage has a multitude of uses from lowering blood pressure to weight loss to preventing cancer. Green Tea extract has been shown significantly enhance immune system function by increasing natural killer cell activity – which means you are more likely to fight off infection.1


Practical Application: Drinking green tea on a daily basis can be beneficial but also taking a green tea supplement (green tea extract – Camellia sinensis) can be an even more potent way to boost immunity as opposed to vitamin C.


Elderberry Syrup:

Found growing in moist areas along rivers, roads and in forests, this immune boosting botanical has a long history of use in traditional European medicine. Elderberry syrup is a proven remedy for preventing and recovering from the flu, colds, excessive mucus, sore throats, and contains large amounts of antioxidants, potassium, beta carotene, calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin C.2

Practical Application:

Take a tablespoon daily to ward off illness and a teaspoon every 2-3 hours while sick. For children under 2, add the syrup to hot water to kill any microbes in the honey. Your kids will love this drizzled over pancakes, yogurt, or ice cream!2


Wild Mushrooms:

Some of the most potent immunosupportive agents come from mushrooms. There are mushrooms that kill viruses, mushrooms that kill bacteria, and even mushrooms that kill yeast—which may surprise you, given they’re both fungi. Shiitake, Maitake, and Reishi mushrooms demonstrate antiviral (including HIV, hepatitis, and the “common cold”), antibacterial, and antifungal effects3.

Practical Application:

There are many cold and flu products on the market containing wild extracts of these mushroom compounds that can be used at the first signs of the cold and flu to support the immune system.

For many, these products may be available at local grocery shopping chains like Walmart. However, if they are unavailable, they can certainly be purchased with on-line retailers like Here are the links to all three products that I would recommend for the cold and flu season:

> Green Tea Extract: NOW Foods Green Tea Extract

> Elderberry Syrup: Nature’s Way Sambucus Syrup

> Mushroom Compounds: Fungi Perfecti Host Defense



1)   “Nutritional Support for the Immune System” Handout. Designs for Health.



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