A Pound of Prevention and an Ounce of Cure – Homemade Cold Remedies

Immune System Boosters and Homemade Cold Remedies to Get You Through Winter

Winter is tough enough without having to endure the misery of a cold. Thankfully, there are more effective measures available to you than running for cover whenever someone sneezes, and you’ll find them as close as your refrigerator!

Cruciferous Veggies:  Not only do these diet dream-boats blow the top off nutritional charts (go ahead and look – you’ll be amazed) they boost the immune system to fight everything from colds to cancer. You and your family need to be eating healthy, organic, cruciferous veggies every day! You can make them your go-to snack by washing, cutting, and storing containers of them in your fridge, right beside some organic hummus and organic tzatziki for dipping. You’ll be amazed how often your kids open the fridge and pull them out for snacking. The best choices for this are broccoli and cauliflower. You can also try making delicious kale chips and snacking on them at the office or the game. A few more to keep in mind are arugula, bok choy, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, daikon radish, horseradish, mustard greens, radish, rutabaga, and turnip.

Yogurt: Probiotics, or the “live active cultures” found in yogurt, are your gut’s best friends. Think of them as your body’s inner clean-freak, sweeping your intestinal tract free of disease-causing germs.  Make sure your yogurt contains Lactobacillus reuteri. This gut good-guy is thought to amp up your white blood cells, and that’s great news for your immune system. Whip it into a smoothie or pop it into your work lunch today!

Garlic and Mushrooms:  I’ve lumped these two together because their flavors complement each other so beautifully. First, let’s talk garlic. It contains allicin, which fights infection and is anti-bacterial. You can take garlic supplements or add it to your cooking for best results.

Mushrooms, especially Japanese, are loaded with powerful antioxidants. They also stimulate the activity of white blood cells, our body’s disease fighters.

It’s worth upping your intake of both garlic and mushrooms, and it’s easier than you think. Toss them into a salad or wrap, or into tonight’s casserole. Try sautéing a handful of mushrooms along with a few cloves of crushed garlic, then place on a gently warmed organic flatbread or naan. If you’re a couscous lover (and who isn’t?) try this recipe, below:

Mushroom and Garlic Couscous with Truffle Oil

2 cups organic couscous

2 cups water


1 ½ cups organic mushrooms of your choice

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp organic white truffle oil (olive oil will do if you can’t find truffle oil)

Fresh ground pepper

Fresh parsley

Sauté mushrooms and garlic in truffle oil until done to your liking (I like my mushrooms golden on the edges.) Add water and bring to boil, remove from heat, add couscous. Cover and let sit about 5-7 minutes. Fluff with a fork and season with salt, pepper and parsley.


Chicken soup: It’s official: Grandma knew what she was doing when she served you chicken soup for a cold. The best thing about chicken soup (other than the deliciousness factor) is the way it neatly straddles both the remedy and prevention categories.  This tried and true comfort food is top-notch for treating a cold, because chicken soup is proven to relieve cold symptoms. This is likely due to the presence of cysteine, which resembles certain bronchitis drugs. It’s also a terrific immune system booster. Try the recipe below for a little homemade, immune boosting goodness. If you like it thick, add the lesser amount of both (but remember, the more liquids, the better when treating symptoms!)

Immune Boosting Chicken Soup

6-8 cups Organic Chicken Broth (If you don’t make your own, you can purchase delicious varieties in the natural foods section of the grocery store)

3 cloves of organic garlic, crushed

2 Tbsp Organic olive oil

1 organic onion

1 cup of organic oyster mushrooms

2 stalks of organic celery, chopped

3 organic carrots, peeled and sliced

2 cups shredded left-over shredded, organic chicken

Handful of organic spinach

¼ cup organic quinoa (or brown rice)

Fresh, organic Thyme, Rosemary, Sage, Parsley.

In a Dutch oven, sauté chopped onions, celery, carrots, and garlic over low heat until cooked, about five-seven minutes. Carefully pour in chicken stock, and add chicken, mushrooms, and quinoa. Simmer for until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes. Add herbs to your liking. I like mine very fragrant and herbal, so I add plenty! Others are less fond of a strong, herbal flavor. Adjust to your taste. At the end of cooking, toss in spinach and cook until it’s slightly wilted. Sprinkle with sea salt and fresh, cracked pepper.


If all your immune system boosting efforts fail and you find yourself on the receiving end of the common cold, remember that when you’re sick, the best place to be is at home, in bed. Treat yourself with the same care and consideration you’d treat a loved one. Don’t pressure yourself to go to work or school – trust me, people want you to stay home when you’re exhibiting cold symptoms. And rather than trudging to the pharmacy in sub-zero temperatures with a runny nose and bleary eyes, why not try a few homemade treatments, instead? The best part is that you’ll know exactly what you’re taking into your already compromised system.

The easiest and perhaps oldest cold remedy is to swallow a generous spoonful of raw, organic honey. Not only does this provide almost instant cough relief, but the sweet, coating effect of honey soothes raw throats. It’s also a natural anti-bacterial, so it kills germs on the way down. If taking a spoonful is too over-sweet, try mixing it into hot water and sipping as you wrap in a blanket. Just remember, quality counts! Purchase your raw organic honey from a trusted source, such as a local grower or from your farmer’s market.

If cough drops are the order of the day, My Healthy Green Family blog has a great recipe for homemade herbal honey cough drops. Follow the link to her site for the recipe!


Another homemade cough drop to try is featured at Wellness Mama. Find the recipe here:


Happy immune system boosting!

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