Natural Treatments for Colds & Flu

The common cold and influenza affect many children each year. During flu season, the CDC publishes weekly reports of the flu cases in the US. You can view this report here.

Typical cold symptoms include runny nose, sore throat, cough, congestion, and possibly fever. Flu symptoms are usually more severe than cold symptoms and can also include headaches and body aches. Both are spread through respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes.

Colds and flus are caused by viruses, which means they cannot be treated with antibiotics. In general, there aren’t many conventional treatments for colds and flus. The recommendation typically is to go home, rest and stay hydrated.

Naturopathic medicine can be extremely beneficial in the treatment of colds and flus because there are a variety of treatments that can boost the immune system and fight these viral illness effectively. Some of the best immune support treatments include:

Vitamin C

  • This powerful nutrient has been shown in many studies to prevent and treat the common cold. It has also been shown to decrease the likelihood of a serious complication from the flu. Many foods contain vitamin C, including, citrus, broccoli, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, tomatoes and strawberries. Eating a diet rich in these foods can be helpful, but typically you need more than what these foods offer when ill.

Vitamin D

  • This is a nutrient that very important for healthy immune function. Typically we get our vitamin D from the sun, but these days many people have low vitamin D levels, making them more susceptible to a number of different illnesses, including influenza, colds and respiratory infections. Studies have shown that children who take supplemental vitamin D during the cold and flu season have a decreased risk of getting the flu.


  • This mineral is known to boost the immune system. When administered within the first 24 hours of cold symptoms, it has been shown to decrease the duration of the illness.


  • These are the good bacteria that are always needed to help fight off the bad bacteria and viruses in our bodies.


  • This is a plant that produces berries and those berries are used to make medicine. It is known to boost the immune system and fight off infections, specifically viral infections. It can be purchased as a syrup or you can make your own syrup or tea with the berries.

Read More Here:

Vitamin C Preventing The Common Cold-Cochrane Library

Vitamin D Preventing Influenza A in School Children-American Journal of Clinical Nutrition

Zinc and the Common Cold-Cochrane Database (PubMed)

The Flu Basics-Center For Disease Control

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