25 Natural Cold Remedies THAT WORK for Every Illness

Written By


Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Cold Remedies | 25 Natural Cold Remedies That Work For Every Illness

Flu, allergy or cold season got you down? Not with these essential natural cold remedies to boost your immune system naturally (without the sweeteners, artificial ingredients and immune-suppressing side effects that many medications leave on your body in the long run).


Gut support!

Your immune system is directly related to the health of your gut. (In fact: 80% of your immune system is produced in your gut!).

When you feel like you’re coming down with a cold, or you’re in the middle of a horrible stomach bug or allergy flare, look to gut health as your “northstar.”

By strengthening the immune producing and boosting powers of your gut bacteria and overall gut health, you naturally ALSO boost the immune producing and boosting powers of your immune system alone.


Move over Vitamin C. Sickness calls FIRST AND FOREMOST for gut support!

Vitamin C | 25 Natural Cold Remedies That Work For Every Illness

Enter these 3 staples any immune fighting protocol SHOULD include:

  1. Soil Based Probiotic (2-3 times per day)
  2. Prebiotic Fiber (1-2 tsp/day)
  3. Apple Cider Vinegar (1-2 tbsp in 2-4 oz. of water with meals)

In addition to these supplemental supports, gut-loving foods do an immune system good. Some of my favorites that are essential in your “anti-sickness” diet include

Gut Loving & Immune Boosting Foods: 

Minced or Chopped GarlicThe allicin in garlic is a natural antibacterial. Chew raw or stir into applesauce

Ginger. A natural anti-inflammatory with bacterial busting compounds and antioxidants. Chew on it raw, or sip ginger herbal tea.

Bone Broth. Amino acids and collagen to coat and support the gut lining.

Fresh Herbs. Oregano, Basil, Dandelion, Cilantro, Parsley.

Turmeric Spice. Add to veggies, soup, taco meat or crockpot chicken.

Pineapple & Citrus Fruits. Lemon. Lime. Orange. Tangerine. Grapefruit.

Probiotic Foods

  • Sauerkraut
  • Fermented Veggies, Salsas & Relishes
  • Dill Fermented Pickles & Cucumbers
  • Kimchi
  • Horseradish
  • Low Sugar Kombucha
  • Fermented Fish Sauce, Mustard & Ketchup
  • Fermented Fruits (peaches, lemons)
  • Kefir, Coconut Kefir, Water Kefir
  • Grassfed Full-Fat Plain Yogurt
  • Beet Kvass/Kvass


  • Green-tipped bananas and plantains
  • Cooked & cooled sweet potatoes and potatoes
  • Jicama
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Cooked & cooled white rice
  • Soluble Fibers (cooked carrots, beets, parsnips, winter squash)
  • Jerusalem Artichoke
  • Cooked & cooled legumes
  • Turnips
  • Rutabaga


Aside from LOVING YOUR GUT, here is a peak inside my “medicine cabinet” for top go-to’s for immediate illness relief when colds, sore throats, coughs and stomach bugs strike! (I like to call these my “secret sauce”)…

Immune Boosters | 25 Natural Cold Remedies That Work For Every Illness

Colds, Flus, Sore Throats & Coughs

Oregano Oil:
Oregano oil contains a stacked powerhouse of compounds to strengthen your immune system. The most powerful compound in oregano oil is carvacrol, an active ingredient known to bust through the outer cell membranes of pathogenic bacteria, allowing them to be neutralized by the body’s immune system.

Try: Taking 1-2 Drops Oregano Oil (dilute in a little bit of Coconut Oil or Water)  or Biotics ADP Capsules

Liposomal Vitamin C

Loaded with “anti-oxidants,” Vitamin C fights free radicals to keep illness at bay. However, while we’ve all heard Vitamin C is “good” for us, but NOT all Vitamin C formulas are created equal (especially that AirBorne with the artificial sweeteners, linked to bacterial overgrowth, in it). Liposomal forms of certain nutrients—like Vitamin C—are preferred OVER capsules and tablet versions of the same nutrients, primarily because they are BETTER absorbed (i.e. you’re not wasting your money).

