6 DIY Ways to Boost Immunity During Cold and Flu Season

Colds are the worst. Here's how to ease your sneezing and stuffy nose with home remedies found in the garden. Plus, get a bonus immune-boosting recipe!

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It’s officially chilly outside, which means fall boots, mums, and changing leaves — yay! Unfortunately, the shift in weather also signals cold and flu season — boo! While it’s always smart to get your annual flu shoot — especially older adults who are 50 and above and children six months and older — there are many at-home remedies that can ward off or alleviate systems of the irritating common cold.

So if you’re coughing, sneezing and sniffling, try one of these DIY ideas that may just get you back on your feet sooner.

Important reminder: These homeopathic treatments are suggestions for minor symptoms only, and should not be replacements for a visit to the doctor. Consult your MD or visit a clinic if you suffer from severe cold and flu symptoms (such as fever, severe aches and pains) or have not gotten better within a few days.

Echinacea

The echinacea (or purple coneflower) plant is a perennial that will come back year after year with bright, daisy-like pinkish-purple flowers, but their secret isn’t in their beauty. It’s actually the creeping rootstock that can be used to treat cold symptoms. You can find it in capsules, or use fragments of dried root to make tea. Remember to discard the Echinacea root before drinking.

Lemon Balm

Like echinacea, lemon balm is a perennial used to calm cold and flu symptoms. However, it’s the leaves that serve up the good stuff this time. Steep leaves in boiled water for tea to feel relaxed, sooth sore throats, and even ease nervousness, too.

Ginger

Rich in antioxidants, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and more good-for-you vitamins and minerals, potent ginger root has a host of natural health benefits. It’s been shown to ease upset stomachs, thwart migraines, and of course, alleviate symptoms of the common cold. Peel and grate fresh ginger to use it, you guessed it, a cup of tea.

Chamomile

You’re probably familiar with chamomile tea as a cozy, relaxing nighttime drink, but did you know you can add the sweet flower into a hot bath, too? Breathing in the steam from chamomile is said to help sooth hay fever and revive tired eyes. Try a cup or a tub full when you’re feeling under the weather for a more restful night’s sleep.

Meadowsweet

Headache? Sore throat? Achiness? Instead of running to the drugstore, try utilizing the flowers, leaves or stems of meadowstreet, all of which contain salicylates — a main ingredient in aspirin. A bonus benefit: white flowering perennial is also thought to soothe digestion, perfect for a minor belly ache.

Greek Yogurt Soup With Fresh Herbs

Not too keen on tea? Go Greek — with yogurt that is. The live cultures (a.k.a. probiotics) are your gut’s best defense against the bad bacteria that causes the cold and flu. Give your immune system the boost it needs with the addition of these live culture “good bacteria,” found in this delicious hot-or-cold Greek yogurt soup with chopped fresh herbs.

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