Staying Healthy – Or Getting Over the Goobers Quicker

Natural cures/remedies for the cold and flu are abundant, especially this time of year. We’re either trying to not get sick, or perhaps we’re sick and would like to get over our illness quicker. With just a few simple items, probably already in your home, you can boost your immune system and feel better in no time. Used before hand – you can even fight the virus before it takes up residence in your body.

Cold and Virus Fighters

photo credit: carbonnyc

Garlic is a common staple in most homes, but did you know it also has the ability to cleanse and warm the body, kill yeasts and parasites, increase circulation, as well as contains natural antibiotic and anti fungal properties? It’s a wonderful immune booster and helps to fight off germs and bacteria.

In order to see the full benefit of garlic, it must be consumed raw, minced and left to sit for 15 minutes. Cooked garlic has wonderful properties as well, but when eaten raw will knock the virus off it’s feet. Start consuming larger quantities of garlic as soon as you feel a touch ill. It’s also beneficial to boost your immune system before you head to an even with a large crowd!

How to take raw garlic

  • My absolute favorite way to get raw garlic into my diet is to make a garlic herb spread for over toast, potatoes, or even rice.
  • You can mince the garlic and add to salsa, guacamole, and hummus.
  • I also like to take the juice of one lemon, add in an equal amount of honey, and then as much garlic as I can stand. This makes it fairly easy to take by the spoonful throughout the day.
  • If you have empty pill capsules at home you can also mince the garlic and fill capsules to make it a bit easier to swallow!
  • Top the foods you make with raw garlic. Even if the food is hot, it shouldn’t ‘cook’ the garlic if you consume it fast enough.

Taking a dose of garlic every few hours will have you feeling better in no time! (As a side note, I’ve noticed that minced garlic has a more noticeable effect than large pieces)


Stress and fatigue lower you’re immune system so it’s pertinent that you give your body ample amounts of rest so that it can use the extra energy for fighting illness. When heading into a season of busyness, or looking forward to vacation, get as much rest beforehand as possible. Go to bed before 10pm, even earlier if you can.


Our bodies function properly when they are properly hydrated! Make sure to drink lots of liquids to hydrate those cells. Water also helps our bodies eliminate toxins from the body and makes digestion easier, and the added nutrients of liquids like whole milk, kombucha, and fresh juices add vitamins and minerals to your body as well.

Hot liquids are also a wonderful help. If you think about it, most virus’ we ‘catch’ we breathe in, as they are airborne and travel from the person next to us who sneezes. Drinking hot liquids often helps to kill the germs as they reside in our mouths and throat. Hot water with lemon is a wonderful drink to consume during cold and flu season as not only the heat helps fight virus, the lemon is ultra cleansing to the body. Homemade broth is another hot liquid that has amazing healing properties!

photo credit: aussiegall

Nasal Cleansing

Probably one of the least lady-like immune boosters, nasal cleansing with sea salt is a fabulous way to keep germs at bay. The warm salt water helps to flush out bacteria and viruses as they reside in our nasal passages.

You can easily use nasal cleansing upon rising in the morning and going to bed each night. This is especially important when you’re traveling or around a large group of people.

To practice nasal cleansing you can purchase what’s called a neti pot and fill with warm salt water. (it’s also important to use safe, clean water – boil it first and let it cool) If you don’t have a neti pot, you can also use a bulb syringe. Lean over a sink and tilt your head to the side and slightly forward, allowing the salt water to run into your sinus’. It’s not pretty, and sometimes downright uncomfortable, but works amazingly well!


Another great way to boost your immune system is to consume foods that contain probiotics. Yogurt, kefir, kombucha, and naturally fermented vegetables like sauerkraut are all great sources of good bacteria that help keep your system strong. It also keeps your immune system strong by keeping your intestines healthy. (Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in our gut?)

Wash Your Hands

Taught in grade schools around the country, washing your hands is your first defense in keeping germs out of your body. You don’t need to go the anti-bacterial soap route, just wash long enough to sing the ABC’s before you eat and after you’re exposed to others.

Take Your Vitamins

To really give your immune system a boost, make sure you consume enough vitamin D and vitamin C. Both are important to your immune system and can help kick a cold before it starts.