A liposome is a “cell-like membrane” that latches on to various nutrients in your body (like Vitamin C) and transports them throughout your bloodstream. Liposomes join with our cells to release their contents (like Vitamin C) directly into our cells INSTEAD of having to use other enzymes and proteins to do the job for them.
Try: Empirical Labs http://amzn.to/2FITlHe

Liposomal Curcumin (Extracted from Turmeric): 
Anti-inflammatory Curcumin is the active ingredient in Turmeric that keeps inflammation at bay. Traditionally, Turmeric was used for nearly every health condition known – from smallpox to pulled muscles. The reason for its health effects is the compound known as Curcumin. Just like oranges are a source of Vitamin C, Turmeric is a source of curcumin. For cold remedies, extracted Curcumin from turmeric is a great “natural medicine.”

Technically speaking, Curcumi inhibits enzymes linked to inflammation and also suppresses the expression of cell molecules linked to inflammation. Since Curcumin is poorly absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract, Liposomal forms of curcumin are preferred as the best absorbed versions.
Try: 1-2 Dose/Day, Empirical Labs

Essential Oils. 
Diffuse essential oils like peppermint, rosemary, lemon, frankingense, tea tree and /or cedarwood in a diffuser and inhale as a natural vaporizer.


For congestion and sore throats: Combine 3 – 12 drops of Lemon, Lavender, Marjoram and Lime in a bowl or pot of steaming water. Deeply inhale the steam.

For a cough: Place 3 – 12 drops of Marjoram, Lavender, Cedarwood and Peppermint oils in a bowl of steaming water.


Combine 2 drops frankincense essential oil, 2 drops orange essential oil and 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil to a bath for congestion.

Warm Compress

Microwave a damp washcloth and then add several drops of frankincense and eucalyptus essential oil. Place on the forehead as a decongestant.

Homemade “Vapor” Rub

Directly massaging the throat and chest with essential oils.

Natural cough remedy:

Dilute any combination of Cedarwood, Peppermint, Frankincense, Cypress and Lavender and massage directly on the chest.

Sore throat 

Rub a diluted mixture of Lemon, Peppermint and Tea Tree essential directly on the throat.

Cold “Syrup.”
Forget the sugars and artificial ingredients in most commercial formulas. Here are two of my faves:

Packed with antibacterial and anti-infectious powers. Use organic dried black elderberries (12 ) to consume whole, or make a homemade syrup with this recipe:
Elderberry Cold “Medicine”

(paste this in a recipe all it’s own”


  • 2/3 cup dried black elderberries (about 3 ounces)
  • 3.5 cups of water
  • 2 Tbsp fresh or dried ginger root
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove powder
  • 1 cup raw honey


Pour water into medium saucepan. Add elderberries, ginger, cinnamon and cloves (do not add honey). Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 45-60 minutes until liquid is reduced by almost half. Remove from heat and let cool enough to be handled. Mash berries using a spoon. Pour through a strainer into a glass jar or bowl. Discard elderberries and let liquid cool. Add 1 cup of honey and stir well.

Cough Syrup In-a-Jar

Combine the following ingredients in a jar, and let sit at room temperature for a few days (or place in fridge for longer storage). Shake up every time you use it.

  • 2 tbsp organic apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey (organic or local raw honey is best)
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger


Zinc is an essential mineral that is naturally present in some foods, added to others, and available as a dietary supplement. Zinc is involved in numerous aspects of cell metabolism, responsible for the activity of more than 100 enzymes that play a role in immune health, protein synthesis (muscle tissue building and support), wound healing, and cell formation and division. (Translation: It keeps your body’s metabolism and immune system working in tip-top shape).

A short term therapeutic dose of zinc has been shown to help colds heal up to three times faster. In a review of three different clinical trials (Hemila, 2017), results showed that 70% of the people taking zinc lozenges recovered from their colds after five days, compared to just 27% of people who took the placebo. However, this remedy comes with a caveat: studies have looked at doses much higher (up to 150 mg/day) than are commonly recommended by doctors (40 mg/day), and not all zinc lozenges on the market are effective. Study authors concluded about 100 mg. of zinc during a cold could be safe for most people.
TryZinc Liver Chelate by Standard Process  or a 3-7 day therapeutic dose of Aqueous Zinc (up to 100 mg/day)

Fire Cider

A powerful “gut booster” and immune booster—-in one. Fire Cider has been used for centuries to fight illness, and is a potent combination of:

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Yellow onion,
  • Garlic
  • Ginger root
  • Horseradish, grated
  • Turmeric,
  • Lemon & orange

Spices & Herbs: cinnamon, cayenne pepper (optional), rosemary

—All in one.

