Natural Remedies: My secret weapon against colds, flu, and the Norwalk virus
This synergistic herbal remedy blend is good for supporting your own immune system while you fight a virus or infection, as well as a natural remedy for colds and flu.
Yesterday I spent an hour making my own natural remedies. I used gelatin capsules and a capsule machine and bulk herbs and spices. In that hour I made enough herbal remedies to save over $75 compared to buying the herbal supplement at the health food store. See my post on how to make your own herbal capsules to get the easy step-by-step instructions for filling your own capsules.
Where did I learn about natural remedies?
I’m not a medical professional. I am a mother. My family had debilitating environmental allergies 20 years ago, which was exacerbated by prescription and over-the-counter drugs. I felt pretty helpless, as my own body collapsed, my weight dropped to 92 lbs. and I was so weak that every bug, virus, and cold, that I was exposed to, weakened me further. When the medical establishment could do nothing more for me, and switching doctors and specialists lead to more defeat, I went on a mission to learn all I could about herbal treatments and natural remedies. Learning about herbs empowered me to help myself and my loved ones fight common illnesses, and overcome some serious medical problems. Natural remedies go beyond simply treating the symptoms of disease, and so they are gentler and slower acting than pharmaceuticals. They work by strengthening the body’s own system to rebuild and heal the underlying condition.
Where you buy your herbs for natural remedies matters:
I combined several herbs, known for their anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial properties in my natural remedy. Using equal parts of each herb for my herbal formula. I bought the herbs at my local bulk food store, where I know they have a rapid turnover of herbs and spices. I suggest that you avoid purchasing grocery store herbs for these capsules. If you don’t have a local source that you know has a high turnover, and consistently fresh, organic herbs, I recommend ordering from Mountain Rose Herbs — a consistent provider of fresh, organic herbs.
Natural Remedies #1 – Cayenne:
Cayenne (Capsicum annum) is a powerful anti-oxidant but is very hot tasting. Putting cayenne in capsules avoids the burning sensation in the mouth and throat. Once safely in your stomach acid, cayenne is antibacterial, anti-tumour, anti-fungal, and anti-viral. It increases blood flow to the hands and feet. It relieves nausea and fights bacterial infections. Cayenne removes toxins from the body. It’s also an expectorant and helps to treat cough, and sinus problems. Other pepper varieties have these same qualities to varying degrees, so if you grow jalapenos or another hot pepper in your garden and have an ample supply of dried peppers, you can powder them in a spice grinder and use them instead for this recipe, which calls for 2 tbsp. of dried cayenne pepper. (Caution, always wear of dust mask and goggles when powdering hot peppers. Pets and children should be removed from the room to protect them from the strong fumes, which can cause gasping for air and coughing.) Don’t substitute black pepper for cayenne in this recipe.
Cayenne is also thought to inhibit the growth of some cancers and is being looked at as a cancer treatment.
Natural Remedies #2 – Ginger:
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) like cayenne, increases circulation, which helps move toxins, viruses, and bacteria out of the body. It also warms the body and helps to relieve stomach cramping, nausea, cold and flu symptoms. Ginger strengthens the immune system and helps your body fight colds and flu, as well as bronchitis, cough, sinus congestion, and headaches.
Natural Remedies #3 – Garlic:
Garlic (Allium sativum) is a potent antimicrobial herb. It is so powerful against colds, flu, and virus symptoms that during the Middle Ages’ Black Plague epidemics, workers wore garlic around their necks to protect them from the disease. Garlic strengthens the immune system against colds and flu and is especially useful in treating children. It helps in cases of bronchitis, one of the symptoms of the current flu. It is also useful in treating bacterial and fungal infections and was used as an antibiotic in WW1, before the discovery of antibiotic drugs. Garlic is also an expectorant, helping to loosen mucus so that it can be expelled from the lungs with coughing.
Garlic reduces bad cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, and helps to support heart health.
I used garlic powder in this recipe. You can grind your own, by drying your own farm-grown garlic cloves in a dehydrator and then putting them through a spice mill to powder them. Remove the parchment-like covering of each clove before drying them. This recipe uses 2 tbsp. of garlic powder.
Natural Remedies #4 – Oil of Oregano:
Oil of oregano (Origanum vulgare) actually comes from the wild marjoram plant and not the culinary oregano that we use to flavour spaghetti sauce. So picking up culinary oregano won’t work for this recipe. However, the active ingredient found in Oil of Oregano is the thymus, the essential oil that is also found in thyme (Thymus vulgaris). If you wanted to substitute your own garden herbs in this recipe you could use wild marjoram or thyme leaves, ground to a fine powder in your herb grinder. Use 2 tbsp to take the place of the 5 droppers full of Oil of Oregano that the recipe calls for.
Oil of oregano leaves a burning sensation on the tongue and in the throat when taken as a supplement. By combining the oil in the capsules, this burning sensation is avoided.
Oil of oregano, thyme, and marjoram are pain-relieving, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal. Making them strong candidates for inclusion in an immune-boosting, viral fighting capsule.
Natural Remedies #5 – Turmeric:
Turmeric (Cuma longa) is a plant similar to ginger. The root is used in flavouring cooking and in herbal medicine. It has a reputation for lowering blood pressure, lowering cholesterol, and strengthening the immune system. It is warming and increases circulation to the hands and feet. It is a powerful antioxidant, and useful for purifying the body of toxins, bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. It scavenges the hydroxyl free-radical and supports the immune system.
If any of these natural remedies upset your stomach or cause allergies in you or anyone in your family, they can be omitted from the formula. Some folks add 2 tbsp. of ground rose hips to the recipe to add vitamin C to the recipe, as well.
Natural remedy for colds, flu, and viruses
(Makes 120 capsules — 500 mg each)
2 tbsp. cayenne pepper
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. turmeric
2 tbsp. ginger
5 dropperfuls of Oil of Oregano, or 2 tbsp. ground thyme or marjoram
Add all ingredients to a glass jar. Using a glass or wooden stirring rod, mix completely, pressing out any lumps or clumping in the spices.
Using your capsule machine, separate and lay out the capsules ready to fill. Fill capsules according to the directions that came with your capsule filling machine or use my directions. I used the size “0” capsule machine with size “0” gelatin capsules. Both are available from Mountain Rose Herbs
Adult dose: 1 to 2 capsules at bedtime at the first sign of a cold or flu. If your symptoms persist the next day, take the natural remedy with food 3 times a day. If symptoms worsen, consult your family doctor or naturopath.
Home treatment of serious medical conditions should only be done after consulting with a medical professional, like a naturopathic doctor or your family doctor. If you are treating a young child that can’t tell you where the pain is, or if the symptoms persist longer than 5 days or worsen, or you are dealing with a fever over 103 degrees F in children or adults, consult your doctor immediately. Coughing up blood is a medical emergency — see your doctor immediately.
Books I consulted in preparing this post:
David Hoffman’s Medical Herbalism, the science and practice of herbal medicine
Karen Sullivan. The Complete Family Guide to Natural Home Remedies
David Hoffman. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal.
What’s your go-to natural remedy for colds and flu? Tell me in the comments section.
Learn more about using herbs for health and wellness from my Book
Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary
My book Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary will help you grow healing herbs in your own garden. Focusing on the easiest plants for beginners to grow, Homegrown Healing From Seed to Apothecary covers 30 plants, recommended by professional herbalists, that can be grown in the temperate zone. Initial garden preparation, garden design and harvesting tips lead the novice herbalist into early success. Choose which herbs to grow, learn how to use these herbs for your family’s health and wellness using the guidance in my book. You can find out more about this useful guide to growing more herbs and using them strategically here.