Natural Cold and Flu Remedies


We all know the cycle of getting sick. Our body gets run down, our immune system can’t keep up, a bug takes over, we feel horrendous for days. Blah.

We all know that one of the factors in our immune system being run down is what we eat (or don’t eat). Sugar is a major culprit in wrecking havoc on our bodies.

Our chiropractor told us something incredibly fascinating the other week connecting those 2 dots, something I’d never linked before. He told us that the flu is around all year (which we knew) but it’s not heightened because of the time of year, it’s heightened because of what we eat.

Look at the prevalence of flu in the summer – hardly happening. There’s Memorial Day, 4th of July and Labor Day… mostly grill-out holidays.

Look at the prevalence of flu in the winter – constantly happening. There’s Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine’s Day, Easter… mostly sugar-based holidays.

The connection really struck me.  Does it strike you?

Cold and Flu

While we can control what we eat and what we do, we can’t control those who don’t wash their hands or cover their mouths. Luckily, we can strengthen our immune systems to lessen the chance of getting sick.

I want to share with you the things we will have on hand at our house this winter for prevention and in case one of us becomes sick, or to share with friends and family when they call panicked asking, “what can we take to make us feel better?!?!”

Immune System:

1. Basics: Eat well. Sleep. Exercise. Not rocket science. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables (lots of them), eliminate caffeine and sugar, eliminate processed foods, eat healthy fats, seeds and nuts. Sleep 8 hours at night. Go to bed early. Move your body. Simple enough, right :)

2. Congaplex. I’ve shared more about Congaplex here and here. There is a chewable form we give the kids and an oral capsule Justin and I take when we start feeling sick or when one of us is sick. Finn calls them his “Spiderman Vitamins.” We purchase these from Dr. Tyler, our chiropractor.


3. Thieves (Young Living Essential Oil). On school days and before we go out where lots of germs might be lurking, I put Thieves oil on both the kids feet. I put it on the fatty part under the toe and down the center. The reason for foot application is because your feet absorb things so well into the body. Many people love to diffuse Thieves as it’s great for sanitizing your environment and defending against airborne substances. Thieves is a combination of  clove, lemon, cinnamon, rosemary and eucalyptus. Each oil has amazing anti-microbial properties. You can search pubmed for any of these oils and find examples of how well they work to boost the immune system.


4. NingXia Red. NingXia Red is a Young Living juice that I take daily. I drink 2 ounces (a small espresso glass full) each morning. What is it? It’s a powerful antioxidant drink that contains whole Ningxia wolfberry puree—a super blend of blueberry, aronia, cherry, pomegranate, and plum juices, natural stevia extract, grape seed extract, pure vanilla extract, and orange, yuzu, lemon, and tangerine essential oils. Many battling cancer or other diseases take 2-8 ounces of Ningxia each day to keep their immune system peaked.

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Chest/Nasal Congestion:

1. Young Living Essential Oils: Peppermint, Breath Again Roll-on, RC.

We use Peppermint oil in a variety of ways. If we are incredibly congested, we will put a drop of peppermint in our hands, rub them clockwise and deeply inhale. This will be sweet relief to anyone really congested! If our kids are congested, we will often put a drop or 2 on their bed (away from where their face directly is) so they can breathe it in while sleeping. For Justin and I, we will put it behind our ears or the back of our neck. When we’ve used this on the kids bodies, we mix it with coconut oil and rub it on their chest to breathe better. (Peppermint is a “warm” oil, so it might be too much for a younger child directly on the skin.) Justin and I will put a drop on our tongue, hold our tongue to the roof of our mouth and allow our sinuses to clear. (Also great as a breath mint!) Peppermint is incredible for any sinus/nasal congestion.

The Breathe Again roll-on contains eucalyptus, peppermint and myrtle and is great to fight winter sniffles. We rub this on the chest or under the nose as it promotes healthy sinus function. This is more focused on sinus congestion.

We use Lemon or RC for any respiratory congestion or chest issues as it’s great for a wet cough. Both are great to diffuse and apply to the chest and throat. Lemon is great for a cough, too.


 2. Eucalyptus Chest Rub. Think the classic vapor rub you used as a child minus all the funky funk ingredients. When Evie was little, we would apply this to the bottoms of her feet and add socks. For Finn, we would apply this directly to his chest.  We always have a jar of this on hand in the winter months. This can be purchased here: Amazon // Vitacost.

Chest Rub

3. NoseFrida Snotsucker. It’s is far less gross than it sounds, trust me! The first time I used it on Evie (never used on Finn), I held my breath for at least 30 seconds terrified I would…. get something.  You won’t. You can’t. But it works 20 times better than any aspirator you’ve ever used, including the hospital one. This is well worth the money for a snotty little nose. Bigger kids would probably fight you off, so this is only for your baby cakes! This can be purchased here: Amazon.



4. Neti Pot. For the little ones (2 and under), I’d use the Nose Frieda, for the young ones, I’d teach them how to blow their nose and use the other products. For all adults, I always say “do you neti?” Now, truth be told, the first time I used a Neti Pot I felt like I was doing weird drugs. After some use, I can’t live without it in the winter. Anytime I’m congested or even feel like I’m getting stuffed up, I neti. Usually first thing in the morning is enough, but I increase usage if I’m really congested.  I prefer the ceramic pot as it’s easier to throw in the dishwasher to be cleaned. Personal preference. This can be purchased here: Vitacost.


