Flu Season: Fighting the Common Cold Naturally

Ophelia Gherman, M.D.
September 29, 2016
Flu season is officially upon us. Here are some natural ways to prevent and to treat the common cold.

Flu season is officially upon us. With cooler weather and shorter days, we tend to spend more times indoors and out of the sun. This allows viruses to be spread.  What makes colds and cases of flu more prevalent is not merely the increase in the exposure to viruses, but also a decrease in our immune system’s strength, largely due to lower Vitamin D levels (due to less sunlight).


Viruses and not bacteria cause colds and cases of flu. Viruses invade our body through the nasal or oral passage and overtake our cells. This, in turn, destroys the natural barrier of protection in our sinuses and upper respiratory tract, causing excess inflammation (swelling) and mucus production. This combination leads to nasal and sinus congestion and a bothersome cough.


Studies have shown that natural remedies help reduce these symptoms or prevent further complications.


Propolis is a resin that bees gather from the back of leaves and bark of trees that is collected by bees. Its name is derived from the Greek “Pro” – meaning ‘for or in defense of’ and “polis”- meaning the city. Therefore, Propolis is the defender of the beehive. It is highly anti-microbial and protects against an oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans, that causes gingivitis and dental carries. It also protects against viruses that cause the common cold and flu-like illnesses. A study published in Poland found that daily ingestion of Propolis cuts cold-like symptoms caused by Rhinovirus short. Propolis comes in capsules, extracts, and syrups. For cold like symptoms, 500mg twice daily is recommended.


A powerful anti-viral tea is made from elderflower, yarrow, boneset, linden, peppermint and ginger. In a study done by the Department of Virology at Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, influenza patients taking 15 ml of elderberry extract every 4 hours improved 4 days sooner than those taking sugar pills (Placebo) . Treatment should begin within 48 hours of developing flu-like symptoms. According to the ABC clinical Guide Book, if Elderberry is in syrup form (3.8 grams liquid extract per 10 ml syrup), then adults should take 3 teaspoons four times daily, children 1 teaspoon four times daily. The total duration of treatment is 5 days beginning with the first sign of illness.  


Oregano Oil is also a potent antiviral. The main chemical that makes it so useful in natural remedies is carvacrol. Carvacrol acts by inactivating the virus.  


During a cold or flu, your body will try to eliminate and cleanse itself of waste build-up and toxins. It is best to open all channels of elimination to speed the recovery time. That means your skin pores should be opened through hot baths, spas, steam baths and saunas. Your kidneys should be flushed with adequate hydration of 10 glasses of water daily, green juices, and alkaline soups. Last, but not least, the gastrointestinal tract should also be cleansed with either herbal or hydrotherapy mechanisms.


About 66 million Americans will get a cold this year alone. The best way to prevent a cold or flu is to take care of your health by observing the laws of health. When it comes to treating the cold, however, you too may find that using natural remedies will strengthen your immune and endocrine systems and more effectively eliminate the cause and not just the symptoms of your cold and flu.


Studies cited:

1. Crisan I, Zaharia CN, Popovici F, et al. Natural propolis extract NIVCRISOL in the treatment of acute and chronic rhinopharyngitis in children. Rom J Virol 1995;46:115–33.

2. Szmeja Z, Kulczynski B, Sosnowski Z, Konopacki K. Therapeutic value of flavonoids in Rhinovirus infections. Otolaryngol Pol 1989;43(3):180–4 [in Polish].

3. Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J.

Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections.

4. Linda Page, Sarah Abernathy. Health and Healing, 14th edition.

5. .  Zakay-Rones Z, Thom E, Wollan T, Wadstein J. Randomized study of the efficacy and safety of oral elderberry extract in the treatment of influenza A and B virus infections. Department of Virology, Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel. Int Med Res. 2004 Mar-Apr;32(2):132-40.