Boost Your Immune System And Prevent Colds With These Naturopathic Tricks

Better health is closer than you think!

by Carolyn Harrington

I am an adventurer by nature and when a natural remedy or method of healing comes to my attention, I jump right in and try it, as long as it seems safe. I have tried many different remedies through the years and found some that work and some that don’t. Here are some techniques and remedies I have found most effective. Luckily, they can be done with items right in your own home!

Sleep is an important element in making sure your body stays strong and healthy. There is nothing better than opening your eyes in the morning and feeling rested after a good night’s sleep. Though often ignored, good sleep is one of the cornerstones of health. Six to eight hours every night seems to be the optimal amount of sleep for most adults, but too much or too little can have adverse effects on your health.

For the estimated 50 to 70 million Americans that suffer from sleep problems, obtaining six to eight hours of sleep a night is a daunting task. The problem worsens during the winter months when we plunge into darkness earlier in the day and our lives become more sedentary. Interrupted or impaired sleep also weakens your immune system which needs to remain strong during these winter months to ward off illness and disease. If you do not want to rely on drugs or medication, here are some things you can do to get a restful night’s sleep:

  • Try taking a hot bath or shower to help you relax before bedtime. The temperature drop from getting out of your bath signals to your body that it is time for bed.
  • Wearing socks to bed can also help; keeping feet warm throughout the night prevents nighttime awakenings.
  • Listening to relaxation CDs is another excellent way to help your body ease into a restful slumber.

Many adults suffer from nighttime nasal congestion that causes disrupted sleep. A product like Maty’s Breathe Better Nasal Ointment can relieve this condition. The unique blend of coconut oil, grapefruit seed extract, lemon balm, and cayenne pepper helps promote a healthy nasal environment for easier breathing throughout the night.

Nasal congestion is also common in infants and babies. When infants are born, their respiratory systems experience irritants such as chemical fumes, dust, pollens, mold spores, and germs from our environment for the first time. They are burdened with these pollutants and are not capable of efficiently handling them. Their nasal passages become swollen with excess fluid, hence the “stuffy nose.”

Don’t worry if your baby has nasal congestion—there are a few things you can do for him or her. If your baby is uncomfortable and begins to cry, the tears will help loosen the crusty mucous that develops around the nasal passage. Another way to help loosen the mucous around the nose is to run a hot shower in your bathroom and let your baby breathe in the steamfilled room.

You can also make a saline solution of 1/4 teaspoon table salt in a 1/2 cup of lukewarm water, and add a drop to each nostril. Be sure to make a fresh batch each day. This will help moisten the airway and bring relief. (Of course, this can also be used on adults!)

When sleeplessness is triggered by repetitive thoughts and stress, a natural sleep aid called Rescue Sleep may help. It is made from flower essences and has been around for over 70 years. Two quick sprays to your tongue help calm and quiet your mind, enabling you to sleep naturally and wake refreshed.

If you get an upper-respiratory infection and want a natural way to shorten its duration, try hydrogen peroxide, an inexpensive and effective remedy. A few drops of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide placed into each ear throughout the day helps shorten the duration of a cold. This is especially effective if done when you begin to feel the symptoms of the illness in the first 12 to 24 hours.

If you have a cough, it may be a sign you have a cold or the flu. To feel better, try a honey elixir with powerful immune-boosting ingredients. Honey is a time-tested remedy for coughs and a wonderful throat soother. According to a 2007 Penn State study by Dr. Ian Paul, honey offers parents an effective and safe alternative to over-the-counter cough medicine. The study found that a small dose of buckwheat honey given before bedtime provided better relief of nighttime cough and sleep difficulty in children than no treatment or dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant found in many OTC cold medications. Do not give honey to children under the age of 12 months. Spores found in honey can cause severe illness in infants.

By adding immune-boosting ingredients like Celtic Sea Salt, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon to honey, you increase your body’s ability to fight off the cold or flu. Celtic Sea Salt is filled with trace minerals and is a natural detoxifier. Cayenne pepper increases circulation which helps to distribute fresh, nutrient-rich blood to all parts of the body while cinnamon promotes healthy breathing.

Another way to help cure a cough or chest cold is with garlic. Garlic is known to help with blood pressure and cholesterol problems, but it is also good for the common cold as it is rich in antioxidants. Chop a raw garlic clove into little pieces and combine it with coconut oil. Let the mixture sit for a half hour, rub it into the bottom of your feet, and cover with socks. The coconut oil quickly gets absorbed by your skin and brings the natural, infection-fighting garlic with it. You can also mix garlic with honey or hot water and make a great cold-fighting tea.

Lastly, a great remedy to help with a cold or flu is the artificial fever. Just draw a hot bath and make a cup of hot tea. Sit in the bath for at least 20 minutes and drink your tea. Then, get up very carefully (you may feel a bit lightheaded) and wrap a sheet around your body. Don’t even dry yourself off. Get under some heavy covers and relax there for at least 20 minutes. Let your body sweat it out. I use a sleeping bag so I don’t ruin my bed. You may not feel very good while you are under the covers, but by following these simple steps, the duration of the cold or flu is surprisingly shortened by killing off infection. Think about it: a fever is your body’s natural response to an infection. Your body increases its temperature to fight the infection. The artificial fever just helps it along quicker. Of course if your fever is already high, above 102 degrees, then you do not need to do this. If you want to keep your head cooler during the process, you can also put a cool compress on your forehead.

So, next time you find yourself a bit under the weather, try one of these simple remedies and keep your body fighting with immune-boosting ingredients. You will not only see how capable you are of fighting off infection, you won’t have to worry about any side effects that may even sideline you longer.


Aside from these simple treatments, here are some other natural immune-boosting ingredients that you can incorporate into everyday life.

Green Tea: Researchers at the University of Florida found that the ingredients in green tea such as acid L-theanine and decaffeinated catechins can enhance the body’s immune system by 28 percent, which will decrease the duration of cold and flu symptoms. You would have to drink it often during a cold for best results and practice basic prevention methods such as hand washing.

Echinacea: Studies have shown that echinacea, a natural wildflower grown in North America, helps you feel better faster. Many clinical trials have proven that taking echinacea at the beginning of a cold reduces the severity and symptoms compared to someone who hasn’t taken an echinacea supplement.

Vitamin C: Vitamin C is a highly effective antioxidant. If your body gets an infection, vitamin C mobilizes white blood cells to fight the infection. Several studies have shown that vitamin C helps the immune system by increasing antibody levels. It has been shown to stimulate the production and activity of leukocytes (white blood cells) which are key in warding off colds and flu. Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes, and grapefruits are great sources of vitamin C.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is crucial for the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous. It is also an immune-system regulator. According to a report in the Archives of Internal Medicine, at least 50 percent of the people in one study had levels that suggested less-than-optimal protection against respiratory tract infections. The best sources of vitamin D are from safe sun exposure and from vitamin D3 supplements.

Zinc: According to a study published in the Cleveland Clinic Annals of Internal Medicine, zinc (lozenges or syrup) reduces the duration of the common cold in healthy people when taken within 24 hours of onset of symptoms. People taking zinc are also less likely to have persistence of their cold symptoms beyond seven days of treatment.


Carolyn Harrington is a certified Holistic Health Practitioner trained in many aspects of natural medication including nutrition, herbs and various mind/body therapies, and created Maty’s Healthy Products, a line of all natural remedies. //

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