Stomach Bug:

1. Young Living Essential Oil: DiGize and Peppermint.

I’ll warn you, DiGize doesn’t smell the best, but it works quickly!  If you have a stomach bug (food poisoning, ate something old, something didn’t agree with you, flu, constipation, diarrhea), this is your new BFF. We used this on both Finn and Evie a few months ago when some little bug just took their stomachs hostage. It wasn’t pretty. Finn didn’t throw up again after using this. Be sure to mix this with coconut oil before applying it to their bellies. It’s far too strong otherwise. Also, if you rub this oil clockwise on the belly, it will help with constipation. If you rub this oil counterclockwise, it will help slow down diarrhea.

We layer peppermint over the DiGize if there’s any nausea.


Sore Throat:

1. Young Living Essential Oil Thieves and Thieves Spray.

A few months ago I got strep throat. I seem to get strep at least once a year, in the early fall. (I also somehow managed to have strep on my 21st birthday – awesome.) But unlike when I was 21, I didn’t take a single medication this time around. What did I do? I used Thieves!

I applied the Thieves oil right on my throat every 15 minutes until I started to feel better. Then I moved it back to every 30 minutes.  Each time I would rub the oil on, I would squirt some of the Thieves spray into the back of my throat. (Some people also like to gargle with Thieves instead of the spray.) By the end of the day, I was able to swallow again. The next morning, my throat still hurt, but it didn’t interfere with my day like it had the day before.  By that evening, I was 100%.

This Thieves spray is amazing. Most people use it as a cleaner. Is your mouth on the floor? The same “cleaner” can be taken internally to fight off strep throat or other illness! That’s how pure these products are!

Theives Spray


That’s our treasure chest for winter. What do you have on hand? 

** If you are interested in purchasing any of the Young Living products mentioned, please refer to the Introduction to Essential Oils post for more details. **

** For more posts about essential oils, check out the Top 9 and Essential Oils & Pregnancy. **

*** I am not a doctor. I do not diagnose, prescribe or treat ailments. The suggestions of the products we use or friends have used do not replace the advice of your doctor. ***



  1. Zahra says

    Your article has been so helpful to me as we recover from a sinus infection this fall, can I apply thieves directly on my 4 year olds throat to help her cough and itchy throat ?

    • says

      Thieves is a hot oil, so it probably won’t be great for a child’s skin. Any oil that is uncomfortable can always be diluted with a fatty oil like almond or coconut.

  2. Meghan says

    You mentioned in an earlier response about rubbing lavender on the neck on behind the ears of a little one. Could that also help with with reactive airways for a 22 month old? I just got my starter kit and am planning to order the breathe again roll on for her.

  3. keira says

    I’ve heard of the Neti a ton of times but also read that it’s very specific on how you clean it and use it. Apparently deaths have occurred because of bacteria getting into the brain from the nose. Are you able to explain how the neti works for you? :D

  4. Chris says

    My wife, 10 year old daughter, 16 month old son have started a new all natural (as much as possible) life. No vaccines an natural healing foods etc. so far everything is Great! Our 16 month has had sinus congestion for 3 days now and let me say your method of peppermint oil behind the ears an on the neck of you and your husband! Well, simply brilliant! Thank you!!

  5. madison says

    Can I use thieves spray on my 22 month old. He has a sore throat accompanied by cough and sneezing. Going to dr in the am. I put thieves oil on his feet and added a drop of lemon oil to his green juice. Rubbed tiny amount of Pana way to his throat and within minutes he had stopped coughing and is asleep. ( I don’t have the thieves spray yet, so how much can I add to his green juice? He will not eat or drink anything spice FYI) thanks

    • says

      I’m not sure I would use it on my 22 month old. It has cinnamon bark in it which might be too much to take internally at that age. However, I would use Thieves diluted on his throat. I would also use Lemon and/or RC on the chest and lavender on the back of his neck and behind his ears. Hope that helps!! Let me know how he’s doing. There’s nothing worse than a sick little one :(

      • Courtney says

        You can also make a tea with water, honey, and theives. My littles love this and drink it up:) just taste it first so it’s not too hot and that the theives isn’t too strong.

  6. says

    Thanks for this! I’m loving the oils and learning more and more as the days go on. Can’t wait to keep sharing the knowledge with my friends and family, too!

    I use the neti pot too and like it. My co-workers think I’m crazy but I say it works! :)

  7. Josie says

    Two quick questions. How much Congaplex do you and your husband take? The bottle says 3 with each meal, that would be like 9 pills per person per day! Also, do you dilute the Thieves oil with olive oil before applying it to your children or just full concentration? Thanks in advance!!

    • says

      Hi, Josie!

      We usually just take 2 in the morning and 2 in the afternoon if we’re not feeling well. We don’t take it daily, only when we are starting to feel under the weather.

      As for the Thieves, we put it right on their feet, no diluting! If you find your kids are sensitive or don’t like it if you’re using it on other parts of the body, dilute for sure.

      Hope that helps!

  8. says

    We are a big fan of the cool mist humidifier at night when you have a cold, and also sitting in a bathroom with a hot steamy shower running to help clear out your nose. I also shoot salt water up my nose to help clear it. It feels awful during, and sounds gross, but my nose clears up well after!

  9. Jana Molstre says

    Kerry your knowledge amazes me. We have several of the products you mentioned and are so happy we do! Love your blog and I look forward to each post:)


  1. […] During the last year, I’ve made a conscious effort to pay attention to what we put on our bodies, as much as what we put in them. Because our skin is our largest organ, it matters what we use. It absorbs what is put on it and can impact us, for better or worse. (See more: Health and Beauty Buys, What Products Do Our Kids Use, Natural Cold and Flu Remedies.) […]

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