Don’t Eat Sugar

One of the biggest things you can do for your immune system is to cut sugar and sweets out of your diet. Sugar not only disrupts the natural balance of bacteria in your gut, it also drastically lowers the strength of your immune system! Most studies suggest that it can lower immune function for 6 hours after consumption, leaving you vulnerable to virus’ you’ve been exposed to. Other studies even suggest that it lowers your immune function up to 90% within just the first 15 minutes.

Using all of the above home remedies will keep you healthy this winter, but don’t fret if you’ve already come down with a bug. Each one of these will help boost your immune system and help the body heal quicker!

How do you stay healthy when everyone around you is sick?

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About Donielle

Donielle is an amateur herbalist and natural momma to two littles (with another babe in heaven) after dealing with being less than fertile. She has a passion for nourishing nutrition, natural living, and spreading the word on how food truly affects our health.


  1. I just recently discovered the neti pot this past fall and I love it! It has helped me so much.

  2. You’re right with your hunch about garlic – crushing/mincing releases the allancin (the good stuff), and it’s actually healthier after 7 minutes, moreso at 14, and even better yet at 21 minutes after mincing! :)

    My grandma and mom wanted me to get a neti pot when we were all so sick, but their advice came right when I was feeling better. I don’t know why I don’t just buy one!
    :) Katie

  3. Great post. Thanks. How do you keep the garlic from smelling? My mom loves to take it whole too but she smells just like garlic (ewww). I want to take it too to prevent colds/flu this season. But how can I take it w/out smelling like garlic? Thanks!

    donielle Reply:

    @Agnes, Oh – you’ll smell like garlic. :-) Actually just one clove every once in awhile probably won’t do anything, but the massive amounts I take when I feel like I’m getting something might cause me to smell a bit like an italian restaurant. I’m ok with it since I normally don’t get sick!!

  4. Thinking a lot this morning about the saying that your body will tell you what it needs. Until yesterday I had NEVER purchased garlic out of the produce section. I’d always gotten it in jars or powder form for cooking. I happened to see the bulbs when shopping yesterday and suddenly had this craving for raw garlic and had no idea why.
    I have been feeling the edges of a cold coming on. I had no idea that garlic could be so good for me.
    Thank you!

    donielle Reply:

    @Sarah @ Sarah’s Deals, Hope that garli you bought helped you kick whatever was ailing you! :-)

  5. We take garlic by mincing it, letting it set a bit as above, then putting it on a spoon and coating it with honey. My 3yo can get it down this way. My goal is for them to swallow it but they chew it still and run for water as its still spicy even with the honey.
    Also, sprinkled over well-buttered bread works too for me.
    I take a clove and my girls take 1/2 a clove at a time.
    Smelling like garlic is way better than being sick! If you just do it in the morning b4 a good breakfast and then brush ur teeth too, it shoudn’t be too bad. If you’re burping it up alot then I’d check into GI issues. If my 3yo with the very tricky tummy can handle it, anyone should be able to :)

    donielle Reply:

    @Hélène, I will totally have to try taking it with honey next time – thanks for the tip!

  6. Personal testimony about sugar lowering immune defenses: Once when I was grocery shopping, I felt an insatiable desire for a splurge. (That rarely happens. Maybe I was hungry. :) ) I bought a Hershey’s cookies and cream candy bar, even though it was totally against the way we’ve been trying to eat. It just sounded so good! I told myself I’d eat some, and save the rest for later. Famous last words! I ate the whole thing. That night I woke up with a sore throat. In the morning I had a fever, which hung on for a week! I have no idea if the candy actually had an effect, or if I was going to get sick anyway, but it sure was a strange coincidence!

    Question: if I sweeten my hot lemon water with honey, will that negate any positive effects?

    donielle Reply:

    @Diana, Hmmm….I think that yes – to some extent that honey has an adverse affect. While it does have health benefits, those quickly leave when the honey is heated – as in hot water. There are worse things of course, so maybe just use a little bit less each time till you can drink it with just lemon.

  7. Thanks for sharing! I use these exact remedies to cure (and prevent) colds. The sugar one is hard, but also very powerful (it works!).

  8. Donielle, I just want to thank you for your thoughtful article and helpful natural tips on how to fight the bug(s). I also believe and live by the raw garlic remedy – it is a life saver! Garlic is absolutely versatile in the way you can use it as a healing remedy, preventive care, and obviously cuisine. Sugar, on the other hand, is really best avoided or limited. Thank you! – Olya from Seattle


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