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Want natural cold treatments to get better quickly? Try these four before grabbing the meds.

There are four natural cold-resisting treatments that I know and love. There’s garlic and there’s … um, there are a few other ones. There really isn’t a ‘cold and flu season’, by the way – as the days get shorter, and we get less sunlight, we have difficulty fending off infections like colds. The answer is to bump up our immune system – and that is the most natural way to fight a cold!

Luckily the fall, the so-called cold and flu season, is when garlic is generally harvested.

Okay, so let me tell you about four amazing natural treatments that can help you deal with the viral infection that just knocked you off your feet.

Want some natural ways to resist a cold or flu? Try these before grabbing the meds.

Viral or Bacterial Infection?

Let’s take a quick time out, though, and deal with the issue of viral infection versus bacterial infection.

Antibiotics aren’t going to do anything good for an illness caused by a virus. Antibiotic resistance is a very real, and growing problem, and it’s made worse when people use pharmaceutical antibiotics for viral infections.

You can eat as much garlic and cayenne as you can stand, though. I haven’t heard anyone saying garlic will cause resistant bacteria, and it doesn’t matter if you have a viral or bacterial infection. Either way, the natural treatments will help.

Often we can’t tell the difference between a bacterial and a viral infection, which is why doctors historically prescribe antibiotics first and then (maybe) check the cause. Increasingly in Canada, I find that doctors are verifying that antibiotics will actually help before pulling out the prescription pad, but I know that that’s not the case everywhere.

So what kind of infections are bacterial?

Strep throat

Whooping cough

Tubercolosis

Urinary Tract Infections

MRSA

Bubonic plague

These are all pretty serious! If you have any of these, you are going to want all the power of potent pharmaceutical antibiotics attacking the infection.

And what kind of infections are viral?

Chicken pox

AIDS

Cold

Influenza

Bronchitis and most coughs

With the exception of AIDS, most of these are treated at home. They’re highly contagious and while they can get serious, most are not. You do not need, and you should never use, antibiotics to treat these. But natural antibiotic and antiviral treatments work very well for them. (Not necessarily for AIDS, though – you need powerful medications for that!)

What infections can be either?

Ear infections

Pneumonia

Diarrhea

Meningitis

Sinus infections (usually viral, though)

When in doubt, check with a doctor. However, it’s generally wise to start with non-pharmaceutical home treatments first. When my eldest was a baby, in 1996, doctors immediately prescribed antibiotics for ear infections. Today they say to treat with pain medication and ear drops unless it lasts for more than seven days. Bacterial sinus or ear infections usually last longer and often get worse after a week.

Cayenne Pepper

When your grandmother insists on a spiced up bowl of chicken soup to deal with that cold, there’s more at work than just the broth. I mean, the broth is good, don’t get me wrong. But the cayenne pepper is helping a lot.

Cayenne has natural healing properties – like a lot of herbs and spices – and it can really help clear out that congestion in your sinuses. Sinus infections are terrible, and in my case, they always trigger migraine headaches, so it’s best to clear out the congestion quickly and avoid an infection.

When you’re sipping on that chicken broth or eating a bowl of soup, make sure to add some cayenne pepper. Raise the heat and watch yourself get better more quickly.

Garlic

The first natural treatment that can help you when cold and flu season arrives is garlic. And science is starting to back that up!

Bradley Creek Garlic Farms in British Columbia, Canada

Most of us are familiar with garlic, I think. A few days ago, a friend shocked me by saying she didn’t like garlic.

REALLY?

How can you not like garlic?

It’s kind of like bacon … makes everything just a bit better.

We’re fans of garlic here. After Annie wrote 4 Ways to Cook Garlic Scapes, I asked her to send me some garlic to try out. For a couple of weeks, anyone who walked in my house was shown this amazing garlic. And if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you’ll have seen me mention this garlic a LOT.

Ev doesn’t like how garlic smells. She likes it in her food, though!

As I planted my gorgeous Bradley Creek Garlic Farms garlic, a neighbour came over and said, “Oh! I hadn’t realized it was time to put that in – gotta go plant my garlic, too.’

Did you plant any garlic? You should.

And if you’re in Canada, you should get it from Bradley Creek Farms because these are the most amazing garlic heads you’ll ever find.

I’m not kidding. And you have to watch our adorable little gardeners planting them.

Go, go, go check them out. I’ll still be here.

So as delicious as garlic is, why eat it when you’re getting sick? Well, garlic has been used medicinally for a very long time. It is a natural antibiotic, antiviral and antifungal, and it gives your immune system a little boost.

Eat more garlic and not only will you keep vampires away, but you’ll destroy harmful bacteria before they get settled into your body. And the best part is that it destroys bad bacteria while letting the good bacteria in your gut thrive.

Just … make sure that anyone you plan on kissing, or cuddling up to while watching Netflix, also eats some garlic.

Here are five tasty recipes from blogging friends of mine so you can get your garlic fix after you’ve grabbed your Bradley Creek Farms garlic!

Garlic Knots from Pretty. Simple. Sweet.

Spicy Garlic Roasted Eggplant Slices from Melanie Cooks!

Baked Garlic Chicken Thighs from Honey & Lime

Chicken in Skillet from Valentina’s Corner

Cheesy Garlic Scalloped Potatoes from Great Grub, Delicious Treats

Manuka Honey

Did you know that there are different kinds of honey? Usually we describe honey according to what flowers the bees are feeding on.

Manuka honey is from bees feeding on manuka flowers.

You might be more familiar with manuka if I call it Tea Tree. Manuka honey comes from bees feeding on flowers of the Tea Tree, which grows wild in New Zealand and parts of Australia.

Manuka honey is extremely strong in flavour, and it is thicker than any other honey. It is antimicrobial and can help boost your immune system. Your family physician will likely insist that there is no benefit to using manuka honey, but they also tend to discount essential oils and other natural remedies.

You’ll have to make your own decision on that.

Echinacea

You knew echinacea was going to be on the list, didn’t you?

When it comes to dealing with immunity and viral illness, echinacea tops most lists. Before the use of antibiotics, it was commonly used to deal with infections and viruses. Now that viruses are becoming resistant to chemical antibiotics, it is being used again.

BUT Echinacea is much more than an antibiotic. It has antiviral properties, which is why it works on your cold or flu, and it’s a powerful antifungal treatment, too.

At the first sign of a cold or flu, start taking echinacea. Keep taking until your runny nose and sore throat go away.

Just Plain Living

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