Try: Make your own, or check out my fave blend “True Tonic.”

A potent dose of this antibacterial stops viruses dead in its tracks. Monolaurin comes from lauric acid (a fatty acid found naturally in breast milk and coconut oil).  This fatty acid has also been used as a bacterial-fighting agent for hundreds of  years.  Lauric acid was originally discovered when microbiologists studied human breast milk to determine the antiviral substances that protect infants from microbial infections. It has been shown to protect newborns, whose immune systems are underdeveloped, from viruses.  Monolaurin disintegrates the viral envelope of pathogenic bacteria, killing the virus.
Try: Lauracidin.

Castor Oil

The “cure all” most every grandmother or great-grandmother knows about. Castor oil is capable of increasing your white blood cells (immune-boosting cells) that help kill viruses, fungi, bacteria and cancer cells. As a fatty acid, castor oil also helps improve your body’s natural lymphatic drainage and blood flow when sick.
Try: Rub topically on your abdomen and sinus points, or make a “castor oil pack” —simply soak an old cloth in the oil and place it directly onto your belly. Cover it with a plastic bag and lay a hot water bottle over top and relax for 20 minutes or longer.

Stomach Bug
Got a bacterial or viral infection? Fight off bugs fast with herbal and anti-viral supports, in conjunction with gut boosting foods, as

Antimicrobial Herbs
Antimicrobials stop pathogenic (bad bacteria) dead in their tracks—seeking to clean sweep them.


As described above, monolaurin is an anti-bacterial agent the busts through bacterial cell walls to help neutralize them.

Try: Lauracidin.

Biofilm Disruptors

Similar to Monolaurin, Biofilm Disruptors target the outer shells of bacteria that otherwise are like steel armor at times. Biofilm disruptors allow your anti-microbial herbs AND gut friendly foods actually do your body good.

TryInterfase Plus 

Inflammatory Fighting Enzymes

Enzymes are essential proteins that your body needs to help you break down food and promote chemical reactions in your cells‚ muscles‚ and organs. They help keep your gut and immune cells working efficiently—fully breaking down foods (digesting) AND also fighting off inflammation and illness (particularly proteolytic enzymes). Sufficient levels of proteolytic enzymes can help stop the progression of inflammation and disease—and get your body (and gut) back to working as it should when illness strikes.

Try: Intezyme Forte (My “Windex” go-to when gut bugs intrude).

Gut Love Diet (Not the BRAT Diet). 
Many conventional docs prescribed the “BRAT” diet (consisting of bland foods like bananas, breads, chicken noodle soup, Saltine Crackers, applesauce and sprite or ginger-aid) to heal your tummy. The problem? Many of these foods are devoid of nutrients AND actually feed (unhealthy) gut bacteria—the very thing you want to fend off. Opt for a gut love (stomach bug healing) diet instead consisting of foods like:

  • Bone Broth
  • Homemade Soups & Stews (butternut squash, sweet potato, veggie, etc.) with ground or shredded meats
  • Herbal Teas
  • Bananas & Applesauce
  • Shredded/Crockpot Chicken & Flaky White Fish (cod)
  • Cooked & Cooled White & Sweet Potatoes
  • Cooked & Cooled White Rice
  • Fermented Veggies, Kimchi, Sauerkraut
  • Low-Sugar Kombucha
  • Roasted Yellow & Zucchini Squash
  • Spaghetti Squash Noodles
  • No Oats “Oatmeal” with cauliflower or winter squash
  • Simple Green Juices
  • Basic Smoothies (coconut milk, collagen & carob powder, 1/2 banana, greens, avocado or sun-butter)


Want more insights on optimizing your health?

Connect with Dr. Lauryn today for a 20-minute “Ask Me Anything” call and get 3 instant action steps you can take today towards boosting your gut, immune system, hormones and more.

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