Keeping Your Family Well In The Cold & Flu Season

There's no challenge in homemaking quite like keeping your family well during the winter and early spring months... this year has been especially challenging, as wave after wave of pneumonia, flu, bronchitis, sinus infections, and just about everything else has plagued the area. 

Here are some home remedies that work well for us. Many of these were recommended to me by my midwife so, unless otherwise noted, they are safe for pregnancy. Several remedies are especially for children. 

Fighting Infection:
Garlic capsules (odorless)

Take 2-3 capsules each 3 times daily. 

Grapefruit Seed Extract- 5 to 15 drops in a small cup of juice. I take 5 drops to a cup because this stuff is stout! Use caution in giving Grapefruit Seed Extract to small children and babies as it can be very hard on their tummies (I learned this the hard way). I only give one or two drops to a full sippy cup of juice for my girls, ages 4 years and 20 months. Some children may be able to tolerate more; use what works best for your children but be careful not to over-use it on little children who have never ingested it before. 

Sore Throat:
Place a drop of medicinal grade Tea Tree Oil on your finger and suck it off; repeat as needed.

Gargle hot salt water (1/2 sea salt to 6 oz water). Sipping on warm/hot apple cider vinegar (with raw honey) helps cut phlegm and soothe a sore throat, as well.

Relieving mucus build-up in sinuses:
Use a Neti Pot (available at most pharmacies and health stores, we bought ours at Wal-mart). Fill Neti Pot ¾ full with warm water (not too hot but as warm you can stand it) ; add ½ tsp sea salt. Don’t use more than ½ tsp sea salt, as it is very strong and may burn the lining in your sinuses, especially if they are already inflamed.

Standing over a sink, place the spout of the Neti Pot gently into one nostril and tilt your head enough to allow water to run inside the nostril. The point is to allow the water solution run through your sinuses and drip out the other side of your nose. (If you are very congested the water may run into your mouth instead of your other nostril; just spit it out.) Gently blow your nose as needed, just enough to clean out your nostril and apply the Neti Pot again. Repeat until all the water is used up. Apply 3 times daily, or as often as needed. Keep a box of Kleenexes nearby- you'll need them! 

If you are very congested or already have a sinus infection, add 1 tsp baking soda and 1 TBSP witch hazel to the hot sea salt water and use as directed above. This solution will help break up harden music inside the sinus walls. 

Using an ear candle on each ear will also help drain out some of the congestion in your head, especially if your ears feel “stuffy”. If you have trouble with retaining water behind your ears, be sure to use an ear candle after using the Neti Pot for a few days.

Take 1000 ml Vitamin C every hour to boost immunity and loosen mucus.

Cold & Flu Tea: Drink hot tea with 1 tsp raw honey, a pinch of cayenne, and the juice of 1 small lemon mixed in. I drink this tea 3 to 4 times a day to prevent a sinus infection and keep the mucus thinned out and draining. Helps relieve a sore throat and earache caused by a sore throat, as well. It really does work! 

Stomach aches, Diarrhea, Vomiting: 
Take 2 capsules Slippery Elm after each loose stool or vomiting, or as often as needed. For children: empty 1/2 to 1 capsule in a sippy cup of juice and shake to mix well. Very healing to the Colin. If diarrhea or vomiting is severe, administer capsule as a suppository instead of orally. Drink lots of liquids to stay hydrated. 

Place 1 drop warm garlic oil in each ear; or place a small garlic clove in ear and let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Garlic kills infection and soothes pain. Both these methods are very effective in relieving pain from earaches and curing ear infections.

Plenty of Rest:
Valerian Root
Skull Cap

Take 3 capsules each 30 minutes before bedtime. This made a HUGE difference for me in being able to rest well at night. In fact, I slept through the night for the first time in over a week after taking just the Valerian Root. 

Building Immunity:
Lots of Vitamin C (1000 ml per hour). We enjoy the powdered “Emergen-C” packets, mixed in juice; a special variety is available for children which includes other helpful vitamins. 

The infection fighting herbs listed above also help build the immune system 

Omega-3 oil is especially good for boosting children’s immunity; I place ½ to 1 tsp oil in our girls’ juice (mix well) on a daily basis. It tastes pretty “fishy” so I never give it to them on a spoon, like I do with some other liquid supplements. 

Echinacea, Golden Seal & Red Root is a wonderful immune-boosting herbal combination. It is available in liquid form at many health stores (otherwise try purchasing each herb separately in capsule form and take them together). The liquid form is excellent for administering to children. (Most health books I’ve consulted do not recommend taking Golden Seal for over 2 weeks at a time.) 

Drink extra fluids (water, herbal teas, broth). Limit sweets (use raw honey instead of sugar to sweeten hot teas).


  1. Nice Article, But Goldenseal is all one word not two my dear. Mr. MD

  2. 1000mg of vitamin C an hour for more than 3 or 4 hours will cause diarrhea. Also miscarriage in early pregnancy. Use with caution!! Otherwise, very helpful information.