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By Rebecca Fending
As flu season closes in, many of us are looking to add holistic or all-natural ways to fight off illness this winter. Whether it’s an age-old medicinal cure or nutritious recipes to keep your immune system up, here are a few ways you can brave this season.
All-Natural Remedies for Flu Season
You’ve likely heard of this tried-and-true herbal remedy. Fire cider recipes have been handed down through generations and can be tweaked to your specific needs or tastes.
Fire cider recipes include various antibacterial, antiviral and anti-inflammatory ingredients to help combat any illness you may be faced with. The apple cider vinegar contributes to the antibacterial and antioxidant properties of the mixture, as well as honey. Ginger helps remedy inflammation that comes with viral illnesses. It also helps to calm an upset stomach and generally aid in digestion. The spicy ingredients (horseradish and chili powder) help expand the sinuses and stimulate blood flow.
Below is a basic recipe for this concoction. The typical serving size for this is “a spoonful,” about one tablespoon. You can take straight, mix it into a smoothie or juice, or even combine it with salad dressing.
Recipe inspired by Mountain Rose Herbs
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 14 cloves of garlic, crushed or chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped
- Zest and juice from one lemon
- 1/2 cup fresh grated ginger root (or ground ginger/ginger powder)
- 1/2 cup fresh grated horseradish root
- 1 tablespoon. turmeric powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
- 2 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
- organic apple cider vinegar (“From the mother“)
- 1/4 cup of raw, local honey (plus more to taste)
- Clean and prep a quart-sized glass jar. Drop all solid ingredients into the jar.
- Pour apple cider vinegar into the jar until all ingredients are covered.
- Place a piece of parchment paper over top of the jar’s mouth and seal with lid. Shake well to combine all ingredients.
- Keep in a cool, dark place, such as your pantry, for a month. Shake vigorously each day.
- After one month, strain out the solids of the mixture using a strainer and cheese cloth. Pour strained mixture into a fresh, clean jar.
- Add honey to new jar and stir/shake until combined. Use as needed when you feel a cold/flu/any viral or bacterial infection coming on.
Himalayan Pink Salt Nasal Flush
This is one remedy to which I can personally attest. I use a Himalayan salt flush at the first sign of a sinus infection, which I contracted frequently before discovering this hack. Although this is a great fix, it’s definitely not pleasant. Here’s how you do it:
- In a glass, add a pinch of Himalayan pink salt. Follow it with a tablespoon of distilled (or at least purified) drinking water. Stir until the salt is mostly dissolved.
- Lift the glass to one nostril while holding the other nostril closed. Snort a portion of the mixture and let it drain through the other nostril. Repeat twice on each side. Blow your nose thoroughly.
- Do this as needed, or at least in the morning and at night until nasal/sinus issues subside.
Note: You can also use regular sea salt, but do not use table salt.
Is there anything better than a warm, homemade soup when you’re under the weather? This flu-busting garlicky chicken soup is exactly what you need to comfort you. Whether it’s from an illness or just because you want a cozy meal, this soup is perfect for any cure.
The amount of garlic in this soup may seem outrageous, but it’s for good reason. Garlic contains sulfuric compounds in it that are released when it’s chopped, minced or smashed. Sulfur helps rebuild damaged or compromised cells within the body, including cells taken over by a virus. So while this soup is good and garlicky, just be sure to brush your teeth afterwards, if you’re worried.
Flu-Fighting Garlic Chicken Soup
Recipe inspired from Eggless Cooking
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 large chicken breasts, trimmed
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
- 1 large carrot or 2 cups baby carrots, finely chopped
- 2 cups mushrooms, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup coriander (cilantro), finely chopped
- 1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 6 cups chicken bone broth
- salt, pepper and crushed red chili flakes to taste
- 10 oz. spinach or kale
- In a medium-sized pot, heat oil and sauté chicken breasts until cooked. Set aside to cool.
- In the same pot, add the onions, turmeric powder, red chili flakes and garlic. Add addition olive oil or butter if needed. Cook until onions are translucent.
- Add the carrots, mushrooms and coriander and fry for a couple of minutes.
- While remaining vegetables are cooking, shred cooked chicken. Add shreds to your pot.
- Stir in the rinsed quinoa and bone broth. Add salt and pepper and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until the quinoa is cooked. If you feel that the quinoa has absorbed a lot of broth, add water until desired consistency.
- Remove from heat and add spinach. Serve with Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Although these remedies are wonderful when you’re in a pinch or just needing some TLC, be sure to see your primary care doctor to ensure that your needs are looked after.